"Whereas news and realist fiction draw readers' attention
into the text, propaganda directs their attention beyond it. Where
news and realist fiction resolve conflicts diegetically, within
the text, propaganda provokes conflict dialogically, within the
reader. News and realist fiction align the reader to the past, in
which the actions portrayed have already been completed. Propaganda
aligns the reader to the present and the future, towards actions
yet to occur. News and realist fiction position the reader as a
judgmental, impartial, omniscient, voyeuristic spectator; propaganda
orients the reader towards engagement or participation in an action.
News, unlike realist fiction, presents itself on television as unauthored,
and it uses direct address and eye-contact...but propaganda...seeks
first and foremost to produce recognition of a relationship between
the addresser and the addressee, a relationship ideally of faith,
allegiance, loyalty to the cause."
John Hartley, Tele-ology: Studies in Television (London:
Questions to consider
- How can we separate news from propaganda in the midst of covering
an ongoing "crisis" like this one?
- Why might the news media itself be uncertain whether to speak
from an objective "news" position or from a more impassioned "propaganda"
- What are our expectations about the role of the press in a period
of "war" or national disaster?
- How realistic is it to expect that journalist are going to be
able to separate their emotions from the news they are reporting?
- Would the public see a more dispassionate coverage of the events
as "cold," "heartless," and thus "inappropriate"?
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