“Songs for Sale” aired on CBS between 1950 and 1952, but the history of “American Idol” and its contemporary copycats can be traced even further back than that! Less than half of one percent of US households even owned a television set when “Doorway to Fame” premiered on the old Dumont Network in May 1947.
How many people have watched “The Price is Right” and rolled their eyes or even shouted to the TV screen about the idiocy of some contestant who bids ridiculously over or under what a certain well known product costs? If you think that some guy who works in an office somewhere is an idiot because he can’t come within three dollars of knowing how much three cans of soup costs, then what would you think of a Presidential candidate who is equally oblivious?
The instant-rock star mindset of Americans that rose with the collapse of this country as a producer and its transformation into an almost 100% consumer economy is still in place, but Reality TV of this ilk has proven that you don’t need to have musical talent or the ability to act or even a pretty face.
Reality television is also engendering a message that the key to success is image rather than ability. While an argument could certainly be made this is very reflective of reality, it nonetheless sends a dangerously misleading message that constantly reproduces itself.