Who on the air do we trust nowadays?

Published 9:21 am Monday, April 23, 2012

Column: Something About Nothing

I am a TV junkie.

I will admit it. I am not ashamed. I like watching television. I like watching some reality shows. I also love my DV-R because I never watch live TV, and I can record shows that are on at the same time for watching at my leisure.

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I have been watching “Celebrity Apprentice.” I admit I like that show because I think the personalities that come out in people are interesting.

Everyone including you and I have a public persona. We have a face we present to the public and a face we present in private. Sometimes that private face is the us we don’t want anyone else to know.

I always have a perceived expectation of celebrities. That is why watching “Celebrity Apprentice” is so much fun for me. The gloves come off and the sweetness or niceness that we have perceived because of media or the act of presenting the good face to the public is shattered.

There have been quite a few instances of my favorite stars that have seemed to be nice and gracious but really are nasty and self absorbed. Then there have been the cases that the raunchy, nasty celebrity actually turns out to be a good, decent caring individual.

Yes, we all have a public persona. Who are we really when we are in the public eye? Are we who we present ourselves to be? At a speaking engagement someone asked one of my friends if I was that funny all the time. I don’t know what she answered. Possibly, yes, to save my public persona, but the truth would have been “No, I am not funny most of the time.”

I do not always practice what I preach. I am not always the most positive person. I have been known to be a really crabby and angry person especially with those close to me.

We present to the public what we want others to see whether is it an angelic halo or a bad boy image.

We present these images because we want people to like us. We want to promote whatever it is we are selling. We want people to trust our image whether it is true or not.

Growing up I listened to people who bought products after they listened to an ad on WCCO-AM radio. They bought these products because they trusted WCCO would only advertise products that it could trust. People had trust in the media. Walter Cronkite in the 1970s was the most trusted man in the news. How many journalists would we trust now? Whose public persona do you trust?

Listening to the ads on WCCO recently made me wonder if the products that are advertised now are ones we can trust such as debt reduction services or hair-growth products. Perhaps as long as a product has the money to advertise it doesn’t matter what the product is or how trustworthy it is.

It could be true too that was the case back in the ’50s, but then we had a perceived trust of a radio station.

Trusted celebrities hawk everything on television from life insurance to Depends undergarments. Somewhere there is usually small fine print that explains they were paid for the ad, but there are people who buy these products because trusted celebrities are in the commercial. After an “Oprah” show would air and Oprah would recommend a product, these goods would fly off the shelves. People who have the gift of gab and public charisma can be very believable people.

I often think of going to a church service. We are always on our best angelic behavior in church. We make sure our language is perfect and we behave in a way we possibly don’t behave outside of the church walls. What would happen if we let go of the angelic behavior and became the people that we are outside of those four walls?

Would our church services be any different and would our churches be packed with people whose brokenness is apparent because they felt comfortable in the new environment?

We often criticize children for misbehaving in church or talking loudly. They are being who they are. They haven’t learned a public persona yet. There is a difference between using manners in public and changing who we are in public to deceive someone.

What is your public persona? Is it one of trust? Is what we see what we get all the time?


Wells resident Julie Seedorf’s column appears every Monday. Send email to her at thecolumn@bevcomm.net.