The media criticism of Peter Watkins
Atlantic writer Michael Hirschorn has discovered media critic and filmmaker Peter Watkins, who specializes in historical and current-affairs re-creations like The War Game but whose “real subject,” wrote Hirschorn, is an intense critique of the media.
The War Game in particular, said the Atlantic piece, provides “a deep, unerring analysis of how we use media to anesthetize ourselves against uncomfortable truths” …
Uncomfortable? Hirschorn called Watkins’s political sensibility “at
once sentimental and punitively moralistic—as if continuing in your
bourgeois existence after watching one of his films is a form of
ethical suicide.” But at the same time, he wrote, “Like no filmmaker
before or since, Watkins captures the constant manipulation and counter
manipulation of the modern media, the push-pull of image projection and
message management that has blurred the line between news and
In the scathing media critique
posted on his own web site, Watkins focused on the role of the “mass
audiovisual media” in how citizens understand — or not — global
climate change issues.