Dezember 16, 2012

German Television and Social Media - Quality a foreign word

Redundant workers, anti-social and uncooperative behavior, poverty and social exclusion, never-ending conflicts within relationships.
Less common sense. Hate compensates love, rage and contentiousness instead of reconciliation, abysmal stupidity – all this seems to be the prevailing image of German society, presented by German Television itself. The so called "Assi-TV" or "Hartz IV-TV" got very popular in our modern culture and reinforces existing negative images of Germany. Pseudo-documentaries in their scripted Reality-Formats show everyday situations in the most horrible way: nearly everything revolves around violence, controversies, money and foolish talks. Humans that are exposed to a whole country. No chance for intellectual value, and always enough material to shake our heads. There has been a medial overkill always trying to meet the needs of the audience. The golden rule seems to be: quantity instead of quality.
Even so called “science magazines”, such as Galileo, sunk to a low level by accompanying among others “Big Jumbo” on journeys to put XXL-dishes to the proof, by showing the 10 world’s best waterslides , or by clearing up the “mysteries of the world” without ever arriving at a result. And “Taff”, the boulevard magazine, teaches us how to celebrate the best parties on Mallorca.
However, these programs seem to be very successful when it comes to rating figures because they have a high entertaining value – for a terrible price. In manys cases, the media brazenly abuses their actors and forces them to do things that are more than humiliating. There are various examples on the German website www.fernsehkritik.tv, a critical online TV-Magazine which puts its focus on the destruction of German Television. Often, the moderator, Holger Kreymeyer, invites lay actors who have been part of such “Hartz IV” programs and fell victim to the immoral acts of the respective television station.

Example "Schwer verliebt" 

I would like to name one representative example, which I conceived for myself as very shocking when I first heard about it. The following TV show is called “Schwer verliebt” (transl.: “Deeply in love”) which is a program on SAT 1 where singles search for a potential future partner. The candidates playing in that show get labels imposed on them, for example “Mister A, the nature loving nudist”, “Mister B, the lonely churchgoer”, “Mister C, the impulsive Spaniard” and “Mister D, the lucky flute player”. Those labels should make it easier for the audience to pigeonhole the actors. Consequently, each actor embodies a personality which is full of ascribed stereotypes; and those seem to call: "Hello world, look at me, I’m a total freak!” Furthermore, it is to mention that most times this docusoap chooses in their eyes “unattractive” people, often with weight problems to raise the curiosity of the audience.

The protagonist of the special episode I would like to dwell on is named Fabian who had applied for the said program. He has a motoric handicap (NOT a mental one) and asked SAT 1 to mention his weakness because he wanted to be open and honest with his disability. Above all, women should knew about it before deciding to arrange a date with him. First, the television crew made a promise to fulfill his appeal, but in the end his issue received not a word of mention in publicity. What might have been possible reasons? When thinking about it, it is on dice that the audience would have felt pity for him if the program had mentioned his handicap. They would not be able to make fun of him because it would have gone against their moral sense, and even more worse: they would have reproached SAT1 to be an indecent telestation. So they decided upon the easy way: to break their promise and to conceal the protagonist’s handicap, just for exposing him to ridicule. For these programs, there is nothing more important than a high entertaining value and rating figures.

And as if this was not enough, they even exploited Fabian’s slight overweight by forcing him into the worstest clichés about obeses. Hence, the script’s center of attention focussed on the presentation of his bodyweight. According to the directions, it was the protagonist’s obligation to eat as much as possible during the film shooting. For example, he was forced to drink Coca Cola, although he clarified after the shooting that he does not even like sugary beverages. Here are some quotations of the script that I translated into English:
“It is the duty of our actors to capture the topic food every day. Trifles like nibbling now and then, or going secretly to the refrigerator.” 
“It is important to play optical with the pounds of our protagonists and to content the voyeurismus of the audience.”
These quotations show that programs like “Schwer verliebt” only have the aim to make fun of the overweight of their actors. Usual human who are exploited in the worst and have to bear public humiliation.

According to the script, Fabian should tidy up his apartment before the date, which he certainly did, since he is a clean person. Though, all the trouble was for nothing. The camera team surreptitiously polluted some of his towels and other items of him. To make him look dirty. Since guys like him are not meant to be clean persons. And this should by all means reach the public. Yes.

And this was not after all: according to the program, Fabian got three letters of three different women in the end. That means three dates. But he felt certain that they must have deprived him of other letters because he received Facebook messages, in which other women asked him why he had not responded to their messages. Yeah, and by the way: one date of the three chosen women was handicapped, too. Again, concealment of the program.
In the end Fabian made clear that he was not interested in even one of these women. However, SAT1 cut all the scenes into shape, so finally it appeared as if he ended up happily with one of his dates. And to top off, they published scenes of which Fabian begged them not to publish. But why doing him a favour when he is nothing more like a puppet?

What happened to Fabian after the production?

After the shooting, he tried to get into public with his story. He wanted to make clear that it was not his real personality that was shown on television. That he was NOT a dirty person. That he did NOT fall in love with one of his dates. And the most important, that he is NOT such a fool who fits into social-created stereotypes of "bigger people". He made some posts on Facebook in which he tried to explain that the scenes that were shown are not odds with the truth. But what SAT 1 did, is that they threatened him to pay a penalty of 250,000€ in case he would continue muckraking the true nature of their program. Also, his fellow actors were obliged to ensure his silence. 

Too bad that Fabian did not let himself be oppressed and had the courage to appeal to www.fernsehkritik.de who supported him, interviewed him, and published the case on the internet.

The show "Schwer verliebt" and similar programs have mostly less to do with reality. Such programs are ruthless, clean of any pudency to misuse their actors in such a despicable way
Those actors are neither puppets nor freaks. I mean, such humans have often anyway problems to be integrated into society. And in appreciation for being part of their dumb show, they get pranked and devaluated even more so that there is not a scrap of dignity left. All this for a handful of Euros.
Thank you, German Television. For the devaluation of culture, society and compassion. For reinforcing discrimination against certain groups. And of course for your great methods of collective mental enfeeblement mechanisms. And I am definitely not only talking about Sat 1.

Media as main carrier of social responsibility 

Television, newspapers, radio stations; they all carry as the most influential mediums huge social responsibility. However, they mostly aim at making the highest profits as possible through high ratings, unmindful for human rights. But moneymaking cannot always be an excuse for immoral behavior, it cannot absolve responsibility. Moral boundaries should always stand at first place.
Actually, it should be self-evident that morality is to placed above money, popularity and everything else. But seemingly, it is a foreign word for companies and many people in our postmodern world. I think it is an absolute damning indictment of modern society.

48 Kommentare:

  1. Danke für deinen Kommentar auf meinem Blog, hat mich echt total gefreut :-)

    Weihnachtliche Grüße,

  2. I really like your blog, it's so inspiring.
    I'm following you now! :)


  3. love your pictures and your style! :)

    hope you come visit mine sometime xo


  4. lovely blog! do you want to follow each other? just followed you on GFC! xx

  5. Haha echt toller Text vorallem der Teil mit Assi TV!! :D Aber hey ich finde solche Sendungen sind sehr gut wenn man mal abschalten und lachen will ;D ♥ Folge dir :) xx


  6. That's pretty much the reason why I hardly watch tv anymore. I doubt the credibilty of the majority of shows, because it's all an act. This trend of entertainment at the cost of anothers dignity and antisocial behavior = cool has been around for quite a while around here as well and gradually sneaked its way into society. Let's hope they can't sink any lower and the only way left is up.

    Good post. I think I'll follow you too

  7. thanks for your comment:) i like yours 2 <3
    would you like to follow each other, dear?:)


  8. whoa! its quite true about nowadays television production!
    nice blog, im following you now
    it be great if you follow me back too!

  9. hey Mimi, thank you so much for your comment! I visited your blog and I LOVE IT! This post especially complies with my opinion :) TV is getting more and stupid mediocre, you're right!
    ( besides, I'M FOLLOWING YOU NOW!) :)♥
    another question: would you mind if I pPRESENTED YOUR BLOG today or tomorrow on my blog? :) Send me your reply at gracia.andr@gmail.com or comment on my blog.
    gracia from http://gracias-photodiary.blogspot.de/

  10. Hey, süßer Blog :)!
    Ich folge dir mal <3
    vllt hast du auch lust mal bei mir vorbei zu schaun?

    Liebe Grüße, Julia :*

  11. Hey, schöner Blog :) Mir gefällt dein Header total gut!!!
    Bei mir gibt es jetzt ein Gewinnspiel und eine Blogvorstellung!


  12. amazing blog!!! i follow you now ;)
    i would love to follow me back because I really love your blog!!

  13. mir gefallen die 2 bilder :)
    hast du lust auf gegenseitiges verfolgen?
    ich folge dir mal :)
    Liebe Grüße!

  14. Thank you so much for visiting my blog and for your lovely comment!
    Maybe we follow each other !?
    I follow you now! Hope you will follow me back )

  15. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting. :)
    You got great posts dear!
    Let me know if you wanna follow each other.

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  16. Ohje, englisch .. Ähm, würde deinen Beitrag echt gerne lesen, hab es aber nicht so mit Englisch alsoo..
    Danke ich dir zuerst mal für deinen süßen Kommentar :D
    Bin mir sicher das dein Text unglaublich interessant ist.. Aber da schaltet mein Hirn leider aus :D
    Wünsch dir trotzdem ein wundervolles Wochenende <3

  17. echt cooler Blog!

    mach doch mal bei meiner BLOGVORSTELLUNG mit! :)


  18. I don't watch television that often, that has a lot to do with the things you stated. I don't get that there aren't that much ethic rules that you have to follow as program maker. The programs nowadays are often just plain and stupid so I can't imagine that still enough people watch so they keep producing these shit.

  19. Great post! Lovely pictures! <3 :)
    Thanks for dropping by my blog. Following your blog now. Hoping you'll follow mine too ;)

  20. Sehr interessanter Blog mit tollen Fotos!
    Bin durch Gracias Blogvorstellung hier gelandet und folge Dir jetzt.

    Woher hast Du die Informationen über die Sat1-"Reality-Show"?

    Guck gerne mal bei mir vorbei:

    LG Maike

  21. Liebe Mimi, vielen Dank für Deinen Kommentar! Ich habe Dir geantwortet und ein paar Tipps zum Thema Journalismus gegeben, hier direkt unter Deinem Kommentar: http://reisetage.blogspot.de/2012/12/namibia-urlaub-camping-wuste-lowe.html

    Liebe Grüße und schöne Weihnachtstage noch :-)

  22. Merry Christmas, sweetheart! I just followed you! Let's stay keep in touch!

    -Mademoiselle S.


  23. thanks so much for your comment! I'm following you with GFC, I would love if you could follow me back <3

    Lali pops of colour

  24. I think the issue with tv and magazines are everywhere. I dont think it is just limited to Germany. I think we as consumers need to learn to filter the information we are getting somehow. Thank you for following me and I am following you back :)



  25. hi gorgeous!
    Thank you for visiting my blog and for your lovely comment!
    I loved your blog!
    I'm following you via GFC now, would you like to follow me back?
    thank you

  26. Hello, Happy New Year..
    Somuch good information and right thinking:)

    followed you now.

  27. Very constructiv post :)

    New post on :


  28. Wow. I Love it! You have so so great blog! <3
    Happy New Year!:*

    Would You like to follow each other? :)

  29. girl you are so beautiful!!

    definitely following :)
    hope you visit me too! maybe even follow if you'd like :)


  30. I definitely agree. TV has a huge impact on society. I love the first photo!

  31. Oh :( TV & Media rarely show the real scene. Media of my country shows that my country is going to an end tomorrow. I don't know why Media behave like nuts but I simply hate news!

    Aree With Umbrella

  32. great blog! would you like to follow each other? let me know!

  33. Nice post dear...
    I am your newest follower, would you follow me back dear? :)
    God Bless

  34. ciao,
    a really interesting post ! In Italy it's almost the same situation ....better a good book .

    come for a visit, and if you like we could follow each other .Please let me know

    have a nice day

  35. Amazing post!! It's so true and sad..hope this situation will change in the future!

    Thank you for your comment! You have a beautiful blog too!! I follow you now with Google friend connect! Hope you'll do the same! :)
    I wait for you in my blog!

    Have a nice day!


  36. great post, I'm you new follower in bloglovin, g+ and gfc, have a nice day


  37. nice post!


  38. Such an interesting post.

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  40. you are so inspring. i love your blog. following you !
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  41. Great post :)


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