Zero Dark Thirty (3/2/23)
Jack, Evan and Pulitzer Prize-winning guest Spencer Ackerman discuss Kathryn Bigelow's 2013 torture fest and the big lie it serves.
We’re swooping in on episode two like modified Black Hawk helicopters with our own personal Navy SEAL — Spencer Ackerman, Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author of Reign of Terror: How the Post-9/11 Era Destabilized America and Produced Trump. Spencer joins us to tackle Zero Dark Thirty, arguably the most critically acclaimed film of the cinematic War on Terror, which earned widespread plaudits for its unflinching presentation of torture.
Coming less than four years after Bigelow’s Best Picture-winning The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty portrays the successful hunt for Osama bin Laden and the brutal American practices that led up to it. But what was all that waterboarding really for?
We dive into facts underlying the film and show how at every point they contradict Zero Dark Thirty’s implicit argument: that torture helped us get Bin Laden. Instead, the movie’s grittiness serves the lie that torture works. Despite the artful and unflinching presentation, is Zero Dark Thirty ultimately a work of incredibly high quality propaganda?