Swenson Article on King, Denny, and TV News

The article by Jill Dianne Swenson focuses on the beatings of Rodney King and Reginald Denny, the encoding within the respective videos and together. This article talks about how the use of videos to show both of these beatings creates a hyperreal concept in the memory of viewers. Furthermore viewers are seduced by the news broadcasters to think that just watching the video enough to solve the problem. The main focus however, is the encoded message within the videos, and how those two messages relate to one another forming the idea of racial inequality. The Rodney King video contained both intentional encoding from the news stations and unintentional encoding from the amateur cameraman, Holliday. Some of the attributes in the encoding included are the gaze, lighting, camera angle, color, texture, and style of the recording. All these things put together enhance the realism of the unclear video making it look more historical with the perpetrators unaware of the recording. The black and white color creates the two sides, good and bad. The Reginald Denny video encoding gives the view of God from above, with clarity allows the viewer to distinguish who is who. This video also shows the great contrast between the victims light skin tone, his white cloths and the blood over his body. The Denny video is presented as the reversing of roles from the King video. Swenson though argues that this is not true and instead the Denny video was used by the media to add the racial inequality being push by the media. She says Denny is encoded as only the victim while King is both the victim and villain. Overall she believes the two videos portrayed the dangers of black and whites being together.

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