The Reality of the Truth

Topics: Television program, Episode, Truth Pages: 5 (1595 words) Published: July 24, 2004
What exactly is the truth? Is it reality, sincerity, integrity? Is it accuracy and honesty? How can we tell the difference between the truth and lies? Why does the media have the power to decide for us what is true?

As Oscar Wilde once said 'The truth is rarely pure and never simple'. This statement sums up the difficulties of telling the truth, and this is furthermore shown in Rob Sitch et al's Frontline, Lies by Michael Leunig and the poem Nothing to Report by May Herschel Clarke.

The television show Frontline follows the day to day running of a current affairs show. It shows both on and off air aspects of what people involved with television go though on a daily basis. Mike Moore (Rob Sitch) plays the naive host of the show, who seems to think the whole world revolves around him. An example of this is when Emma sarcastically thanks him for helping with a story and he says 'That's ok'. Brian is the executive manager of the show and he ultimately decides what is shown on the show and what isn't. Brooke is another reporter who uses deception and manipulation to present the truth. Emma does work behind the scenes and often she should be credited, but the reporters need their ego maintained so she is never recognised for her hard work. Marty is another reporter who has been in the business for a long time, and although he knows about Frontline presenting the 'incorrect truth', he does nothing to stop them.

Like all current affairs shows, the team at Frontline are concerned with gaining ratings every night, rather than telling the real truth to people. One example of this is during the episode 'Add sex and stir' where Brooke interviews a woman booted off her sports team because she 'wasn't a lesbian'. This in fact is not the truth because she was kicked off the team due to her poor form, not her sexuality. Viewers are then manipulated into thinking that the sport is a 'lesbian' sport, and the reputations of the team and sport are ruined. Marty sums up this 'sensationalising' of real truth in one quote,

'"Ancient current affairs recipe my grandmother gave me, you take any story, add sex and stir" (Marty, Add sex and stir)

Dismissal of the 'real' truth is another technique that the current affairs show Frontline uses to gain ratings. In the episode 'We aint got dames', Mike wishes to do a story on illegal sweatshops, but Brian dismisses it as being 'too heavy' for the viewers. After much persuasion, Mike thinks he has convinced Brian to show his story (because his ego has finally been satisfied), but the story ends up being a fashion show, totally insulting any work that Mike has done. Although this story did attract more viewers than the sweatshop story would have, it only promotes the fact that viewers lack in knowledge about the real current issues, and they need to show pretty people with bright lights to get their attention.

There are many techniques used in Frontline which expose the manipulation that current affairs shows go through to gain ratings. Irony is shown in the episode 'The siege', where Brooke asks Mrs. Forbes to sign a contract so only frontline can report her story because,

"Some shows are very unscrupulous" (Brooke, The Seige)

Brooke says not to give the story to other stations because they might twist her story around to bring out a point she wasn't making, but the irony was that their show was doing exactly that. Use of a handheld camera behind the scenes of the current affairs show can bring out the truth behind the lies, what we see on television may not be true in real life. This applies to Mike in the episode 'Add sex and stir' where he is on Burkes Backyard. He is asked questions about current affairs and does not know how to answer them, then tries to defend himself by asking Burke about plants but he knows everything about them. Although he is shown as an intelligent and well presented man on television, in real life he doesn't know anything. This is also seen when Mike takes...
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