Is reality TV manipulating and exploiting the viewers and people taking part?

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Viewers can't be exploited - they have independent will, and can turn off the TV or change the station whenever they wish.  Manipulating?  Maybe, a bit.  But there still has to be some willing participation by the viewer.  Reality TV shows tend to appeal to the basest of emotions, and...

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Viewers can't be exploited - they have independent will, and can turn off the TV or change the station whenever they wish.  Manipulating?  Maybe, a bit.  But there still has to be some willing participation by the viewer.  Reality TV shows tend to appeal to the basest of emotions, and critical judgement is suspended.

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Manipulating and exploiting viewers?  Maybe.  It is entertainment - I mean, does the news, or Family Guy or CSI: Miami manipulate and expoit viewers?  Perhaps they manipulate and exploit ideas which when viewed as unbiased facts would cause an uneducated audience to therefore be manipulated.

Manipulating and exploiting those involvoed?  Definitely.  I don't think we can even conceive of how much raw material is edited down to the 42 minutes we actually get to see on TV.  With enough material, editors can very nearly create any story they want.  A few seasons ago, some entertainment news program showed how on a recent episode of The Bachelor the exact same kissing scene was shown, I don't know, 8 or 10 times, and presented from a different angle each time so that it appeared to have happened this many times.  Really, every scene was actually the same kiss... dumb example, but in short, yes, reality TV exploits its participants.  Most people on their own are not that entertaining... it takes a little creative piecing together of otherwise boring stuff.

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"Manipulating and Exploiting" would seem to be the key phrase here, and most of the time I would have to say NO.  Like Pohnpei said, the people who sign up for realities shows generally know what they are getting into and people who watch the show can always turn it off.  To me, being manipulated has the connotation that you don't really know it is going on...most people, by now, are sophisticated enough to know that TV producers are going to get what they can out of you and watch the shows with a grain of salt.

That said, I have seen certain reality shows that may cross that line (and even here I wonder if the people involved don't at least suspect subconsciously that they are being exploited.)  Reality shows that deal with washed up celebrities (Gary Coleman running a restaurant for cash and prizes,) recovering addicts (like you see on TLC all the time), or children (remember that Fox show where the kids ran the town?) I think are exploitive.

Some are manipulative to the "actors" (I'm thinking of the Joe Millionaire show, where they trick the girl into thinking he's rich when he's really just fat and balding.)  I can't really see, though, how the audience is being manipulated in a truly negative way (beyond having their emotions toyed with by characters they come to care about.)

At least, that's my two cents.

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Well, of course it is manipulating and exploiting viewers.  That is what TV is for.  What I mean by that is that all shows manipulate viewers.  They want viewers to care about what is going on so they will continue watching.  They exploit viewers because their whole purpose it to attract viewers so the networks can sell ads.

Is this morally wrong?  Not to me -- everyone knows what's going on, so it's not like anyone is being tricked.

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