Passport to Nowhere
I hate to be like a lot of the other talking heads around and say it’s all the media’s fault, but I swear the press is getting nastier by the second, and that includes my favorite news outlet, MSNBC. Now with the accessing of passport information at the State Department by some lowly lookie-loos, I have to wonder where the granularity lies between what gets reported and what is deemed trivial.
Do we really need to know all the unseemly details of every candidate that wants to run for an elected position? Will we be rummaging through their garbage cans looking for condom wrappers next? Because if we did find condom wrappers it would mean someone had sex and god forbid we didn’t know about THAT! Or maybe we can look for empty cookie wrappers or ice cream containers, that would prove someone was nervous about something and bingeing on sweet delights to calm down. And of course if they didn’t gain weight we could then prove they were bulimic and wouldn’t that make for a great scandal? Call Chris Mathews, call Bill O’Riely, call your sister and your neighbor and email everyone in your email address book… SOMEONE SNUCK A COOKIE!
Where does it end?
In the case of the passport information, you got to know that yours and mine information is available to many government employees to look at on a whim, and in this case where “Candidate Information was Accessed” it was to be expected. Could you really blame some people for being weak and NOT accessing the info if they could? The temptation would just be too much for some people. So they look, they get their voyeuristic thrill and in honesty the details are forgotten the moment the screen clears and they move onto something else. They get admonished, maybe fined or fired, and that is the end of that.
Why does there have to be a conspiracy behind every corner?
Because we like that there could be a conspiracy behind every door and under every bed. It has gotten to the point that a Governor can’t even hire a hooker with his own money without it being his downfall. Now granted, he was a hypocrite being all Mr. Justice and all and then found out to be banging skanks, but even if he weren’t Mr. High and Mighty he still would have been brought low because for whatever reason he wanted to pork a pro. And the ratings go up and up and up and up…
But there has to be a limit, even if it costs rating points… why? Because in the long run what did Mr. Spitzer do that was so horrible? He paid for a lay, too much, but it’s his money. This may indicate he has a problem at home, or maybe he is just a freak, but should this indiscretion really be brought public? Did this actually interfere with his ability to do the job the people of New York elected him for? Did he really have to step down because he had to have his dick attended to? It makes no sense because we are no better that he is, it is just that he is in the public eye that we scrutinize him so closely. Dare we count the number of men that have stepped out for a hummer or some such and make all these encounters public and report them on the 6pm news for all the kids to hear? Or, should we disclose all the mommies having nooners with someone other than hubby? Where would we be if there was complete transparency in our lives?
I can hear the screams now… how dare the media publish my private comings and goings. But let’s face it, you were being bad person and you should be publicly spanked. No? Well then what makes you think you have the right to know everything about a “public” figure? If the public figure is public for being a slut and that is their thing, sure, report all the seemly details. If the person is famous for being a politician, report all the political things they are involved in, but where is the need then to pry into their private life and doings?
Remember West Wing on NBC? There was an episode where a reporter had some salacious information about one of the characters and CJ asked him why he didn’t report it. He replied, “It isn’t news, it’s just gossip.” It was a statement of journalistic ethics that I could get behind. He was not after the cheap shot or interested in seeing someone maimed by lurid rumor, he wanted to report something of substance. I think this level of professionalism is what is needed now. Chief Editors need to look beyond the almighty ratings point and pick up a higher level of journalistic ethics.
We all need to curb our curiosity and know that while we will not know everything about our public figures, we will know the important things about them that would affect their ability to do the job we are “interviewing” them for. I really do not care if Barak Obamas’ preacher is an extremist, is Barak? I don’t care if McCain can’t remember the details regarding Soonies and Shiites and such, the confusion stuck in his head like a bad song, will that actually stop him from doing the job we need him too? I could careless if Clinton has a “gal pal” (as is rumored), this would not prevent her from doing the job or president. However, I might want to know about her total involvement in “White Water” as that may reflect on her decisions and maybe be a point of compromise for her.
Yes, the news may be a bit less interesting, yes that titillation factor would be gone, but at least we would be free of the tasteless minutia that is being reported today.