Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Plenty of blame to go around

Charges are expected any time now against Richard Heene, the self-promoting lunatic from Colorado who touched off a frantic search last week by claiming that his 6-year-old son, Falcon, had drifted off in a balloon shaped like a flying saucer. There are now suggestions by authorities that Richard Heene and his wife, Mayumi, staged the whole thing in order to attract attention for a reality television show. The family is no stranger to the genre, having appeared twice before on "Wife Swap," a program in which two very different women swap families for a period of time. The producer of that program was working on a new show involving the Heenes but has now backed out, which is rather amazing, because it might be the first time that people involved with reality television have shown any concern for their subjects. America has watched as the TLC network has tried to milk every ratings point and advertising dollar possible from the dissolution of the Gosselin family, stars of "Jon & Kate Plus Eight." And even though the parents are in the midst of a bitter divorce, and the family is crumbling, TLC continues to suckle at the teat of misery. There's a reason television producers and networks give us shows such as "Jerry Springer," "Rock of Love" and "Temptation Island." People watch. And those people have to bear part of the responsibility for what has happened to the Gosselin family and what's happening now with the Heene family. Certainly, the Heenes were going to be loons anyway - they reportedly believe they're descendants of aliens - but with no potential audience for their shenanigans, perhaps things wouldn't have gone this far.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could not agree with you more Brant. "Reality" television is a classic oxymoron. There is nothing real about it. I'm astounded at the ratings these absurd shows attain.

October 20, 2009 at 9:30 AM  
Anonymous x anonymous said...

Mayumi was the one that called 9-11! Not that it matters. I read it cost about 2 million dollars for this stunt. The FAA had to divert traffic. Do you really think this guy should be slapped with felony charges or repay the monies lost for his actions? Any case, I think the only show he should do is Dr.Phil.

Reality TV brings out the worst in everyone. I don't watch it. They have talk shows for that, like Jerry.

October 20, 2009 at 11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's encouraging that at least Falcon hadn't been corrupted by his parents. He told the truth. Now THAT'S reality TV.

October 20, 2009 at 12:39 PM  
Blogger Lori said...

Sad but true. The only show that seems a true "Reality" show worth watching was The Colony. Even though the cast obviously know they are being watched by camera crews, they give is real disaster recover/survival tips and strategies.
TLC needs a new head.

October 20, 2009 at 1:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only reality TV i watch is the Evening news, and that's pretty freakin' scary.

October 20, 2009 at 2:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are many fascinating things about this story.

1. The Cable News Networks aired this with the hopes that a dead 6-year-old would fall out of the balloon basket on live TV. I bet the heads of the respective programs were praying to their ratings god for this to happen.

2. The cable networks got scammed by a self-promoter who needed very little help to do it. I like this part the best.

3. I think the children should be taken from this family for a while, not because they are in any danger but simply to punish the mother and father and to deter others from copying this.

4. A fight broke out with a neighbor and the numerous network facilities, whose trucks were blocking his curb. Even though this man was a lunatic, I was still pulling him to beat the cable people senseless.

5. Instead of being embarrassed about being taken, the cable networks acted as if nothing unusual happened with their coverage. Arrogance knows no limits.

October 21, 2009 at 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew 24-hour news coverage had become useless when they followed OJ Simpson's slow-speed chase. It occurred to me that theyt were hoping the OJ would leap out of the white Bronco shooting at anything that moved.

What passes for news these days is just a reflection of how bored we have become.

October 22, 2009 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger Dawn Keller said...

I read in Howard Kurtz's Washington Post column that Fox News had a delay while they were showing the live coverage in case the boy fell out. It made me wonder if the other networks did the same. I haven't heard or read one way or the other.
I've never watched reality TV unless you count football. lol. I think my life is better for it. :)
I think these folks should have to pay every cent that it cost for emergency personnel to respond to this.
And finally, I feel bad for their kids to have to live through this.

October 22, 2009 at 6:02 PM  

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