Exploiting for ratings!

me sideways

This man has a degree,
of a higher level decree
yet he’s slipped in the arms of fame
money may also have been his claim.

How does one get caught in such games
and losing integrity for a bit of cash
to show melodrama and T.V. trash
exploiting the pain and suffering
of people who are actually struggling?

They are all human interest shows
but must they always air their woes
in front of a huge live audience?
on occasion there’s no public appearance
just the camera and this host with a Ph.D.
Global home viewers don’t count as a presence?
I find his approach an atrocity
he makes a long process look way too easy
when we all know counselling is a long journey.

He may give the impression of informing
or a pretense of educating?
Well, I beg to differ.
why exploit those who suffer?
that’s what I see when pain is publicized
this exploitation is really insulting
and it should be criticized
rather than be glorified.

So that’s me diffusing, my heart spills
after watching a few minutes of Dr. Phil.

© Cheryl-Lynn Roberts

This is just my opinion on some exploiting the suffering of folks; On Christmas Day an old September episode of Dr. Phil interviewing a grieving mother was aired.   He went through details of the last moments she spoke with her daughter as she took her life. 10 minutes of this was enough for me to change channel but I felt sad 1) for having this poor mother feel her guilt, as if it was not bad enough  for her to process the grief she was living 2) for showing such an episode on Christmas Day when there are so many vulnerable and suffering on this day. So I decided to voice my frustrations on shows like this.   Cheryl-Lynn

20 thoughts on “Exploiting for ratings!”

      1. Ah yes you are so right! I read the Hunger Games a few months ago and the first chapters, I kept weeping on the subway…then the games began and it broke my heart that a society like that may exist and we humans would co-exist with trash like that…trash that would rule the world. How depressing is that?!! I am trying to get through the trilogy just so I can be more in touch with what youths are reading but I tell ya…they seem to be desensitized to human cruelty…they see all as not real but yet the moral of the story, do they see it or not? I don’t want to watch the movies until I finish reading the 3 novels.


  1. How horrifying! I do not watch Dr. Phil or any other of the “human suffering” shows because I can walk down the street or hop on a bus, and see enough human suffering to last. Many of our homeless will simply ride the bus to get out of the cold weather. That, and why have someone relive the most horrible of their lives just to get ratings? It is a phenomenon that I think began with Gerarldo Rivera and has grown to ridiculous proportions. I honestly can’t tell whether any of these show hosts ever had any integrity if they could so easily fall prey to riches and fame.


    1. I totally agree. I was channel surfing and setting up my laptop and when I saw the little I did I was disgusted since he is a psycologist and DOES know better.I had no intention of listening this crap show…I hear real life pain daily. I embrace their trust. I treasure their stories in confidence. Thanks so much for reading and adding your valuable comment. CL


      1. I used to work at a Crisis Hotline that was part of the National Suicide Hotline. I got more than my fair share of the suicide calls for reasons I won’t go into here (call it Karma). I talked to one teenage girl who had a plan and the whole nine yards for about two hours one day. She was incredibly bright, insightful about her own problems, and sensitive. We talked about everything including anything she might regret if she committed suicide. She was concerned about who would look after her dog. He was apparently her life raft which I completely understood. My own pets have been life rafts.

        I finally got around to asking her if she would make a deal with me that she would not harm herself. She said she could not do that as she had done it before with her therapist, but had broken the agreement. A very bright and insightful young lady. So, knowing she would see her therapist the next day, I asked for 24 hours. I asked if she would make an agreement with me that she would not carry out her plan until after she had seen her therapist. This was apparently doable as she agreed to wait for 24 hours. It wasn’t much, but I had developed enough rapport and trust with her that she was willing to enter that agreement.

        I may or may not have saved a life. One never knows with Hotlines, but I would like to think that she made it to graduation and went on to college like she had planned before the depression she experienced.

        That would be part of the reason I cannot stand those shows. They bring every painful bit out into the open, make people relive their worst nightmares, and then just to make it look compassionate, they offer them counseling. I mean, pardon my French, but WTF?

        This young girl I talked to for 2 hours left me with hope that she could and would carry on. Graduation was close, and I assured her that while more stressful scholastically, college was a much more forgiving place for certain types of people.

        I just think these shows just make everyone’s problems worse, but then, you have to question their motive for going on the show in the first place. Dr. Phil may be a licensed psychologist, but the rest of them just rile people up.


      2. Bless you for saving this life. I have had some pretty long calls and yes, if the caller connects with you, that is your chance to make a change…a slight dent. Sounds like you did just that. I know what you mean when you say you wonder what types of people allow to be exploited…well, if they are vulnerable…in their first year of grieving, they are so raw….they are convinced it will help others…not realizing how it can help them but also hurt them. I feel for people who watch this and traumatize episode after episode.


      3. There were a few silences where I thought I had lost her. I was trying so hard to remember what it was like when I was in high school without sounding patronizing. Teenagers are very touchy if they think you are patronizing them. I really feel for them. Their brains aren’t quite completely developed but they have the bodies and problems of adults. But they don’t process them the same way an adult would. Everything is the end of the world.

        I can see that if a person is particularly vulnerable they may call one of these shows hoping to help someone else face a similar problem. However, I do know what you mean by the rawness of the first year of grieving. It is really difficult to realize that the feelings will subside eventually.

        As for the people that watch these shows and give them the ratings and hence, the money, I don’t know if it’s pathological or if some people just enjoy watching the drama/trauma of other people’s lives. I don’t get them. I think they are in need of the same help as the people on the show.

        As idealistic and slightly immature as this may sound, I am still of the belief that it is possible to create a kinder world one person at a time. If one person is kind to another, it will make that person happy, and they are more likely to be kind to the next person they meet. Yep, I am an idealist. There are just some ideas I can’t let go of.

        Which is why I do not understand the mass appeal of these shows which probably do more harm than good. It is almost like the gladiator games in ancient Rome.


      4. Well, it is a lot the downfall of Rome. To distract the public from what was really going on, they were given games. I do not find these TV shows to be much different. Our country is in a landslide, so to occupy people we are given Jerry Springer, Dr. Phil, and the Steve guy. They are the gladiator masters and their guests are the gladiators. We are the public cheering them on through consumption.

        I just watched but have not read the Hunger Games. It had a very interesting and dark premise that probably read well, but did not translate well to film. It was definitely a harsh premise for a story. But, if you think back, there have been ideas similar to this before: Soylent Green, Jonathon Swift’s “A Modest Proposal” written in the 17th or 18th century as a solution to poverty and overpopulation in Catholic Ireland; there have been several. Most recently, “The Purge” and “The Hunger Games”.


      5. By rawness the first few years, does not mean anyone gets “over” a death…over times we learn to survive despite the pain…to put one leg in one pant leg at a time…grief is a long process and unique to each individual. If it is a parent losing a child…I do believe the wound never heals…how can it? I feel for siblings of someone who suicides or dies tragically or through illness. For a long time those siblings have not only lost their sibling but their parents too who are grieving the worse grief they will ever mourn.I volunteered for several years at a Bereavment group for families and worked with youths, helping them understand the process of `grief`and helping put words to some feelings. I could not volunteer with the parents though…I was too emotional for that…


      6. I would not have been able to work with grieving kids. I am way too sensitive for that. i do not know why I was so effective with the people who called in to the Suicide Hotline. Maybe because I have been there, tried that? That’s what I meant by Karma in a previous comment. I can relate to the complexity of suicidal ideation, and i can relate to the complexity of grief having just spent three years helping an older man whose wife passed away of cancer about 3.5 years ago. He would call me at least three times a week to “chat,” as he put it. All the chatting seemed to be on his side, and I did a heck of a lot of listening. He was a member of the Buddhist group that I lead. And. he wasn’t looking for advice or guidance, he just needed someone female to listen to him. His grieving pattern was very logical. Mine is not. I have now lost all four grandparents, my parents are hitting 70, I can’t imagine losing any member of my family. I get weepy just thinking about it. i would be a very ineffectual grief counselor 🙂


    1. Thank you for reading…so true, a mockery at the expense of this grieving woman and any other parent who lost a child through suicide. And yes, I have a few friends who did, so it angers me to see them suffer if they did watch this crap.


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