Only the News that Fits (Film Review)

Note: This is a documentary film, not a major motion picture.

Only the News That Fits ; c1989 ; 30 minutes ; in English ; directed by Peter Raymont ; narrated by Elizabeth Gray. An analysis of how ABC News reporting distorts one days political coverage of Nicaragua. This film is derived from a larger project, “The World is Watching”.

An examination of the competitive world of fast-paced “world news”, and at the same time a severe critique of ENG (“Electronic News Gathering”), and the ethics of editing in the electronic age.

The focus is on two fronts: the ABC Newsroom and editing center in New York City, and the field journalists in Nicaragua covering the many negotiations inherent in the 1987 Arias Peace Plan.

Of interest are the microscopic study of every word delivered to New York, the time-restrictions of a less than 30-minute nightly world news program, the formatting of a story into clear-cut subject categories, and the never-ending quest to condense daily events into the ever-decreasing size of the “news bite”. Acts and consequences, both intentional and not, are seen as the editing process reveals itself and the nightly news is delivered.

Note: This film is derived from footage used to make a larger project, eventually released as “The World is Watching” – which makes greater use of the footage and analysis of the work of both John Quinones (Managua correspondent for ABC news) and Peter Jennings (New York City Chief, and Prime-Time anchor for ABC news).