2010 Essay Winner: Print

Hal Dockins
Senior, Chantilly High School

 

“If  Jesus were here today, he wouldn’t be riding around on a donkey.  He’d be taking a plane; he’d be using the media.” -Joel Osteen[1]

Tiger Woods and Sandra Bullock are far from being the only celebrities who are eternally stalked by the media.  How about Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Britney Spears, and Lady Gaga, just to name a few?  The point is that the extra public attention is all just a by-product of the fame.  If one is unable to deal with it then they should consider whether “celebrity” is the right profession for them. The media has every right to delve into the personal lives of celebrities. It’s part of celebrities’ job descriptions to be good role models for the rest of us and if they aren’t, then we are going to hear about it. It’s up to the media to expose the best and the worst of our celebrities.

Millions of kids look up to celebrities (for better or for worst) and fantasize what their lives must be like. They have a right to know if their favorite actors and actresses, sports stars and musicians are who they say they are. If celebrities refuse to abide by the rules of normal society, then they will be exposed as fraudulent. They must abide by the same laws as everyone else or suffer the consequences. They are subject to extra media scrutiny because we expect more from them.

Celebrities do not have the same rights as normal citizens do.  Because they make such large profits, it should allow the media to make a profit off of them.  They paid the price to be put in the spotlight and the media deserves to cover them accordingly.  If the media refused to follow celebrities, who else would they write about?

The media has a right to vindicate stars as long as they’re not intruding on their health or safety. The media’s right to publish their findings is protected be the First Amendment[2].  As long as their claims are not libelous or based on rumors, then anything is fair game. When you decide to enter the celebrity life you are in return giving up your rights to privacy. Your personal life becomes everyone’s personal business. I’m not saying that one can’t attempt to have secrets from the media but look at former President Nixon as an example in the infamous Watergate Scandal[3]– how did keeping secrets work out for him?

The bottom line is that the media will continue to feed the appetite of the “American public.”  If celebrities are worried about being “outed”  by the media, then maybe they should focus on living more wholesome lives. There are plenty of celebrities who are admired and esteemed for their commendable character and charitable donations.  How about Oprah Winfrey, Moran Freeman, Jennifer Hudson, and Dakota Fanning, just to name a few?  Tiger Woods and Sandra Bullock are far from being the only celebrities who are eternally stalked by the media.

Footnotes:

[1] Joel Osteen is an American author and the pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas.

[2] The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects the right to freedom of the press.

[3] The Watergate Scandal was a political scandal in the United States in the 1970s, when United States President Richard Nixon attempted to cover up a break-in at the Democratic National Committee headquarters at the Watergate office complex in Washington, D.C. He was later resigned under pressure.

Bibliography:

“Joel Osteen’s still the name leaders know”. The Washington Times. 2008-09-05.http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/sep/05/osteen-still-the-name-leaders-know/.

Kilman, J. & Costello, G. (Eds). (2000). The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation

Watergate.info website. June 23, 1972. http://www.watergate.info/tapes/72-06-23_smoking-gun.shtml. Retrieved 2007-01-17.

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