Week 9 Journal

Deborah Scranton is a film director, not a journalist. Her wish to take a neutral stance and look at a situation from several viewpoints and the fact that she dealt with nonfictional content certainly are factors that coincide with journalism, but just because the documentary contains those elements doesn’t make her a journalist.

It doesn’t matter what Ms. Scranton’s political views are. It is only natural that a director’s (or editor’s) political standpoint be reflected in any edited material, so there will probably be traces of her political inclinations somewhere in the film. However, her goal, as director of the War Tapes, was to pose as a neutral observer. Thus as spokeswoman for the film, she shouldn’t be talking about her political preferences because it would harm the film. She is marketing a product and she has to be consistent in what she says, or say nothing at all. This is different from the duty of journalist, where being neutral is an obligation, not a choice… a necessity and a matter of ethics, not a marketing tool.

Also, while she says that the footage is more “real” because it was taken from a first-person viewpoint of the soldiers, one starts to wonder about how “real” those situations could truly be. How many people watch reality TV and think that the people’s character and situations are genuine? Moreover, how could the videos be entirely “real” when the tapes are all being censored by senior military members?

Since the Internet is now a portal for all types of user created contents, users must take into consideration that the “director” of each content may be showing an important part of the picture, but that interests may be involved. A journalist, however, should not have interests period.

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