To the editor,

It’s always bad form to respond to a review of your film–especially when, in the case of Weapons of Mass Deception at the Chicago Underground Film Festival, it was so positive [Section Two, August 13]. But the film is about issues and arguments–and the two that your reviewer picked on actually obscured the points.

First he states, “Schechter veers off into vague theories about U.S. ground forces targeting critical journalists.” Actually what I offer is not a “vague theory” but allegations by experienced war journalists, not just critics, concerns by the International Federation of Journalists, and the thoughtful opinion of the author of The First Casualty, the leading history of war and journalism. The point is that the Pentagon has yet, as of this date, to investigate the attack on Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel or punish the attacker.

The other argument that is questioned deals with the lobbying by media companies at the FCC as the war begins. As I show, savvy members of Congress and media analysts believed that the media waved the flag to encourage the Bush-dominated FCC to waive the rules. I have five media pros commenting. My suggestion to all who are intrigued: see WMD and consider the evidence.

Danny Schechter

News dissector and director of Weapons of Mass Deception

J.R. Jones replies:

If I served you an omelet, would you refer to it as eggs, milk, and butter? In both cases the video’s arrangement of opinion and allegation has the cumulative effect of theory, not proven fact. And my capsule–which ran long but was still about three-quarters the length of your letter–did note that the Palestine Hotel shelling has never been satisfactorily explained. The balance of Weapons of Mass Deception is more persuasively argued, and interested readers will find it screening this week at the Chicago Underground Film Festival and at No Exit Cafe (see movie listings for details).