Documentary Reveals TV’s Hand in Creating Election Dramas

A critically acclaimed analysis of election coverage by the commercial television networks, The Made-for-TV Election Redux became available today on DVD and will be exhibited in movie theaters beginning October 9th.

Written and produced by William Brandon Shanley and Gerald J. Keane, the timely release of The Made-for-TV Election in a pre-2008 election version captures the significance of TV’s role in the last 30 years as the 2008 political season heats up.

Hosted by actor Martin Sheen, the documentary presents examples from both the 2008 primaries and the 1980 election when Ronald Reagan defeated Jimmy Carter to demonstrate how TV networks use polls, stereotypes, gaffes, and flip flops to turn elections into political theater to boost ratings, and in so doing, create an uneven playing field and dumb-down civic discourse.

“Whether you support McCain-Palin or Obama-Biden,” says Shanley, “our film has value because it exposes the role of commercial TV as the Wizard of Oz behind the screen, creating spectacle with one hand as it rings up enormous profits with the other.”

Throughout the two hour presentation, Sheen uses a variety of show business metaphors coupled with news clips, interviews and on-the-road color to depict TV distortion in 21 episodes from the two big elections: The Media’s Maverick; The Dream Ticket; The Obama Phenomenon; The October Surprise; Hillary’s Emotional Moment; America Held Hostage; Chappaquiddick Revisited.

“As impresario of the national political theater, networks force the candidates to become actors in a dramatic series to serve their own needs and values, their advertisers’ and the media trusts who own them,” says co-producer Gerald Keane. “Voters get a steady diet of hot button tabloid news chat about Reverend Wright and American flag pins while the deep systemic problems that require deep investigation are ignored.”

“The Made-for-TV Election suggests these narratives are the stories we tell ourselves that govern our life and times,” says Shanley. “From the myth of the conservative tide that spawned today’s Wall Street meltdown, to the phony pretext for the War in Iraq, to the election of George W. Bush, these are the real world effects of a political process that has been hijacked by commercial interests in this theme park called ‘America.'”

SOURCE Evolution Solutions