This week on CounterSpin we’re talking about two new films which, while journalism is not their central subject, directly engage news media’s influence and real world impact as a critical part of the stories they tell.
First up: You’ve heard the one about the old woman who sued McDonalds for MILLIONS just because her coffee was hot! A new documentary tells the real story about that infamous case— starting with how almost everything you know about it is wrong. The film Hot Coffee explores the real political fight over the past few decades, not about runaway juries and frivolous lawsuits, but much the opposite—business interests spending millions to make sure you don’t have your day in court. Peter Hart spoke with filmmaker Susan Saladoff about Hot Coffee.
Also on the show: Battle for Brooklyn tracks the takeover of a New York neighborhood by a real estate developer and the efforts to resist it by community members, one man in particular who becomes the last person in his building not to take a buyout. The same events and players appeared in the corporate press too, and viewers can see the difference when voices that usually appear in the last paragraph are given central place. We spoke with Battle for Brooklyn filmmakers Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky.