JOURNALISM AND THE SILVERSCREENJCOM 1500Guest Lecturer: Morgan Worley
NE OR TW K “TELEVISION WILL NEVER BE THE SAME” Summary of movie Released November 1976
REVIEWS: THEN AND NOW New York Times 1976 “N two rk can be faulted for going too far and not far e enough, but it’s also…alive.” (Canby 1976) Chicago Sun-Times 1976 “…[it] seems to be telling us is that television itself is like…An economic process in the blind pursuit of ratings and technical precision, in which excellence is as accidental as banality.” (Ebert 1976) Chicago Reader 2003 “…shrill, self-important 1976 satire about television.” (Rosenbaum 2003) Filmsite.org “…[it is a] criticism of the hollow, lurid wasteland of television journalism.” (Dirks 2012)
CULTURE OF THE TIME Culture of the time biased how journalists were portrayed -Television had become a mass medium -Audiences were increasingly dependent on what they saw on TV They showed journalists as two separate groups 1. Older generation who just wanted to report news as cold, hard, facts. Example from the movie: Max Schumacher 2. Younger generation who saw TV as show business and wanted to make money and ratings. Example: Diana Christensen
DEPENDENCY THEORY The journalists in the movie were very aware that audiences were increasingly dependent on media. “Americans’ views of their society and nations are powerfully shaped by the stories that appear on the evening news.” (Baran 2012) Audience’s were “dependent on media (a) to understand the social world; (b) to act meaningfully and effectively in society; and (c) to find fantasy and escape or diversion.” (Baran 2012)
NE OR ’S VIEW ON ROLE OF TW K JOURNALISTS IN SOCIETY Journalists (especially in television) played a major role in the opinions of the times. Saw it on the tube, and they believe it! “Less than 3% of you read books…. The only truth you know is what you get over this tube. Right now there is a whole, an entire generation that didn’t know anything that didn’t come out of this tube… this tube is the most awesome go* dam* force in the whole godless world!” (Chayefsky 1976)
ETHICAL ISSUE 1 “Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.” (Chicago Headline Club 2012) “ Howard Beale went up there last night and said what every American feels that he’s ‘tired of all the bullsh**!’ He’s articulating the popular rage!” “For God’s sakes Diana we are talking about putting a manifestly irresponsible man on television…” “You can’t be seriously proposing that the rest of us are seriously considering putting on a pornographic news show, the FCC would kill us.” “Sit down Nelson, the FCC can’t do anything except rap our knuckles.” “All I know is that this violates every canon of respectable broadcasting.”
RATINGS VS. HUMAN DECENCY “He could be jumping off a roof for all I know! The man is insane; he’s not responsible for himself. He needs care and treatment and all you grave robbers think about is that he’s a hit!” (Chayefsky 1976)
JOURNALISTS IMPACT ON SOCIETY Very good example of how influential journalists can be “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” (Chayefsky 1976) Telegrams flooded the White House after Beale told the public to rise up against the CCA deal.
ETHICAL ISSUES 2, 3, & 4 “Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility. Avoid misleading re-enactments or staged news events. If re-enactment is necessary to tell a story, label it. Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story.” (Chicago Headline Club 2012)
“We can’t deal with them [Ecumenical Liberation Army] directly, after all they are wanted criminals.” “We would not want to produce a television show celebrating historically deviational terrorism.” “Two FBI guys turned up in Hackett’s office last week and served us with a subpoena. They heard about our Flagstaff bank rip-off film and they want it. Hackett told the FBI to f*** off.” “We’re getting around the FBI by doing the show in collaboration with the news division!” all quotes (Chayefsky 1976)
ETHICS ISSUE 5 Examine your own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others (Chicago Headline Club 2012) Corporate mentality of Mr. Jensen “It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet…. There is no America, there is no democracy. There is only IBM, ITT and AT&T, and DuPont, DOW, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.” (Chayefsky 1976)
RATINGS >CRIME “What would you say to an assassination? I think I can get the Mao Tse Tung people to kill Beale for us as one of their shows. In fact, it’ll make a hell of a kickoff show for the season. We’re facing heavy opposition from the other networks on Wednesday nights and the Mao Tse Tung hour could use a sensational opener.” “We’re talking about a capitol crime here, the network can’t be implicated.” all quotes (Chayefsky 1976)
WERE THE ETHICS ISSUES RESOLVED? Got rid of Beale so they weren’t pushing their ideas on the public anymore Does the act of arranging the assassination cancel out the one resolution of an ethics issue?
TRUE OR FALSE?1. Agenda Setting theory was portrayed in the movie.2. The culture of the time was one where TV was very much a mass medium.3. The ethics issues were resolved.4. Howard Beale was killed to help another show have a “sensational season opener.”5. One of the ethics issues challenged was never plagiarize.
ANSWERS1. C. All of the above2. B. Dependency Theory3. C. All of the above4. B. The only nations in the world are businesses.5. A. Imposing his cultural values on others.6. False7. True8. False9. True10. False
BIBLIOGRAPHY Baran, Stanley J. I d uc tio n to M s s Co m m unic a tio n ntro a M d ia Lite ra c y a nd Culture . New York: Mcgraw-Hill, e 2012. endnote: Stanley J. Baran, I d uc tio n to M s s ntro a Co m m unic a tio n M d ia Lite ra c y a nd Culture , (New York: e Mcgraw-Hill, 2012), 368-370. in text: (Baran 2012) Chayefsky, Paddy. "Network." Recorded Novem 1976. MGM. DVD footnote: Chayefsky, Paddy, "Network," Written by Paddy Chayefsky, Novem 1976, DVD. In text: (Chayefsky) Canby, Vincent. "Chayefsky’s Network Bites Hard As a Film Satire of TV Industry." N w Yo rk Tim e s , November e 15, 1976. in text: (Canby 1976)
BIBLIOGRAPHY CONT. Chicago Headline Club Chapter of Society for Professional Journalists, "Ethics Advice Line for Journalists." Accessed December 4,2012. http://www.ethicsadvicelineforjournalists.org. Dirks, Tim. AMC, "filmsite." Last modified 2012. Accessed November 30, 2012. www.filmsite.org. Ebert, Roger. "Network." Chic a g o Sun-Tim e s , January 01, 1976. rogerebert.suntimes.com (accessed December 1, 2012). In text: (Ebert 1976) Rosenbaum, Jonathan. "Network." Chic a g o Re a d e r, February 22, 2003. http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/network (accessed November 30, 2012).