Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Investigating Investigation

There used to be this thing called privacy.

I'm still on the fence about this, but I can say with some certainty (especially when it comes to celebrities) sometimes ignorance *IS* bliss.

Investigative journalism and muckraking--in its purest form--seems to be founded in the belief that there is truth out there that the masses need to know. Without this knowledge, the impartial picture will obscure the minds of people everywhere into making decisions or having ideas without decent foundations.

Knowing that Charlie Sheen is a raging, drug-abusing idiot is not my idea of something meriting that sort of journalism--but it has become important to the American people. I assume that's because we've lowered our own standards of what is important as viewing the train-wrecks of our romanticized idols.

We've even gone so far now as to uncover the truths of celebrities and politicians of ancient past in order to...what? get a clearer understanding of our past in order to create a better future? Not so much. Mostly it seems we're at it again with the train wrecks.

I understand that the media needs to have exciting and juicy stories to interest and engage readers, watchers and listeners, but have we forgotten the purpose of investigative journalism altogether? Sometimes getting a little dirt on your hands for the sake of uncovering important information is good...but don't forget what happens to dirt when it gets all wet.

The masses need more than gossip and inconsequential exposes to help them be informed citizens. It would be great if we stopped lowering the importance of investigative reporting to something out of a tabloid and started looking at the issues that actually might have some significance and meaning--and let the celebrities have this lovely thing called privacy. Maybe then they wouldn't feel like they needed to do drugs all the time...

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