Thursday, April 17, 2008

One Of The Greatest Threats To American Society?

We are ignoring something that is, in my mind, a silent but very serious threat to America. Yes, I am talking about reality shows. Or, more precisely, the importance we place on them in our society.

I will admit I have a very poor opinion of these shows and further I can say, proudly I might add, that I have never seen any of them. What started out as mere disinterest has slowly developed into a personal mission to avoid them at all costs. I find the thought of watching these shows to be mind numbingly dull. I believe they have managed to take an already idiotic line up of shows on television to a new low. Let’s just say I don’t like them.

Also, I want to be abundantly clear that I do not feel they are as great a threat to our society as terrorism, recent reports of children not graduating from high school, or the very real threat of a Democrat being elected president (shudder). The effect they have had on our culture though is nearly as profound as these though.

My greatest concern is the effect the shows have had on the news. It is hard to be concerned about the dumbing down of television because TV has always found a way to out-stupid itself. As examples I give you the Dukes of Hazard, any Saturday Night Live episode aired since the original cast left, and The View. The real threat is how the “respectable” news reports on the happenings on reality shows, The American Idol in particular.

Evidently there was a person voted off the island on American Idol last night because a survey of online news sites including Foxnews.com, The Drudge Report, Yahoo.com, CNN and MSNBC.com showed that all had prominent postings on their site for the results. ABC didn’t have one because it had a story about some apparent panty mishap for a contest on some other reality show (sorry didn’t go look at this story). CBS didn’t have an American Idol story because it left room for a Dancing With The Stars pictorial.

I understand the reason why the news organizations report on these stories, money. They are sacrificing the news to appeal to the most base desires of the public. The next story you will read is how the American news media is steadily loosing credibility. Do you think they will ever figure it out?

Now before you accuse me of being completely humorless and lacking of any ability to enjoy myself, understand I personally could care less about reality programming. If people want to watch it, knock yourself out or, more accurately, have your brain sucked out by the television set.
My concern though is the emphasis afforded it by the national media. We do have problems in this country we must address. We still live under the threat of terrorism and I can’t help but feel that we are not talking about it as much because it brings us down. Tough. Ignoring it will not make it go away. We have gas prices that are killing us. We have global warming oops sorry, this just in, the earth has been cooling the last few years (actually just kidding, the news media hasn’t been reporting on this). We recently have had a report released that approximately 50% of kids in large cities are not graduating, including less than 25% of the kids in Detroit. This story lasted for about two days in the media. If you really want to get depressed about the news, really stop and think about the fact that this story was bumped from the news for the latest on American Idol. The good news though is if we continue with our present graduation rate, the reality shows are guaranteed an audience for decades to come.

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