Do campaigners really need a shocking death to gain public attention for their cause?
Apparently, campaign groups supported broadcasting the death of Malcolm Pointon’s who had suffered for many years with Alzheimer’s – “claiming it will raise awareness for the disease.”
This was the same argument behind the Big Donor Show reality programme (where a dying woman will choose a donor for one of her kidneys), a couple of months ago.
Both have turned out to have been “economical with the truth” – but gained substantial publicity about the cause.
Adrian Monck states:
I would guess that Watson (the film maker) thinks that Alzheimers is important, that the only way to get attention for the story was through a gimmick (death on camera), and that everyone concerned thought the film’s message about the disease and its consequences more important than the death itself. But once again it is the selling of a film that seems to mislead.
Isn’t it more shocking that extreme sensationalism is required to get attention for any serious issue today? But, don’t such tactics only serve to increase the barrier to coverage further – and in turn cease to be effective?
I find the secondary outrage over “faking” the death bizarre. Artifice is inherent in producing any television programme. Scripts are edited, interviewers are coached, scenes are set and stories are framed to convey a particular impression. I would think the public today are sufficiently media savvy to recognise where editing is taking place rather than actual filming. Hasn’t 24 hour streaming of Big Brother increased knowledge of content manipulation in the edited shows?
Of course, we expect honesty in respect of areas like competitions, where trust is important (indeed, I believe covered by law).
But does it matter whether the final images of Mr Pointon were of his actual death or slipping into a final coma? Is that what it took to gain coverage of the story?