|Lauren "Boo Boo" Lexton|
|David "The Situation" Zaslav|
It's not going too far to call these class-based reality shows a kind of hate literature in video form. The litmus test for this is that if one of these programs revolved around a group of African Americans it would justifiably be called racist. In fact, it's interesting that there are no blacks being featured in any programs of this type. By any and all economic and educational indicators African Americans are at the bottom of the heap in the US, so it would seem they would be the first choice for any producer looking to find the next group of loud, grotesque losers to follow around with a camera. But producers aren't dumb. If they were to present a black family as egregious as the Boo Boo clan, what's passed off now as silly fun or a guilty pleasure would be described, accurately, as an attack on a particular group. Look at it this way; if the Ku Klux Klan was in the TV business they'd be falling all over themselves to produce a black version of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
Further proof of the class propaganda being fed to TV audiences is that the only show on which plutocrats make an appearance is Undercover Boss, a program in which the upper classes take the role of fairy godfathers/mothers, showering benefits on employees who've shown their worth by working like faithful and uncomplaining dogs. My piece on that odious show is here. So on one end of the spectrum we get shows about squalling, uneducated, witless white people, and at the other end we're presented with CEOs seen as beneficent guardian angels. And people still think there's no class system in America? Lexton, Rogan, Zaslav and the others who peddle this muck are certainly eager to profit from the class system, but it's equally certain that they wouldn't want the Boo Boo family as neighbors.
Owen Jones wrote a superb book on this topic from a British perspective called Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class. I've got a review of it here.