With the recent rise of news infotainment and reality television, major media has crafted a brand new genre–Political Reality News Thrillers. Unfortunately, as a result, smaller outlets are sort of forced to follow suit. They must not be left behind the curve if they want to have a share in getting their word or brand out.
The Political Reality News Thriller, like most genres, has its own stylistic criteria and discourse. Like most so-called reality television, the various shows are scripted under what seems to be the day-to-day dealings of the selected cast and characters. They, of course, have writers and producers to present the stories to viewers in the traditional sense of storytelling.
A thriller, in general, is designed to have viewers on the edges of their seats, anxiously waiting for the story to unfold or hoping their tension is eased by certain revelations. Now with political thrillers, a political power struggle is the preferred setting. The viewers is expected to take a side in a person’s or group’s fight against corruption or fascism. This person or group would be the underdog hero for whom the viewers root. The hero is rarely seen as one who has the power structure on his side; it is him versus the corrupt system.
In U.S. politics, there are two major political parties. Due to their popularity and acceptance by millions of citizens who identify with either–or the millions who identify with neither yet accepts their existence–producers use the two parties as hero and villains. Issues, other groups, or institutions are often casted as heroes and villains, but generally they are attributed to functions of either of the two political parties. Depending on the viewer, the hero and villain varies. Within each party, there are characters around whom producers and writers frame their stories, but the prominent members of those political organizations often act in ways to receive extra time at the forefront of the stories, much like reality shows.
Since creators and cast members of Political Reality News Thrillers know that average Americans enjoy reality television and very suspenseful dramas, they tend to create scenarios that keep the thriller going. So, every few months, we find ourselves at an edge-of-your-seat moment in what is called news and politics. Lifting script from what is called The Great Depression, The Great Recession is the must-see gripping thriller of 2011. In short, this is how it played out…
Dec 2010 – Taxcuts and unemployment benefits
In December 2010, Republicans and Democrats battle for weeks in a squabble over Bush taxcuts, and budget, and spending, and unemployment benefits, and etc. Of course, there was a stringent deadline, and both sides battled as the clock counted down.
April 2011 – Government shutdown over spending cuts
In April 2011, a government shutdown loomed as a Republicans and Democrats bickered over spending cuts, and taxcuts, and budgets, and etc. Who would be the blame? Who would save us from the evil machine? John Boehner? Harry Reid? Barack Obama? Eric Cantor? Just in the nick of time, an agreement… But, it only pushed doom’s day back a few months.
Aug 2011 – Debt ceiling being increased by the 3rd
In August, the U.S. was set to default on its loans, if no agreement was made to increase the United State’s limit on borrowing. Democrats battled Republicans over budgets, and spending, and taxcuts, and etc. Merely days before the annihilation of the US, a deal was reached, and a new ‘super committee’ was created to handle the task of sealing this deal. Deadline: November!
Sept 2011 – Fiscal year 2012 budget
In September 2011, Congress watched the clock as they hashed out plans to fund the government and itself for the fiscal year of 2012 beginning in October. Again, the fight was budgets, and spending, and taxes, and etc. Whew! Dodged another bullet.
Nov 2011 – Super committee deadline
In November 2011, The infamous ‘super committee’ made up of both Democrats and Republicans fought tooth and nail to come to an agreement that would be a better solution than the agreement of August. They failed. The results: really hard to tell.
Dec 2011 – Payroll taxcuts, unemployment benefits
Today, the non-stop thriller continues. Taxcuts, and unemployment benefits, and budget, and spending, and etc. Who will save us from the liberals and conservatives, Democrats and Republicans? Surely it will be the liberals or conservatives, Republicans or Democrats.
Not only can we now observe this edge-of-your-seat thriller, we can also join in. Drawing from the internet, videogames, gameshows, and Apple Inc.’s successes, the Political Reality News Thrillers producers and writers make it possible for us to participate by by responding to their polls, calling in to their shows, tweeting and Facebooking our way into the drama, YouTubing a debate question, and even voting for our heroes of choice from the pool of cast members. We are, in essence, cast members ourselves. So exciting! Maybe, in the end, historians will officially label this exciting time in the stage of the world The Great i#Politicalrealitynewsthriller.