Sunday, October 18, 2009

Balloon Boy, Reality TV, Hoaxes and Legal Charges

Was I the only one who thought, right off the bat, that there was something not quite right about the claim that a 6-year-old boy may be on a run-away home-made helium balloon?
(edited to add, I read at 3 p.m., on CNN, that the authorities have admitted that this was a hoax: 'Balloon boy' incident was hoax, sheriff says)

Of course, the authorities had to take the issue seriously. They couldn't take any chances that this wasn't true - but something didn't sit right from the beginning of the story - at least not to me.

I don't watch the TV show Wife Swap very often. Oddly enough, one of the few times I did watch it was when the Heene family was on it. Very odd family, very odd way of living life, but I figured, well, that's what works for them. But when I started getting the unsure feeling about the run-away balloon and then I heard the family's name, I was certain it was a hoax. I wonder what the other family in that episode thinks about the Heenes now. Needless to say, they didn't feel that much love towards them before.

Reality TV is real entertainment for a lot of people. I get that. It's like watching a train wreck. I watched *one* episode of Toddlers and Tiaras, a TLC program about children's pageants. I was shocked and disgusted at what I saw. Six-year-olds prancing, making sexually provocative movements and stances, blowing lipsticked pouty kisses to the crowd. I've watched one or two episodes of condescending Kate and no-back-bone Jon and their eight children. But in truth, I avoid these shows because they have no entertainment value to me. All I see come out of these shows are people who are willing to sell their souls for their 15 minutes of fame. Which, in cases like Jon and Kate, and the Heenes, translate into more than that.

Now that it's strongly suspected that the Heenes did set up a hoax, police are considering charges (Charges pending in balloon saga). Unfortunately, the charges can't be strong enough because it looks like this falls under misdemeanor, not criminal charges. But, I wonder if they can be sued in court to regain some of the costs that were incurred during the search? And I wonder about those kids. Obviously, if this was a hoax, the sibling who "reported" seeing his brother get in the basket was coached to do so, so what is it like in that house?

It's a sad story. And alleged hoaxes like this only make people suspicious when real things occur. Reality TV, I wish you'd go back into obscurity.


Sam Kaufman said...

not a big surprise that this whole thing was a publicity stunt... too bad they might go to jail for it, that certianly wasn't worth it

April said...

They were just discussing it on tv. They are facing felony charges. The current charges carry a sentence of up to 5 years in prison and a $500,000 fine. That's per charge too.

They're also looking into federal charges. One charge alone would carry a possible 20 year sentence.

Now I ask, was their 15 minutes of fame worth it?

Anonymous said...

I think you and 80 pecent of the country knew it was a hoax. But you know what, put in it's larger perspective there are a lot more horrible things that happen in this country and certainly there are lot more areas where the state of Colorado is spending tons of more money which could be categorized as total waste. What about the costs of illegal aliens in welfare, medical costs, school and prison costs in Colorado. I'm sure the costs for this pales by comparison and yet no one want to lock up illegals. So I say forget about this and the average American should return back to their precious Dancing with the Stars