Saturday, July 29, 2006

Why is PBS running infomercials?

There's precious little on late at night other than infomercials1. Sadly, one of the last refuges against infomercials has fallen prey to them: PBS is now hawking mediocre products in half-hour long segments. Of course PBS doesn't call them infomercials; instead what they're doing is running "lectures" by "invited speakers" who blab on and on about whatever topic they're supposedly knowledgeable in. Actually, these invited speakers are all just there to sell whatever product they've recently started marketing, and said products get featured prominently every time there's a break to pledge-drive central.

Last night PBS was hawking some eBay success books ("buy my book and you'll earn millions on eBay"), tonight they're hawking skin care products (the message of which seems to be that you need to buy dozens of this person's specific products and watch her DVDs or your skin will wrinkle into elephant hide), and a few weeks ago they had some doctor (selling a book, of course) who claimed to have discovered the secrets of nutrition, but who actually just repeated dietary advice that's been known for decades (eat lots of fruits and vegetables, eat a mixed diet, don't overeat, etc. etc.) disguised by lots of pseudoscientific babble.

Don't get me wrong: infomercials can be hilarious to watch (in an "I can't believe anyone would buy that" way), but if PBS thinks that running infomercials (especially ones containing bad/mediocre science) is going to get me to send them any money, they're wrong.

1 Where are the stations showing all the old movies people on TV seem to be able to find late at night?

No comments: