Alex Gibney meets actual journalists in the UK
On July 2, 2013, Alex Gibney proudly screened his WikiLeaks documentary to England’s prestigious Frontline Club, a society of professional journalists whose standards are admired around the world.
Gibney’s film: another piece of historical revisionism, this time on the website WikiLeaks, utterly shredding the reputation of its founder.
But after the lights came up after the film’s showing and the Question-and-Answer period began, Gibney had a rude awakening.
By the look on his face, he must have been expecting a standing ovation. Instead, his victory lap was quashed by righteous indignation and outright anger.
“I think your film is cowardly and naïve,” said one man. “Nobody’s fooled by your kind of approach. You blew a great chance.”
Gibney was flummoxed. “I don’t know how you want me to respond to that,” he mumbled.
“You don’t have evidence,” said the indignant journalist. “You’re just telling a flock of nonsense, that’s propaganda.”
Petulant, Gibney reposed in his chair. “I see. Fine. Thank you,” he murmured.
But this was just the beginning. Lynn Most of the Foreign Press Association took the floor.
“You don’t know this person,” she said. “And the rules of documentary, if you’re going to interview somebody — unless they’re dead — you have to know the person, you have to interview the person.”
“You’ve come in on your roller blades from America taking on a subject that is so serious and needs a lot of research,” she said. “You don’t put any context into it. You didn’t make your documentary in a scientific way, or in a well-researched way. You made it like People magazine. I’m sorry, this is not a serious documentary and it doesn’t belong in Britain!”
By now the crowd was loudly behind her as she continued.
“Somebody from Britain and who’s trained in investigative journalism would take five years to make this film and you can’t whip this off in two years. You don’t have half of the information.”
By now Gibney’s body had hardened into a brittle shell. He was caught out on his modus operandi: hit job propaganda. Pure tabloid. You can watch the Frontline Club conversation with Alex Gibney.