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(2004, Brian Standing, 56 minutes)

VHS or DVD $15


War is Sell dissects the strategies of war propagandists: soldiers armed not with guns, but with words, pictures and commercial advertising techniques in their battle to win hearts and minds. How do you sell a war? How do the techniques of government propagandists, public relations consultants and commercial advertisers work, and why are they so effective? How did the United States become a master of domestic war propaganda over the course of the twentieth century? If, as many claim, human beings are biologically hard-wired to wage war, why should propaganda be necessary at all? Is it possible to train people to critically evaluate, and ultimately resist, deceptive propaganda messages? War is Sell uses archival films, television news coverage, propaganda images from WWI and the Iraq War and interviews with a diverse set of researchers to answer these and other questions in a lively, absorbing manner.

The new 2-disk DVD edition includes:

  • a previously unreleased "remix" edit
  • deleted scenes, including Rahul Mahajan discussing racism in propaganda, John Stauber discussing embedded reporters, and Mary Skinner’s “trench warfare” classroom exercise;
  • previously unseen speeches on the Iraq War and media reform by journalists Alexander Cockburn, Robert Fisk, and Amy Goodman;
  • original propaganda films and graphics materials from WWI, WWII and the Iraq War.

Official selection:

  • Big Muddy Film Festival
  • Wisconsin Film Festival
  • Martha's Vineyard Independent Film Festival