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Media Matters scandalized by cable news sets being small

Media Matters for America

It comes as a surprise to the good people at the liberal Media Matters that Fox News, like any other TV channel, uses little tricks to deliver a more visually appealing product than would be possible otherwise.

"Huckabee" studio via Media Matters

Exhibit A: The live audience featured in Fox News's "Huckabee" is made to look larger by a mirror wall.

"Mike Huckabee's Fox News program uses a mirror placed next to the program's studio audience in order to make it appear as if far more people are in attendance," reads a post on Media Matters entirely dedicated to the mirror.

Most cable news studios are small. Most also don't feature a live audience on set, partially because they're too small. The idea that one show might attempt to make its full audience seem bigger doesn't breach whatever ethical borders cable news already has.

As to ward off Media Matters from any future unwelcome surprises, we've compiled a not-nearly-complete list of other things TV news outlets do to enhance their product...

--The stunning vista viewers can see behind a guest or anchor is usually not real. It is either an image projected onto a electronic screen from a camera set up elsewhere (like one pointed at the White House, for example) or a wallpaper-like backdrop.

--The anchorman or woman has not memorized a script and is not speaking off the cuff for most of the time he or she is on air. There's a thing called a teleprompter that sits inside the camera pointed at him or her. It displays prepared text in capitalized letters that the anchorman or woman reads.

--The on-air talent don't always look as attractive as they do on TV. There's a team of people called a makeup crew that prepares the talent each day with powders, lipsticks and hair products to make them seem better looking. Adjusted lighting also helps.

--Anchors aren't all-knowing, unassisted robots.There's a producer that speaks into a microphone linked to an earpiece worn by anchors. This connection allows the producer to deliver a heads-up to the anchor on breaking news, correct the anchor should she or he misspeak, suggest a question for the anchor to ask a guest, etc.


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