Media theatricalization of public life and politics
As public life and politics increasingly come to be experienced by the public through the media, and especially television, the substantive content is increasingly judged by entertainment values. When a politician trying to raise real issues on which the population is to make up its mind is preceded or followed by a comedian using his personality to amuse an audience, the politician will tend to be judged in comparison with the comedian in terms of entertainment value. The pressures on political life to increase its impact on public opinion lead to increasing theatricalization: selection of candidates by their photogenic qualities on television, the conduct of campaigns based on the televisual potential of issues rather than their real relevance.
Media reports of real events can easily be of less interest than carefully prepared and scripted theatricalizations of similar events. Since the real events which happen unexpectedly and spontaneously are outside the control of the television producer, it is in the interest of the producer to cultivate a relationship with those who can provide advance notice of such events. Thus the organizers of a demonstration who inform television news organizations beforehand that there will be violence will provide good filmed news material which may assume far greater importance in the minds of viewers than the event may really deserve. More extreme examples include delays to executions, or even their arrangement, to enable television camera crews to be present.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
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