“Look out, Haskell, it’s real!”: A Review of “Medium Cool” (1969)*


First published: 12/09/2012

This is a film review from Patrice Bowman, who writes the newly revamped WEEKEND blog column: “The 21st Century through a Monochrome Lens: Re-examining Older Films.” Watch her intro video here.

When I’m actually able to watch television, I watch the news about 30 percent of the time. (The other 70 percent, I watch older films and color-saturated cartoons.) While you probably have a healthier balance of television consumption than I do, when we do sit down for a little news, we expect such qualities as coherency, intelligence, objectivity and honesty. But these expectations aren’t always met. Haskell Wexler’s “Medium Cool”* (1969), which tells the story of a reporter amidst the turmoil of late 1960s America, reminds us that televised journalism was never just about the “facts”; instead, it has been an uneasy concoction of desensitization and manipulation of reality for minute-quick thrills. To question what…

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