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Monday, July 14, 2008

The issue is not "the right to know" but the debasement of humanity

I looked up the origin of the fun media term, "the right to know," and didn't find it in the US Constitution. At best, some writings link it to "evolving standards," which is another phrase being worked into the public mind.
  • I don't fault people who are 100% sure "the right to know" isn't meaningless tripe. They are simply examples of how easy it is to distract and narcotize an entire culture.
Adherents to this principle have been encouraged to believe that those who disagree with them should be silenced. An example of this was in a Newsday article today referenced by Poynter.org/Romenesko on the subject of salacious reporting about celebrities. A thinker in the field suggested second thoughts might be in order considering recent media treatment of celebrities, to which an advocate of "the right to know" said: The issue is not a "right to know," but is the debasement of society, human discourse, and the human spirit. If not, then stop google from being able to scrub information certain people want to keep from the public--if you're serious about the right to know. Shouldn't we be "free" to evaluate whom we should trust, what biases are present, etc. If we have the right to know, why hasn't MLB opened its books? Reference: Newsday article, "Celebrity Privacy vs the Modern Media," by John Jeansonne, 7/13/08, via Poynter.org/Romenesko (Allen Barra): "Newspapers are no longer the primary source for descriptions of games, as they were in, say, Ring Lardner's day, when players and writers traveled, ate and played cards together, and when players' off-field exploits were taboo subjects for news columns. Today it seems that beat writers more and more cover teams to explore the players' private lives and to offer judgments about players' character (or lack of it)." P.S. Few people will ever read this post. It happens to reference a big-time blogger but only for informational purposes. My point is not about any one person but society as a whole. Thanks. sm

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