Contagion – FLNWO #19

09/15/20144 Comments

This month on Film, Literature and the New World Order, Tim Kilkenny of RevelationsRadioNews joins us to discuss the 2011 propaganda film, “Contagion.” We examine “Participant Media,” the media venture of billionaire Jeff Skoll that produces “social action campaigns” for each of its 55 films and seeks to shape public debate in five main target areas, including pandemic disease. In this episode, James and Tim dissect the propaganda techniques and message of the film and point out how the film seeks to shape the opinions of the audience.

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James Corbett on Revelations Radio News #127

Jeff Skoll Featured in 60 Minutes “Giving Pledge” Story

Participant Media – filmography

Contagion – social action campaign website Jude Law ‘Contagion’ Interview

Swine flu 1976: more deaths from vaccine than from the flu

Ebola patients with nursing care and good nutrition have all recovered

Last month’s episode and comments: They Live – FLNWO #18

Next month: Grave of the Fireflies


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  1. Fosca says:

    Thanks James for the view on Contagion, which at least is a well done movie technically and while pretty much predictable, still not boring IMO. I guess the credit goes to Soderbergh, who certainly is a good director.

    Few aspects I would like to comment on. At least I am hoping to add one or the other new aspect to it.

    Part 1

    Good guys, bad guys – a standard plot – almost.

    As the start is dramatic (loss of wife and son), there is a rather unusual emotional detachment, as you have discussed already.
    The good guys are the CDC guys (still not fault free, as they try to take benefit for their beloved), while the bad ones are the “evil” blogger and companies (trying to take simply commercial benefits, while jeopardizing the societies health). This is certainly a very black and white picture. Very linear story line – no real twists.

    Is there a message?

    DON’T PANIC – CDC / WHO / Official orgs … will take care.

    For an American movie there is rather a small amount of “individualism“ presented as the major dogma, I think. In other movies it require individuals to convince the officials, that they are following the wrong path and only the hero is able to save the world like in “White House Down” (please DO NOT watch). Thus I think the message is rather naive, in a sense encouraging large scale society collaboration.

    Pandemics are not an invention of the 21st century and not necessarily “made up”, thus it is not unreasonable to “prepare” for such an event.

    Whether the threat is real or simply the fear is abused is a different thing. At least I did not feel the movie was the intended to create more (!) fear.

    Still preparing for the idea of an apocalypse?

    Pretty much in the same year of the release of Contagion, the CDC has triggered a strange blog on Zombie_Apocalypse in order “to raise public awareness of emergency preparedness.”

    This blog and the 2013 movie “World War Z” are much more of predictive programming than “Contagion”, I think.

    What I am not much clear is the background of the Survivalism (prepper). Of course another way to control by fear, but I wonder if you James could put this into relation to your own ideas of creating more local independent setup of society. What will happen in case things go wrong on a large scale (catastrophic disaster)?

    Part 2

    In general: Can’t rich people (like Jeff Skole) simply do good things?

    Jeff Skoll’s ambitions in founding Participants Media are fine IMHO. At least the company admits openly to play and educational role in the society. Also the track record of Participants Media is looks promising.
    What is missing in general worldwide is critical thinking and knowledge. Thus I believe there is a lot to help by education. Why not via this media movies?

    The downside of it is of course the possible misuse of a financial power, like down by large corporations in hiding or (more rare) openly. It is a question of control and influence. The latter is getting more important in case some entity is trying to seek for an influence. This is where I also do see a severe risk, which is worth a closer look (which I am not able to give). According to Wikipedia in 2008 there two changes for Participant Media, joining up with UN and a new studio from the United Arab Emirates (
    “… The company continued to expand its social advocacy and outreach efforts in 2008. In January 2008, it joined and made a financial contribution to a $100 million United Nations-sponsored fund which would provide backing for films which combatted religious, ethnic, racial, and other stereotypes.[70] Fueling the company’s expansion was the creation of a $250 million fund with Imagenation, a start-up film studio based in the United Arab Emirates which is a division of the Abu Dhabi Media Company. …”

    Let’s keep an eye on Participants Media and what will come out in the near future.

    Looking forward to the next movie. ?


    • Simon says:

      Hi Fosca,

      In relation to the 1918 flu pandemic, the role of aspirin I find an interesting one. The wiki article you link to does have a section on that. Also a search on startpage (or search engine of choice) for ‘1918 flu pandemic aspirin’ turns up a lot of articles. So sometimes the response, albeit one with good intentions, may have unforeseen consequences.  


  2. kris weston says:

    as a record producer i am well aware of abu dhabi media, they part own the company VEVO with google and the utter scum that own my back catalogue universal music group ( i wrote about that here if youre interested ) this deal is evident when you go on youtube. try browsing music videos on youtube without VEVO being shoved in your face, but it goes further than that. take the song ‘stay with me’ the title has been used by about 50 different artists including the faces and al green. but have a look at a google search for that title. 7 pages of results from some crappy unknown VEVO artist before one mention of al green or rod stewart.

    so its clear these companies are all in bed together, altering yuor perception of things on their websites to earn themselves cash. you thought google ordered results on popularity didnt you ? nah, they just do whatever makes themselves the most money. to hear participant media are doing a deal with abu dhabi media makes me highly suspicious – not that i wasnt already – but it went up a notch 🙂 as you can see from this small example, these people are not to be trusted.

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