"The people in these shows are mainly working-class women who are presented as failures who can be saved by the middle classes coming into their lives, so they are judged in the context of middle-class values... participants appear without context; the economic or cultural features that govern their everyday lives are not shown or discussed, so that the surface issues of what makes a good citizen become the focus of the entertainment."
The idea they are reinforcing is that differences and lower status are due to individual failings. Which leads me to...
This is the difference between a right wing and a left wing theory. Left wingers see people's behaviour and thoughts as arising from their social experiences, while right wingers start with the the person's character which causes their experiences. The causality is reversed. For instance, the collapse of the Roman Empire is either due to economic problems which forced Roman civilisation to change (Marxist theory) or due to moral character failures of individual Romans, which brought about economic problems (right wing theory). Or in sociology: people become addicts because they have limited life choices, or they have limited choices because they are addicts.
Here's another example - this Guardian blog about women who choose to have surgery to 'improve' the look of their genitals. The blogger (who made the recent Channel 4 program on the subject) argues that women do this because of feelings of inadequacy which arise from the social and economic position of women, and their relations with men. A large proportion of the commentators argue that it reflects a series of individual personal failings by the women concerned.
'If women are going around fretting about how their genitals look then they only have themselves to blame'
'Men aren't the problem, women are. You've fallen for the glossy mags'
'The so-called obsession with having the "perfect" looks, body parts, etc., is a neurosis of the individual, and should not be blamed on society'
'Any woman considering having her (genitals) chopped has to be insane...Having said that, the labia minora should never protrude the labia majora!'
'Men look at huge willies in porn and never spend a second wondering about their own size... it's a sad fact that women are more likely to question themselves when they see an inequality, whereas men acknowledge that everyone's different!'
'But when women hear guys talking about their labia preference ... suddenly, the men are being misogynistic, or overly critical. We're not, we're just comparing notes, largely in private.'
Heh, I quoted quite a few because they seemed so spectacularly deluded.