Reality TV and its Effect on our Political and Social Lives 

Reality TV and its Effect on our Political and Social Lives 

Lucine La Porta, Staff Writer

At the finish of this election, we are reminded of the craziness of 2016. Looking back, we wonder how someone with no political background won the biggest election in the United States. There are many answers to this question, but one of them is reality television. Donald Trump on tv is like a car crash, terrible, but we slow down to look anyway. Manipulation of television and social media outlets helped him to achieve the position of president. Reality television has the power to change people’s self-image and political views, it is important to realize this so we can make decisions for ourselves and not have them made by other people.  

Watching reality television from an early age changes people’s self-image and feeling of self-worth, especially with young girls. On reality television shows people are judged on looks and not on personality, girls who watch reality tv shows such as the Bachelor think that to be famous or fall in love, they need to be a specific type of beautiful. It is important to remember that these people are mostly chosen for looks and how their personalities will clash. Reality television gives the negative and dramatic elements that people crave. Aspects such as voting people off and, of course, all the drama makes people addicted to these shows. An article from the Mental Health Foundation explains that people who compare themselves to people on tv are likely to think that to succeed and have a “good” life they need to be famous.  

Now more than ever reality television has an impact on our lives. These shows can change the way we see the world. A very prominent example of this is the rising of Donald Trump. Starting in the 1970s when he started the development of Trump INC. Trump was a television persona. With shows like The Apprentice millions of people were watching a reality tv show about a successful businessman. Trump realized that he had a platform to do something that no one thought he could accomplish. Listening to Trump talking it is hard to imagine voting for him, but what people realized was that he was someone they knew. Having been tv shows for over 10 years and on tv for more than twice that long he was known. Trump was starting to mash together reality tv and politics. Using his already established television platform plus help from FOX News, Trump was able to share his campaign goals and political views.  

In James Poniewozik’s book called Audience of One: Donald Trump Television, and the Fracturing of America, he talks about how Trump gave people what they wanted, drama. With very controversial views, constant tweets, outrage, and jumping from subject to subject, Trump appealed to the attributes that people liked about tv. “He creates emotions and conflicts in media format and people saw that” (James Poniewozik). Instead of being on tv Trump was the tv. By being able to control and manipulate the media and tv, helped Trump in his winning the 2016 election.  

It is important to remember that when we are watching tv that what we are watching is changing the way we see the world. It is something that we should be aware of whether we are okay with that. People do not need to become famous or change who they are to be successful. We also have to be aware that reality tv is changing politics rapidly, to the point that anyone with enough publicity can run for president. Do not just watch reality tv, but also watch the news and see what is happening in the rest of the world and be aware of your changing views.