Saturday, January 26, 2008

Writers- please come back!

FOX Broadcasting Company has recently come up with a new show called The Moment of Truth. In this show, contestants are asked a series of questions before the show while they are hooked up to a polygraph machiene. The big thrill of the show comes when they are asked the same questions in front their spouses, family and friends. Their results are revealed. The questions get more personal and difficult to answer the further into the show they go. At any time the contestant can choose to stop and take the money they have earned so far but if they go through the entire series of questions, they win $500,000.

To me this show proves that networks are getting desperate for the writers stirke to end and have the writers return to work. I cannot believe that sharing very personal information about yourself on TV for money sounds like a good idea to anyone. I also cannot believe that the network promotes this type of a show. Aren't they afraid of a lawsuit? I am sure they have covered their butts and have the contestants sign all sorts of documents. To me the whole show just doesn't even seem ethical. Making a show out of people's very personal lives seems to be pushing the envelope. In Lippman's article he discusses two distince selves: the public and regal self (private and human). Are these people who are willingly going on this show following in the footsteps of Lippman, not really. Revealing your most personal secrets on national television is not keeping your private life seperate from your public life.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Privacy of the people

A recent story on CNN told of Circuit Judge John B. Hagler of Cleveland, Tennessee and his recent resignation. His resignation took place after an audiotape on which the judge recorded graphic personal fantasies was found. The tape was handed over to investigators by a past secretary. On the background of the tape the listerner can hear sounds from a person who sounds as though they are being tormented. The press have heard about the tape and are now asking that a copy be released to them. As the article states "the newspaper, The Associated Press and other news organizations had asked that the tape be released, but Hamilton County Chancery Court Judge Frank Brown ruled Thursday that it is not a public record and should be returned to Hagler. The judge justified this ruling by saying "private documents do not become public just because someone provides them to a law enforcement official."

The thing that gets me here is that the media thinks they need a copy of the tape. What would they do with it? I'm sure they would print stories about what was on the tape, stories that would be extremely embarrassing for the past judge. Would it be right for them to do this? I really do not think so. As Judge Brown said, the tape is a private thing. Judge Hagler did not record it for anything dealing with work. No matter how disturbing it may be, it does not necessarily mean that the press needs to report on it. What if they had at some point written a steamy novel on their laptop and it was later found and someone wanted to write a story about that? I wonder if they would feel the same way about private and personal property at that point. I understand it would all make a good newstory, but I don't know that it would be ethical to print it.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Drama of the Spears

Many of us are well aware of the drama that has been unfolding in the lives of the Spears family. 16 year-old JamieLynn is pregnant and Britney recently had a breakdown unlike any other Hollywood breakdown we have seen in the last several years. Britney was strapped up and hauled off to a hospital. Whether we really care about this drama or not, it is hitting the top of the news stories. In case this was not enough, Dr. Phil decided to step in and offer his two cents worth to the Spears family, specifically to Britney. As the article above shows, Dr. Phil was highly criticized for showing up at the hospital. Obviously we do not know all of the details surrounding his visit, but he does mention that he hoped to get some video and an interview which he then hoped to show on his weekday show, Dr. Phil.

There are so many issues going on with this ordeal, but one in particular deals with ethical issues. I am not talking about whether or not Dr. Phil should have gone to visit Britney. The ethical part of it goes beyond that. What if Dr. Phil had gotten an interview with Britney? What if he took those tapes and made a show out of them? As we all just witnessed, Britney is not very stable right now. I don't know that someone who is locking themselves in rooms with their children is the best person to do an interview with. I am sure that if Dr. Phil got the interview and did the show that he would see it as a great way to help others. But as the article also showed, not many people are in the same situation as Britney. Even if Britney had agreed to the interview, I think it would have been highly unethical for Dr. Phil to air the interview. When someone is that unstable I do not feel that they would be able to make a conscious decision to agree to being taped. Many people approve of Dr. Phil and take his shows very seriously. He has a huge responsibility to his audience to show them material that is apporpriate.