Do we need to know?
Separating politics from celebrity.
Have we the right to know every detail of any celebrity or politicians life? What matters about a politician is not the same as what matters about a celebrity. Or is it? In both cases what really matters is how they perform at their chosen career. What matters to a vocalist is how well they sing. What matters to a politician is how well they make decisions. Of course there are now celebrities famous for being famous, apparently making fortunes out of being “in the public awareness” just being a celebrity is almost a profession but even these are treated as if every utterance matters. Why?
From the British royal family to the President of America, from anyone acting in a TV soap series to stars of sporting events; the intrusive search for any and every detail of the life of the person carries on.
It sells papers and magazines, it increases the TV ratings. But is this justification for the often damaging intrusion? Does it justify the breaking of laws? A side effect of the obsessive demand for details of the “private” life of every public figure and “celebrity” is that illegal depths that lazy journalists and arrogant editors, will go to get any tiny bit of gossip, that they can print. The truth, the context, the moral and ethics of the situation are brushed aside by the “public right to know.” What right to know? Who decides what the public has a right to know? So what happens if some one uses the same tactics and methods to publish the private lives of the editor? There will be howls of outrage and demands that their privacy is upheld.
It has to be acknowledged that a great deal of publicity generated on the TV chat show circuit and in popular magazines, is actually initiated by the singer, actor or celebrity with something to sell. This is not so much the case among politicians.
It has emerged that the BBC have now apologised to Earl Spencer ( Brother of Princes Diana) over forged documents ( bank statements) used to support lies that the BBC; through Martin Bashir; used to get The Earl to encourage Diana to give interviews to the BBC
It seems the BBC -- knowing this to be untrue; --told the Earl that Prince Charles wanted the Spencer family dead and that MI6 tapped their phones etc. The forged bank statements were used to claim some one was paid to do this. The claims were lies and the bank statements forged.
People can admire the football ability of, say David Beckham, but once they leave the filed of play it does not matter at all, who he or she is married to, or what music they listens to. Anyone can greatly admire the driving skills of Lewis Hamilton but have no interest in his hair style or who he is having dates with. Where he pays his tax or who he votes for, are totally irrelevant to his ability as a race driver.
It is understood that the owners of TV stations need to fill the airtime but why spend hours on overpaid interviewers asking inane questions about a dancers sex life? What has this to do with the dance? The media in general, spends hours questioning the political views of a person simply because that person had some success and fame as a singer, this can only make sense if the same media outlet spent equal time discussing the political views of a person just picked at random from a crowd of, for example, football fans.
It is the same politically, what matters is the policy of a politician and their ability to deliver that policy, how skilled are they at adjusting to ever shifting global events. Can they make the right decision under pressure. Have they mental strength? Are the political affiliations and messages of support the politician gave 10 years ago indicative of their true agenda now? Is there a conflict between policies they now claim to support and those they have supported in the past. These things matter not what colour clothes they wear. Who they slept with 10 years ago, or even yesterday, is of no relevance and so should be of no interest at all. Except to their immediate and close family. Does the social behaviour of a student have anything to do with the merits of a politician 30 years later?
The media has become obsessed with trivia, because it fills air time and pages cheaply. May be we should have less media saturation, smaller news papers, shorter news broadcasts but fill these truncated outlets with meaningful news, things that are actually important. Social media has become a cesspit of unfounded personal comment, often abusive and very often with no basis in fact. Eventually there has to come a halt to the unfounded and sometimes criminally false abuse. There will be cries of “public right to know,” claims of censorship. The public have a right to know facts, what the score was in a competition, what the politicians views are now and where 10 years ago. There is a right to know facts; the public have a right to know that the biased opinions of a politically opposed anonymous social media post, are not facts, they are distortions and lies, they are hugely biased opinions. May be every social media post should be clearly labelled- Opinion or evidence based fact.
The technology to track and confirm the identity of every person who posts illegal abuse and makes false claims about any person or group, either exists or it soon will. The freedom of those who slander and libel with impunity, will be over. There will be much protest but the restriction demanding a return to truthfulness will be caused by the cowardly trolls who exploit the slackness of social media now. This slackness bleeds into mainstream media generating a corrosive atmosphere that anything goes, any opinion, any deceit, any lies are justified if they increases circulation or viewer rating levels.
Democracy is too important to allow the voters choices to be swayed by distortions and lies.