Wednesday, 8 June 2011

QOTD: Penis Edition

I'm currently in the middle of reading Eric Alterman's What Liberal Media? (eight years old, but still current, as they say), so I'll probably have a piece up about what I took away from it before too long.  In the meantime, though, this Greenwald quote sums up a large chunk of the problem with US journalism:
Reporters who would never dare challenge powerful political figures who torture, illegally eavesdrop, wage illegal wars or feed at the trough of sleazy legalized bribery suddenly walk upright -- like proud peacocks with their feathers extended -- pretending to be hard-core adversarial journalists as they collectively kick a sexually humiliated figure stripped of all importance.  

For those of you who haven't been following the story itself, Greenwald is lamenting the media storm that has erupted over a Democratic Congressman, the unfortunately named Anthony Weiner, who took a picture of his crotch (covered by underwear that was, shall we say, under some pressure at the time?) and sent it over Twitter.  Apparently, he hadn't quite gotten the process for sending things privately quite right and, well, things got out (if you'll pardon the expression).

The argument for covering this story in detail is that Weiner is married, and therefore sending such pictures to other women is Not OK.  But Greenwald is exactly right.  Weiner hasn't campaigned on "family values", he hasn't tried to restrict the amount of soft-core pornography available on the internet (now there would be a labour of Sisyphean proportions).  He's just done something that it's easy to believe that his wife wouldn't be happy about.

Leaving aside for the moment the argument that public interest is by definition anything the public is interested in, there are exactly three people in the world whose opinions on this are of any importance: Weiner, Weiner's wife, and Weiner's wiener watcher (sorry, I couldn't resist).  Everyone else is free to make their own minds up, obviously, it's just the idea that people are getting paid to do that which winds me up.


Gooder said...

This of course dove tails into the whole Super-injunction /Ryan Giggs/ parlimentary outing hilarity we've had over here.

It just seems that any public figure is considered fair game in this kind of situation. It's basically the office gossip on a grand scale.

Gooder said...

Also the guy's name. You couldn't make that up!

SpaceSquid said...

Yeah, the Giggs situation was in the back of my mind when I was writing the post.

Regarding that, actually, someone I was reading today used the phrase "The Streisand Effect", which is when someone putting effort into covering information up manages to actually make it far more well known to the public. Apparently it comes from her attempts to have photos of her banned from release, but it immediately made me thing of Giggs etc.