[EDITORIALS] Ridicule and Abuse as Entertainment
Granted, the fact that the shows on major television networks can be viewed by anyone may not be a reason for all those shows to be "civics textbooks" for the public.
Competition among the networks for more viewers is inevitable since the reality is that both state-owned and private networks rely on commercials for their income.
But it is a serious problem if show producers at network channels forget their social responsibility and believe they can do anything to bring up their ratings.
Competition among network channels has gone beyond the limits of sensationalism recently and has resorted to abusing show participants.
In one game show, the winner was selected by having participants eat raw hot peppers and by having them hit one another on the head.
In another show, a celebrity actor had to eat 300 different types of Chinese food at one sitting and a woman who had no self-confidence about her appearance had to go through the task of applying for a part-time job at an upscale restaurant and a jewelry shop and cope with the shame of being rejected.
An emcee of yet another show took off his pants as a punishment during a game.
Watching people being humiliated or abused on television does not produce cathartic effects or vicarious satisfaction that producers should strive for.
Mass communications scholars say rather than producing the desired effects, these shows incur serious side effects such as mimicked masochism.
If the producers do not have the desire or the ability to see these side effects, shows that attempt to turn other people's suffering into viewers' enjoyment should be scrapped immediately.
We live in a society where school violence and ostracism are major concerns. These shows only serve to worsen such problems.
In the future, network channels should review comprehensively all the entertainment programs that make up nearly one-half of their daily broadcasts.
At the same time, program outlines and props used in them should be carefully reviewed prior to going on the air. Producers and script writers who come up with these type of stunts because of their idiosyncratic imaginations should not be allowed to see their views become a part of the aired programs that find their way directly into viewers' homes.