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Media Responsibility and the Privacy of Public Personalities - Research Paper Example

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Media Responsibility and the Privacy of Public Personalities Few people can forget the story of Anthony Wiener, the bright young lawmaker from New York who was on his way to political greatness. He was articulate, media-savvy and was espousing a modern brand of politics that many people shared…
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Media Responsibility and the Privacy of Public Personalities
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Media Responsibility and the Privacy of Public Personalities

Download file to see previous pages... Soon, the women were being interviewed by the tabloids, Anthony Wiener’s wife was being deluged by reporters, their family peace was shattered. Everywhere, one sees stories of the media trying to outscoop each other in scraping the bottom of the barrel, so to speak, and extracting information about, or even against celebrities, in order to profit. They then invoke the blanket right of press freedom and the Constitutional guarantee of free expression in order to absolve themselves from liability. Those who say that the media should be restrained give several examples of media irresponsibility. Indeed, it is extremely difficult to dispute examples of not only celebrities, but also ordinary people whose lives have been thrown apart by severe media incursions. Nothing is sacred anymore, privacy has become a value of the past. Even the most private confines of one’s home can become fodder for tomorrow’s newspapers. As a result, celebrity endorsements can be lost (Gorman 1247). With Twitter and other social networking sites, it has become even worse. Everyone is a journalist, and it becomes easier for professional journalists to zero in on what is newsworthy. As stated by Felcher and Rubin (1577), this kind of publicity against real people can “disrupt their lives, hurt their feelings, or decrease their ability to profit from their names, likeness or other attributes.” However, this paper will argue that there are more disadvantages than advantages when one censors the media. Indeed, the costs of curtailing free speech outweigh the putative benefits of reining in abusive journalists and protecting the privacy of celebrities. This paper will talk about this on three levels. Firstly, this paper will consider it from the Constitutional principle of free speech, arguing that the freedom of expression of the press is one of the bedrocks of a thriving democracy. Secondly, it will argue that the media still remains to be one of the potent mechanisms against abusive public officials and that the risks of public officials abusing their office have greater damage on society than media professionals who abuse their profession. Finally, it will argue that there are corrective remedies to curb media wrongdoing that do not have to involve outright censorship. Free speech as the bedrock of democracy and human rights Free speech remains to be one of the firmest firmaments of democracy. It is usually the first to be taken away when a dictator wants to install himself into power as a free and healthy press is an important indicator of a free and healthy republic. According to Ira Glasser, who was the director of the American Civil Liberties Union, people often fail to realize that when government regulates speech, panoply of First Amendment issues comes to the fore. He states: “Liberals and Democrats have been the chief offenders in this scenario, favoring equity in the abstract but never seeing how the particular reforms they advocated made the problems they wished to remedy worse, and never seeing that giving the government the authority” (2). Free speech is not always the easiest thing to defend. In fact, in many circumstances, our gut tells us that it should be suppressed in favor of some other social policy. An example of this is the notorious case of Citizens United. By way of brief background, the case takes root in 2008 when a non-profit corporation, Citizens United, released a documentary entitled “ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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