(Photo: Reuters/Tim Shaffer)
Conservative talk show host Todd Schnitt is rolling out some strong objections about the amount of sex, aggression, and provocative behavior liberally aired on today’s reality television shows saying it is “killing our kids.”
Today’s genre of television programming is packed with unscripted dramatic situations and events using sensationalism to attract a hungry young audience.
The participants, or actors, are usually placed in exotic locations or abnormal situations to act in a specific way. Critics say America's youth are imitating these characters prompting an entire generation of bad behavior.
One show that has caught Schnitt’s attention is “Jersey Shore.”
In the past, MTV’s Jersey Shore received a backlash from New Jersey residents and Italian American Groups.
Now advertisers, parents, and conservative talk show hosts are pulling away from the show saying the show is causing America’s youth to “act badly.”
Some critics say they cannot seem to turn on their television sets or pass a magazine stand with out seeing "Snooki," "Pollizi's poof," Mike "The Situation," or "Sorrentino's abs."
The show has gone from brave to brasin resulting in this week's announcement by clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch to pull their clothing line from the show.
The company said it would offer "substantial payment" to MTV's The Jersey Shore's cast members to stop wearing the brand on air.
The giant retailer, which caters mostly to young people, said they are concerned that the audience is relating their brand to the characters on Jersey Shore saying that it “could cause significant damage to our image.”
"We are concerned about Mike 'the Situation' Sorrentino’s association with our brand and have also extended this offer to other members of the cast, and are urgently waiting a response,” an Abercrombie & Fitch spokesperson said in a statement obtained by The Christian Post.
MTV, a unit of Viacom Inc, released a statement in response that called Abercrombie's offer a clever PR stunt, according to media reports today.
But the strongest voice so far is radio personality Todd Schnitt. He commented on air that while America’s children are watching shows like Jersey Shore they are texting, phoning, and tweeting about the show – thereby spreading the “silliness and provocative behavior” to their friends.
“They are just stupid,” Schnitt said about the show.
Schnitt said shows like Jersey Shore and other reality-type programming disasters are bad for kids because of a laundry list of behaviors sensationalized on air including sex, aggression, and actions that show zero moral values.
Several listeners called in to the show telling Schnitt how much they agreed with his position.
Schnitt asked a direct question to the audience saying, “how many shows are we going to have to stand for? Their actions are being watched by our children and they think it is cool or something. It is destroying our society."
Labeling himself a "fiercely-independent conservative," Schnitt doesn’t profess to be a checklist guy. He actually coined a few phrases “Schizobama” and “CONmander-in-chief.”
"You need to listen every day and see how I come down on every issue," he straightforwardly suggested.
"When someone is wrong and when I disagree about something or someone, I’m going to be honest. We bring a different aura in presentation, delivery and ideology of a conservative radio show."
The reality show, currently in its fourth season, features hard-partying hookups.
It is based on seven New Jersey friends who live together in a house on the Jersey Shore together for a summer. The males on the show reveal their bodies, tattoos of crosses, funny hair styles and dance moves, and they have only one goal: hooking up with as many girls as possible.
The girls on the show love their hair extensions, poofs, and wearing as few clothes as possible.
Drinking, hooking up in the hot tub, clubbing, and doing cartwheels in a thong on the dance floor entail some of the “highlights” of the show.
Schnitt is not the only high-profile voice objecting to the content on today’s reality television shows.
Several conservative blogs object to shows like Jersey Shore because ridiculous discussions are entertaining America’s young including people like Snooki, who claims her dream man is both "a nice guy and a jerk” and is still on the fence as to if a pickle is a vegetable.
It amazes the show’s critics that she is being asked to present at award shows, appear on New Year's Eve countdowns and still featured on the cover of several magazines.
“It sends the message that this girl hit a gold mine and the next reality series we can expect something much worse,” one blogger wrote.
"Famous for being Famous" – it's become one of the most popular clichés of the millennium.”
All the gossip, insults, sex talk, aggression, and dirty looks add up fast on popular reality shows, far outpacing the level seen in equally popular comedies and dramas.
A study conducted by Brigham Young University involved 120 hours of viewing reality show programming and coding every instance of physical sex talk, verbal and relational aggression, and other unfavorable actions.
Researchers said despite the “reality” label, the aggression is copied by those who watch the show.
They concluded the shows are loaded with meanness, rude behavior, and sexual references. Young people involved in the study reacted in similar ways after watching parts of the show, the study reports.
The study and its findings is published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.
Numerous other studies demonstrate that meanness and provocative behavior rubs off on anyone watching the show.
Psychologists agree that television today is harmful to the psyche of young people. Experts suggest parents monitor what their children are watching on television no matter how old they are – even into the high school years.
Offering alternatives to reality shows like reading together as a family, a walk outside, watching a documentary, game-nights, or spending time writing are more productive activities for children.
“Shows like Jersey Shore prove that America is a junk consuming nation,” another blogger wrote.
“Whether we admit it or not, we love junk. We consume junk in droves whether it is in the form of reality television or food. And the scariest part is that young people are being told that if you can create junk, you can make it big.”