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Wednesday, January 7, 2004

trust in television

discovery communications makes up footage. no big deal, really, in the business of television, sometimes there just isn’t a picture to show. i don’t have a problem with recreations, dramatizations or other tools of the trade.

what i do have a problem with is when the network makes up this footage and doesn’t label it as made up footage. discovery promotes their channels (discovery, tlc, discovery health, animal planet, discovery kids, science channel, discovery wings, travel channel, discovery times) as sources of information, not disinformation or misinformation.

sometimes, it’s obvious. sure, anyone reasonably intelligent should realize that discovery communications did not actually have a camera crew on-site during the mongol invasions of central asia, sometimes it’s not so obvious. sometimes, they stage things like snakebite victims driving down off mountains, recreating the adventure with the actual victims and cutting in interview segments with them and their actual friends and family.

this is even more offensive since the times is working with discovery now, you’d think some concept of journalistic integrity would make it across the gap. no, apparently not.

even e! is willing to admit when they’re faking it – they put little graphics on the screen to indicate when they’re staging the nicole brown simpson and ronald goldman murders, and didn’t actually have a camera crew on-site. just like discovery used to do.

is that really too much to ask, now that we have constant station-identification graphics and annoying self-promotion graphics that actually overlap content on the screen? how many times have you seen the name of an interviewee obscured and unreadable by an animated promotion graphic for some new program?

discovery communications has violated my trust. the deal is off.

i’m annoyed, and i’m not the only one… an alternative is in the works. i draw your attention to CSN: Cable Science Network

posted by roj at 7:43 am