Bias in News and Current Affairs Programs

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Since the television was invented in 1924, news and current affairs programs have surly become one of our main media sources. With this in mind, reporters and stations alike are able to manipulate their audiences through a variety of techniques, to make them believe a representation of reality as opposed to the true fact. This is evident in the current affairs story "Video Game Violence" and the standard news story "Music Video Ban". These similar stories both originated from Channel Nine and represent violence in society's youth today, stating children are at risk if exposed to such material. Through a selection of techniques, the audience is lured into supporting the told story and agreeing with the general attitudes promoted.
Parents are the desired target audience of these stories which is evident through the mentioning of "children" and "youth". Both news reports state that the media available to children today has proven to be devastating on the way they portray everyday life events. "Music Video Ban" is about a graphically violent music video produced by Perth band Beaverloop, creating outrage in society. "Video Game Violence" is a story about the effect of both suitable and non-suitable video games on children, supported by interviews and a psychiatric case study. In "Music Video Ban" to heighten the seriousness of this situation, the Columbine massacre is randomly mentioned and images of victims' families are shown. This is to ‘help' the viewer in understanding the attitude given, and reveals the possibilities of what can happen when access to violent media is too broad. In the "Video Game Violence" story, images of a devastated family from an incident involving a copy-cat murder are displayed. The ideas were taken from an R-rated Australian film known as "Bad Boy Bubby" and were used on Perth girl Natasha in her sleep by her 17 year old boyfriend. This is evidence enough that even the most unexpected can be influenced by meaningless entertainment media. The stories are shown to be warnings for parents around Australia to keep careful watch over what their children are exposed to and through graphic examples, express that failure is not an option.

The lead in on a report is very important for its ability to give first (and often last) impressions. This consists of the first few sentences (often containing connative terms) spoken to introduce the story, giving a general overview of what the report will be about. The lead in for the news story "Music Video Ban" is spoken:

"But first, the graphic music video by a Perth band showing a policeman and a teacher being shot. It's caused outrage and landed music giant Sony in hot water with censorship authorities." The viewer's attention is immediately drawn to the story when "Perth" is mentioned due to the phrase triggering a ‘close to home' effect. Policemen and teachers are seen to be contributors to society, and to have them told to be ‘shot' is quite alarming. "Video Game Violence" uses similar phrases in the lead in such as "in the name of entertainment", "unseen damage" and "fear". Upon hearing these terms, the viewer becomes interested to see how the story folds out. If a story is introduced using standard, generic vocabulary the viewer would not become interested and therefore the story would seem meaningless. The sole purpose of a lead in is to grab the viewer's attention, which is achieved through the use of connative expressions to develop a relationship between the event and the viewer.

Interviewees are key involvements in portraying the story's desired attitudes, for the viewers are able to respond to the statements given. People in places of power are often chosen to support the attitude given by the story, as the viewers are more likely to trust a professional opinion rather than a random quote. In "Video Game Violence" there are two professionals interviewed – Barbara Biggins, President of Young Media Australia and Brent Watters,...
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