Thursday, November 27, 2014

Paparazzi goes mainstream

   It says a lot about the mindset of modern news media that Jian Ghomeshi was the only person who maintained a shred of dignity following his court appearance yesterday.
   While Ghomeshi kept his head down and his mouth shut, a swarm of journalists, cameramen and photographers comported themselves with the grace and decorum of a thousand seagulls at the scene of an overturned garbage truck, all in the relentless pursuit of the money shot or sound bite that would make their newspaper, website or network the Ghomeshi misery maker of the day. 
   As agents for the wider public, the media are only indulging the appetite of their audience.  There's always been a fascination with watching celebrity come undone or tragedy unfold, but piling on as a sport is a relatively recent phenomenon.  Social media doesn't wait for a story to play itself out before establishing a conclusive narrative that mainstream media feels duty-bound to follow.  The result is that supposedly reputable journalists are reduced to paparazzi-style reporting that caters to public sentiment at the expense of cornerstone journalistic ethics.
   Some people call it "social justice".  I consider irresponsible pandering to a crowd split between professional "victims" with a chip on their shoulder and closet sadists who delight in the ruination of others.  

1 comment:

  1. See Tom Wolfe's book (not the movie) Bonfires of the Vanities for his perp walk description. In the movie, anytime reporters came on the scene, the background music was a kind of annoying buzz like bees gone berserk.

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