Thursday, April 03, 2003
TV news coverage of the war aims to shock and awe viewers with music.
CBS ordered up a package of music options from composer Peter Fish "to try to take into account as many situations as possible," said Eric Shapiro, director of the "CBS Evening News" and CBS News special events. Fish sketched out several music "proposals," which Shapiro and other CBS executives listened to. "We told him two things: to convey some idea of mood, and also to write something to sync up with particular animation or graphics."
Shapiro could not say exactly which emotions he wanted to convey. But CBS' music is the most overtly warlike, a surging electronic wall of sound that seems to use the beating rotors of attack helicopters as its rhythmic inspiration.
"You know when the mood is right," Shapiro said. "I'm not a musician, but like everyone else, you have a feeling about what is right for the event."
Fish, who came up with a variety of music for use with news programs, magazines and special reports, said he was looking to convey a "climate of fear."
"To me, this is the real deal, this is a real live war, and we should be both awed and simultaneously scared," he said.
And clearly you're going to do your best to make us feel that way. The network's efforts evidently explain why CBS' nightly news program only had 8 million viewers last week as opposed to the 19 million American Idol pulled.
Nashville composer Bob Farnsworth says CNN's music takes an unusually strong stand.
"Look at the graphics - it's this chiseled-out-of-stone imprint, really severe, and this really kick-butt graphic goes with this kick-butt music. It seems more like a video game," said Farnsworth, whose company, Hummingbird Productions, scores music for films and commercials but has not yet been called on for this particular war.
Yeah, kick ass dude, that coverage is the shiznit. Long as it looks good on TV, who gives a damn about the actual reality of the war, eh. But this was my favourite comment:
No such musical impartiality from Fox News. Hard-rock instrumentals blare as fighter jets, one of which morphs into an audibly screeching eagle, cross the screen, and the curiously misleading words "War on Terror" come up large.
Ooh! Ooh! Look! It's a journalist daring to express their opinion that the current business in Iraq has nothing to do with the war on terror! Where the hell does he get off thinking he can dare to say what he thinks? Sack him! Sack him now before he can do a Peter Arnett and tell Iraqi television what he thinks too!