Ethics of ‘Reality’ TV

We live in an age where reality television has taken over the airwaves. Shows like “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race,” “Top Chef,” “Real Housewives” of you-name-it, and more make “real” people the stars of the show. An interesting post on an NPR blog raises the issues of “ethical reality TV” and and author proposes an “honor code” for the producers of reality shows. Given that many times the “reality” we see portrayed can reveal some of the worst sides of humanity, maybe she’s on to something. Discuss her ideas with young adults:

  • Do you have ethical concerns about any of the reality TV shows you watch?
  • What do you think producers, advertisers, and even viewers should do about it?
  • What’s your favorite reality TV show and why do you watch it? What characters on these shows do you identify with?