Ethan Switch - Monday, 28 April 2003
In broadcast journalism, the power of the metaphor is strengthened if and when it mutates into the visual breed. With the amount of stock footage available to the evening news programs one metaphor will invariably find itself stretched over into other items.
One recent highlight was that of the presentation of the report of a convicted rapist sent to fourteen years gaol. Identified only as 'A.N.' a camera was fixed onto his blurred image as he ran from the Downing Centre Court in Sydney. As he made his way down to the underground train station the reporter recounted some of the incidents that led to his conviction. One such account involved that of a girl hounded on a train who, on fighting back, a knife was put up against her throat and the leader demanded sex. Fortunately for her, she managed to escape at the next station.
While this information was read, the screen reeled images of the maiden voyage of the recently warehoused Millennium Trains. Citing many problems from the outset these trains have been taken off the tracks indefinitely. One major sticking point for the trains was that the drivers weren't capable of understanding their surroundings and their inability to handle the situations presented. In addition to this the trains themselves were the subject of constant malfunctions and setting off alarms and safety goats.
In short, they were defective and have been justly put away.
Social commentary was hardly subliminal in this instance.