"Endangered: Journalism in Jeopardy", Ronan Farrow's film on HBO

Endangered: Journalism in Jeopardy is a new (June 28, 2022) HBO Documentary (viewable on HBOMax) executive-produced in large part by journalist Ronan Farrow and his company.  It is directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady. 

Saturday, CNN interviewed Ronan in his NYC home (which appeared to be a brownstone, not a highrise) about the film. Farrow is 34 now, and would be over 35 on January 20, 2025.  (Tim Pool is such already.) Biden would be over 82.  Take a hint.

The film starts with a scene in Brazil in early 2020, where a man in a mob praises Bolsanaro as his “captain” and woe to anyone who smears the captain publicly.  He accuses journalists as scum who trade sex for information.

The film shirts scenery to other places, especially Mexico City, where a feminist movement is being put down, and Miami.  One of the late scenes in Mexico City shows the presidential palace, with protesters;  I visited the exterior of this place on Labor Day Sunday in 1974, just before I moved into NYC, a memorable day for me.


The film reports the work of CPJ, the Committee to Protect Journalists. The group maintains that “journalists are moderators of finding facts”.  The CPJ is on the automated donation list from my own trust (it is not a beneficiary).

The film does cover the closing of many medium-sized city local newspapers, and gives and example, Youngstown, Ohio (I passed through it in July 1999, a few months before the pandemic).  But one could add that competition with 'amateurs' on the Internet contribute to the problem (yesterday’s post) – by the way, remember “Righthavem”? 

The film gathers steam dealing with COVID.  New graveyards are dug on camera in Brazil, while Bolsonaro, who caught the infection himself, dismisses it as a trivial infection for otherwise healthy people. “Stop whining and get back to work” (we’ve heard Carlos Maza report that in one of his videos.)  Later, one of the journalists (is it Joel Simon) interviewing someone near a Trump rally is rebuked, 'I’ll only talk to you if you take your mask off.'

In Mexico City, threats to journalists who report on police are reported;  supposedly 3600 have been murdered in the country.

Late in the film, a protester states, 'Revolution means standing and resisting'.

I also want to mention that today (July 3), CNN re-aired Fareed Zakaria's 2019 0ne-hour documentary film "Saudi Arabia: Kingdom of Secrets", CNN pressroom article. Of course the West's dependence on the kingdom's oil (indirectly an issue now because of the Ukraine conflict) has been an issue ever since the oil embargo of 1974 which led to gasoline supply disruptions in the US for about five months at a time in my own life when personal mobility was very important. In the 1980s, a coworker described his life in Saudi Arabia as an American computer contractor, dealing with the religious police. The film had been motivated by the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 in Istanbul (I believe this was mentioned in Ronan's film, above). It also mentions the role of Saudi men in the 9/11 attacks (and gives Bin Laden's history). Zakaria mentions the idea that under Wahhabism, individual religious practitioners can exact a kind of personal, vigilante justice on sinners, infidels or heretics. (In the US, we have our own version of that with Christianity and anti-abortion extremism, perhaps -- I take up some of this in my own 2002 DADT2 book.) But slowly (in ups and downs with oil), Saudi is modernizing. It is even accepting some partnership with Israel now because of a common enemy, Iran.

Picture of downtown Riyadh at night (Wikipedia link). It reminds me of 'Dune'.

(Posted: Sunday, July 3, 2022 at 10 AM EDT)