Deirdre Boyle’s “A Brief History of American Documentary Video” highlights the roles that the documentary media has played throughout American society. The article gives readers a timeline from the 1960s on, detailing the rise in popularity among documentary media. Documentary video allows for the uprising of a community, as Guerilla Television allowed for this type of bonding to occur. Political involvement in documentary media was a result of this newly formed way of consumption, allowing for people to voice their political opinions through new media formats. Top Value Television (or TVTV) produced new and fascinating lenses to view politics through. According to Boyle, “With a style loosely modeled on New Journalism and dedicated to making facts as vivid and entertaining as fiction, TVTV used a sharp sense of irony to puncture many an inflated ego,” (57). I think an important issue to note in this quote is the concept of fiction. Though what is being reported on is real-life situations and political issues, morphing the material into a fiction-like product appeals to a different audience. The modern day audience is attracted to fiction, therefor the transformation of topics this serious into fictionist pieces of work allows for a new breed of people interested in these political matters. We see this all the time with shows like The Daily Show with John Stewart or The Colbert Report. These shows take serious matters and present them with a unique, biased spin, which educates an audience while at the same time entertains them. The Colbert Report, moderated by comedian Stephen Colbert, parodies extreme right wing perspectives and shows the humor in it all, while at the same time educating the audience about these matters.
Questions: How much of a role do you believe Documentary Media play in today’s society? Does it really have the power to shape how we view politics?