network  movie poster

Network (1976)
dir.  Sidney Lumet
121 minutes

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore!!”

Before the 24 hour news networks and especially Fox News, the movie “Network” gave an ominous view of corporate-run news pushing the edge in search of ratings & profit.

It begins with respected broadcaster Howard Beale played by Peter Finch doing what we often joke about when watching the evening news….  what if they just flipped out and called bullshit on the news?  Imagine hearing that from Dan Rather one night.

Howard’s populist rants strike a chord with ordinary Americans facing a worsening recession, rising oil prices, corporate consolidation of media & loss of faith in the government…  something that sounds strikingly familiar.  Of course, the corporate planners work on how to exploit and maximize profits from the situation after suffering low ratings for so long.  Before you know it, they are soon hashing out programming deals with armed “revolutionary” groups and communists for the shock value.

Towards the end, the CEO of the giant media conglomerate (who looks a little like George W. Bush) takes notice of the situation and gives essentially a speech of imperialism’s New World Order.

It’s a great movie exposing the absurdities of corporate media conglomerates and the internal strategies that make them run.  It could be followed up by the documentary “Outfoxed:  Rupert Murdoch’s War on Journalism” but wouldn’t be nearly as fun.