Are reporters "selling out" with their participation in simply mediocre, if not horribly executed, films?
Whenever you watch a superhero movie (or any movie for that matter) and suddenly spot a cameo appearance by an actual real-life reporter (not an actor playing a reporter) how do you react?
Check out this interesting article from Vulture, another somewhat promising online publication I've become fond of over the years, which brings to light the possible downside of reporters playing themselves in Superhero movies, as is often the case in today's landscape of reality-driven entertainment.
Of course, this pattern is not new. We've certainly seen a lot of it over the years and not just in the superhero genre specifically, but included in drama and comedy as well. This article raises an interesting point in the sense that the reporters are "selling out" with their participation in simply mediocre, if not horribly executed, films.
Nate Jones writes, "That's right — sold themselves out. As much as the dignity of the profession is repeatedly and outrageously violated every day (if not everyhour), journalism, at least in theory, remains an institution with a moral commitment to the public: To report the news, fairly and honestly; to expose injustice; to offer readers insights into a world they may not know. Is it naïve to think that, by signing on to read fake news reports about rampaging aliens threatening a fictional city, these reporters have subsumed those noble goals in order to promote their own personal brands?"
But wait....Jones also points that even well-intentioned, well-executed films with a modicum of dignity and perhaps better "taste" don't even do these reporters justice. He presses further, claiming that such cameos, orchestrated on behalf of the writers and producers, are bad for branding and go against what journalism stands for. Ok, so there are two sides to this story. While I understand that real-life reporters might not deliver the same authenticity as actors playing them truthfully would (and may not get the most out of their performance), their choice to appear in such cameo roles do not necessarily deem them unworthy of the public's trust. A movie is, after all, merely entertainment.
Any sane and intelligent person should be able to distinguish between someone pretending to report fictional news and one accurately reporting real news. Take, for example, Larry King in, The People Vs. OJ Simpson who is, quite simply, reprising his actual role in history. It doesn't make me think any less of him as a capable, esteemed journalist. Then again, it could be strange and then perhaps "reprehensible" if Anderson Cooper decided to write a weekly column in The Onion.
Perhaps Mr. Jones is referring to a larger issue at hand. The natural progression or evolution of journalism as a whole, and where it is headed, regardless of how discomforting that may be for many people. The days of Edward R Murrow and Walter Cronkite are long gone. Some may argue that the fate of journalism itself is personified by these very reporters selling out to producers and the money that buys them 30 seconds of Hollywood notoriety...
Jones, Nate. Journalists Should Not Play Themselves In Movies. Vulture. Web. 29 March 2016. 5 April 2016.