09 April 2007

The News Reality Show

The Project Censored topic - the 25 top "censored" stories of last year - has provoked an idea for a reality show. What if we had a news reality show that actually took us through the backroom discussions in the newsroom? It might be like an on-going All the President's Men.

Thomas questioned the credibility of the stories, suggesting that Project Censored's list of 25 might better be pared down to 10 really credible stories. One story in particular (the claim that Halliburton sold nuclear technology to Iran), seemed to rely on one reporter with anonymous sources. Given the propensity of many to believe the worst about Halliburton and the Bush administration, there would be demand for such a story and a clever reporter would obviously know that. So, the story may or may not be real but it certainly needs more substance before it ought to break out into the big time. This raises a larger question of what goes on in the background of such stories. The stories about why certain stories don't become news are stories that would, themselves, be worth hearing.

Think about how many investigative reporting stories either start or end with more uncertainty than substance. Rumors, leaks, unsubstantiated reports ... all need to be sifted through in order to find something credible that can be included in the news. Witnessing this process itself would be both fascinating and informative. Imagine a reality TV show that showed how our reality is reported. "The meta-reality of reality," they could call it. Or, "The stories they aren't telling you on the nightly news," or, "Why you don't know what you don't know."

2 comments:

Bob Johnson said...

An interesting aspect of this is that the conventional media rarely actually report news anymore. Editorialsim is the new news, and no longer confined to op/ed pages. As a result, fewer facts are needed to present the "news", prepared, pre-chewed and pre-digested for the reader or viewer.
Presenting facts and allowing the audience to arrive at their own conclusions is simply passe.

David said...

I know this will elicit tirade mail but one has only to listen to Rush and hear him say something or interview someone like Cheney (both are recorded and available for long afterwards) and then read or watch or listen to how it's portrayed in the media. Bob Johnson is correct about editorialism and authors don't even try to present factual data. Robert Wright made up facts today in his editorial about the UN. Who cares? If the facts don't fit, edit them to support a conclusion.