Reality TV Won't Tell Truth; Someone Suffers Consequences

Correction:This article cites an incorrect Associated Press report that said Jon and Kate Gosselin had been living apart for two years. A TLC spokeswoman confirmed that the Gosselins have been living apart for only a week or two. AP also issued a correction.


It doesn't hurt to be reminded television can fool with reality on reality shows. Does anyone get hurt here?

We are reminded of this as word comes that Jon and Kate Gosselin of TLC's reality family show, "Jon & Kate Plus 8," have actually have been living apart for at least two years.

This comes after an episode on Monday night revealed the couple are getting a divorce. During the entire five-year span of their cable network show, the Gosselins had portrayed themselves as happy until the past few months -- even renewing their wedding vows in Hawaii last year.



All of which brings up this question: Why don't TLC advertisers demand some make-goods for supporting a real-life show that isn't? Because unlike the content on Fox News, CNN, or ABC News, reality TV isn't news -- but it sure looks real.

TV needs a stimulus package, alright. Maybe that should come with disclaimers attached to some shows.

Half-truths and other half-baked stuff are everywhere. At USA Network a press release went out recently that said Donald Trump was buying WWE's "Raw." It turned out it wasn't true.

Critics blamed the business press for not following up, snickering that TV writers should have known this is part of the show's storyline, and that wrestling is, after all, all-phony. (MediaPost fell for the story, as well).

That's all well and good. But a lie is a lie. Does WWE get a free pass where other shows have to be a bit more responsible? (For its part, USA Network apologized for its gaffe; but not the WWE, however.)

Backlash? What might happen the next time USA Network issues a ratings release about WWE's "Raw"? Will the press avoid that story -- or make fun of it? What about WWE investors?

This is your current TV landscape -- full of spin and promotion. Real-life wrestlers slam chairs at each other, and a loving couple smiles and takes marriage vows.

There is no real mystery here: Nobody gets hurts, and everyone makes money -- for the most part.

6 comments about "Reality TV Won't Tell Truth; Someone Suffers Consequences".
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  1. Tom Fraticelli from The Roanoke Times, June 24, 2009 at 3:51 p.m.

    What might happen the next time USA Network issues a ratings release about WWE's "Raw"? Will the press avoid that story -- or make fun of it?

    No. They will eat it up and pass it off as news when it is really rumor. Look at the free marketing the author of A Million Little Pieces garnered with a cute press release about his latest book that involved an author fooling a powerful talk-show host.

  2. Christina Ricucci from Millenia 3 Communications, June 24, 2009 at 3:53 p.m.

    Get real, Wayne. "Reality television" is no more real than the cop shows or sitcoms. Do you think people are under the impression that "reality TV" is genuine? That what we see is spontaneous and unrehearsed? Do you think it's not common knowledge that writers and shooters and producers create, recreate, and manipulate the process to get a show that will draw viewers? A lie may be a lie, but what does television have to do with truth? It's entertainment. Even what we casually refer to as "the news" is a form of entertainment. Television CREATES the truth where expedient, where more attractive... to gain the desired broad mindset and thus the desired actions/reactions from the people. Anybody who expects to see what a friend used to call "true truth" on TV is either new to television...or hasn't watched it since 1950.

  3. Paul Van winkle from FUNCTION, June 24, 2009 at 3:54 p.m.

    This is distorted truth.

    And your last lines need re-editing.

    Because there is mystery here -- because people don't and often can't see what's real and what's happening. We're prevented. It's being perverted for entertainment.

    And the truth is: Plenty of people stay dumb and hurt, and only a select few make real money -- for the most part -- because nothing changes watching and living in distorted realities. That's the point.

  4. Bea Rush, June 24, 2009 at 3:58 p.m.

    When I decided to pass getting a converter box, I wistfully wondered if I was making a mistake. After reading about the mess of Reality TV with that disfunctional couple (which I never watched anyway) and Trump's WWE junk news, I smiled and knew that giving up conventional TV was the right thing to do. Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, I'm free at last! Now that's a beautiful reality.

  5. Joel Warady from Joel Warady Group, June 24, 2009 at 4:08 p.m.

    The fact is, people who watch shows like this are getting exactly what they pay for. They are more concerned about being entertained than they are about reality. Let's face it; what reality shows are 100% real these days, anyways?

    If people are willing to watch, the production companies will continue to feed the people the content, and the truth behind the content runs a distant second to the entertainment value.

  6. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, June 24, 2009 at 6:32 p.m.

    It's one thing about volunteering to be a hoax and there is another thing about being volunteered especially when those people are too young to make that decision. We may even want to describe what hurt and pain is and its causes before "nobody" is declared.

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