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Ever since the JFK-Nixon debates of 1960, TV has been a profoundly influential platform for politicians to spit game to voters. The ascent of "reality" TV has only exacerbated this phenomenon. Whether it's a senator guest appearing or a contestant eventually running for office, it's clear that bureaucrats around the world are seeking constituents through this new-age media outlet. Here are some examples of when politics infiltrate reality tv...
5. India, Congressman Sanjay Nirupam, "Bigg Boss", 2008
• Mumbai Congressman, Sanjay Nirupam, became the first politician to appear on one of India's biggest reality shows - "Bigg Boss". His diplomatic maneuvering in the real world failed to extend to the "reality" world, as he was bossed-up on and sent home immediately. He later expressed regret for his appearance, feeling that it may have damaged his image. It was the editing, right?
4. Russia, "Political Factory", 2006
• Drawing from a similar idea spawned in Argentina, this experiment by Putin's party is more George Orwell than Simon Cowell. Fourteen contestants compete to get their name on the ballot for the parliament of Lipetsk, a region south of Moscow. Surprisingly, it's not a serious attempt of direct democracy, but rather an innovative form of pop-propaganda.
3. UK, Tommy Sheridan, "Celebrity Big Brother", 2007
• Inspired by other similarly-ambitious UK politicians, the controversial Scottish socialist, Tommy Sheridan, used his reality show opportunity to syndicate his political views.Before being eliminated, there was an episode where he was able to harangue the Bush administration as Latoya Jackson listened respectfully. You got that off, Tommy.
2. USA, President George W. Bush, "American Idol", 2006
• Speaking of Dubya, he also caught the reality show bug and offered this contrived message of gratitude on "American Idol". His snake-oil swag splashes liberally as he thanks "Idol" viewers for raising money to alleviate poverty in Africa. What a guy. He would have pitched in too, but was kind of busy bombing other poor people at the time. Maybe next year.
1. USA, Patricia Blagojevich, "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here", 2009
• When disgraced former Illinois senator, Rod Blagojevich, was denied a spot on "I'm a Celebrity" due to his open cases, his ride-or-die wifey stepped up on behalf of the fam. Clearly a desperate attempt at personal redemption, Patty is in fact excelling at eating insects and slandering old adversaries. Yet another case of when keeping it reality goes wrong.