Documentaries have been a major part of public education for years. We watch them in school, we hold special events to see them in colleges. They’re played on television, they’re promoted at movie theaters. Their budgets can be huge, or miniscule. But what really qualifies a production as a “documentary?”
The term gets used rather loosely nowadays; documentaries, more than ever, have varying degrees of lean to them. Some are still somewhere within the realm of being unbiased, but more often than not, there’s an ulterior motive to documentaries. They aren’t always to educate anymore; often, they’re to persuade.
A good example of this “leaning documentary” trend is “Food, Inc.” This sensational production focuses on the agricultural practices of large food and agribusiness companies including Smithfield Foods, Tyson, Perdue, and Monsanto.
Just like all other aspects of mass media, the documentary sect has lost its neutrality.
If it’s alright for consumers to question the sincerity of American farmers, isn’t it then alright to question the authority of media sources?
Another good example of challenging the media can be seen on Wikipedia. Wiki’s imply that all users have the right to change or challenge information. This article, however, has a carefully-build bibliography structure that makes changing it difficult. However, a quick look at the top of the page points out that it’s been challenged.
This needs to happen more, people.
You’re expected to wonder about where your food comes from, and how it’s made…but do you ever stop to question your information in the same way?
Give it a good hard thinkin’. Get your information from a variety of sources. Decide what to believe or not. A well-rounded understanding and awareness is key to combating the lean of present-day media, like documentaries.