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November 4, 1996
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I was really glad to see that a talk show is finally being put on the
stand to answer for its actions.
It's unfortunate however that the life of a man had to be wasted and
another facing murder charges before shock TV could fall under severe
I'm referring to the Jenny Jones talk show trial currently in progress.
Jonathan Schmitz, 26, is claiming he was driven to shoot Scott Amedure,
36, three days after a taping of the Jenny Jones show revealed that
Amedure had a secret crush on Schmitz.
Schmitz's defense is proposing that the straight man was deceived into
appearing on the daytime talk show alongside the gay man.
If the defense is successful it will have put the talk show industry,
especially those that focus on shocking topics, on trial. The scenario
is being dubbed, "ambush television."
I've attempted to sit through one of these shows and each time find it
really easy to switch channels. I'd rather watch bowling than that trash.
It's beyond my understanding why people would choose to take some of
their more personal, intimate problems and allow them to be utilized for
entertainment on national television. You have to wonder what they're
offered in return or if coercion of some sort is figured in.
I realize that there are some respectable talk shows, but the entire
enterprise is marred by the more demeaning acts.
Anyhow, I'm sure these two men are only an infinitesimal sum of the
people that have been hurt in some way or another through shock TV.
Although these shows are aired during the daytime hours when kids are
in school, there's always summer or sick days.
The examples set by these types of shows will inevitably trickle down to
My college dorm mates were more than often surprised at my deep
indignation when the words, "bastard" and "bitch" were allowed on
When given the opportunity, I am the prime example of a couch potato,
but even I feel there should be limits.
I realize that the television business will be forever incorrigible
because of the public's demand for it, but somewhere along the way
morals were taken out of their programs, thus making a parents job even
But this is just my opinion.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Mari Maldonado is an Enterprise reporter whose column
appears each Monday.
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