Debate: Talk Shows

Chrsitine Tirman

Talk About Talk Shows

In the world of television, talk shows have undoubtedly taken up almost

every inch of space on daytime television, and while doing so has caused much controversy.

In the nineteen eighties, soap opera's and game shows ruled the daytime airwaves, but the

nineties are definitely the decade of the talk shows. The craze of talk shows all seemed to

start with the originals such as Geraldo Riveria, Donahue and Sally Jesse Rafael (now called

Sally) In fact, many of their original topics are still being used in today's talk shows, but with

a different style and format.

Some of the talk shows on the air today, such as the Oprah Winfrey Show

and the Montel Wiliams Show are focused on improvement of society and the quality of life.

They focus on topics such as children, the workplace, everyday life and sometimes have

interviews with respectable celebrities. You can catch shows with titles such as ?Teaching

Your Children Responsibly?, or ?How to Manage Your Work Week?. These shows actually

educate people and teach the child that watches them right from wrong. They also have

shows exposing things such as child or spousal abuse and make people aware of these

dangers. People even feel a special attachment to their favorite talk show hosts and talk

about them as if they know them. Even the so - called ?trash talk shows? such as the Jerry

Springer Show, have their upsides. Jerry once did a show featuring David Duke, a former

KKK clansman who was presently running for senate. Jerry claims his constant shows on

the clan is to let people know about racism. (Medill 1) Although he actually did it for

publicity, I think that Jerry Springer actually did help us by exposing this man for what he

was. Jerry's rebuttal to his bad wrap is that he is helping these people get the attention

they need by letting them be on his show, and helping to avoid them trying to get it

elsewhere. (HighTimes 2) By watching shows like these people can see and understand

things that they probably wouldn't witness in their everyday life. Then there are the shows

that aren't quite trash, but are not exactly educational either such as the Jenny Jones Show,

or the Ricki Lake Show. These shows are good for a laugh and are lighthearted and not as

drastically honorable as the the Opera Winfrey Show, or as blatant as the Jerry Springer


The problem most people have with talk shows it that they exploit peoples lives for

everyone to see. While flipping through all the channels you are bound to see innuendoes

of sex, adultery hate and drugs, whether it is on the news or soap operas. The reason that

talk shows take the most heat for his is because it is not an innuendo; it is an hour of

analyzing these taboo issues. Also, any child or adolescent that sees these things may think

it is normal to lead this kind of lifestyle. It is very confusing for a child to have been taught

their moral values and than turn on the TV and see people openly taking on shows titled

?Teenage Prostitutes? and ?Pregnant strippers?. And imagine how a thirteen-year-old must

feel when she watches a show about other thirteen years olds, but these teens have

already had twelve sexual partners, and their parents condone it! Besides all the

problems for the public viewers, the people that actually go on the show are often tricked,

or not told what the show is about. Only a few years ago a man named Schmitz was

brought on the Jenny Jones Show for a show entitled ?I Have a Secret Crush on You?.

Needless to say he was thoroughly upset when another man, Amedure, came out to greet

him on public television. Shortly after the taping of the show, Schmitz shot and killed

Amedure. (Parker 1) This is only one example, but I am sure that many people that appear

on these shows end up wishing they hadn't. Especially when the show doesn't let them

know what they are getting in to. The author of the Book of Virtues, Tom Lieberman, says

?Television does exert an enormous influence over our culture