Electronic Media Reviews: Media Circus

Article excerpt

"Media Circus," Atlanta: Turner Home Entertainment, 1994.45:00. $19.98.

CNN has produced an examination of the trend toward sensationalism in the contemporary media. "Media Circus" looks at problems in five areas: the changing values of news coverage (including "tab TV" magazine shows), TV talk shows, hyping of crime and violence in local m news, talk radio shows and supermarket tabloids. The show is part of the "CNN Presents" series, and is intended for general audiences, but it should hold value and interest for educators and students.

Commentator-anchor Judy Woodruff hosts the program, and correspondent Bruce Morton handles the reporting duties. The result is a slick production that maintains momentum and interest, along with excellent credibility and apparently dead-on accuracy. "Media Circus" portrays the subject matter fairly, giving a variety of points of view. The program's fast-paced visual style harks to "48 Hours" and generally comes off with sure-handed professionalism. Occasionally the pictures run away with the story, at the expense of whatever point Morton is trying to make in the voice-over.

The segments vary somewhat in quality, though, with two coming across very effectively. The tabloid Globe newspaper is shown pursuing stories on O.J. Simpson, Princess Diana, the fiance of the comedian Roseanne, and television evangelist Jimmy Swaggart--all in one week. Television stations are shown rushing stories onto the air without sufficient fact checking, covering celebrities (Michael Jackson and O. …