“Don’t like the show? Just turn the television off.”
There are many that would have you believe that a simple pushing of a button is the appropriate response to any offensive material. These same people probably look the other way when they hear their neighbor being beaten by her husband. This same bunch of pacifists never bother to inquire as to whether or not little Johnny’s bruises were the result of an “accident”. These people represent lazy America, a community of citizens who believe that the best way to fight offensive and irresponsible media is by simply ignoring it.
There have been a number of articles written on AC about this very subject. Heather James’ article “Go-Tarts TV Commercials: Teaching Our Children to Behave like Jerks” and Oliver Hazard’s article “How American Idol Destroys America” offer two great examples of how media contributes to the degradation of our society. Though both articles were well received, there were the inevitable comments stating that offended viewers needed to simply turn away, as if that very act would solve the problem.
I understand the significance of “looking away”. After all, media can’t please everyone. It shouldn’t have to. Don’t want to see breasts on television? Don’t watch cable. Does violence make you uncomfortable? Avoid 24. I get that. However, when nearly every broadcast station sells out for the sake of sensationalism, exploiting willing Americans in any way possible, there is nowhere left to turn.
Whether it’s Survivor or Temptation Island, Hell’s Kitchen or The Bachelor, these realities shows have one thing in common: RATINGS! This means that they profile the contestants to find the most dramatic and confrontational, and then cast them accordingly. The bottom line is that the producers want all of the luxuries of a day time soap opera without having to script them, at least not as much. Then America gets to watch mindless soaps without the stigma of “Days of Our Lives.
I’ve no doubt that boycotting is a legitimate action. Unfortunately, simply throwing your television out the window isn’t going to change the way American producers choose their projects. Americans need to take action.
Write to the advertisers
Don’t just gripe about that offensive commercial, tell someone. Specifically, write the company and describe in detail why their commercial impacted you so negatively.
Write to the television stations
Hold your favorite station accountable. Write them and let them know exactly how disgusted or disappointed you are.
Write to anyone involved in the particular project.
Producers, directors and even actors have a say in the direction a program takes. They support what they think will sell. Show them that there is a demand for more responsible television shows.
Write a blog
Another AC writer, (don’t even get me started on how much I hate the term “content producer”) The Minus Factor, is attempting to start a repository for customer transactions or experiences. Not exactly the same thing, but it’s a start in the right direction.
At the end of it all, remember that changing laws does nothing but take away our freedoms. The answer to media problems, such as these and others, is not found through legal means, but rather, through removing a network’s ability to make revenue. Don’t let the government decide what America should be watching, choose for yourself by taking REAL action and not just looking the other way.