I'm really not sure what to make of the current hysteria about 'faking it' on television. I can't decide whether this is an indictment of media educationists -- that there are still people out there that think that what is on television is 'real' -- or that it shows just how important universal 'media literacy' is. It's the latter of course. What the current controversy shows is not that television is 'dumbing down', but rather that no matter how 'media savvy' or sophisticated television audiences may appear to be, they don't reflect on what they watch with any critical distance. As regards what happens within the TV industry, I was struck by (66 year-old) Paul Watson (director of the programme on the couple coping with Alzheimer's) suggesting on Radio 4 that the mistakes in presentation were being made by "young guys with mortgages" desperate to get the ratings. He's probably right.
I can't really pontificate on the current range of programming that is under fire since I haven't seen any of the programmes in question. I'm not going to argue that this is because I have superior viewing tastes, but there is a cultural change taking place that I'm clearly not part of.