Big Brother 2, CBS, and Tragedy: Readers Respond -- Part 2
by The Readers of RealityNewsOnline
Response to recent articles about the way CBS and Big Brother 2 producers are acting in the face of the terrorist attacks has been tremendous. Here is another sampling of reader thoughts on this issue.
Reader response to our recent articles has been incredible. The vast majority have indicated that the show should be stopped or at least the houseguests should be given an option to leave, but not everybody feels that way. First we have a representative sample of those who say the houseguests should be at least told and shown more, possibly given the option to end the game, or perhaps even sent home now:
I just want to say that you have demonstrated integrity with your comments and have lived up to one ideal of the journalist which is to alert those with power, who are making a mistake, of their error, regardless of the consequences. I love the "reality TV" genre. But these errors of judgment could kill it. It is time to call the game in the Big Brother house and you are doing CBS a big favour to point it out. And we viewers should be told now. America, perhaps the world, is one big family. You don't keep family separated under circumstances like these. You have my respect Sir. My respect for CBS is in jeopardy.
-- Dave M., Canada
I think the houseguests need to see some footage of what their country has been going through. I believe that this is only the most humane thing to do. This will only help your ratings, otherwise this will make me not want to watch reality TV again. I love your show but let’s give the people freedom of their rights.
-- A Canadian Who Is Grieving
I too am a Big Brother watcher. I'm not sure how I feel about the show being canceled. I still would like to see the outcome, but am not willing to risk the feeling of the houseguests to satisfy my need for an ending. I feel that they should be allowed to know ALL of what is going on and be given a choice as to whether to stay in the house. I believe that as Americans we should and need to be able to make choices. I hope that the Powers that Be at CBS will do the right thing and inform the houseguests and allow them to make the choice. God Bless all the houseguests and their families, and all Americans.
-- Sincerely, Leighsa
Please let the Big Brother 2 contestants go home. The show is not significant. They should be allowed to be with family and other true Americans at this horrible time of loss. Thank you and God bless.
Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, the world changed. Our views, our sense of freedom and safety, the ideas of what is important and what is not, all changed dramatically forever, and these changes are not just hugely felt by the victims in America. I am deeply touched by the outpouring of sympathy and support expressed by other countries for all that was lost. I am stunned, reading the list of passengers lost in the plane crashes. The list includes so many professionals whose skills and intellect leave such a void. It is so sad the list of those confirmed dead has only begun to grow, and will grow, way too large. Yet, I am completely overwhelmed, thinking of the incredible number of survivors, the brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, wives and husbands, etc. who must go on, who must learn to cope with their loss.
I am a Big Brother addict, never miss a show and watch the live internet feeds almost constantly – that is until Tuesday. Even then, I needed to run to the computer to check if the houseguests were being told, while I listened to the news. I longed for the old game spirit I used to feel. In a way I envied the houseguests in their ignorance – but only in a little way and only for a second. Ignorance is NOT bliss. Certain contracts need to be rendered null and void in extraordinary circumstances. These people would not sign a contract to play this game if they knew war was upon us. The attack on America is extraordinary. The president addressing the nation on the "first war of the 21st century'' definitely puts us in even more extraordinary circumstances. Who in their right mind would stay in a game, even with $500,000 at stake, if your family and loved ones could be dead or suffering? (And, as it appears now, Monica will probably only get a stipend.) I truly wish we could go back to the game, but humanitarianism must prevail here and now. GOD BLESS AMERICA.
Dear Mr. Shapiro and CBS producers of Big brother 2: I just wanted to write and tell you that I think it's time for Monica, will, and Nicole to go home. At this time in America we all need to be with our loved ones. So many people are walking the streets of New York looking for their loved ones and not knowing if they are dead or alive. While in the mean time you have 3 people isolated from theirs. Please, I think it's time REALITY set in and LET OUR PEOPLE GO! In the days ahead when we have won the victory over these cowards that terrorized our country then you can once again go on with your show. But right now no one is watching and it's the furthest thing from their minds on who wins the money. No one cares who the winner would have been; it just doesn't matter. Their family is what is Reality right now. Grant them their American right to be FREE. When money takes over compassion it's like Monica said – it's all evil.
-- Cherie in Texas
A letter I sent to CBS via the website regarding Big Brother 2: From what I can gather from the chat rooms, reports on live feeds and overall Big Brother coverage, the houseguests have not even been allowed to watch the news or see a newspaper. I understand the game - but we're living a much more dramatic reality show, and the houseguests should be allowed to see what's really happening. If they are not allowed to see anything until the game is "over," believe me, they will harbor much resentment that they were not given access to news sources and their family during this national crisis. They're coming off as ignorant - and the only reason could be because they are literally sealed off from the world. It's not your place to decide how much is enough for them to know. Your producers' and network's decisions to keep the houseguests shut off from news - even your own 24/7 news broadcasts, is a reflection on the entertainment community - your disregard for their feelings is mean, cruel, and irresponsible. I thought I didn't know anyone personally touched by these tragedies until my boyfriend and I went through the lists of companies and victim names. We knew two people. Let them see the victims lists from the flights, and the list of companies from both towers - the photos. Please show some integrity at this time of national crisis.
-- Heather in Los Angeles
I am a native New Yorker who now lives in the midwest. My entire family still lives on the east coast. As someone who lives far away and still has family there, including one who works at the World Trade Center, I think what Big Brother 2 is doing is an outrage. While I loved that show, I am not sure that I will ever view CBS the same way. To leave Monica in that house without sharing the full situation is a crime. I know how it is affecting me and I can only imagine what it would do to her knowing the truth. Why not just split the money 3 ways and let them go home? Honestly, if they knew the truth I am sure the money aspect wouldn't even matter. As a mental health worker I agree with what the therapist wrote in and said, we need people to be able to see other things than the images of 9/11. I however don't agree that we need the image of Big Brother; those people need and deserve to go home and be with their loved ones in this time of American crisis!
As a Canadian, perhaps I can see this situation from a distance - albeit a very very short distance. My heart is breaking over the tragedy being endured by the American public, and as a former avid watcher of Big Brother 2, I do have a comment: This is history. We are living thru a historic event, and in years to come, we will have this commonality with others of our generation. To deny the BB2 houseguests the chance to live THRU history, as opposed to being told about it much after the fact, is sickening to me. It's a TV show, let's all remember - it's not life. At the very least, allow them all to watch CNN coverage for a few hours, get informed, and then allow them to make a decision. This is an act of war - all bets are off, and these people deserve to be told. Thank you.
-- Tracey in Ontario, Canada
I agree with everyone who has written your site. It is not fair to Monica to not be able to go to her family and gather with loved ones as we have seen countless times on the reports. Family members gathered and went from hospital to hospital in search of loved ones. This is a tragic event that needs to be shared by all, and the houseguests have shown that they deserve to know. With the problems you handled for Nicole I believe this is just a little more tragic then her ordeal. So be fair and let them out.
-- Susan of Chatsworth, Georgia
Dear RealityNewsOnline: Over the past summer, I have had so much fun watching BB2. Not having watched BB1, I found myself becoming addicted to watching Nicole gripe, Will amuse, Monica talk, Hardy work out, Bunky cry, and all the rest of the antics of these contestants, and grew to really "like" some of them and really "hate" some of them! Now we are in a terrible national crisis, and I believe Arnold Shapiro and CBS are making a disastrous move in not fully informing the remaining houseguests of the magnitude of the tragedy. Doesn't Mr. Shapiro realize that as American citizens, they are entitled to the support that is offered like that of today's National Day of Prayer and Remembrance? When these houseguests finally do leave the house, they will have to start from the beginning in their grieving process, perhaps Monica the most. It will be astonishing to Will that his estimate of a "couple of hundred people" being hurt is so far off from the actual number of people who were injured and killed. Nicole will be probably the most upset knowing that she could not be with her new husband during those first terrible days. Aside from the above facts, watching them on the internet live feeds now makes them appear ridiculously ignorant, shallow and uncaring and I know they are not that way in "real life." It's obvious they have been "acting" for the cameras all summer long, and if they knew what was really going on, they would be profoundly upset. I believe the houseguests should be told immediately of the nature of the crisis, given the option of ending the show, staying on while being able to contact their family if necessary, or splitting the prize money three ways. After all is said and done, this is a game, not actual reality, and that is all these folks signed up to play.
Dear Producers of Big Brother: I just wanted to send a message to you about how I feel about keeping Big Brother on. There have been many times I have enjoyed the show. But after the recent devastation in New York, I think we all need to be with our families. They really have no idea what is going on. I know they have some idea but not really. Is there a way to split the money and make them all happy and send them home to their families. There are a lot more important things then ratings and money, as we have all found out on September 11. I thank CBS for their programming and will look forward to the new season.
The remaining comments are a representative sample from those who think the show should go on:
Yesterday I agreed with Ms. Schechter's open letter to CBS. Today I find myself understanding her opinion, yet finding within myself a need to reconnect with those three people who have dominated my Summer evenings. The prayer service at the National Cathedral revitalized me somehow, and although I don't need the NFL or NASCAR in my life right now, Will, Monica, and Nicole would be a welcome respite from my sorrow and anger. In addition, literature and the cinema have always explored the concept of the isolated individual who returns to a world he/she doesn't know. Look at Rip Van Winkle or Cast-Away, look to Blast From the Past or Back to the Future. Ironically, look to Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey to see man entering an unknown and altered world. We have three people who have little idea of how much their world has changed this week, and were it not for the probable loss of Monica's cousin, it would be a sociological study to see the last three people in America who are unaware of this week's tragedy. In a way, I envy them and wish I could go back to the innocence of Monday night instead of the reality of Tuesday morning. We need to appreciate that these three people are no longer on "Reality TV." They are living lives as far removed from our reality as possible. We are the viewers living reality television through Peter Jennings and Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw. Will, Monica, and Nicole are living in near peace (and who would have thought that "peace" would ever apply to them?) and I for one would enjoy watching their innocence for another few nights. This reality we're living is not worth inflicting upon them yet. Let there be three people in America who are still at peace with the world, if not themselves.
-- Dee of Kansas City, MO
While I understand the emotions of the individuals writing the letters/contacting CBS, ABRUPTLY releasing the Big Brother houseguests after over sixty (60) days of being DETACHED from the outside world would be even more IRRESPONSIBLE. In this case, Mr. Arnold Shapiro is doing the right thing; feeding them bits and pieces of information preparing them for the worst instead of flooding them with it all at once. Monica has been made aware of the situation of her cousin, and nothing that BB does in the form of releasing the houseguests will change this situation. It would psychologically scar the houseguests more than us on the outside to be suddenly released under these circumstances. Everyone is writing such harsh words and opinions out of EMOTION. We have to take into consideration of what would be best for the houseguests' PSYCHE and not our own interests. Let Arnold Shapiro and CBS do what they need to do and let the rest of us go on with picking up the pieces. There will be plenty of time for reunion and mourning, at least let the houseguest feel safe in the BB House as long as they can. Because once they are released, they will quickly understand what we already do: that most of us will never feel safe again. Thank you for listening.
-- Respectfully, Will, Los Angeles, CA
I have listened to and read other people's comments about the Big Brother show. I agree with some of them and I don't agree with some of the comments. I feel that in my opinion, yes, Monica should be updated on her cousin who is on the missing list in NY. But as far as developments go, they signed a contract agreeing to give up the right to see the news or television. There is nothing they can do about it at the present anyways. As long as Monica is being updated about her cousin, I see nothing wrong with the BB2 show continuing. Even though a tragedy has happened, at some point, life has to go on, we need to achieve some sense of normalcy and continue with our lives. If we don’t continue with our lives, then the terrorists have won. So I’m a big BB2 fan and I would love to see the show continue as well as all other shows.
As before, please feel free to continue sending in your comments, thoughts, opinions, etc.