The new film Shock and Awe is set in the months before the September 11 terrorist attacks and on through to the Iraq War, focusing on the true story of journalists Warren Strobel and Jonathan Landay.
Strobel (James Marsden) and Landay (Woody Harrelson) were journalists working for Knight Ridder, a media corporation that then owned more than 30 American newspapers.
The two men were among the few journalists skeptical of the claims made by former President George W. Bush’s administration regarding the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, which the United States invaded on March 20, 2003.
In the movie, Strobel and Landay find themselves being mostly ignored by major news outlets such as the New York Times and the Washington Post. Both publications have since conceded their error of publishing erroneous information or underreporting skepticism against the war.
Fox News is also portrayed in the film as providing biased and erroneous coverage leading up to the Iraq War.
The director of the film, Rob Reiner, (A Few Good Men, The Wolf of Wall Street) recently spoke with Yahoo Entertainment about how he sees Fox News and similar outlets still doing damage to the American public’s perception during the Trump administration.
“This is the first time in American history where we essentially have a state-run media for a president, with Fox, Breitbart, Sinclair, and Alex Jones, and so on,” Reiner said. “There’s always been propaganda. Administrations have always used propaganda, both Republican and Democrat, to sell a policy or rationale to go to war. But it’s never been where you have a big chunk of mainstream media basically doing a flak job for the administration. And that’s the scary part right now.”
“That’s really what [Shock and Awe] is about,” Reiner continued. “It’s about journalists trying to break through with the truth. Because unless the truth comes to the American public, they have no way of knowing how they can make decisions on their leaders.”
Shock and Awe is in theaters now and is available on demand through DirecTV Cinema.