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What to watch this weekend on HBO: After Truth

After Truth Disinformation And The Cost Of Fake News

Source: HBO (Image credit: HBO)

One of the most important documentaries you can watch this year is going to piss you off.

After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News is a 95-minute dissection of some of the biggest "fake news events" of the past few years. Jade Helm 15. Pizzagate. The unbelievable continued stupidity of Jack Burkman and Jacob Wohl. The Seth Rich murder.

It walks through how they started, how they metastasized, and how they continue to live on long after they were eradicated.

Here's how HBO puts it:

After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News, investigates the ongoing threat caused by the phenomenon of "fake news" in the U.S., focusing on the real-life consequences that disinformation, conspiracy theories and false news stories have on the average citizen, both in an election cycle and for years to come.

Directed by Andrew Rossi (Page One: Inside the New York Times, Le Cirque: A Table in Heaven) and executive produced by CNN's Brian Stelter, After Truth features exclusive access to the victims and perpetrators of false news stories as well as a variety of experts and journalists who contextualize its impact and reinforce the importance of quality journalism.

Drawing on a wealth of interview subjects to illuminate the issue from several angles while emphasizing the human toll in case studies, the documentary examines several incidents that have been impacted by "fake news."

After Truth: Disinformation and the Cost of Fake News is an HBO Documentary Films presentation of an Abstract Production; directed and produced by Andrew Rossi; executive producer Brian Stelter; co-producer, Adam McGill; editor, Cindy Lee; music Ian Hultquist; a film by Andrew Rossi.

But, yeah. After Truth is going to piss you off in all kinds of ways.

  • It's going to piss you off if you've spent your entire career in the news business.
  • And it's going to piss you off if you haven't.
  • It's going to piss you off if you think the media can't be trusted.
  • And it's going to piss you off if you think it can.
  • It's going to piss you off if you know the kinds of "regular people" seen in this doc and wonder how they went so far down the rabbit hole.
  • And it's going to piss you off if you're in the rabbit hole, looking up.
  • It's going to piss you off if you start to question the reality you built while you were questioning reality.
  • It's going to piss you off if you realize you didn't actually know a damn thing about Comet Pizza — the restaurant — except for what you learned from "Pizzagate."
  • And it's going to piss you off that we continue to give ridiculous delusions "-gate" suffixes.
  • It's going to piss you off to see attention-whoring sociopaths grifting their way into the national consciousness.
  • And it's going to piss you off to see them do it over and over and over.
  • It's going to piss you off to see how Facebook is used to mess with you.
  • And it's going to piss you off when you realize just how subtle it is.
  • It's going to piss you off to folks on "your side" benefit from that same kind of social media manipulation.
  • And it's going to piss you off to hear them say "We have to be better than that and not play their game" even though you know that's exactly what it's going to take.
  • It's going to piss you off when you remember that Facebook and YouTube don't just enable all of this foolishness — they profit from it. It's their entire business model.
  • And it's going to piss you off when you remember that you're a part of that problem.

And it's really going to piss you off when you have no idea how we get out of this mess we've put ourselves in.