Nova: The Deadly Deception
Written, Produced and Directed by Denise DiAnni - WGBH Boston, 1993
Distributed by Films for the Humanities, P.O. Box 205, Princeton, NJ 08543-3053.
•Narrated by George Strait (Veteran journalist and former Chief Medical Correspondent with ABC News).
•Among those interviewed include Vanessa Gamble (Historian of Medicine, MD Ph.D.), Allan Brandt (Historian of Medicine and Science), Herman Shaw (Study subject), Mary Hardy (Tuskegee Nurse), John Cutler (Tuskegee Study Researcher), James Jones (Historian, author of Bad Blood), Jay Katz (Professor of Law and Psychiatry), Bill Jenkins (Epidemiologist, CDC), Peter Buxton (Public Health worker, CDC), Gene Stollerman (CDC Review Panel, 1969), David Sencer (Director, CDC 1966-77), Charles Pollard (Study subject).
•Edited by Charles Scott.
•Camera by Robert Shepard, Brian Dowley, Bill Mills.
•Original music composed by John Kusiak.
•Voice over narration by Bill Mason.
Winner of the 1993 National Association of Black Journalists Award
From the University of Tuskegee website:
"For forty years between 1932 and 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS)
A nearly extinct relic of Nova's earlier, more journalistically daring days, (well before ExxonMobile became a main underwriter), The Deadly Deception was once a documentary screened in high schools throughout the country. It may be still, although its internet presence is certainly not consistent with that of an important educational film. The title is unlisted at the WGBH website (the sales outlet for all Nova productions). Upon navigating to the "Archive" link on the Nova main page one discovers that only episodes aired from 1996-present have been cataloged. Browsing alphabetically under 'D' or 'T' is equally fruitless. The only reference to the film anywhere within the entirety of PBS' webspace is inside an un-linked alternate archive ¹, which begins with the notice:
"Please note that these listings are provided for informational purposes only; very few of these programs are available for purchase on video. Those that are can be found at the NOVA section of Shop WGBH."
The film is listed as either out of stock or unavailable at amazon.com, buy.com, ecampus.com and extramovie.com, though it is possible to check out a worn VHS copy from many university and public libraries. A Chicago public television station, WTTW 11, came under criticism when they refused to air the documentary. The Coalition for Democracy in Public Television cited an obvious conflict of interest between the station's programming department and "major channel 11 contributor General Electric," one of many powerful entities implicated in in the Tuskegee experiment ² The allegations of network bias in favor of corporate funders were categorically denied by the station but the documentary was never aired.
This is not the first time that a groundbreaking documentary on racial and social justice has been kept under conspicuously tight wraps. The case of The Deadly Deception bears a close resemblance to that of the Blackside production Eyes on the Prize, an award-winning 14-episode series originally aired on PBS in 1987 and 1990 often described as the quintessential documentary on the civil rights movement, which was subject to a decade-long rebroadcast ban due to copyright filibustering by rights holders of some of the series' content (the use of the "Happy Birthday" song, owned by Time-Warner, was one such example).³ Former leader of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, Lawrence Guyot, had this to say in response to the proprietary stranglehold:
"I would call upon everyone who has access to 'Eyes on the Prize' to openly violate any and all laws regarding its showing."
A digital redistribution movement via BitTorrent and other filesharing networks as well as unlicensed public screenings in major US cities soon followed, both of which rallied immense popular support and effectively reintroduced the film into the mainstream. The content in question has since been re-licensed and the series revived and reissued in DVD thanks to a $600,000 grant from the Ford Foundation and a personal $250,000 donation from Henry Louis Gates Jr., chairman of the African-American studies department at Harvard University.
Whether or not there has been any comparable outcry for the redistribution of The Deadly Deception, the combination of the film's potentially engineered scarcity and great social and historical value make it meritorious of a similar share campaign by default. The quality of this rip should aptly illustrate the condition of the VHS tape from which it originated. Two previous copies had to be discarded due to such disrepair as to make them unwatchable. If you would like to see this film restored to a reputable quality, ask your library to purchase new copies of the film, or write Nova/WGBH and request that this important piece of investigative journalism be brought into the 21st century with a DVD release or remastered VHS. Until then, seed, share, and distribute. All foreign language subs are welcome and encouraged as well.
Frame size: 560x416
Aspect Ratio: 4:3
Bitrate: 1603 Kbps
Frame rate: 29.97 fps
Codec: MPEG-4 Visual XviD 1.1
Sample Rate: 48.0 KHz
Bitrate: 128 Kbps VBR
Channels: 2 (Stereo)
Number of Streams: 1
tags: medicine medical experiments Alabama Tuskegee syphilis bad blood civil rights black african-american race racism segregation prejudice murder public health malpractice genocide
May 16, 2009, 16:23:30
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