've worked as an editor of reality TV shows for about eight years -- I've worked for 30 to 35 different reality series, and probably edited 300 to 400 individual episodes. Most people understand by this point that reality shows are entertainment, but there's a trust element there -- when it's called reality, viewers want to believe. As editors we walk the line, though, and in some shows we kind of jump over it.
The caliber of producers and executives in reality TV is terrible because reality shows are so cheap -- you can make a whole season of a reality show for the cost of one episode of CSI, so the network just promotes a bunch of knuckleheads to be the producers. So you have to manipulate more than you should -- nothing happened on the show because the producers didn't do anything.