If you were to go on the web and search for “news network” in Google, CNN would be the first news network to pop up in your search results.
But, if you scroll down seven results on that same page, you would find the antithesis of CNN, the Guerrilla News Network (GNN).
GNN is an underground news organization with headquarters in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Its mission is to expose important global issues, which are left out of the mainstream news. GNN is an aggregator of news content that collects news articles and produces Guerrilla News Videos.
GNN videos are a combination of documentaries and music videos.
“They are what defines us,” explains Paul Shore, Canada Bureau Chief of GNN. The purpose of the videos is to attract the younger audience that is disengaged with the news. “Instead of sticking to the traditional news format, we dress things up, design it and add music to it,” clarifies Shore.
Culture of dissent
One of the most popular news videos Aftermath: Unanswered Questions from 9/11 is a typical example of GNN’s general approach: to ask questions. The video features nine GNN participants asking 11 questions to prominent people like Nafeez Ahmed, author of The War on Freedom, George Soros, billionaire philanthropist, and Michael Chossudovsky, author of War and Globalization.
“We want to develop a culture of dissent where everybody would question authority and what is put in front of them,” says Shore.
According to Shore, we are all passive consumers surrounded by a lot of media, and in our present information war, “we need to have a critical eye, read a lot and watch a variety of news sources” to develop critical thinking skills.
IBM and the Holocaust, a video directed by Paul Shore, is a typical example of what GNN wants to expose: the truth.
Based on a book written three years ago by Edwin Black, former editor of the investigative magazine Chicago Monthly, the video presents interview segments of Black talking about his book and the research behind it.
Black, son of Polish Holocaust survivors, found through his research enough evidence to confirm US corporate complicity with the Nazi regime during World War II.
Even though the world was aware of the story during World War II, the story got little attention from mainstream media until it was revealed in detail in Black’s book.
All attempts to find the truth were put aside when IBM sent out a press release denying their direct implication.
GNN interviewed Black in the hopes of exposing the story. “I am interested in underreported stories not covered in mainstream media because of the political implications of such stories,” explains Shore.
In Shore’s opinion, there are two reasons why a story will not get coverage. “First, if a media outlet thinks its specific demographic will not be interested in the story, they will ignore it and, second, if the story is too political (has political implications), they will also ignore it.”
Pleased with the impact his news video has on people, Shore is aware that the packaging (music, design, graphics, pictures, animation) around Guerrilla News Videos is a manipulative technique to make people watch them.
“We are artistic people. Our news videos are experimental and follow pop culture trends,” he explains.
“All news has a bias,” believes Shore. GNN is no exception to that. Mostly politically left-wing, GNN is an alternative to the predominance of right-wing news coming from, for example, CNN or Fox News.
“People know this when they come to GNN. Everybody has a political agenda. We simply try to create balance in the news,” says Shore.
GNN’s latest news video Contaminated, exposes corporate control over genetically modified foods (also known as GMOs) and farmers.
While corporations want to keep secret what foods have been genetically modified, GNN asked two physicists and one environmentalist their opinion about GMOs and explanation for such corporate secrecy.
With a trendy techno soundtrack by Infected Mushroom, an Israeli DJ trance duo, and animation by Blinking Eye Media, Contaminated surely fulfills its ultimate GNN mandate in attracting younger generations.
Portrait of a guerrilla
A “guerrilla” is someone who fights as part of an unofficial army, usually against an official army or police force. Paul Shore, 30, and Montreal raised, is one of GNN’s five guerrillas.
Having worked for media conglomerates like Fox News, CNN, the BBC and MTV, Paul Shore is well aware of how the media works and of how it selects what we will be seeing tonight on the news or reading tomorrow in newspapers.
Working for CNN in the United States at the time, Shore started reading what would change his career forever, Danny Schechter’s first book The More You Watch, The Less You Know.
Disillusioned by the sensationalized treatment of international news stories, Shore joined Schechter, founder and executive editor of The Media Channel, before moving on to GNN. Schechter would become Shore’s mentor during this transition period until 2000 when Shore joined his brother and co-founder of GNN, Josh.
Today in Montreal as Canada’s Bureau Chief of GNN, Shore looks back at his experience with the media, he realizes things might have been different had he worked for a news network here in Montreal like CBC or Radio Canada.
According to Shore, Radio-Canada and CBC are producing the top journalism of the world and the best journalists of the world are coming out of Quebec. “They are the best because of their news mandates, integrity, and bilingualism,” believes Shore.
One day Shore would like to see a Canada-focused GNN but with events of 9-11, and GNN still in its infancy, the network became U.S.-oriented and less Canadian focused.
Some Guerrilla News Videos have been shot in Canada, but most are produced in the U.S.
“We are starting to recruit journalists in Canada. GNN U.K. and GNN CAN are slowly moving on their own. It would be nice in the future to see a GNN.ca,” says Shore.
Apathy is Boring
This month, GNN in partnership with a Montreal based art project Action Through Art, will launch Apathy is Boring project at www.apathyisboring.com. Apathy is Boring is a non-partisan media project whose aim is to educate young Canadians about why it is important for them to vote, and how they can get their voices heard in the political process. Recent surveys have suggested that 18- to 35-year-olds clearly show their disengagement with news and politics.
“It’s sad in a certain way that we have to do all of this to get people to watch the stuff,” recognizes Shore. “TV and radio are in a downward spiral. With the Web, however, the media has become more diversified.”
Certainly, the news industry and politics need a breath of fresh air. GNN is definitely taking on the challenge.
For more information, visit Guerrilla News Network at www.gnn.tv.