The opening decade of the 2000s, the double-zero years, has been judged by respondents to a Pew Research Center Poll as the worst in the last 50 years. The media came in for its share of thumbs up and down. The TV reality genre was among the slammed.
The positive/negative/neither ratio for the 2000s was only 27%/50%/21% – and the number that stands out is the 50% negative. The highest prior negative rating was a mere 19%. Here are the same three numbers for as series of decades, working backwards (the missing percentage represents the “don’t-know” crowd). 1990s: 57%/19%/22%; 1980s: 56%/12%/27%; 1970s: 40%/16%/37%; 1960s: 34%/15%/42%.
The ratings for earlier decades were not produced with respondents contemporary to the respective time period, but rather are based on the recollections of current respondents.
The advent of cell phones was seen as one of the biggest positive developments, at 69%/14%/11%. Green products, email and the internet were also seen as positives.
Among media categories measured by Pew:
News & entertainment choices were seen as a positive and rated 54%/16%/27%.
Cable news talk & opinion shows appealed to about as many as they turned off or failed to impress one way or the other, coming home with a rating of 34%/30%/31%.
Reality TV shows were toasted, scoring 8%/63%/22%.
The absolute lowest positive score went to more people getting tattoos, but at the same time it didn’t generate nearly as much negative sentiment as did reality TV, with a score of 7%/40%/45%.
Just in case you were wondering, 59% think the 2010s will be better, against 32% who think it will be worse and 4% who think it will be the same.
RBR-TVBR observation: We strongly remember predicting that the reality craze, kicked off by the Survivor series, would peter out like all such fads. Every time we said “any day now” we were always wrong so eventually we stopped saying it.
We have read many times since that network accountants love reality shows because of their low production costs.
Now we find out from Pew that America hates reality shows.
So why does America keep watching them?