French former tennis player Arnaud Di Pasquale carries
an extinguished Beijing Olympics flame in Paris [EPA]
This week The Listening Post looks at the media tussle to keep hold of the Olympic torch, and asks why movies about the war in Iraq and the so called war on terror are bombing  at the box office.

Also in the programme, we take a look at the two journalists set free in Iraq.

Intended as a powerful, and easily portable, the symbol of the Olympic movement, the flaming torch set off from Greece at the end of March on its global journey. 

By the time it arrived in Europe a few days later it became clear that the whole event was in danger of becoming a public relations disaster. 

The Chinese and local organisers desperately tried to maintain a dignified procession, but the worldwide media could only look on as capital cities ground to a halt and protesters stole the show. 

The flame has so far withstood repeated attempts to grab it and douse it with a fire extinguisher, but could this be its last outing?

And are the Chinese authorities right when they accuse the Western media of an anti –Beiijing bias?

In part two of The Listening Post, we ask: why are war moveis failing at the box office? 

Movies that take a look at the 'War on Terror'
have underperformed at the box office

Five years after the invasion filmmakers are finally tackling the biggest story of our time. 

But so far none of the films have attracted a large audience. 

In fact even movies which take a look at the wider 'War on Terror' have underperformed, despite the presence of some big name stars.

Rendition and Lions for Lambs were high profile flops, while the Iraq based Redacted and In the Valley of Elah both had disappointing takes at the box office. 

Is the subject too sensitive, or are they inherently unpopular films?

In this week's Newsbytes we have two similar stories from Iraq: CBS journalist Richard Butler is rescued from captivity in Basra, and a few days later Pulitzer Prize winning AP photographer Bilal Hussein is released without charge by the US forces.

Plus, Robert Murat seeks damages from the British media over coverage of the Madeleine McCann case, and Israeli police close down a peace radio station in Jerusalem.

For our internet video of the week we get Rickrolled! That is the viral phenomenon that is sweeping the web and inflicting 1980s teen heart throb Rick Astley on unsuspecting viewers. This time it is given a political edge and becomes – Iraqroll'd.

Watch part one of this episdoe of The Listening Post on YouTube

Watch part two of this episdoe of The Listening Post on YouTube

This episode of The Listening Post aired on Friday, April 18, 2008

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