Civics lessons, continued

I was going to post a comment in response to Dagmar’s comment on yesterday’s post, but I realized there is enough here to warrant another post. In particular, I was struck by her observation that these TV networks would not be violating this woman’s privacy unless there was an audience out there willing to tune in.

OK, intellectually I understand that there must be millions of people who tuned in to watch while Fox and CBS showed excerpts from that video. But I’m having trouble understanding why those people thought it was ok to watch.

Only when I read Dagmar’s insightful comment I did start to grapple with the disturbing fact that there must be a large audience eager to watch while CBS and Fox engage in deliberate abuse of an innocent party. I hadn’t thought about this before because it had never even occurred to me to watch that video. I’m sure it’s easy to find on the internet, but it seems to me that anyone who watches it, whether on the internet or on TV, is violating another person’s right to privacy.

Here’s the analogy that comes to mind: Suppose John is with a friend in a restaurant, and a diner at the next table goes to the restroom, leaving their pocketbook on their seat. John’s friend reaches into the pocketbook and pulls out two crisp twenty dollar bills. The friend puts one bill in his own pocket and hands the other to John, saying “Hey look, free money!” John takes the money, reasoning that he didn’t steal it, his friend did.

That’s pretty much the position you are in if you willingly watch that puerile video on Fox or CBS. You didn’t air it, they did, so you can tell yourself that you don’t need to take responsibility for watching it. Except that you do. Being a willing audience for such things makes you exactly as guilty as John was in that restaurant.

In my view, each of us – every citizen – has an ethical obligation to pointedly avoid watching Fox News or CBS Early Edition – at all – until those networks apologize for violating the public trust and that woman’s rights. Otherwise we are condoning and encouraging this sort of abuse.

You might not agree. In which case I humbly suggest – assuming you do not wish to be a surprise guest on a national news program – that you make very sure there are no hidden cameras in your bathroom.

4 Responses to “Civics lessons, continued”

  1. Brad says:

    You’re right on here.

    Bad behaviour has become OK with so many people. We really need to fight harder for a world we feel proud of.



  2. Michael says:

    Being somewhat cynical (and not knowing the ins and outs of the original story) one could also assume that maybe the whole thing was a publicity stunt.
    I’m not saying it was… but it wouldn’t suprise me either.


  3. ulmedas says:

    To assume a crime was not a crime, because thing of that nature have happened before, is… disturbing.

    That is like watching a cop beat someone nearly to death and saying, well, maybe they deserved it. Perhaps the victim was actually the perpetrator of some crime worthy of being beaten.

    I went to the trouble of getting one piece about it for you. In the furture, you could just use google news to read about it a bit, so as to obtain some of the ‘ins ans outs’ of the story before damning the victim of a crime:,0,3026442.column

  4. admin says:

    Point well taken, but perhaps you were being a bit harsh to Michael. It was reasonable for him to conjecture – and then reasonable for you to look it up and test his theory. 🙂

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