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Sensationalism and “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo”

Posted by: | October 2, 2012 | No Comment |

We live in a culture where the latest episode of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” pulls in more ratings than the Republican National Convention during  the 2012 presidential election. The latest TLC phenomenon, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” is a prime example of how sensationalized news is undermining the foundation of ethical journalism.

“Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” is a reality television show, reporting on the lives of a Southern-American family, featuring a child who participates in beauty pageants. The show is supposed to be about the child, Alana’s, participation in beauty pageants but it focuses more on how the family deliberately disregards all social expectations regarding manners and maintaining a level of dignity and class.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RS2SzGUwaMI

This sensationalized news is essentially putting the family on a pedestal of mockery.  The ratings for the season finale of “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” made it the most watched show on all of television. Besides the ethical issues that arise from watching a TV show that mocks others for entertainment, the ethical issues that arise from such poor reporting are even greater.

As students of communication, it is easy for us to see the distinction between serious journalism and sensationalized “fluff” such as “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo” but this distinction may not be so apparent to the rest of the population. Whether the distinction is clear or not, this latest television sensation is yet another dismal reminder that the face of journalism is moving farther and father away from the days of quality reporting set by Edward R. Murrow and closer to the standards set by the creators of entities such as “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” 

under: Comm 455
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