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War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death (2008)

Norman Solomon , Sean Penn , Loretta Alper , Jeremy Earp  |  NR |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Norman Solomon, Sean Penn
  • Directors: Loretta Alper, Jeremy Earp
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: The Disinformation Company
  • DVD Release Date: March 25, 2008
  • Run Time: 72 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00118SUHU
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #203,161 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Narrated by Sean Penn and based on the work of media critic and best-selling author Norman Solomon, who traveled with Penn to Baghdad just before the war to call attention to the dangers of a U.S. invasion, WAR MADE EASY reaches into the Orwellian memory hole to expose 50 years of government spin and media collusion that has dragged our country into one war after another from Vietnam to Iraq. With remarkable archival footage of official distortion and exaggeration from LBJ to George W. Bush, the documentary exposes how presidential administrations of both parties have relied on a combination of deception and media complicity to sell one war after another to the American people.

Giving special attention to parallels between Vietnam and Iraq, WAR MADE EASY sets government spin and media collusion from the present alongside virtually identical patterns from the past, guided by Solomon s meticulous research and tough-minded analysis. Rare footage of political leaders and journalists from the past includes Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, Defense Secretary Robert McNamara and news correspondents Walter Cronkite and Morley Safer. According to Solomon, whose work has been praised by The Los Angeles Times as brutally persuasive, the positive attention the film has received may indicate a new willingness to counter years of pro-war media spin and government deception. These deep patterns of ongoing perception management must be demystified and decoded if we're going to move beyond the horrors of perpetual war, he said. The way War Made Easy is being embraced could be an important step in that direction.

An Official Selection of 2007 s International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam and the 2007 Montreal and Vancouver International Film Festivals, WAR MADE EASY, directed by Loretta Alper and Jeremy Earp, is an invaluable introduction to war propaganda and public relations that transcends partisan politics, and raises serious questions about the role of journalism and political communication in our society.


Like many other documentaries about the war in Iraq and the Bush administration's foreign policy, "War Made Easy" states its case with persuasive details. There's just so much evidence to support the assertion that several wars have been sold to us like a consumer product we need to survive, and that the American public and more important, the shockingly compliant free press has bought the sales pitch hook, line and sinker.

Produced by the Media Education Foundation; narrated by Sean Penn (which automatically invites derision from the political right); and assembled from a telling variety of news clips, sound bites and archival war footage, "War Made Easy" is based on the 2005 book by political and media critic Norman Solomon, and deliberately limits its focus to Solomon as its only interview subject.

Armed with decades of documentary evidence, Solomon asserts that, especially since World War II, U.S. presidents have repeatedly sold avoidable wars based on fallacious arguments and deceptive manipulation of public support.

For much of the citizenry, Solomon, Penn and the filmmakers are preaching to the choir. But even the most ardent supporters of President Bush's policies would find it difficult to refute Solomon's thesis, which touches on the historical nature of propaganda, bombing raids approved under the pretense of political "altruism" and the manipulation of news media through omitted facts and outright lies designed to encourage pro-war sentiment while anti-war voices (the film mentions CNN's Peter Arnett and MSNBC's Phil Donahue) are summarily silenced.

It doesn't end there, and Bush is presented as merely the latest practitioner of pro-war manipulation. From the squelching of "Vietnam Syndrome" (the notion that Vietnam left a cynical American public resistant to future declarations of war) to the glaring repetition of slogans designed to lull the public into pro-war submission, "War Made Easy" combines historical perspective with contemporary relevance, focusing on recent events as further evidence that deceptive strategies to justify war are nothing new, but rather an ongoing pattern of calculated misdirection that has proved tragically effective. --Jeff Shannon, The Seattle Times

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars watch this movie. March 23, 2008
Excellent documentary that talks about the way the media and the American government heave misled the American people into the Vietnam and Iraq wars and then actively rewrite history to cover the facts.

How many times have we heard, "no one could have known Iraq didn't have WMDs" or "if i knew then what i know now." The fact is, we did know the chances were extremely low, and the protesters before the war began numbered in the millions. The media, rather than investigating and out of fear of being "unpatriotic" fell in lockstep with the administration.
Times right now are scary, and this movie shows how the freedoms we take for granted are being grievously abused. Watch this movie to be reminded of how the media and the government should work in relation to one another.
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18 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Norman Solomon's War Made Easy affords us very little by way of fresh or vital information needed to grasp why major corporate networks adopt views that demonize countries and consistently advance the cause of war. The obvious reason, one neglected or evaded by Solomon is profit. In the major media, journalism has been nearly completely supplanted by commercialism. Even more objective non-commercial stations such as PBS and NPR remain financially tied to corporate underwriters that epitomize the military industrial complex such as United Technologies, Boeing and General Electric. Rupert Murdoch's Fox, Time-Warner's a CNN (no longer influenced by a more progressive-oriented Ted Turner), CBS's Viacom presided over by the staunch neo-conservative and close ally of President Bush- Sumner Redstone, Disney's ABC and General Electric's NBC, can no longer be categorized as news gathering organizations that employ bona fide journalists.

Indeed, so-called reporters and news analysts working for corporate conglomerates function today primarily as agents who obediently disseminate an agenda that routinely subordinates corporate profit to justice, truth, fairness, and common decency. Commercial agents of this variety - the use of the term journalists in this regard is outmoded and irrelevant - understand where their bread is buttered, especially while summary eradication from television or radio airwaves constitutes the price such corporate agents pay for an effort to perform credible research, engage in independent analysis and offer in the process worthy sources on behalf of the views they readily espouse on behalf of the corporations that control them.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great examination of factors (mis)leading us into war February 2, 2008
By mike
Norman Solomon is a thoughtful scholar and his powerful analysis makes clear the many factors which let government officials (mis)lead us into war. A must see! Also read the book: War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Tom Jam
I found this documentary clear and well edited, with some decent clear explanations of the sorry state of mainstream media, however it really did not go into clear detail showing the mess that corporate mainstream journalism is today. Huge media corporations controlling most news outlets and spouting 'news' that is big business friendly and tows the line of elite power. One aspect of the film shows how colin powell's address to the united nations was not critisised at all in the US mainstream media and was accepted as the truth, whereas in the UK and more so,the rest of Europe, some of the left leaning press clearly exposed him as having no proof for his assertions (much of the left leaning media in Europe - excluding the mass of right wing Murdoch type papers - didn't readily accept his own computer generated diagrams as proof). The media in the UK is incredibly centred towards elite business power and towing the government line so it is incredible to see how utterly inept the US mainstream press is even compared to the sorry state of affairs in most UK mainstream press. The mainstream press nowadays with its corporate owners and career and 'celebrity' journalists is totally part of the establishment and unfortunately cannot be looked to for truth which would expose power, i.e the news.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent "WAR 101" film April 20, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This documentary puts it all in perspective-- easy to connect the dots, even for those who don't wish to know.
It should be required viewing for high school and college students AND for citizens of the U.S.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just saw it today -- must have it! March 15, 2008
My wife and I went to a peace rally today where Barbara Lee and Daniel Ellsberg talked, and then this movie was shown. It's wonderful, in a depressing way. We must have it to show to friends -- an anyone who supports the war.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars War Made Easy documentary DVD August 9, 2008
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Sometimes we think George W was the first and only U.S. President to lie to us in order to go to war. T'ain't so. Lyndon Johnson did it with a straight face, and Nixon, and George H.W, Bush. This documentary is beautifully put together, searing, compelling, chilling. In every way it rates AAAAA+++++
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Outrageous and infuriating truth
This documentary is about the tight, well orchestrated collusion between the political establishment and main stream news media. Read more
Published on July 14, 2012 by Larry Gilstrap
5.0 out of 5 stars How easy it is to be conned
This DVD makes it apparent, that it is so easy to be conned by the media and our Government. A good citizen is one who refuses to be conned and instead demands the truth from our... Read more
Published on December 31, 2010 by William F. Nerin
5.0 out of 5 stars War Made Easy (2007). Great film.
Just watched War Made Easy (2007). Great film -how our government, leaders and media have mislead us into war and innocent killing for decades. Something to scream about.
Published on September 20, 2010 by GB
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, but chilling.
The movie's self-explanation nails precisely what you get; the entire movie is a chilling indictment of the fourth estate; the recording of Nixon and Kissinger discussing the... Read more
Published on August 19, 2010 by Bruce Friedrich
4.0 out of 5 stars Slightly familiar territory, but still worthwhile and important
Powerful, if slightly familiar examination of how the US government lies to get us into war, and how the media happily goes along. Read more
Published on August 2, 2010 by K. Gordon
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely a "Must See"....
I agree with the others who have seen the film, this is most definitely a must see documentary.
Tired of all the lies being told by bush (he doesn't even deserve a "capital... Read more
Published on March 27, 2008 by Salvador A. Delarosa III
1.0 out of 5 stars At It Again
The looney left is at it again. Oh! Boy Can wait for the next spinning project.
Published on March 21, 2008 by Lew Bookman
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