Breach Of Trust Surrounding ITV Controversy Created By Schofield Scandal Can Affect Vulnerable Viewers

Breach Of Trust Surrounding ITV Controversy Created By Schofield Scandal Can Affect Vulnerable Viewers

By Gabriel Princewill–

The breach of trust surrounding the ITV controversy created by the Phillip Schofield scandal may have affected vulnerable ‘This Morning’ viewers more than we may think, according to PR analyst, Abbi Hoxleigh.

Vulnerable viewers could become sceptical about particular presenters following this scandal which has shocked the public.

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Hoxleigh’s views were expressed during  a discussion about the overall potential impact of the fall out from the entire shambles to emerge from the Schofield affair, which has cast a shadow over what has for decades been a family like television programme.

”Considering the impact of potentially “lying” to its audience, it is no wonder that lawyers are instructed to review how the extra-marital affair was handled and the concerns of MPs questioning the broadcaster about safeguarding concerns, Hoxleigh said.

”The traditional demographic of mid-morning television includes segments typically targeting a dominantly female demographic, with a focus on stories related to human interest, lifestyle and entertainment stories. According to Ofcom’s ‘Media Nations 2022′, ITV skews towards those with a lower socio-economic profile, which includes their access to income, education, employment, community safety and social support.

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Daytime TV now attracts audiences beyond the stereotypical bored housewife and jobless graduate. “This Morning’s 30th-anniversary special clocked up 1.8 million viewers and a 15% share.

”The potential facade of This Morning’s brand as a wholesome family show may have already warped some viewers’ perspectives of non-verbal communication. Fake facial expressions, nonverbal cues, hand gestures, posture and eye contact are cultivated in what some describe as a “toxic” environment. These manipulated behaviours have become the untruths This Morning apparently offered to its more unguarded audience since the Schofield saga began.

”Body language is crucial to social interaction. It is essential for decoding others and protecting us from those that mean us harm. By normalising unnatural behaviours, vulnerable viewers are in danger of not picking up red flags daily.

”For this reason, This Morning’s audiences need genuine presenters who they can trust to behave naturally. That is the responsibility of the stalwart Daytime TV institution. Over the coming weeks, there will no doubt be further revelations to unpick this story, from various viewpoints in the media on and offline. Perhaps a fresh start is what is needed to get ITV back on track with This Morning or a show by another name.”

”Television programs play a significant role in shaping public opinion and influencing societal values. As such, it is crucial for broadcasters like ITV to prioritize wholesome individuals and ensure that their presenters embody the image they purport fostering public trust through consistent character portrayal and lifestyle choices, broadcasters can enhance viewer confidence, promote positive role models, and uphold ethical standards”.

Some analysts have called for television regulator Ofcom to emphasise to broadcasters the importance for broadcasters to recognize their responsibility in providing presenters whose ethical values  align with the public’s expectations and promotes positive social messages.

A common thread among insightful professional observers is for both regulators and television bosses to prioritize high ethical standards over superficial considerations like fame and charisma when selecting various personalities to front popular programmes.

Revelation of serious character defects of prominent presenters can be a huge detraction to the collective substance and integrity of those at the helm of programme making and broadcasting channels.

Consistency between Presenters and Image

In light of the historical scandal that accompanied the embarrassing revelations of one decorated television personality now notoriously known as Jimmy Saville years ago, there are heightened concerns for television bosses to thoroughly vet those individuals they use to endear the British public, and not be narrowly fixated on big names.

Schofield’s fall from grace is not  anywhere on the same level as some of the unsavoury characters before him, but the lies atop the repugnant  infidelity defies the expectations from the British public.

”The presence of trustworthy presenters is vital to maintaining public trust in television programming. Viewers form attachments and build relationships with presenters based on their on-screen persona, and they expect the presenters’ real-life character and lifestyle to align with the image portrayed on television. Consistency between presenters and their public persona helps build credibility, authenticity, and reliability” Hoxleigh added.

Life coach and analyst Sheila Mckenzie added: ”When presenters consistently display traits and values consistent with their on-screen image, viewers can trust that the messages conveyed are sincere and genuine. This trust translates into increased viewer confidence in the programs and the broadcasters, leading to a stronger connection with the audience.

”Revelations of bad conduct by television presenters can further the view that there are more dodgy presenters on television with skeletons in their closet yet to be exposed.

Presenters serve as role models for viewers, particularly for younger audiences who may look up to them. Wholesome presenters who exemplify positive values and lifestyle choices can inspire viewers to emulate those traits, promoting personal growth and fostering a sense of responsibility.

”Maintaining a consistent image also upholds ethical standards within the broadcasting industry. Presenters who adhere to a wholesome lifestyle reinforce the idea that broadcasters prioritize integrity, professionalism, and moral values. This, in turn, ensures that programs meet ethical guidelines and serve the best interests of the public.

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