News ad shows a shameful practice

I recently saw a report on Toledo’s own 13 Action News about whether or not there were actually true stories that would parallel the new and, as I understand it, extremely popular television show “Desperate Housewives.”

Actually, when I said “saw a report on,” I meant “saw an ad for a report on.”

Regardless, my first reaction was, and I quote, “Whaaaaa????”

But now that I have accurately recounted my reaction, I would like to take this opportunity to explain my reasoning behind my comical, but no less serious, reaction. The report, and the ad for the report, had nothing to do with shedding light on the esoteric and mysterious “life of a housewife,” but rather the aim to get some people to watch the news broadcast and the television show itself.

First of all, the ad for the report was shown on Sunday evening between the hours of nine and 10 on ABC — Channel 13. Yes, you are right, say it louder so those around you can hear it — the program that is being shown between the hours of nine and 10 on Sunday evenings is none other than “Desperate Housewives.” How coincidental that the ad was played during that show? You don’t think that maybe they did that on purpose, do you?

And also, how coincidental is it that the network that owns the rights to the TV show should also be the one that relates the show to real life? Again, you are correct. Good for you. Reward yourself however you deem fit.

Before I move on, I must justify and clarify the reason why I was actually watching ABC between the hours of 9 and 10 p.m. I was at work (at the front desk of Kriescher Ashley Batchelder) and I turned the TV on to watch the show immediately following “Desperate Housewives,” which is “Boston Legal.” In fact, I had no idea “Desperate Housewives” was on. No, seriously.

Alright, now moving on, let’s extrapolate a little bit. The fact that they showed a preview of a report that deals with the real-life implications of a TV show could and probably does mean something more sinister and irresponsible — that the news network decided to complete a report about a TV show to do two things: to boost the ratings of their beloved “Desperate Housewives,” and to boost the ratings of the news program.

I know what you are thinking. Wouldn’t it be irresponsible for a news program to produce a report with the sole intention of boosting viewership instead of, say, using those ten or so minutes to have a report that would be useful? Answer? Yes. However, don’t forget that this is TV news we’re dealing with here. We all know that TV news is not supposed to give us fair and balanced news, and that they are not really supposed to give us the most important news of the day. I mean, come on — it would be wrong of us to expect this from them. We all know that, instead of giving us news we can actually use, TV news scares us into watching their program by giving us previews like “Is your child going to die? Stay tuned at 11.”

The same is happening with the ad for the report I saw about housewives. In today’s world, with high gas prices, a war and countless other things that are clearly very important, the TV news would rather give us a report that will feed paranoia of working men whose wives stay at home. The ad seems to be asking “Is your wife cheating? Find out at 11!” Why else would the producers care about this, other than to scare working men into watching the report to see if they should call a private eye to follow the exploits of his stay-at-home wife?

But, hey. They have to get people to watch their shows somehow. It’s not like people everywhere don’t tune into their local news every day at every possible time. I guess they are justified in the assumption that if they don’t scare us into watching their news, we just won’t watch them to find out what is going on in the world around us.