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In WikiLeaks' Mediastan, NYT Brags of UN Coverage as Garbage Shown

By Matthew Russell Lee, 2d of 2 Reviews

UNITED NATIONS, October 15 -- Wikileaks' road documentary "Mediastan" turns in its second half from Central Asia, where a US State Department funded radio station refused to publish any of Private Manning's cables, back to London, Washington and New York.

  In London the Guardian's editor, looking uncomfortable, says that names of Mafia members in Bulgaria were redacted due to fear of litigation.

  In Washington P.J. Crowley, having already left the State Department, dodges the free press implications of a newspaper being excluded from the payments system due to what it publishes.

  Worst, though, is the New York Times and Bill Keller. Smug about his "return to the writing life," Keller brags that it is UN General Assembly week, so of course presidents and foreign ministers are dropping into the New York Times unannounced asking to heard.

  Inner City Press has reported not only on Italian prime minister Letta's desperate press availability IN FRONT OF the New York Times as his government was collapsing, but also on the vaunted New York Times "going light," for example largely basing an unauthorized profile of US Ambassador Samantha Power on tweets that, as Inner City Press detailed, she does not post herself.

  Mediastan director Johannes Wahlstrom dutifully climbs the New York Times tower, and listens as Keller explains to him that the Drudge Report's reader limit their comments to "scumbag," but "traffic is traffic." The camera cuts to traffic down on Eighth Avenue, a Sbarro's, a newspaper blowing in the wind.

  The production values of Mediastan get better and better. The upbeat, almost comedic bell music by Anton Kolbe is a constant, from Turkmenistan to Times Square. Some is hidden camera, for example the editor of "Neutral Turkmenistan" who demands to know how they got into the country.

  They end up being deported, but not before Neutral Turkmenistan's elderly webmaster tells them he used to push for stories but now is content to not chase everything down -- like some atop the UN press corps.

   Under a dark British sky, Julian Assange muses that if such Leaks don't change the media, the media had no power anyway. As the movie puts it, the answer is emerging. Watch this site.


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