How does the Truman show demonstrate the influence of the media?
There is a strong influence from the media which can and will change the way we live our lives forever. Peter Wier uses this same theory to show us how far the media will go to keep us watching. ‘The Truman Show’ was a film produced to show how this was done and to predict how the public will react and be motivated by what they see on the show.
The plot shows the character Truman Burbank on a twenty four seven reality television show, captured since birth. Truman does not know that he is living in an idealistic world which was created just for him, by the director Christof. Truman was an unwanted child who knew nothing of the world. He was exploited by the director of the television show who did not. The people who are surrounding Truman in his artificial life are not genuine, trustworthy citizens of the town Sea haven, but merely actors working. The actors were employed for the sole purpose of producing a television show.
Truman does not have any recollection of what real life or the outside world is. Truman family consists of cast members of the television production ‘Omnicom’ who are paid to act as ‘his family, friends and the citizens of Sea haven’. This leads on to the choices he is able to make.
The media pressurises the choices we make, using advertisements and persuasive techniques an example of this would be product placement which is used in the Truman Show just as other programmes. An example of product placement within the Truman Show is shown when two men force Truman on to a billboard advertising ‘Kaiser Chicken’ while talking of a business proposition. These advertisements are used to cause desire for the item.
Truman is deprived of his rights when he is placed into the show without his consent. He was taken in by Christof to create the television show. Truman’s choices are limited. He has no control over any aspects of his life, for example who he falls in love with. The characters Lauren and Truman have a physical attraction between them, but this was not to be pursued because Christof had already made plans for who he would be with. This is an infringement of Truman’s human rights; however he was not aware of this. Many people are exploited it the same way for example documentaries of children where they their parents volunteer them without the child’s consent. Normally this is because the child is too young to make this decision.
Even his ambitions are limited. His desire is to see the world, and unfortunately he is incapable to because he is living in a television studio which is limited to one small area of the world. He is always being deterred from leaving his town by the others that he called his friends and family. Another way in which they discouraged him was Agoraphobia; the fear of water. With this mental block this would inhibit him leaving his town. This is due to the fact that when he was a child his ‘father’ drowned whilst...