Monday, September 24, 2012

The Most Dangerous Man in America


  1. After hearing about The Most Dangerous Man in America, I am intrigued to watch the film, in order to learn more about the event and subsequent trial about the Pentagon Papers. Alexandra gave a slightly vague, short summary of the film, but I believe that I understood that the theme was about chronicling the abuses of the national government in hiding vital, but controversial military information from the citizens, violating their First Amendment rights.

    Alexandra did a nice job of maintaining a slow, clear pace throughout the broadcast. The volume was satisfactory, however, sometimes a little soft, at least on my computer. Alexandra’s voice was slightly monotone, so I would have liked to see more enthusiasm for the broadcast, but it did not affect the overall message of the broadcast. She was, however, undoubtedly prepared to talk about the topic and provided interesting facts and details about the famous trial surrounding this situation, New York Times v. United States. She focused more on the analysis of the film, including the constitutional struggle of First Amendment Rights. Although, I would have liked to hear a more in depth summary of the film, in order to help me better understand the background and purpose of the film. Alexandra definitely seemed informed and confident about the topic. She offered perspectives about the Pentagon Papers that I appreciated and seemed to fully understand the political significance that the Pentagon Papers had during that time in American history.

    One important fact that Alexandra brought to my attention was the portrayal of the Secretary of Defense of the United States, Robert McNamara. Ellsberg, who narrates the film, described a time when talking about the Vietnam War to McNamara on a plane. McNamara detailed the resources and money that were being put into the war, but still with the same outcome. McNamara did not seem optimistic about the war, claiming that it was getting worse. When they get off the plane, however, a reporter asked McNamara about the status of the war, to which he replied that it was doing well, and that they were making hopeful progress. Ellsberg was particularly bothered that an important government official could deceive the public so easily about the Vietnam War. This experience showed the government abuse in the system, leaving the citizens of the United States in the dark about the war and its horrible effects. In addition, Alexandra mentioned that Ellsberg gave the Pentagon Papers to anti-war congressmen first, before going to the newspapers. The congressmen, however, did not act when they received the papers because they did not know if it was in their rights to do so. Details like this are usually not discussed when talking about the Pentagon Papers because it was understood that Ellsberg was the only one with knowledge of these papers, besides those in the government that were trying to hide them.

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  3. The film sounded very interesting, and I would be interested in viewing the film. The film seemed to accurately depict the role of Daniel Ellsberg in the revelation of the Pentagon Papers. Its strength seemed to be that it appropriately shamed the corrupt government officials that hid this pertinent military information from the American citizens. The weakness, however, was that Daniel Ellsberg narrated the documentary. This allowed for an extreme bias, due to the fact that one of the parties in the film was a part of the making of the film. As Alexandra explained, Daniel Ellsberg was portrayed as a righteous government official that heroically defied the government, in order to educate the American citizens about the Vietnam War. That may have been true to some extent, but no one was truly innocent in the situation, except for the American people.

    Overall, Alexandra effectively addressed the important issues in The Most Dangerous Man in America. In terms of style, I would have liked to have seen better lighting in the broadcast. The back light was slightly distracting throughout the entire broadcast. Also, Alexandra seemed to look down too much during her presentation. These minor details did not take away from the informative and interesting presentation that Alexandra provided. I liked how she related the issues in the film to discussion in our class, like the debate of First Amendment rights. This film describes an important part of American history, and I enjoyed viewing Alexandra’s broadcast of The Most Dangerous Man in America.

  4. I believe that the theme of the documentary was the controversy of Eisberg releasing the Pentagon papers, and i think it was explained pretty well.
    I thought that Alexandra's pacing was good. The volume was a little low at parts, but over all pretty good. She definitely seemed prepared and informed. She didn't skip around, or have any awkward pauses, and she knew what she was going to say.

    Alexandra mentioned a few weaknesses in her video. She said that the documentary contained bias, and was one-sided. She said that the the documentary was narrated by Eisenberg, and therefore only from his perspective. Alexandra also said that the documentary was on the bias that it was right for Eisenberg to release the information.

    I thought there were a few interesting and important facts that Alexandra talked about. That this case foreshadowed the watergate scandal. The plumbers that Nixon hired in the watergate scandal was the team the broke into Elsberg's psychiatrists office to try and disprove Elsberg. Also how easy it is for the government to hide things from the public and the President. I also thought it was important to point out that people in the government knew that things were bad but lied to the media about it. LIke when the Secretary of Defense was talking about how the war was not getting any better, but told a reporter that the war was going fine. I also thought it was noteworthy that before releasing the information to seventeen newspapers Ellsberg took the information to a few congressmen, but they did not do anything about it, because they didn't feel they had the power to do anything about it. And in the end the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Ellsberg, and he didn't have to serve his sentence of 115 years. I thought it was interesting that Alexandra mentioned that if Ellsberg had not leaked the Pentagon papers, that they scandal could still be covered up, due to the lack of action, and the governments involvement in the cover up.

    The film sounded interesting, and i would definitely like to watch it, especially after hearing more about it. Overall i liked Alexandra's video review. She did a good job of not doing anything distracting like playing with her hair. As a side note i think Alexandra looks down a lot, and i think it would have been nicer if she made more eye contact with the camera and looked up more.