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- Frontline

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The term truth is defined as the unbiased and actual portrayal of an event or situation. However, in the context of the area of study, it is shown that truth may be consciously or unconsciously manipulated whenever representation occurs. . Through the satiric television series Frontline, in particular the episodes the Siege and Smaller Fish to Fry; two contrasting photos representing the Boer War (by) in the Sydney Morning Heralds Good Weekend magazine and the poem Mirror by Sylvia Plaith, the assertion that our access to the truth is impeded by those with power is justified. The techniques used to explore these ideas include filmic and dramatic devices such as characterisation , satire, irony and humour; visual devices such as lighting, positioning and visual juxtaposition; and poetic devices such as personification and metaphors.
Frontline acts as a comic, but deceptively insightful parody, through which current affairs programs and their motto of conveying the truth is mocked. The show highlights the unorthodox influence those with powerful assert over societys access to the truth. This is demonstrated by the episode the Siege and Smaller Fish to Fry. The exaggerated immoral and unethical actions of the Frontline characters serve to highlight the true value, such ratings and image driven programs, hold for conveying the . Both episodes employ the device of visual juxtaposition of the on-air and the behind the scenes activities and work ethics of the team. The realistic quality of filming in the behind the scenes aspects of each episode serves to portray the real truth of the situation. Thus in itself Frontline the series also attempts to represent the truth.
The episode The Siege, satirises the integrity claimed by journalists. The Frontline team deliberately distorts and manipulates the truth in order to increase ratings during a Hostage Crisis. They view the event as mundane, and instead of conveying the simple yet uninteresting truth of the situation, prefer to sensationalise the event to heighten the buzz on the story. Parody is used continuously to comment on the ways the media manipulate the truth. For example, Martys crouched pose a mere five kilometers from the scene whilst reporting, is intended to look like hes really in danger, an obvious sensationalism of how the media attempts to imitate real life situations. This example also demonstrates the manner in which representation influences meaning. The fabrication of Martys dangerous situation lends the story a meaning which is in itself a lie because Marty is in fact not in danger at all. The Frontline teams decision to use a psychology student, rather than expert, and slap him in front of a bookcase is another example, through the technique of parody, of the way representation shapes meaning. This example also shows the methods adopted by the powerful to change and manipulate the truth. The truth that is supported by the actual viewing of this episode of Frontline is that journalist ignore moral issues, and the own journalistic integrity through the use of tactics such as cheque-book journalism, foot in the door journalism, and sensationalism of the absolute truth. The episode, Smaller Fish to Fry is primarily pays tribute to the powerfuls control and influence over truth. The Frontline actively reveals the truth about the small fish, powerless people who have committed small crimes, but get publicly humiliated and shamed. This results in the petty glorification of Frontline s ability to accurately report whatever truth they find. However, a fellow reporter of Mike Moore holds evidence of a major bank fraud. When presented to Brian, he manipulatively reassures Mike that its on the backburner. Once it is revealed to Mike that current affairs shows go after the small fish; Christopher Skase and Allan Jones, and stay clear of the real corruptions; the big fish. The corruption of the management of Frontline is revealed, when Brian is threatened about his contract renewal, and Mike is in turn threatened about his sexual assault of a fellow employee. Crusading pays off No, crime pays beautifully, is a pun that supports Mikes sudden fear of losing his job as a journalistic for achieving real journalism. A subplot had been developed alongside, Mike s story, where Brooke was given the opportunity to interview the Prime Minister. Brooke states, You dont get anywhere pissing people off, which is indicative of her manipulative nature, and lust for fame. As soon as her interview with the PM was about to go forward, Mikes crusade prevents it, as the corrupt powers are interlated, which maybe affect the reputation of the PM. The episodes concludes with the clearly marked, humourous hyprocrisy of Mike, as he emotively assures Brian that if the visual evidence of the fraud had not been lost, the would have done the story and risked his job. The audience knows, that this is false, and that Mike is actually relieved the video is lost. But the conclusion of this episode results in the video tape being found and Mike left in a dramatic situation. The tuth that is being told by the producers of this episodes is that current affairs shows such as Frontline, not only supports the corrupted powerful for personal gain, but also to adhere to threats that a made against them, in order to control truth. With the defeat of Mike, its a supported fact that the powerful have clear intentions and methods of controlling the truth and that if truth is not manipulated, sensationalized pr represented, it can be withheld, thus resulting in a cover up.
The poem, Mirror by Sylvia Plath, sees the composer in the form of a personified mirror. This persona details its own life, and then that of the woman who comes and goes, in what it claims to be not cruel, only truthful. The audience may assume from this statement that the mirrors appearance of cruelty is based on their own opinion about appearance; based on their own sense of truth. However, as in the second stanza of the poem, the mirror s emotional silence is false, as it clearly expresses its importance and power over the woman who uses it each morning. The extensive use of poetic imagery, and persona enables Plath to make objective observations of an object, symbolic of reflecting truth, that define ones appearance of ones self. This results in her vanity and vulnerability being exposed. The idea that the powerful influence the truth, which is clearly evident in Frontline, can be supported through the image of the mirror being some kind of authoritive figure in the womans life, the eye of a god. Also through a direct metaphor of the mirror, now a lake, the persona sees itself to be reflective. However, this image is just an introduction to the images of the women being drowned like a terrible fish. This particular metaphor is also an allusion to the story of Narcissus who found the image of beauty in his own reflection of a lake. The mirror seems to reflect the truth, a false truth, which the woman helplessly believes in. She is evidently obsessed about the mirror s reflection of herself, which is supported by the mirrors authoritive role in her life. This idea of the importance of appearance is evident today in the style of clothing people buy to impress others. The truth that is being told by the composer, Plath, is that not even a mirror, which offers an untouched physical reflection of ones self, reflects the real truth of ones own individuality. This assertion is also supported by Frontline s Mike Moore, in Smaller Fish to Fry, where he is persuaded by his own false appearance as a real journalist to catch the big fish, however realizing that his physical image is all that is used for the representing the journalism of Frontline.

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