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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Matter of Perception

When we were told we’d have Kate Gosselin sitting in as a third co-host for the full two hours of Broadminded, I wasn’t sure what to think. I was anxious? Excited? Ambivalent? Quite honestly, I didn’t really know what to expect or how to feel. At the end of the two hours, however, I realized my perception of Kate was, for the most part, incorrect. Our listeners, on the other hand, were very outspoken and had a lot of thoughts – good, bad, outraged. In fact, many said they wouldn’t listen because we had Kate on the show.

Let’s be honest, when it comes to reality shows like The Bachelor/Bachelorette, Real Housewives of [any county], Kate Plus 8, etc., what do we truly know about the lives of these people? The producers edit down a week’s worth of filming into one or two hours. Granted, they can’t make up what isn’t there, but they can edit in a way to make someone look better or worse for publicity and to boost ratings. In other words, we see what the producers want us to see.

Someone who has a bigger personality is going to lift ratings. Kate, whether earned or not, has developed a reputation ranging from everything of being a bad mother, a bad wife, to someone who pimps out her kids for fame and fortune. And yet, for every person that has something negative to say about her, there is someone defending her for being able to raise eight(!!!) pretty well adjusted kids. When you’re blessed with a large family and you’re not sure how to make ends meet and a producer approaches you with a contract with what could potentially be your children’s college funds, I’m not sure many people would turn it down. It’s easy for us to sit on the sidelines and judge, but when placed in someone else’s shoes, can we be so sure we wouldn’t do the same thing? If that opportunity were presented to me, I’m not so sure I would say no. However, if at any time my son was unhappy and didn’t want to do it anymore, I would pull the plug immediately regardless of the consequences of contract.

Unfortunately, fame, specifically reality show fame, is not always what one expects it to be. How can anybody be fully prepared for instant fame, recognition and the ridicule that follows? Nobody is prepared for cameras in their face 24/7 and nobody is perfect every moment of every day. We all have our opinions of the people on these shows, but I dare say I’m not sure many of us would fair much better. We may think we would, but we’ll probably never have the opportunity to prove that theory wrong.

When we announced that Kate Gosselin was going to sit in with us for the full two hours, our Facebook page blew up. The way some reacted you would have thought we were having an amalgamation of Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh! As it turned out, Kate was pleasant and, although at times guarded, was open and honest. She was entertaining and personable. I also think that if we close our minds to people because of what our perceptions of them may be, we also close our minds to the possibility of who they really are. We need to think to ourselves whether we’re seeing people for who they truly are, or for what we perceive them to be by the makings of creative editing.

I think the world would be a much happier and peaceful place if we weren’t all so quick to judge. When we’re born, we’re very trusting because we don’t know any better. Children are honest and the best judges of character. Too bad we can’t hold on to that innocence as we get older. Once I opened my mind to the possibilities of who Kate Gosselin could be, I found her to be very pleasant and fun. Hopefully, those of you that listened to the show felt the same. Now I can’t say this new found open mindedness of mine is here to stay, but for now I can say I was wrong to judge.

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