The film examines the current and past relationships between the media, the US government and corporations, analyzing the possible consequences of the concentration of media ownership. Making references to George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the film argues that reality has met and in some ways exceeded Orwell’s expectations about a society dominated by thought control, which is made possible by the media.
According to the film, the mass media no longer report news, but manage it, deciding what makes the headlines and what is conveniently ignored, thus ultimately defining the framework upon which most other issues are discussed by the society. As an example, it is claimed that since the late 1980s there’s been an agenda pursued by the major media corporations regarding the deregulation of the media market, by which news reports sell all its benefits while neglecting its disastrous results.
This documentary is a critical examination of the Fourth Estate, once the bastion of American democracy. Asking whether America has entered an Orwellian world of doublespeak where outright lies can pass for the truth, director Robert Kane Pappas explores what the media doesn’t like to talk about: itself. Meticulously tracing the process by which media has distorted and often dismissed actual news events, Pappas presents a riveting and eloquent mix of media professionals and leading intellectual voices on the media.
From the very size of the media monopolies and how they got that way to who decides what gets on the air and what doesn’t, ‘Orwell Rolls in His Grave’ moves through a troubling list of questions and news stories that go unanswered and unreported in the mainstream media.