Survival of the (Racially?) Fittest: CBS Gets Big Buzz

And the inevitable electric buzz about the new racially divided teams means "Survivor" is now in the news again, from the blogosphere to talk radio.

Blogger Eric Deggan, a staff writer of the St. Petersburg Times, now reports that colleagues at USA Today, CNN Headline News and CBS radio asked him, after his initial postings on the story, "to weigh in on the question of the moment: Is CBS now prepared to exploit racial strife for ratings gain?"

"This is hardly what the Kerner Commission had in mind when it urged TV executives back in 1968 to fully integrate black people 'into all aspects of televised programming,' " Deggan scoffs.

Controversy on Internet and radio is only heating up in response to reports such as one in the Chicago Tribune that "Survivor" producer Burnett says in a promotional video "that he thought the racial element of the show could bring out the best in the competitors."

Overall, the story has reached a second level of coverage in which some professional journalists are now beginning to criticize the media for playing into the hands of an apparent public relations ploy by the producer.

"Something that would whip the press into a frenzy amounting to millions of dollars worth of free publicity," is how the Washington Post puts it, in an article that, as is the nature of news media, only serves to add to that free publicity.

As does this article. Whatever else we will learn from this -- whether or not this survival-of-the-(racially?)-fittest "Survivor" sees air -- any publicity ploy aforethought there may have been seems to be working.

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