The movie “Natural Born Killers” gave new life to an old debate, does art imitate life or does life imitate art? Does art retell events from history or does it inspire future actions? Is art and other pop culture mediums the only way to get people to listen?
As time goes on people need more and more to keep their attention, similar to the escalating excess in today’s horror films; just sitting behind a desk and reading a teleprompter doesn’t cut it. The news special “America Remembers” explores this idea that you can tell a non-fiction narrative in a fictional way to gain an audience.
In today’s popular culture it is more common for people’s news source to be “The Daily Show,” “The Colbert Report,” or even “Saturday Night Live.” So called “real” news channels like CNN (which produced “American Remembers”) and Fox give dramatized and biased news stories under the pretense that they are actual accounts. The other, more popular sources don’t pretend to be real. Norm McDonald, a “SNL” anchor, started each week by letting you know that, “Good evening, I’m Norm McDonald, and here is the fake news.”
News channels, such as CNN, saw the public’s preference to be entertained rather than get the facts and responded in hopes of getting more viewers. The problem with this is that when they began to skew their stories they weren’t living up to their responsibility as a news source. While shows like “The Daily Show” puts the responsibility on the viewer. The people watching know it’s twisted and know to not follow it blindly.
A satire like “Natural Born Killers” points a critical finger at the media and calls for reexamination. Of course the media and news do not want to blame themselves so they spin the movie as a cause for the destruction of our society. Hollywood productions and news productions are not the same thing. The same rules do not apply for both. When you project Hollywood’s idea of “good” and “evil” onto the events of real life you are asking for trouble. It does not work that way.
CNN did not drop in ratings because their format wasn’t entertaining enough; they lost viewers because there are so many more sources in today’s world. You can watch one of the other 7,000 channels devoted to the news, you can read a paper, you can listen to the radio, or you can go on the internet and find one on the millions of sites that reports stories.