IFC Media Project 2008 | TV Show Watchlist
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When Haiti’s capital was recently flattened in a massive earthquake, the world’s media marshaled their forces and descended on the disaster zone. In this episode, IFC travels throughout Haiti—from devastated Port-au-Prince to the beautiful, untouched countryside—with Andrew Berends, a photojournalist and documentarian who’s worked in Iraq and was kidnapped in Nigeria while working on his film, “Delta Boys,” an exploration of the Niger Delta and the growing militancy in the country. Interwoven into Andrew’s stories are those of other journalists who share their different takes and approaches on how to cover a disaster. We hear from CNN’s local “fixer,” who spent three weeks filming his own activity as he guided Anderson Cooper and Ivan Watson around his shattered hometown. We meet up with Dan Rather, who has just returned from the country with hours of footage, and Daniel Morel, a Haitian photojournalist who takes a critical view of the international media’s reporting. He thinks their job is simply to observe.
IFC meets up with former New York Times reporter Charlie LeDuff in his hometown of Detroit, where Charlie moved back two years earlier to work for the Detroit News. Now, the paper’s bankrupt, the Metro Desk is empty and Detroit is being swarmed daily by the national media as the epicenter of America’s economic collapse. In reaction, Charlie takes the Detroit experience and turns it inside out: Detroit isn’t a bellwether, it is America’s future. He visits New York for a tour of a Wall Street trading floor to try to understand how the nation’s financial services community played a role in our country’s current decline. Talking with Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi, we learn how the media, overall, doesn’t understand Wall Street and therefore can’t substantively report on it. In Washington, D.C., Charlie storms into offices looking for answers, finding that the only guy who will talk to him is one U.S. Senator not running for reelection.
Journalist Nir Rosen returns to Afghanistan (where he was once kidnapped by the Taliban) to unravel an unspoken angle of America’s strategy for winning the war: Reconstruction. Doing what the media so rarely does, Nir follows the money, traveling first to a massive new power plant just outside Kabul. Built with $300M in U.S. taxpayer money, the investigative journalist learns that the plant was ill-conceived and unsustainable and, as it turns out, the company that built it – New Jersey-based Louis Berger Group – is one of America’s top recipients of reconstruction money, despite their consistently faulty dams, roads, schools and clinics. After talking with Afghan Parliament members and Afghani people, Nir returns to Washington, D.C. to get answers. Why has America poured $51 billion since 2002 into rebuilding a country with such miserable results? He confronts Louis Berger and the U.S. Government officials who keep signing their checks.
IFC follows political reporter Max Blumenthal deep into the heart of the Tea Party movement to uncover what makes them tick. Among his findings are that the conservative “grassroots uprising” might not be as organic as it seems. Opening with President Obama’s election, this episode recaps the disintegration of political discourse as hope yielded to fear within the conservative party and Tea Partiers took to the streets. Max travels to Montgomery, Alabama to meet protesters first-hand and, back in New York, he discovers that the entire movement might be orchestrated by a consortium of highly connected GOP pressure groups.
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