During the peak ratings years of The Jerry Springer Show -- an alleged reality show -- a fight would break out among the guests during almost every episode. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jerry_Springer_Show
It seemed obvious to me that these fights were orchestrated by the producers. What are the odds that a fight would break out during every episode and yet no one would ever get hurt or arrested?
The surprising thing is that everyone I talked to about the show during its glory years believed the fighting was genuine and spontaneous. I found that level of gullibility to be mind boggling.
Likewise, when big name TV magicians perform spectacular tricks on TV, such as making a jet disappear, and the witnesses on the scene act amazed, it's obvious to me that those people are in on the trick, and/or their comments of amazement are taken out of context. The magician's only obligation is to entertain the gullible viewers at home. Paying actors to claim they don't know how the jet disappeared, and filming reactions out of context, is the easiest way to do it.
All of this gets me to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck. Both of them have been in the news a lot for their outspoken and controversial views. And once again, people don't seem to understand that their jobs are entertainment, nothing more.
I enjoy sampling the content from the far left as well as the far right. When I listen to Limbaugh, I generally have two reactions:
- I don't agree with the viewpoint expressed.
- This man is an entertainment genius.
Talk show hosts have no legal or ethical obligation to do anything but entertain. And judging by their successes, Limbaugh and Beck are brilliant at their jobs. I find it mind boggling that anyone believes a TV talk host is expressing his own true views.
You could make a case that the things Limbaugh and Beck say influences the gullible masses in ways that are not helpful to society. But that's probably true of every pundit, left or right. It's a price of free speech.
Do you think that Limbaugh and Beck have the same views in private as they spray into the entertainmentsphere?