Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Dr. Who tackles the media

Here in the States, we are one season behind on the BBC’s regenerated Dr. Who series, which began again in 2005. Heh, I remember ditching homework in college to watch reruns of the Fourth Doctor (and my favorite) with that incredibly long scarf and that head of uncontrollable curly hair. Two decades later, it took me awhile to get back into the Doctor’s campy (and, admittedly, sometimes really stupid) world, but I’ve gotten hooked again—especially after a recent episode.

In The Long Game, the show throws a punch at the world’s media conglomerates and the journalists they employ. Thousands of years in Earth’s future, the media is controlled from Satellite Five, a massive orbiting space station that fuels and controls 600 news channels. The (Ninth) Doctor grows suspicious, but can’t get any help from the station’s journalists, who are more concerned with climbing the corporate ladder (almost literally) than asking questions or digging for truth. He’s eventually captured by the Editor, the episode’s main villain (if you don’t count the alien blob with very sharp teeth who hired him). Come to find out, the media is being subtly manipulated to control earth’s events (such as voting, wars and economies). Sound familiar?!

Lately, especially in the wake of the Gospel of Judas hoopla, I’ve grown even more acutely aware of how driven the media is by marketing, popularity and ratings. While these may not be the same as a shark-toothed alien glob, they are exerting control over those running the media and affecting the events of our world through those lenses. I’m not saying all media is like this—it isn’t. There are serious journalists and news organizations out there. But kudos to Dr. Who for using its campy entertainment to make us start thinking about it again.

(Image: BBC) doctorwhoctgy

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