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Staged events

Posted by ESC on May 28, 2003

In Reply to: Staged events posted by Bob on May 27, 2003

: : : Hi,

: : : Could anybody help me with the bracketed phrase snd sentence. I am not quite sure of their meanings.

: : : The determined search for ever larger rating figures, due to the higher sponsorship revenues they could demand, (made television news increasingly image-oriented in its drive to attract audiences. An emphasis was routinely placed on staged events, primarily because they were usually packaged by the news promoters behind them [whether governmental or corporate]) with the visual needs of television in mind.

: : : Mei

: : Issues won't get covered by television news unless there's something for the TV cameras to film. There has to be a "picture." TV is not going to give major coverage to, for example, a boring hearing on cutting government services for the poor. But if a government information officer can get a poor family to agree to a TV interview about how they will suffer under the cuts or a celebrity agrees to testify during the hearing, well then the story will get covered.

: American television news is dominated by "picture opportunities" that may or may not have any substance. The President recently rode in a fighter jet to the deck of an aircraft carrier, so that he could walk off the plane, helmet under his arm, to get footage for his re-election campaign in 2004. There was no substance there, but the networks gladly cooperated because the pictures were compelling. He appeared to be bravely flying to a combat zone, even though the carrier was off the coast of California, and he didn't actually pilot the plane, but it's all in the images. The entire war in Iraq seems to be a re-election strategy, including the staged "rescue" of a photogenic POW, artfully spirited away by a cast of characters including one each of the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. The ostensible excuse for rushing into the war was to prevent the use of weapons which don't seem to exist - but pesky details like that won't be remembered in 2004. Wag the dog was a documentary.

Television reporters are looking for good visuals. Radio reporters are looking for good sound. Newspaper reporters want details.