The documentary film “Page One: Inside the New York Times” is an infomercial for The New York Times. It says nothing about the internal dynamics of the institution. It fails to portray the titular Page 1 process. Most of the film is devoted instead to profiling the paper’s quirky media reporter, David Carr. This focus on Carr, who is at times engaging and at times pedantic, leaves viewers as ignorant about the workings of the paper as when they went into the theater.
During the moments when “Page One” departs from the Carr narrative, it has no coherent pattern or internal logic. There are fleeting attempts throughout the film to acknowledge the wider institution. These scattered moments are abrupt and incoherent. Director Andrew Rossi throws out a dizzying array of issues, from the future of iPods to newspaper paywalls to the $250 million loan provided to the paper by the Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim but never adequately explores any of them.
Copyright © 2011 Truthdig
Chris Hedges spent two decades as a foreign reporter covering wars in Latin America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. His latest books are Death of the Liberal Class, and The World as It Is: Dispatches on the Myth of Human Progress.