Have to call some shenanigans. The “poor” were watching TV (or listening to the radio) somehow. How do you think it garnered so much interest? It wasn’t only by word of mouth or in the papers.
Furthermore, it’s television. Something that’s always been drummed up to be fake. If you believe reality TV — then or now — then shame on you.
Finally, if you’re going to look at TV exploiting the human condition, then you don’t have to go back to the 50s to do it.
All-in-all, this article was entertaining, but trying to apply some underlying theme to a bygone era, especially when criticizing something in showbiz is halfway absurd.