Saturday, July 8, 2017

Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press Netflix Documentary Review

Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press (2017)
Watch Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press on Netflix
Written by: Brian Knappenberger
Directed by: Brian Knappenberger
Starring: Nick Denton, Hulk Hogan
Rating: TV-14

Plot
This pitches two stories, the trial between wrestler Hulk Hogan and Gawker Media aided by Peter Thiel’s financial support and Sheldon Adelson’s purchase of Nevada’s largest newspaper.

Verdict
This has an inherently flawed premise. Much like the Hulk Hogan story depicted, both attempt to get undeserved attention.
Is this really trying to claim we need hard hitting journalism with out doing any of that itself and holding up the Hulk Hogan case as an example? It's great as the start of a discussion, but it doesn't contribute near as much as it should. Free speech doesn't mean you can say what you want without repercussion, it means you can say what you want without the government abducting you in the middle of the night.
Skip it.

Review
This throws a few stories together. This is in essence a hit piece to a degree, as it doesn't have a lot of research behind it. It implies much more than it ever says and even throws in a few clips of Donald Trump for good measure. Has Trump verbally attacked the media, sure, but he doesn't stop them from releasing information. This documentary is trying to capitalize on current trends, rather than building anything.

If the government had abducted the journalists, then this is a documentary. All this did was prove free speech is alive and well. Free speech isn't a right that absolves you of wrong doing. Gawker isn't upset about the lawsuit directly, they're upset that they had a plaintiff with enough resources to challenge them.
The Hogan tape wasn't news or to inform the public. It was for personal gain and site visits. The Hogan argument is flawed. Gawker shouldn't have posted it. It's not journalism.

This attempts to exploit the Gawker case to make it's point, and that's not the best place to start. Few people consider Gawker to be journalism. While this case gets notice, it's not the best case with which to make a point. This documentary is exploitative, something rushed out that pushes some buttons.

This states free press and by extension free speech is under attack, but in none of the examples did the government go after any of the journalists. Legal repercussions aren't an attack on free speech. The process worked as it should and the courts found that Gawker was in the wrong.
Free speech means the government can't make you disappear. It doesn't mean you can spout off whatever you want without repercussion.

The case in of itself is ridiculous. The who is Hulk Hogan versus Terry Bollea is just absurd, and it has nothing to do with this documentary. It's a great bit of comedy though.
This never attempts to answers whether Gawker should have lost. While it points out Hogan/ Bollea couldn't finance a lawsuit himself, that doesn't mean it wasn't valid.

I like what it attempts. This is a look at how free speech could be eroded, but not how it's actually happening. If the government bought a bunch of newspapers, then we've got something. If the government sued Gawker and steam rolled them, maybe that's a sign. That doesn't happen. The press is still free to do whatever they want. If Gawker still existed they could post the tape all over again.

The Adelson purchase is the most compelling case. while it didn't silence the journalists short term, there is a definite question of whether other journalists will attempt to bite the hand that feeds them since the journalists that broke that story are no longer with the paper. This still isn't an attack on free press. These journalists still did their job and discovered Adelson did purchase the paper. While they may no longer work at that paper, we don't know the specific circumstances as to why they aren't there.

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