Bad Press

Still from the film Bad Press
still from the film BAD PRESS

Imagine you lived in a world where your only reliable news source became government propaganda overnight. That’s exactly what happened in 2018 to the citizens of the Muscogee Nation, the fourth largest Native American tribe.

Out of 574 federally-recognized tribes, the Muscogee Nation was one of only five to establish a free and independent press — until the tribe’s legislative branch abruptly repealed the landmark Free Press Act in advance of an election. The tribe’s hard-hitting news outlet, Mvskoke Media, would now be subject to direct editorial oversight by the tribal government.

In the searing new documentary Bad Press, winner of a special jury prize for “Freedom of Expression” Sundance 2022, one defiant journalist refuses to accept this flagrant act of oppression. As brave as she is blunt, veracious muckraker Angel Ellis charges headfirst into battle against the corrupt faction of the Muscogee National Council. Angel and her allies rally for press freedoms by inciting a voter-supported constitutional amendment, just in time for the start of a new election cycle.

An enthralling, edge-of-your-seat nail biter that unfurls with the energy and suspense of a political thriller, Bad Press is a timely and unprecedented story about the battle for freedom of the press and against state-censored media.

Journalist Angel Ellis and co-director Joe Peeler will join for a post-screening Q&A with Austin Bunn, Associate Professor in the Department of Performing and Media Arts and Director of the Milstein Program in Technology and Humanity.

Free admission. Sponsored by the Rural Humanities Initiative at the Society for the Humanities and the American Indian and Indigenous Studies Program.

This event is presented as part of Cornell's Freedom of Expression Theme Year.

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