The Jeremy Kyle Show is unethical
Debate Rounds (3)
My contention is that the ITV daytime talk show "The Jeremy Kyle Show" is unethical.
If my con wishes to bring the American version of the programme into the debate. he may do so.
First round is acceptance.
unethical - not conforming to approved standards of social or professional behavior
I would like to begin by thanking my con for taking this debate.
Jeremy Kyle As An Unethical Presenter
My first contention is that Jeremy Kyle is not ethical because of the way he frequently unloads his political views on the guests as well as the viewers. His strongly conservative views can be seen by his appearance at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham in October 2010, in which he chaired a segment aptly named "Getting Britain Back To Work." (1) This title is so fitting because the welfare state at which it references the end of is one of the issues which Jeremy repeatedly expressed his personal opinion on, a clear bias. This is made all the more easy for him as his guests generally comprise of the young end of the underclass of British society, many are unemployed and Jeremy is therefore given an opportunity to crowbar in his opinion about how they are "sponging off the system." Often, this is coupled with a reference to the fact that the current government allow this and should not do. Despite the very sparse selection of clips of the show on Youtube I have managed to find one where he expresses this particular bone of Tory contempt...
He describes the guest as a "drunken bum sponging off the tax payers of this country" and elaborates that "people like you should be put out on the street," despite the fact that in this clip he doesn't descend into specific political parties he certainly does reference the issue which he, as a Tory, has such a strong position on.
This conveys the strong bias that Jeremy Kyle holds and unethically passes on to his viewers, which, as a talk show presenter he has no right to do.
In The Times newspaper, columnist Martin Samuel described the show as "a tragic, self-serving procession of freaks, misfits, sad sacks and hopelessly damaged human beings" and its guests as "a collection of angry, tearful and broken people, whose inexperience of talking through painful, contentious, volatile issues leaves them unprepared and inadequate for a confrontation of this nature" whilst noting that they "can only appear intellectually inferior to the host, too, with his sharp suit and well-rehearsed confidence". (2)
This rings very true to the nature and dynamic of this show, Jeremy Kyle serves as the judge, jury and executioner. He can condemn, praise, dismiss or help any guest on his own whim. He puts on an incredibly judgemental and superior air, often denunciating an individual to the point of screaming in their face, if you need proof of this then you clearly have not watched the show. When this oppressive approach fails to garner the right response and the guests, who are often very unintelligent, get defensive Jeremy simply dismisses them as he did in the clip above in which he simply stated that he's "not bothered" about the young man. Instead of trying to understand his alcoholism he spent much more time denigrating him for laughs from the audience, an activity which is seemingly more to fuel his own ego than to help anyone.
After watching a few episodes of this show one would think that, from Kyle's judgement of these individuals he must be a saint, but nothing couldn be further from the truth. In 1988 Kyle married his first wife Kirsty Rowley, during their 15 month marriage, Kyle weaved an intricate web of lies in an attempt to cover his own destructive and expensive gambling habit. He concealed a £4,500 overdraft that he'd run up on his then pregnant wife's bank account, the mail to Rowley informing her of this had been intercepted by Kyle. His other offences during this volatile marriage include fraudulently claiming he had inherited £70,000 from a grandmother, manipulating his wife by telling her he was suffering from a terminal illness and consistently verbally/mentally abusing her. When Kyle finally did leave her she described her situation as with "a five-month-old daughter to look after on my own, no job and debts to pay." Then, in 2007, when Rowley finally spoke up publicly about her marriage to Kyle he used solicitors Swan Turton to threaten to silence his wife with an injunction, a threat which was later withdrawn. (3)
I hardly need to point out the depth of this hypocrisy and dishonesty, such a back story would be grounds to besmirch the reputation of a normal individual, but for Kyle, who spends his career judging people on much lesser crimes, it is highly unethical. It is made all the more so due to his silence towards his past misdeeds, they are occasionally flippantly referred to but the fact that he attempted to silence his wife with solicitors shows that his deceit is ongoing.
The Polygraph Test
One of the foundations of The Jeremy Kyle show is the reliance on the "Lie Detector Test" to show whether the accusations one guest has made of another guest are correct or not. These can run from anything from infidelity to burglary and will have a very real impact on the lives of the guests as it can determine the dissolutions of marriages and relationships. According to Wikipedia the Lie Detector is reported by The Jeremy Kyle show to be 96.5% accurate. Lie detectors are therefore regarded as pretty much indisputable on the show. However, in reality scientists regard the polygraph very poorly. "Attorney General John Ashcroft estimated the false-positive rate of polygraphs at 15%, about a one-in-six chance." (4) While, a "1997 survey of 421 psychologists estimated the tests average validity at about 61%, a little better than chance. And University of Utah psychologists published a 1994 report that suggested biting your tongue, pressing your toes to the floor and counting backwards by 7's during control questions would screw up the accuracy of polygraphs." (4) If you look into it you can find a great many cases of spies, serial killers and innocent men all given the polygraph and being convicted or alleviated of suspicion based on its misreading. This shows that The Jeremy Kyle Show is highly unethical both in its advertising of the polygraph as having such a high success rate and its dependence on it. Who knows how many misreadings it has given in the Jeremy Kyle Shows over 1,000 episodes.
An Anticipated Response
I believe that your response to this will be the very marginal point that The Jeremy Kyle show also offers free rehab and DNA test services. Although this is a plus point, it is a very lonely plus point in a sea of negatives. It does not correct all of the negatives and certainly does not make the show ethical. The guests are still paying the cost of appearing, warts and all, in front of a 'Holier than thou' style presenter who screams, mocks and belittles their shortfalls in front of millions. With his practiced confidence and their typical naivety/ignorance he can verbally strip them down, sometimes revealing overly intimate details. This is something I imagine would be profoundly embarrassing and would certainly annihilate any self-esteem. I often find the show comparable to the old fashioned Victorian freak shows in which people gathered to laugh at those with physical abnormalities, except now it is their mental deficiencies which are being mocked and the freak show has been rebranded "The Jeremy Kyle Show."
(2) Gray, Sadie. "Tune in tomorrow for more freaks, misfits and saddos". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2007-10-30
Before I begin my debate, I would like to definitely congratulate and show gratitude toward my opponent in that they saved no new points for the final round of the debate. I appreciate that you politely left all points out for me to rebut so the final round is definitively conclusions I hope.
Before I begin my constructive, I would like to rebut the debate of my opponent. Before I do, I honestly would like to say I appreciate the effort that went into his debate and it did indeed begin to open my mind to the opposing view on the matter. However, I felt that ironically that his opening point was on the bias of Jeremy Kyle yet the entirety of his debate was very biased indeed.
Firstly, regarding your issue with the bias of Jeremy Kyle, most prominently to the tory's view of life, you might be surprised to find that I totally agree with. The reason I feel no shame in saying that Jeremy Kyle publicly displays bias towards a certain way of life is that his job on the show isn't just to present, but to advise. This is where I think that the first point you raised falls apart at the seams. It is not that there was a single flaw in the point itself, it's that the point altogether is irrelevant to the debate. The definition for 'unethical' in this debate was "not conforming to approved standards of social or professional behaviour" and in the United Kingdom and USA both of which have many different versions of the program including the almost mirrored program Dr. Phil as well as the more abstract parallel program, the Oprah show, are all displayed and considered very ethical indeed. The issue is that perhaps in a country such as China, displaying a TV show where one displays strong political ideals and imposes it on others may not only be considered unethical but perhaps be punishable by law, in the nations of UK and USA. which are the prominent nations where this show is broadcasted, this is neither unethical nor illegal for it is both socially acceptable to express strong political views in a non-violent manner and professionally acceptable in an advising program tin impose ones vies on another. I shall adress the rest of my rebuttal to this point in my constructive.
The second point to rebut is the one regarding the attack on Jeremy Kyle himself. In fact the grounds for my second rebuttal are nor similar but identical to the ones of the first. The reason I rebutted your first point was that it did not qualify as unethical if we used your definition and was thus irrelevant to your debate. The reason I am rebutting your attack on Jeremy Kyle is that no matter how unethical Jeremy Kyle's actions were in his marriage and no matter how unqualified an adviser he is because of this the debate is regarding 'The Jeremy Kyle Show' and we are to discuss whether the named show is unethical, not whether its presenter is ethical in his life outside of the show. This was a totally and absolutely irrelevant point to your debate and I suggest we do not go any further on the matter.
The best point that I feel was raised in my opponent's debate has to be the polygraph test. I do not think it was the best point because it had any strength to speak of but rather that it was the only point that could, possibly, be used in regards to his (forgive me if you are female) debate. The rebuttal to this point actually took me some time to conjure up and as it was the last one startled me and caused me to restructure my entire anticipative structure to his debate. Now, I could agree that if the Jeremy Kyle Show uses the polygraph test on its guests and assumes 96% accuracy whilst the claimed 15% to 61% is the absolute range of accuracy then indeed the show has been found to have a great flaw in its make-up. Nonetheless, what is this to do with the ethics of the show itself? The polygraph results are never used for legal prosecution of either guest and the polygraph results are only ever used to filter out what could be lies form the interview answers that are so often repeated in the show from the interrogation so as to point out when the person contradicts themselves. It is not a matter of ethics but rather a matter of manners that is being raised here. And since there is no apparent social opposition nor professional opposition, in the entertainment or talk show industry I believe that according to the debate's definition of unethical, this is not actually unethical.
To begin my constructive I would like to raise the point that 'The Jeremy Kyle Show' is officially listed as ' British daytime television tabloid talk show' according to Wikipedia (link at end of this round's debate). Tabloid talk shows are definitely both socially and professionally open to extreme bias and public mockery of any person on the talk show, even Top Gear is listed under this although it's predominant listing would be as an automobile show. The definition of unethical that we are using in this debate enables me to display 'The Jeremy Kyle Show' as ethical by merely showing that it is not socially unacceptable and not professionally unacceptable and what is apparent is that it is acceptable on both levels. Thus, I can conclude, for now, that The Jeremy Kyle Show is indeed, ethical.
I would like to thank my con for a reasoned and coherent response which I look forward to rebutting.
"However, I felt that ironically that his opening point was on the bias of Jeremy Kyle yet the entirety of his debate was very biased indeed."
The first point I'd like to address is that, when discussing whether the show itself is biased you responded by accusing me of being biased. This is completely irrelevant, we're having a debate what do you expect except bias? For me to argue your side as well?
"The reason I feel no shame in saying that Jeremy Kyle publicly displays bias towards a certain way of life is that his job on the show isn't just to present, but to advise."
Exactly, this only supports the point which I shall make. Kyle plays a mediator in individuals lives, a sort of therapist role, if he was simply a presenter I would completely understand why his political views should be aired but he intends to "help people" and strip them bare. I think the idea that once he does this he would cram his Tory agenda down their throats is extremely unethical and irrelevant to the job he tries to do. Wikipedia describes Kyle's job as "Kyle discusses the problem with the guests and mediates with all the involved parties, trying to help them reach a solution; he regularly offers backstage and after-show support and counselling." Here we can see the roles Kyle plays; as a mediator as well as someone who offers "Support and counselling." Now, if he sees himself as therapist-like which, given his vast ego he likely does, then could you imagine anything much more unethical for a therapist to privately do with a client than force his political views on him. Granted, Kyle is not a therapist but he certainly does fill that role and he does it in front of millions. Moulding their minds politically becomes much easier with this superior therapist-like position he holds over people. Therefore it is an unethical thing to do to an unprepared audience, on an irrelevant show when he holds such a sway over people.
"USA both of which have many different versions of the program including the almost mirrored program Dr. Phil as well as the more abstract parallel program, the Oprah show, are all displayed and considered very ethical indeed."
This is irrelevant, if you'd like to debate these programmes then we can do so but they are not the Jeremy Kyle Show and I would apply the same ethical standard to them if they promulgated their political views in the same fashion Kyle does.
"in the nations of UK and USA. which are the prominent nations where this show is broadcasted, this is neither unethical nor illegal for it is both socially acceptable to express strong political views in a non-violent manner and professionally acceptable in an advising program"
The legality of the issue is completely irrelevant, something can be unethical yet legal. For example Kyle could sleep with one of his guests, many people would consider it unethical but it certainly would be legal, there's a reason I chose the term 'unethical' over any definitions of legality. You state that it is professionally and socially acceptable for someone to express strong political views on an advising programme, I would agree that it is the way Kyle does it because he often does so very implicitly, even subliminally (I mean this in the sense that it simply goes beneath peoples ethical radar). Picture this, if a girl who'd been beaten by her husband was sobbing and Kyle was comforting her and telling her everything was going to be alright... Then suddenly he begins to question her on her political views in this less than perfect state and tells her that if she votes Tory things in this country will change for the better. It is obvious that at this moment he would have a lot of power over her as he is playing the therapist role and it would therefore be extremely unethical of him to crowbar in his political preferences at such a moment, I doubt many people would quibble over the clear unethical nature of such a scenario. Although I have conjured this scenario up, I think the only reason it is not believable is because Kyle wouldn't do it so obviously. Often people cry and he plays the therapist role but he sneaks his Tory agenda in clandestinely with odd comments about "this government" or the occasional sentence to the camera.
"this the debate is regarding 'The Jeremy Kyle Show' and we are to discuss whether the named show is unethical, not whether its presenter is ethical in his life outside of the show."
First of all, this show is eponymous for a reason, it consists completely and only of Jeremy Kyle. It is his show which stars him and he is in view of the camera pretty much at every moment, the show and himself are hardly separable. What I hope you mean is "What Jeremy is like ethically on stage is separate to what he's like personally." In almost every case I would completely agree with you on this but in this example I completely disagree and I will explain why. Kyle spends the entire show and indeed, his entire professional career, judging others on what they have done outside of the show. That is what the individuals come in to discuss, the show is only a way of digesting and concluding upon the guests actions outside of it. Therefore it is highly hypocritical of Kyle to have committed these vile deeds in the very same manner his guests do, outside of the show. Therefore he should be held to the same standards he holds his guests personal lives to, so for that reason the issue is not "absolutely irrelevant" and the point stands.
"what is this to do with the ethics of the show itself? The polygraph results are never used for legal prosecution of either guest and the polygraph results are only ever used to filter out what could be lies form the interview answers that are so often repeated in the show from the interrogation so as to point out when the person contradicts themselves."
This rather feeble attempt at a rebuttal simply ignores the reasons I gave for why the faulty polygraph is unethical and plays down the impact a wrong result will have. I will state my points again... Kyle holds peoples marriages, relationships and families in the balance, many people would see these things as the threads which holds their lives together. A faulty polygraph could and certainly would, convict an innocent individual in the eyes of those he loves most and this would often cause the break ups of these essential relationships. I would also like to say in reference to my cons final point on this subject that reinforcing wrongful accusations which may ruin families certainly does not conform to approved standards of social behaviour.
"Tabloid talk shows are definitely both socially and professionally open to extreme bias and public mockery of any person on the talk show, even Top Gear is listed under this although it's predominant listing would be as an automobile show."
You concede why this is a poor comparison yourself! Top Gear is not a show in which the presenter advises guests on their personal lives in a therapeutic sense, it is a show about cars, simple as that.
Therefore I believe that all of my cons points have been errr re-rebutted? Is that right? Well, anyway my original points all stand as before. Vote Pro!
The first counter argument raised was that of my attack to the debater on the topic of bias. What I had attempted to joke about ended up being taken as a personal offence. I apologize for the misunderstanding but do not feel guilty for pointing out that to say being biased is a means of deeming The Jeremy Kyle Show unethical, the debater is calling himself unethical for he is indeed biased. This is blatant hypocrisy in that they are breaching their own limits on what is ethical and what is not! Perhaps the joke can be understood now.
His attack on my argument that in order to advise one must be biased was very poor. He mentions absolute lies such as that Mr. Kyle plays a mediator in individual's lives and seems to assume that he knows Mr. Kyle's ulterior motive is to strip people bare. Firstly Mr. Kyle is not a mediator in people's lives but merely an adviser to them during a tough period in their life. Thus, this is absolute nonsense to state. He does not enter their life and mediate what and what not they do but merely advises them, even offering free help after the show is aired, for longer termed benefits than the advise alone. To claim to know that Mr. Kyle's ulterior motive is to merely strip people bare for what assume is our entertainment. Not only is it a very unfounded assumption to make that one knows that presenter's motives but also this is irrelevant to the ethics of the show since it only refers to the ethics of Jeremy Kyle himself, if my opponent would kindly have read the resolution being discussed he would see we are discussing the ethics of The Jeremy Kyle Show and not Jeremy Kyle. He then proceeds to rant on about how unethical it is for one to ram Tory political views down people's throats and how irrelevant it is to Jeremy Kyle's job that he does so. Again, I would like to point out that we are discussing whether The Jeremy Kyle Show is unethical and not whether Jeremy Kyle is. The rest of his counter argument is all about how unethical Mr. Kyle is and I feel that he totally lost the plot in terms of what he was actually debating about (meaning the show and not the presenter).
Regarding Oprah and Dr. Phil, I would like to tell you that it was my attempt to show that other programs where strong opinionated advise is given are considered ethical by masses. Your justification for disregarding them was that they are not 'The Jeremy Kyle Show' and that you would apply the same ethical standard to the presenters if they promulgated their political views in the same fashion as Kyle does. This is extremely irrelevant since we are neither discussing Mr. Kyle's ethics nor any of the other presenters and the example was a very valid one to raise to highlight how other tabloid talk shows are considered ethical.
My opponent seems to be under the delusion that, using this debate's definition, something can be both unethical and yet legal. This is a very false statement to make since the definition overtly states that it must not conform to approved standards of social or professional behavior. Simply put, if you break the law you are breaking that standards of social behavior of the nation in which you broke the law thus, in that nation, your act was undoubtedly unethical. Additionally, you made up a story about a girl whom, on the show, is manipulated to vote Conservative. However, you made that situation up and even admitted that it was artificial so how on Earth can this be a grounds to counter my argument regarding the show if the evidence you raise is made up? Aside from those parts of your counter argument, you being discussing the ethics of Mr. Kyle and not the show and I have already stated that this is irrelevant.
The counter argument to me highlighting that we are discussing ethics of The Jeremy Kyle Show and not Jeremy Kyle himself was pathetic, if not altogether ineffective. He states that the show is eponymous as it consists only of Jeremy Kyle. The show is actually eponymous because it is named after Jeremy Kyle so the logic there is flawed. He then states that the show and Jeremy Kyle are hardly separable, but whether or not they are closely related doesn't change the fact that the what we are resolving is whether The Jeremy Kyle Show is unethical and not whether or not Jeremy Kyle is unethical. The rest of my opponent's counter argument again attacks Jeremy Kyle and not the show.
I would like to state that my opponent called my polygraph rebuttal a feeble attempt at a rebuttal. Not only is this bad debating etiquette but is a lie for what he quoted was not an attempt at a rebuttal , let alone feeble but was in fact a very sound and well thought-out rebuttal that took a lot of time and consideration to form and execute to the highest degree. The polygraph test is not unethical since it is not used against the people nor was even one example given to justify that it had the power to break up marriages or relationships. It was merely used for a general view of nerves and hesitation which would normally appear before a person lies. It has no effect on the guest's legal stance nor their relationship, it just a tool to pull out the truth, perhaps not always accurate but for the purposes of the talk show has never caused dispute, this would be why no examples whatsoever were given to justify either the counter argument or original point.
Top gear is a show where very strong opinions are conveyed, in a manner that often can mock not only people but companies, affecting their sale of cars and having a huge impact on any people's lives who work for a company such as Ferrari or Lamborghini. Yet, it is considered ethical by the masses, so clearly tabloid talk shows are both ethical and very opinionated at the same time.
In conclusion, The Jeremy Kyle Show is not unethical since it is neither socially nor professionally unacceptable in any of its actions or characteristics. Thus, I would deem the show ethical in every sense.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by adontimasu 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Pro failed to meet his BOP, as he attempted to show that Jeremy Kyle was unethical, but not how the show was. Those points that were against the show were refuted by Con because of Pro's lack of evidence. Therefore, argument goes to Con. Pro receives sources because he used more sources, and because Con's only source was from Wikipedia, a fairly unreliable source-location in some regards.
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