"Tabloid Television: The Enemy"

Essay by linz40College, UndergraduateA, April 2003

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Tabloid television is defined as a program that presents the news in a fast-paced, condensed form, usually with sensational material. This type of television can be divided into three main categories. The first is the "reality-TV," which uses examples of car accidents and rescues by police officers. These shows include COPS and Rescue 911. The second type of tabloid television is talk shows. They are usually shows dealing with topics that are too "distasteful" for the conventional journalism. Jerry Springer and Montel are two prime examples of talk shows. Tabloid television's third category is the alternative newscasts such as Entertainment Tonight and Extra. They may look like a regular nightly newscast, but in reality, they are using laughter and fast paced segments instead of the usual seriousness of nightly news. Tabloid television's negative aspects in alternative newscasts, especially Entertainment Tonight, include excessive display of violence, the encouragement of substance abuse, and the unnecessary creation of stereotypes.

Is the promotion of violence on television absolutely essential? In addition to tabloid television's failure to support consequences to violent actions, powerful violence has gradually desensitized viewers to despicable acts such as murder and rape. Entertainment Tonight was at its peak when they covered stories such as the O.J. Simpson murder trial and the Jon Benet Ramsey murder mystery. Entertainment Tonight also aired a segment last year called "Murder Game." Just by the title, you can tell viewers are in for an interesting story. This particular piece is informing America on a new television series. The show is about a serial killer who tapes his murders and leaves them as clues for the contestants to find ("Murder 1). This is a shocking and controversial show, but of course tabloid television will air anything, including a show about murder, if they think it...