What does Frontline aspire to? I have expressed my reaction to Pat Kenny's Frontline earlier in this blog. While it is reasonable to have personal expectations from TV it is prudent to realise that your expectations might not be met.
In an article by Sarah Carey in The Irish Times today, October 28th, she asks that TV provide news, escape from news, and an explanation of what it all means (or analysis). These seem reasonable requests until she applies it to Pat Kenny's Frontline. It seems that she wants the three needs fulfilled by the one show, in this case Frontline.
She, like the show she is criticizing, has the ability to identify the points of the show but lacks the ability to appreciate it for what it is. She sees the show as a failure because "very little in the way of advancing our knowledge of the issue at hand is achieved." I would say that our understanding of the issues is strengthened and accepted by seeing the pain of others, even if it is shown through a polarized lens. Carey says that "presenters and producers try to insure themselves against their own lack of knowledge by creating polarized panels hoping each side will dismantle the other's spin."
In the reality of life, I wonder if there is a real truth? It seems Carey believes there is a truth. "I want experts to explain why certain decisions were made and on what basis we should make new ones" she said. This is a tall order. The kind of knowledge she speaks of would make millionaires of paupers and kings/queens out of peasants. Her aspirations for TV are probably genuine but these aspirations are the aspirations of philosophers throughout time.
The desire for explanations is not unique but the belief that there is one complete explanation is naive. There is no one answer. Perhaps the set-up of the show is clearly ambiguous which lets us live in reality through TV. Perhaps this is a form of Reality TV we just have not acknowledged yet. The reality is that our reality is ambiguous. There is no one answer. Perhaps there is no answer at all. Perhaps there are just arguments from multiple sides on every issue.
Perhaps the frustration Sarah Carey identifies in viewing The Frontline is simply the nature of life itself. Maybe if she and we identified that there are multiple sides to every story we could get on with living and cohabiting in harmony.
4 days ago