Pseudo-events are staged or scripted events that are put on for the media. Ribbon cutting ceremonies and Presidential meet and greats are most obvious and common. There have been several pseudo-events used during wartime to help promote American agendas or boost support.
The case of Firdos Square was unusual in that this was an event perpetuated by the media and not the government. Firdos Square was a situation where the military helped a few Iraqi’s tear down a statue of Saddam Hussein. The media covered it as an event that ended the war and liberated the people of Iraq. Photographers used special lens to make it seem like there were more Iraqi’s in the crowd than there actually were. Many people change their demeanor when the camera was pointed at them from non-interest to enthusiasm. In article 14 it was noted that after covering the toppling of the statue overall coverage of the Iraq War decreased on all networks.
Many people believe that these types of events distort reality and give the audience a false version of what really happened. This is especially dangerous because many times people take what they see on TV’s or read in newspapers as God’s truth and don’t question it or research it further. Additionally, if they were to research it, they may only end up finding the same reports because most news-gathering overseas is shared by networks to save money.
TV plays a powerful role in peoples decisions. It places the emphasis on images rather than the actual event or people. A lot of times after a campaign stop you will hear anchors on TV commenting on the candidates clothing or whether he or she looked tired. Obsession with images and looking good probably wouldn’t have gotten Pres. Lincoln or Taft elected. And although Special Olympics athletes are celebrated for their courage and bravery, when it comes to America’s president any type of disability isn’t as celebrated. Perhaps that’s why President Truman, while in office, was never on camera in his wheelchair and rarely allowed himself to be photographed like that.
It’s important for American citizens to deprogram their minds and take the focus off of image. We need to be able to see through the lights, camera, action of a pseudo-event so that we can properly access how well a person is doing in office.