Saturday, June 25, 2005

Media and the truth

Found this interesing survey. Whenever I have been involved with a major news story, I am always amazed at how it is reported. You begin to get a sense of the surreal, that what you thought happened, didn't really happen, because it is so different from what you see reported.
Now, maybe, the piece that I was involved in was too small to adequately represent what really happened. Or, maybe, that two different people, (me and the reporter) came at the same story from differing perspectives, and saw the same thing through different lenses of our own perceived reality.
One of my friends who is in TV news told me "The camera doesn't lie." I guess that he was correct, but I think that the corollary to that statement is that it doesn't tell the whole truth either. For instance, take a news shot of a mob on camera. If you were to back up from the view, would you see that the camera zoomed in on only one small group which filled the viewfinder to the exclusion of others who were not participating in the same way? Which is the truth? Paradoxically, could both be the truth?
When I was stationed in Europe, I was often in areas that did not receive AFRTS the American TV station. So, I had to watch the German news. The difference between the German and American news is that the American news almost always had video images with a voice over explaining what was happening. The German news at the most would have a still photo, while the commentator explained what was happening. Much like the famous attempt to discredit Reagan by showing him in front of friendly crowds with lots of flags, while the reporter told of all the problems he was facing, the result was that the Republicans loved the piece, because we see before we think, and we apparently tnink before we listen.

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