Friday, June 02, 2006

Reality TV

Yesterday while I was ironing (yes people still do that), I was watching the History Channel. It was some sort of deep-sea diving show where they find hidden treasure and "solve the mystery". Although it was interesting, it was also a bit hokey. Just the presentation and dragging out the story to make it more mysterious bothered me. It reminded me of another time I watched a similar show that was suppose to be truthful, but in fact, was not.

Several years ago, our friend Capt. Jeff Donnithorne of the USAF was stationed in Idaho and doing some training there. He emailed that he had been chosen to participate in some sort of exercise put on by the Air Force that was going to be televised by a cable TV show called "War Games". It would involve a mock air battle – I believe the game was called something like "white flag". Each branch of the military would put on their own version of battle and rescue in four different episodes. Of course, Jeff wanted us to tune in and watch. Then he emailed back and said that he had been scratched from the exercise once the TV people found out that his unit had a woman pilot. The TV people thought it would make things more exciting if the woman pilot participated rather than a man. A few weeks later, we gathered around the TV to watch "War Games." We watched as the F-16’s buzzed around in mock battle. We also watched the Marines do a daring rescue at sea. It was all very dramatic and exciting. The next day we got another email from Jeff. He explained that none of what we saw on TV concerning the Air Force had actually taken place. The whole "white flag" exercise had been scratched. What we had seen was all fake – pieced together films of F-16’s flying in the Idaho desert. Even the enemy pilot that was pictured was not truly a pilot. He was a mechanic for the Air Force. The interview with the woman pilot was real, but the rest of the show was not. What a let down! The whole thing made me wonder how often TV people make things up – cut film and edit interviews to make them say and do what they want.

Yesterday’s deep-sea dive also seemed so fake, so dramatic, that I wondered how much of it really took place. It just reminded me that nothing you see on TV is what it seems. Our mass media can doctor anything and change the whole story to suit their needs. Kind of disgusting isn’t it.

1 comment:

Buck Pennington said...

Wow, Lou, you just took the wind out of my sails! I always thought the History Channel was pretty straight-up, after all it is the HISTORY Channel! Another illusion...shattered.


Have fun at the reunion!