Manipulation in Documentaries - Supersize Me, the Great White.

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Every night when we sit down to watch our much loved Grey’s Anatomy or Desperate Housewives, we know for a fact they are fictional dramas which allow us to escape the reality and boredom of our lives. We also realise the scripted shows use many tactics to manipulate our thinking. The producer does this to position us towards a specific view of life. But what do we expect from a documentary? We know documentaries to be faithful recounts of events; however, these events may be subject to just as much manipulation as the intriguing plots in our addictive shows.

Many documentary makers include their individual cultural assumptions and discourses to distort the truth and position the target audience to react in a desired manner. This can be seen in the documentary, ‘Supersize Me’ by Morgan Spurlock and ‘Great White – Deep Trouble’ showcasing Peter Benchley, David Doubilet and Rodney Fox. Both producers desire to position the audience towards their discourse through their documentary. They accomplish this by presenting snippets of films, opinions and facts that agree with their discourse and disposing of the rest.

‘Super Size Me’, written, produced, directed by and starring Morgan Spurlock, is a producer dominated documentary. It shows Spurlock endeavouring on a thirty day McDonald’s binge to prove that regular consumption of the food is a fast way to heart disease, high cholesterol and obesity. Spurlock aims to prove his nutritional discourse by taking tests before and after the experiment to show the affects. Before the experiment began, Spurlock’s body showed healthy results both physically and emotionally, however, after the experiment, his body was physically rundown sporting clogged arteries, high cholesterol, weight gain and emotionally he showed early stages of depression.

Spurlock’s aim in the documentary is to inform his audience that regular fast food consumption is extremely harmful to your body. It uses both fully narrated and self...
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