The Celebrity Apprentice

by Kelly

Don’t you have to be a “celebrity” to be on The Celebrity Apprentice?  Why then did I just read that Rod Blagojevich will be one of the contestants on the new series starting in March?  Granted, the definition of celebrity in the dictionary is “a famous or well-known person” and I suppose that Mr. Blagojevich qualifies as a well-known person but have we stopped caring about the reasons behind the fame?

TV's newest reality star?
Mr. Blagojevich, the former Governor of Illinois, was arrested and charged in December of 2008 with what the U.S. Attorney General called “a staggering level of corruption” involving pay-to-play politics.  You can read the official criminal complaint here.  Most notably, Mr. Blagojevich has been accused of trying to sell the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President Obama.  In addition to that gem, he has also been charged with attempting to extort the owners of the Chicago Tribune to fire the editors who criticized his handling of state affairs, releasing state funds to a children’s hospital only if they provided him with a campaign contribution and seeking campaign contributions from companies who receive state contracts or appointments.  Impeached in January 2009, his trial is set to open in June 2010.


I strongly believe that people are innocent until proven guilty and we will have to wait for the outcome of the trial in 2010 to fully judge Rod Blagojevich, but does being charged with a crime make him a celebrity?  I understand that there is very little “real” in reality television and that they choose to use sensationalism to attract viewers and generate advertising profits, but I think that by including a public figure charged with multiple criminal offences, they are taking their standard use of sensationalism to a new low.


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