A common theme of mine of late, even with all the uber serious issues that plague us, is common human decency in politics… or the lack of… and this post will be no different.
Take a look at this photo. Whoever that is sitting at the table about to be grilled by some Congressional panel has over a dozen cameras shoved in their face. Some as close as a foot away. If you recall Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony several months ago it was even worse for him.
Why is this acceptable? Seriously, in an allegedly civilized society why is this acceptable? I have no love for Mr Zuckerberg. I find him to be a greedy contemptible human being, but that’s the whole point, he’s still a human being. It doesn’t matter if you like or dislike the person being grilled by the panel, they’re all human beings and as such deserve some modicum of basic respect.
Freedom of speech and/or freedom of the press is not an issue here. There is absolutely no reason… except maybe as a strategy to throw the “victim” off their game before they even begin, which would be repugnant and shady, and Congress would never do that… to allow this kind of circus atmosphere and this kind of disrespectful treatment. There are a couple alternatives that would still allow equal press access…
- Congress could set up a single photographer, their photographer, about 25 feet away, whose photos would immediately post to a website and new organizations could pick and download which ones they want free of charge. As many as they want, they’d be public domain and could not be reserved or copyrighted in any way by said news organizations.
- Reporters would have to stay behind a line 50 to 100 feet away. No exceptions. Long lenses are quite good these days so quality would not be an issue.
Either of these would satisfy media access and the First Amendment while maintaining some semblance of human dignity for the person in the spotlight.