The Camera Doesn't Lie... Or Does It?
An Essay Analysing the Techniques Used In A Current Affair Program
Sixty Minutes. A Current Affair. Today Tonight. We like to see people's lives. That's why these shows succeed. They show us the good times and the bad. They bring people's lives into our living rooms. But are these shows bringing us the honest truth? For example, the segment reported by Sixty Minutes, titled "The Lost Children", tells the story of children who were sent to Australia for the opportunity of a so called "better life". It would be there where they would be taken care of by the Christian Brothers. However it was in this "better life" that the children were forced to work as labourers and were molested, beaten and raped. Was the story twisting words? After all, we are all guilty of exaggerating occasionally. But was it an act, tailored to stir up our emotions by using sly, barely noticeable techniques that made us believe what they wanted us to believe? How can we notice things as simple as the sex of the presenter, or the choice of words when phrasing something? We think that we are being told the truth. However, this nearly seamless performance is about to be uncovered.
The structure in most current affairs shows are similar. It starts off with a presenter giving a rough introduction of the story, then goes to the actual story on location, with either a field reporter or a voice-over, sometimes both. The story goes through what happened or what is happening, and then talks to people that have been affected by it. These people usually provide the audience someone to identify with. The people affected can be seen as the victims. After talking to the victims, the story may cross over to whoever is to blame. After talking, or attempting to talk, to these people, the voice-over or presenter will conclude their part of the story, possibly discussing what is in the future for the victims. The story is then brought back to the presenter in the...
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