Having studied the use of art as propaganda in my college years I have often wondered about the use of drama in journalism. When I watch major cable news they seem more like a theatre production where the facts take a back-seat and the ‘story’ is priority. This sounds fine until the drama and emotion overshadow or blot out the facts of the story. Then the story can be used to influence people to act one way or another based on some ideology or agenda.
So when I was listening to Fresh Air on NPR the other day, Lawrence Wright from the New Yorker was being interviewed by Terry Gross about his work in Gaza during the time of the Israeli invasion. Toward the end of the interview they talked about a performance piece called “The Human Scale”. While discussing it, they touched briefly on the idea of theatre and journalism. It’s not quite about ‘drama’ and journalism but it was close and made me very curious to see. If anyone has seen it, please email me or make a comment on this post. Here is a link to a quick plug in Playbill: http://bit.ly/cwUv0r.
As time has passed since those ever distant college years, I have noticed that more and more people have come to accept or even expect drama in their news. I think if this continues then we will see a lot more conflict in the world if for nothing else then to support people’s appetite for drama. On the other hand, theatre may become the new medium for real and substantive dialogue among people.