News and Reality Programmes
To say that taste is a relatively minor matter in news and reality programmes is not to dismiss it as unimportant, but the fair treatment of individuals, which is so often at risk in these programmes, ensures that decency, rooted in a moral judgement, is often of more significance. Issues of taste and decency raised in news and reality programmes cannot be separated from the possibility of the desensitisation of which Tony Hall spoke. The allegation is that both television fact and television fiction may eventually leave the sensibilities of the audience dulled, indifferent to the reality of pain and suffering and therefore, as the argument continues, readier to tolerate the sufferings of others in real life or even readier themselves to inflict pain. There is no conclusive evidence of this effect, only the belief, which Hall expressed, in talking about the news, that such consequences could follow.
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