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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 03:31 PM
Original message
I have a serious question for DUers
Why do we never see the American poor on TV unless there's a disaster in their neighbourhoods. Is that deliberate policy by M$M?
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Warpy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 03:35 PM
Response to Original message
1. Yes, They're there to sell products, not reflect reality
and there's only so much product placement you can do in poor folks' homes.

You need to show upper middle class families to push the matched furniture, fad appliance colors, and new technology.
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 03:35 PM
Response to Original message
2. I imagine it is
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enlightenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 03:36 PM
Response to Original message
3. I think you should, perhaps, compare US TV to other nations
before deciding on the reasons.

I don't know the answer to your question, but I've never gotten any sense from TV in any country I've visited that they spend a lot of time examining the lives of the poor or making fictional shows about them.

"Working class" is about as low as most want to go.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 03:50 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. The working class are the poor
We see stories about the poor quite often. Journalists go into their communities to speak about the deplorable conditions. Indeed politicians even create ads showing the state of opposition constituencies.

It's like there's a blackout on their lives.
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Lone_Star_Dem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 03:37 PM
Response to Original message
4. I can only offer my theory
Americans don't like to see the reality of poverty in America. The media is beholden to their advertisers who won't spend money on a program people don't watch. If they air the truth about poverty in America many people are likely to look to another media outlets that shows the latest on Britney, or some other type of feel good story.

If some people don't have to view realty they can pretend it doesn't exist.
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Rosemary2205 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 03:38 PM
Response to Original message
5. "Cops" is on everyday here.
and I think Maury is still doing those paternity tests...........

In all seriousness, I think the MSM, like every other industry, is going to be geared toward what makes money. Since most of the people who have time to sit around and watch TV are at least lower middle class, there's not much of an incentive to spend a lot of time on extreme poverty as a form of entertainment. Middle, and lower middle folks don't really want to be reminded of where they will end up if they miss just one or two paychecks.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 04:02 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Funny how that's what M$M believes people want to see
about themselves. I'd like to see a special on how they survive.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 04:05 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. A friend of mine produces"Cops". When Mike Moore asked him
what it would take to put white collar criminals into the same frame, he said they need to take their shirts off and run in traffic. I think that was in "Bowling for Columbine".

Yes, the market is for really stupid stuff.
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kimmerspixelated Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #7
10. I think it's interesting, too, that sitcoms in general
never revolve around any real struggling families these days.Apparently, they don't seem to exist at all. I'm trying to recall the last show I ever saw where someone even said, "we can't afford that!" ..or something like that. The Honeymooners, were obviously pretty poor folks, and so were the characters from Good Times.
But those aired so long ago in prime time. Oddly, it's only just occasionally those shows even show up on TVLAND anymore. The MSM doesn't want to put a microscope on anything so embaressing (in their eyes) as a poverty stricken or struggling American family.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. That's what I'm thinking
The illusion must be kept up at all costs. It's sad and it also hurts those who cannot keep up with the consumer madness. It wasn't always that way.
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mitchtv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 04:03 PM
Response to Original message
8. No stories on Latin America or Gays either
Bad Mexican illegals ok , but not much more
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:16 PM
Response to Reply #8
18. No Gays have a better chance of being included
on TV than poor families but of course there are no poor Gays.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 04:17 PM
Response to Original message
11. Your perception is correct, and that's in contrast to other countries
For example, there's a soap opera in the UK called East Enders, which is seen on some public TV stations. It's about working class people in a London neighborhood, and they aren't glamorized in any way. They're not street people, but they're not all doctors and lawyers and business executives, either.

Japan, too, is more likely to portray social class distinction. When I was teaching Japanese, I used one videotaped crime drama episode in particular, because it showed the contrast between the lives of the middle class and the poor realistically. Even when the story and characters are all middle class, there's an effort to portray the actual settings and situations that middle class people would find them in.

This is in contrast to U.S. TV, where fictional characters are nearly always comfortable middle class.

Accustomed to realistic portrayals on their own TV programs, some of my Japanese friends thought that all Americans lived in luxury, judging from the U.S. programs that were shown there.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:11 PM
Response to Reply #11
16. Great post
Many of my students believe everyone in America is rich
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cosmik debris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 04:18 PM
Response to Original message
12. Duh! it is quite simple
TV is in the entertainment industry.

Poverty is not entertaining.

Did that require a genius to figure out?
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cornermouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:02 PM
Response to Original message
14. Poor people aren't pretty.
A lot of the time, they're not necessarily healthy. They aren't model thin and they aren't what we all want to be. That's why we never see poor people on tv.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:13 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. But doesn't that destroy them psychologically
if they never see their own portrayed on TV.
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cornermouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #17
19. Probably.
You plan to do something to change it? Probably the closest we've ever been to people who didn't have the potential to be a model or a playboy centerfold was the Roseanne Show.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:54 PM
Response to Reply #19
25. Good Times was pretty good
and as crass as Archie Bunker was, he was real. Norman Lear was pretty good.
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cornermouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 06:36 PM
Response to Reply #25
26. Yep.
I didn't think of either of those, but yes, you're right. Archie Bunker was priceless in that he could point out just how nuts the ultra conservative stance was and still is.
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BlooInBloo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:05 PM
Response to Original message
15. I can see poor people just by going outside. Do I have to have every part of my life...
... inundated with them? (Same goes for ugly ppl on teevee.)
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:15 PM
Response to Reply #15
27. Yes, your "beautiful mind"
:eyes:
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:35 PM
Response to Original message
20. wish i knew.
:shrug:
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Octafish Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:37 PM
Response to Original message
21. Poor people make bad ratings.
Bad ratings mean reduced advertising revenues.

On another level:

No poor on TV means America spends less time thinking about Congress stripping out social programs on behalf of the empire's perpetual war.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #21
24. That's why I raised the issue
Escapism eliminates thinking about real issues.
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mrbluto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:39 PM
Response to Original message
22. Poor? Not just the poor....
Edited on Sat Mar-08-08 05:45 PM by mrbluto
...who does any work on TV?

Doctors, lawyers, police and....who?

It's mainly "will he live", "blame" and "whodunnit?"

And look at where they all live. There's three basic modes with an occasional hint of regional flavor. It's either a place few of us could afford, or someplace so opulent we could barely imagine it, or pointedly lower class - no in between really.

Most of TV is a perfect blend of escapism that somehow instills us with an appetite to consume.

But hey, TV programing has to dance with them's that brung 'em to the ball.

Advertisers.

Imagine programing that made you think about your situation realistically and prompted you to consume less - how long would that show last? Take a wild guess.

TV is an instrument with which power installs in the general populous a twisted map.

No wonder there's such a move to insist on tiered gate-keeping on the intertubes.

It's hard to take a stand or make progress if it's a chore just to know where you are or where you might go, never mind convince anyone else of these things.

p.s.: remember - any abuse of authority is instigated by a few rotten apples, until, of course, you'd like to undermine the idea of civil government, then it's all mindless bureaucracy and black helicopters. Same thing really - no middle ground.

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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 05:48 PM
Response to Reply #22
23. Nice post
Edited on Sat Mar-08-08 05:50 PM by malaise
Still I wonder if the exclusion of such a large section of the population has led to the massive alienation of so many people.

Do this think this explains UTube's popularity since people can show their own lives and interests?

Add.
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Horse with no Name Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-08-08 11:17 PM
Response to Original message
28. It's because the politicians never make THEM an issue
and since the politicians send the directives to the MSM...so there you go.
MSM is also who killed the chances of the only candidates that would have made the poor an issue and given them a platform.
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