Daniel Ellsberg Documentary, “The Most Dangerous Man in America,” Premieres Tonight on PBS

by Ellsberg.Net on October 5, 2010

“The Most Dangerous Man in America,” the Academy-Award-nominated documentary about Daniel Ellsberg, premieres tonight nationwide on PBS. Check the link for more info and local listings. You will also be able to watch the entire film for free via that link between Oct. 6-Oct. 27.

Daniel was interviewed by about parallels between Afghanistan and Vietnam on the USA Today site here.

Did you watch the film? What are your reactions? Leave them in the comment section!

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Donna Young June 10, 2011 at 2:41 pm

I was channel surfing and had stopped on PBS as I heard your name and it rang a bell with me. That bell being quite an old bell! I paused and became so engrossed in what was being revealed. At the time you had become “The Most Dangerous Man in America”, I was in high school (right outside of D.C.) I so applaud you and to all those connected with you. Just simply, sweetly, and honestly thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Rae May 3, 2011 at 10:37 pm

I fell into this documentary by default; That’s what was on PBS. After a few minutes, I was riveted & could NOT walk away. I was deeply saddened by the story, BUT, the upside is that I now have a new AMERICAN hero, one who’s alive and still fighting “the good fight.”

I knew the name, “Ellsberg” but none of the details. At that time in history when he was exposing DECEITS (I like the way Bhakti Brophy put that!), I was a war-protesting, armory-occupying college student. What I remember of the media coverage is primarily the sound & spirit of journalistic sensationalism. I didn’t get a flavor of some brave person(s), spending months sweating over a copy machine, risking EVERYTHING, & facing unknown consequences, in order to do the work of a true patriot, a patriot of ALL humanity and of truth.

(I got the same watered-down view of MLK from the media just a few years earlier. Back then we didn’t have the means we have today of getting close to some better truths.)

After all the noise we made in college, I thought that “We, the people had spoken” and that our leaders “get it” about what kind of a world we want to live in. I, along with most of the rest of my generation, assumed the leaders would do “what we told them to do” and sometimes, they even promised they would (in order to get the job). After all, THEY work for US! “We” are supposed to be the boss, and THEY are supposed to follow directives. Turns out, I was an idealistic idiot. The nanosecond “We, the people” ever took our eyes off the ball, they were right back to their old tricks, but with new-and-improved skills/technologies for their covert behaviors.

We should cherish Dr. Ellsberg for all he is worth, because there are so FEW like him, ever!

What’s incredibly sad, though, is that even after everything he went through to promulgate the shocking deceptions & cover-ups of our elected & appointed bench-warmers [euphemism! they deserve much worse descriptives], “We, the people” just continue over & over to CHOOSE liars & bullies to stand up & represent us. We allow liars, bullies, & thieves make the laws, manipulate the shape of our society, control global resources and economics, & to send some of our people off to kill & be killed in countries around the world for reasons that make no sense.

We also give away our most precious national treasure, our children, into the hands of these same liars, bullies, & thieves, and say “Here! Do whatever you want with them.” How can it be true that “We, the people” actually listen to & then ALLOW types, such as, heads of greedy corporate monopolies and 2nd-rate basketball players to decide educational policies? HELLO?!?! Anyone awake out there?

These pontificating heads-of-state & self-proclaimed “education experts” have no idea what is needed to improve our schools. Furthermore, they haven’t the LEAST interest in making our kids SMARTER, or better thinkers; it’s all noise & diversionary tactics. It would be a conflict of interests for them, actually, & wouldn’t serve their purposes if the kids DID become smarter!!! Dammit! Follow the money!

Changes are made to education policies & education initiatives are instituted & NoChildLeftWithABehind’s are enacted about every decade or so- to promote a front that “something is being done to make schools better.” And “We, the people” hand over our kids, and then the big bucks needed for these initiatives, only to “discover” ~10 yrs. later that it didn’t work… [duh!] yet we allow the same exact genre of “experts” to railroad us into yet another different set of education initiatives, which we pay for, and ~10 yrs. later… around and around it goes. Follow the money & ask WHY would a corporate executive or an out-of-work basketball player suddenly wish to cuddle up with school improvements!!

If education worked better, hadn’t been systematically & intentionally dumbed down & “We, the people” got smarter, the bullies could no longer screw us down to the work of allowing them to have great wealth… at our expense & our kids’ expense & our earth’s expense. At what point do we get embarrassed by how duped we are? At what point, I wonder, do we decide we’ve had enough of this and put our little American feet down, and voices together to say, “STOP!”

We can do it! We have the numbers; There are more of us than them.

I am in awe of Dr. Ellsberg, who sometimes must look at events during the past ~40 years and think, ” WTF! I thought we fixed that one already!” I don’t know what gives him the patience to even TRY any more, because in the wake of all his brave good deeds, “We, the people” leave nothing but the same-old, same-old apathy & unwillingness to join him in making sure that TRUTHS are told, & that our society is governed with SOCIAL JUSTICE & ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE for all.

A teacher

Ray April 26, 2011 at 5:14 pm

I am truly inspired by Mr. Ellsberg. A real hero and true American.

Thank you.

Jeff Morris April 22, 2011 at 7:27 pm

Dr. Ellsberg –

I have watched “The Most Dangerous Man In America” 3 times now. Being too young to have heard of you at the time ( I was born in 1965 ) I found your story to be most fascinating and your courage and integrity to be beyond reproach.

The most dissatisfying moment of the film to me was when you were discussing the reaction, or lack thereof, to your actions from the American public. It is a systemic disease that our country still suffers from, and the disease seems to be worsening. Politics above all else seems to be the battle cry throughout our nation’s capital and corruption and deceit seem to be at an all time high. yet the public while seemingly outraged on the surface does nothing about it. What do you feel we, as ordinary citizens, can do to make a difference? I often wonder if there was as much corruption in the days or Jefferson and Washington and how they would view post WW2 America. I also wonder if JFK would have been able/willing to stop the escalation of the war had he lived. I’d love to hear your viewpoints on these 2 subjects.

Next up for me to watch is a documentary called “The Trials Of Henry Kissinger” which I’m sure you are aware of. I think it will fill in a few more pieces of the puzzle for me as to what was happening while I was a child.

Thanks for being a true American hero and a role model for all Americans to try to live up to.

I’d also like to add that while my comments seem very anti-government, and I am very anti-government as it is currently defined and operated, that I have had the pleasure of travelling through much of the world and while there are some wonderful places to visit, I still feel America is the best place to call home, warts and all.

With Warmest Wishes and Best Regards
Jeff Morris

Lindsay March 23, 2011 at 1:24 am

I am a student in U.S. history at this time and I found this documentary captivating. I have not gotten past the cold war yet and when I saw this I hadn’t been far past western expansion. This made me want to learn more about history. I found myself waiting to see what would happen next and what colors my country would reveal in such a time. Then I found myself comparing what happened with the pentagon papers to modern issues and I was happy to have gotten a look in depth of such a prime example of what can happen when people aren’t looking and how people react to such news. I think that this shows the power the people have. I thought the documentary was informative and interesting. Daniel Ellsberg truly showed what one person can do for a large population.

Mark Briggs February 25, 2011 at 3:22 am

Dr Ellsberg,

Greetings from the land down under.
I have only recently had the privilege of watching your film “The Most Dangerous man in America”. I was truly captivated and was drawn deeply and emotionally to your display of courage. How truly heartening to see a man who truly has the courage of his convictions. You are something special.


patricia January 20, 2011 at 9:37 am

I just watched your show on Australia’s ABC and thought how apprpriate in the light of what is happening to Julian Assange.
I have to say how much I admire your courage and those who supported you and thank for this Best wishes Patricia

Simon January 19, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Dr Ellsberg,

Here in Brisbane Australia your documentary “The Most Dangerous Man in America” was telecast recently. I was shocked to hear Nixon calling for a nuclear strike on that “SOB little country” while Kissinger warned of the massive loss of life that would result. Thank-you for your courage in this life. Thank-you for supporting Julian Assange. You are an inspiration.

Adam G January 19, 2011 at 7:24 am

Mr Ellsberg,
I am an Australian who viewed last night the TV program The Pentagon Papers for the first time. (I hope Anntte below did also!) As one who was about to be conscripted just before the government change in Australia I admire greatly what you have done. What I cannot understand is why these sames mistakes seem to being repeated. My support of Julian Assange has been strengthened by understanding what part you played in stopping the Vietnam war. Watching the Ghandi bio I was reminded that truth has a cost, it’s actually easier not to lie. Evil seems to have a way of reappearing when greed and ego hold the reins. Thank you sir, you are remembered!

Graeme Mackenzie January 18, 2011 at 7:33 pm

Dr Ellsberg,

I just viewed your documentary and was transfixed to the screen, this is unusual for me due to the lack of viewing content and depth of general programming, I have been told I have a very short attention span , no wonder why. We are constantly forced to watch reality TV and beauty programs with real life documentaries taking second place.

I believe Superman’s catch cry was “Truth ,Justice and the American way” well sir I consider your ethics as being Superman in stature. We all know political egos and internal secrecy play a significant role in today’s modern society but to have such opression against one man with strength of character is abhorrant.

Those who control the media control the minds of millions, I see this every day especially during conflict, politicans use this to their advantage through internal protocals. Mankind is not a simple machine with emotions ruling behaviour and daily routine but I am pleased to see someone like yourself out there keeping the powers to be honest and making a stand for the human race.

You are a modern day Mohandas Gandi and its great to see Julian Assange has taken pages from your book and exposed those who take away our basic human rights and cloud the public perception with lies and egotistic rethoric. I salute you and all that you stand for, more people like yourself should come forward and expose those who use their position for personal gain endangering those who are at the forefront.

Maintain your resolve and strength the world people like you. Thank you, I will watch the airwaves with interest and I’m sure my short attention span will become more concentrated.

Geoffrey Grimes January 17, 2011 at 12:24 am

Dr. Ellsberg,
In watching “The Most Dangerous Man in America,” I was intrigued and surprised with the brief video clips of your interest and performance in magic. As an human rights activist and expert witness in testimonies in U. S. Immigration hearings on behalf of Guatemalan asylum applicants in the 1990’s and video producer of “The Death Squads of Guatemala,” I too am a magical entetainer and serious student of the art of magic. As the editor of “The Flashpaper,” the newsletter of the Fort Worth Magicians Club, I would like to spotlight your interest and life in magic. Is there a way I might contact you?

Geoffrey Grimes, Mountain View College, Dallas, Texas

paul n avakian January 15, 2011 at 9:39 pm

Can you pls refer me to the full text and source for a quote from a radio interview where you talk about the pubic’s apathy, how americans hear and understand what’s going on, but ignore it. It comes toward the end in the timeline of the pbs film, just before nixon’s re-election. thank you.

Tim December 29, 2010 at 1:12 am

Dr. Ellsberg & Family. THANK YOU.

Dale December 26, 2010 at 5:53 pm

Dr. Ellsberg,

I have just finished watching your documentary and felt a wave of nostalgic revulsion wash over me. I served in Viet Nam and came back an entirely different person. Not because of what I did there or even what I saw but from the conspiratorial and systemic lying that was done to us from that era. That wave was created by all those familiar names, Kissinger, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, Dean, Liddy, Hunt…ad nauseum.

As someone else has said, this film should be shown in every high school civics class from this day forward. I was particularly saddened by two things. One was seeing and hearing Howard Zinn again. To know that light has been extinguished is painful to me. The second is the fact that, as a college educator, I empathized with your sentiment that [for the American people to know (that something is wrong) is not enough…they must DO something with that knowledge] gets at the heart of the matter.

Annette December 25, 2010 at 9:08 pm

If only we could watch it. When I tried to open the video clip, it comes up with a message to say that this video has been blocked, due to copyright issues in your country! Australia. Copyright? We follow the U.S. around the globe, ‘supporting it’ in every war it has ever been in, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan….

Luis December 12, 2010 at 1:35 am

Dear Mr. Ellsberg

I watched this movie a few weeks ago and I am really moved and inspired by your courage, you are an incarnation of what a real american should be. Thank you, thank you!

Liya December 7, 2010 at 3:57 am

oh not fair 🙁
I can’t see it since it’s outside of the states. or maybe north america? either way PBS won’t allow it to be viewed in Sweden…

I bet it was good though hope everyone enjoyed

Marcel December 5, 2010 at 4:06 am

Dear Dr. Ellsberg,

I’ve viewed your documentary multiple times because I just can’t believe what I’m hearing, it’s incredulous! I was a child during the 70s and the pentagon papers was not taught in my history class. I can’t stop thinking about the loss of innocent life on both sides. This documentary has truly rocked my world. I plan to read the actual pentagon papers report that is available on the internet and drill down on all the facts of this sad chapter in American history. I was very shocked to see that after the pentagon papers were released that the people of voting age that could impact change in U.S. government policy were passive bystanders, and I believe this is the biggest crime! There are no words that can express my feelings of gratitude. You are a true revolutionary. Ernesto Guevara said, “The true revolutionary is guided by feelings of love”. Thank you for loving your country and sacrificing your life for your country.

Elizabeth November 30, 2010 at 2:26 am

Dear Dr. Ellsberg,

I saw the Most Dangerous Man in America a few months ago and was profoundly moved by your integrity and your need to do the right thing. You are a true American hero. I wish there were more human beings like you, most especially in the US political arena. I am watching you on Larry King tonight and was moved to find your website. Thank you for looking out for all of humanity.

Michael Pitzrick October 22, 2010 at 2:42 am

I saw “The Most Dangerous Man in America” last night at Ithaca College. I found the movie both profoundly upsetting and inspirational. I am moved by a sense of my own complicity in the brutality of my government, and my personal responsibility.

Thank you for being a shining light in the darkness.

Jeffrey Wood October 21, 2010 at 3:11 am

Thank you so much Dr. Ellsberg for spending so much of your time at Ithaca College tonight following the showing of “The Most Dangerous Man.” You are an inspiration to us all.

one of teh germans October 20, 2010 at 9:15 pm

“Dieses Video enthält Content von PBS. Dieser Partner hat das Video in deinem Land aus urheberrechtlichen Gründen gesperrt.”

This video contains content from PBS. This partner has blocked the video in your country for copyright reasons.

This is modern Censorship …

Karl Aldinger October 16, 2010 at 11:07 pm

Thank you Dr. Ellsberg for having the courage to help end the Vietnamese War. I saw you speak at an anti-Iraq war rally in San Diego, and I had not heard of you before that time. Shameful how your chapter of history was not taught to me in the public school system, even though I was born in 1969. Perhaps if it had been, Afghanistan and Iraq wars would not have echoed Vietnam.

If I taught civics today, this documentary would be on my curriculum. This dark chapter in our nation’s history will repeat itself until every American child above the age of 16 can explain why we went to Vietnam and why it never should have happend. Imagine if Germans ignored or covered up their Nazi past, how easy it would be for a new generation to repeat the same mistakes.

Bhakti Brophy October 15, 2010 at 9:06 pm

@ Jack–I mean this with no disrespect for your thoughts and opinions (this is the great Constitution at work: the right to free speech), but I am wondering where your information comes from? I studied the Watergate scandal for years, I researched Vietnam and the Vietnam war (interviewing vets and talking to activists alike). My point: blaming the retreat of US forces in Vietnam for being the cause of deaths after we left, that’s preposterous.
Stating that leaking in The Pentagon Papers was treason…okay, you may have a point. But then what shall we call acts of Truman, Eisenhower, Johnson, Nixon, et. al.–HIGH treason? Which is the greater threat to our democracy–paying France to start a conflict; having the president of the United States conjure up bloated and bogus reasons for getting congress to okay a war (after neglecting to inform them that the submarine attack report turned out to be untrue); our soldiers being lied to about exactly why it is they are fighting; etc. ? Is it a greater treason that Ellsberg helped fabricate reasons for going to war (knowingly or unknowingly) or the fact that he gave the citizens of the United States the FACTS surrounding the war?
Ellsberg deserves a Nobel Peace Prize for his courage. He leaked the DECEIT…it would be nice if someone today had the same courage (or if someone who worked for G.W., Chaney, Rice, et. al. had the courage).
The “news” is no longer news.
Is journalism dead, or has it just lost it’s integrity?
Politics has always been…politics.
I know someone will hear, see, or read Ellsberg’s story and will be inspired to do the right thing. What it comes down to, in the end, Ellsberg did the right thing.

Keith Flower October 15, 2010 at 7:38 am

Thank you for reminding us, with your life, what America really means.

Mary October 14, 2010 at 7:37 pm

I just watched this with my two home-schooled high-school kids. They were riveted, and they really got it. They understood the parallels with the comments about us being the redcoats, and they see how this same kind of situation is still happening today. Thank you very much.

Leave a Comment