Analyzing Network and its resemblance to news today

Photo courtesy of Netflix


Network, a 1976 film written by Paddy Chayefsky and directed by Sydney Lumet, takes a satirical look at the news industry. The film stars Peter Finch, Faye Dunaway, William Holden and, Robert DuVall.

Photo courtesy of Netflix

Over the two-hour run time, it becomes clear that Network works to expose the sensationalization of news. Network’s plot revolves around a local anchorman who, after finding out he will lose his job, threatens to kill himself on live television—but not before raving about the commercialism and ignorance of American society and delivering one of the most famous movie lines of all time like, “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

The film took home 10 Oscars, with Finch, Faye, and Chayefsky winning Best Actor, Actress, and Original Screenplay, respectively.

Part of the enrapturing magic of Network is how well it prophesied modern times. Many of the issues discussed in the film resemble issues that have reappeared in cultural conversations today.

The method of delivering news depends on the avenue. News is delivered so that the people hearing it understand and relate. Often this works toward getting people involved. If someone can make a situation or event seem relevant to a person, it may prompt them to care more.

However, such is not always the case. The public relies on news to inform them; but news is frequently distorted to cause fear and rage in the audience. Dictators practicing this tactic do so to maintain their power, and propoganda is how events like the Holocaust occur.

In Network, an ambitious program director (Dunaway) uses the attention brought to the station by the anchorman’s (Finch) speech to boost network ratings and elevate herself to a greater position of power.

Faye’s character is not a terrible dictator or planning genocide; however, she uses the news (both real and exaggerated) to elicit hysteria out of those that hear it.

This type of sensationalized reporting has become all too common. Nowadays, it is hard to differentiate between what is actually true and what is said only for effect.

Sensationalized news is not true reporting and must be fought against. With terms such as “fake news” becoming a regular part of our vocabulary, the public must realize what is going on.

In Network, the sensationalization that brings the titular network the recognition it craves is also its undoing. As the film barrels forward with unwavering precision in its satirical drama, the viewer becomes increasingly entranced with the lies the characters tell as they fight each other for power and attention. Everything screeches to a halt in a powerful, shocking, and violent climax.

In short, everything Network does for power over the masses backfires, dragging all those involved down with it.

Network’s message is incredibly relevant to the world today. The film itself is a warning that the people must seek out and present the truth, or else face the disastrous consequences.

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