Dramatic TV Footage Is Needed To Move Viewers On Health, Political Fronts

For many U.S. Presidents, images and TV news stories of ongoing military conflict can prove troubling for a reelection bid -- even in decent economic conditions.

Visuals of soldiers in a war or in conflicts don’t help the marketing of a re-election presidential campaign.

Scenes of injured soldiers, and/or especially flag-draped caskets, isn’t reassuring for a voting public looking for peace and prosperity.  

Many TV news images of this type in recent years — especially the Middle East conflicts in Iraq/Afghanistan — have been muted. After banning soldier caskets from TV news videos/photos in 1991, 18 years later, in 2009, U.S. allowed those images to be shown, but only with families' approval.

COVID-19 has different visuals: numbers, charts and curves.  What is missing from those tragic numbers -- the 125,000 who have died? Video visuals and images associated with death.



We do see sad interviews from family members, including stories that -- due to the highly contagious nature of the virus --  they can’t be with loved ones nearing their end. 

Yes, there are some still images of patients on ventilators.

Early in the virus, in the epicenter troubled spot of New York City, we did have more dramatic images that peak our imagination and fears: One TV news video had a mass grave site being prepared, where many caskets were placed next to each other.

In another early TV news video clip, a scene outside a New York City hospital had a large, refrigerator semi-trailer truck idling -- waiting to take bodies away.

Those images didn’t last. Now, we are all left with a lot of numbers and charts. Tomorrow? There will be more numbers. Up unto the election? Numbers, nothing but numbers.

And think about this: In four months, there has been more than 122,000 lives lost due to the coronavirus, more than twice as many soldiers who died in the Vietnam War -- a conflict that went on for a decade and half.

Current predictions are the virus will claim 200,000 lives by September

Who -- or what -- gets the blame? You figure it out.

But know this: While virus rates results are still rising in the U.S., they are dropping virtually everywhere else, in European countries in particular. (One big exception: Brazil, like the U.S., has seen continued record numbers.)

Current videos of protests about racism and inequality offer pressing images of troubling times for elected officials and concerned citizens.  It’s sad it took this long to get action — the evidence was there forever.

We need dramatic visuals to translate off-air stories, information and data into a deeper emotional connections -- for TV viewers and TV news advertisers.

Think about the impact the video of a Minneapolis police officer’s knee on George Floyd’s neck had on our collective consciousness. Or citizens stalking a Black runner out for a run.

Now, you get the picture.

Next story loading loading..