As our television screens are swamped with this year’s deluge of vacuous, talentless, fame-hungry nobodies (ie Big Brother contestants), take comfort in the thought that reality TV does not, as yet, decide our national elections. For this, writes William Gill in a free to read web exclusive for Prospect, is the bizarre state of affairs in Argentina, where the public elected not to give former president Nestor Kirchner another term in Congress thanks to his refusal to appear on reality TV show Gran Cunado (Big Brother-in-law).
The show, which is part of popular comedy programme Showtime, featured doppelgangers of the main candidates for the Congress elections, with the public invited to eject whoever they didn’t want. The trouble for Kirchner started when the real politicians were invited onto the show. All initially refused, but one—Francisco de Narvaez, whose popularity soared as a result and who then when on to beat Kirchner in the real election.