31
Jan
08

Hunting with Spears

Have a look at the BBC news site, and CNN’s. The most popular story ATOW is Britney Spears going to hospital. Again. A motorcade of police vehicles escorted her. Again. Chased by the paparazzi. Again. Last year, when she shaved her hair off we devoted the second half of a programme to the issue of whether the public appetite for stories about her was causing the problems- or the media’s hounding of her.  It was an echo of a debate that was played out in this country after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. For me, most memorably highlighted by this Private Eye cartoon. The first half of the programme was devoted to a train bombing beween India and Pakistan. By an odd quirk of radio fate, no-one seems to have heard this half hour of the programme, but everybody heard the second half featuring Britney. How odd is that ? Among the many e-mails and texts addressing the issue, there were a good few accusing us of “dumbing down”, “bringing shame to the BBC” etc. For some, any discussion which involved mentioning Britney Spears was way beneath them and not worthy of their time.  She also seems to attract an extraordinary amount of venom. After writing the first draft of this post, i checked our in-box :

Britney WHO?  Who cares?  Let her fall into oblivion so I don’t have to hear about the bitch anymore.
John in Cleveland

Probably a taste of things to come : I was interested to read this piece a few weeks ago in that well known “dumb” newspaper the International Herald Tribune., discussing the very same issue but this time citing Amy Winehouse. Anyway, you can guess what i’m going to say next. We’re talking about her again today following today’s stories. Is it time to simply leave her alone ? Anyway,have a read of this excellent blog on the topic and if you don’t think the subject is beneath you, tell us what you think. The first half of the programme ? – Where’s the moral leadership in Kenya, in case your radio isn’t working for that bit !

GUESTS IN TODAY’S PROGRAMME (ON BRITNEY):

Jack Ludlam, from Londonpaparazzi.com: “It looks embarassing when a big bunch of people hound her. If she comes to London tomorrow, I can’t say I will go out and photograph her. But I won’t camp outside her house”

John Duncan, journalist and media consultant based in Tampa, Florida

Veronica Schmidt, Times Online journalist

Peter Preston, columnist and former editor of the Guardian newspaper in the UK

Shelley Fralic, Vancouver sun columnist, in Canada


74 Responses to “Hunting with Spears”


  1. 1 John D. Anthony
    January 31, 2008 at 14:32

    It’s unfortunate for both Britney and the public that there is no rehab for an addiction to attention.

    John in Salem

  2. 2 ZK
    January 31, 2008 at 14:46

    Mark, first things first congratulations to West Ham on an excellent display last night. We (Liverpool) were horrible.

    On to Britney. A while back this very show covered the issue of whether news organisations should continue to give Ms Spears et al more coverage. I believe the answer was a resounding ‘no’. Can we please not talk about her? There are far more important things to discuss.

    ZK
    Singapore

  3. 3 marksandell
    January 31, 2008 at 14:58

    From George D. Allen, responding to the daily e-mail.

    ” Britney?
    The torture of that woman has long since reached obscenity. Media obscenity.”

  4. 4 steve
    January 31, 2008 at 14:58

    Actually John, I think Brittney is so messed up, it’s not just about attention. I think she’s basically the type that needs to be in a padded room. I’ve heard different opinions, some say she’s borderline, some say she’s bipolar. You would think she could afford to take medications for bipolar if that’s what she has. Her behavior has been so bad that I believe her rehabs or whatever she goes to can diagnose and force medication since she’s pretty much a threat to herself. I really do believe that talking about “celebrities” is beneath the BBC. It’s really for entertainment type news channels, or tabloid, but not serious news. There are many other trainwrecks the world could be following than celebrity trainwrecks. I think everyone knows what’s coming regarding Brittney, and I’m really ashamed to say it, but I think there are people placing bets on when it happens, but then again, she is control of her life, and should be responsible for the poor decisions she has made. Problem if this behavior were just limited to celebrities, it would be fine, but you say this with people in every day life too, and girls look up to trainwrecks like Brittney as rolemodels, so you’lre going a disaster generation in the future.

  5. 5 steve
    January 31, 2008 at 15:01

    I feel bad for the taxpayers that have to pay for her police escorts to the hospital. I really hope the police send her a bill. It’s not like she can’t afford to pay it. Why should the taxpayers have to suffer because she’s a loon? I mean, she’s absolutely nuts. That’s the only way a mother can lose custody of kids these days. Just lock her up before we read about her suicide within a year.

  6. 6 Brett
    January 31, 2008 at 15:10

    I’m glad I’m not popular, or a celebrity 🙂

    Not that I’m above it or anything, but I would like to hear about more important issues through mainstream media. Media harping on topics such as these are one of the prime reasons why the American public have become so obsessed with Entertainment type channels/shows, reality-TV, and other mindless forms of entertainment/news.

    Although I suppose when you have the opportunity to hear about the sad state of affairs of your country, and its war/s, attrocities being committed all over the world, or on the other hand you get to hide in a pop-culture news bubble filled with drama… Well I can see why people chose the latter.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  7. January 31, 2008 at 15:18

    Britney isn’t addicted to attention: we’re addicted to her pain. According to the article published on the CNN news site yesterday entitled “Many Make Millions Off Britney’s Escapades,” both American and British gossip magazines are making huge profits from their readership who demand a regular Britney smear (or Paris smear, or Lindsey Lohan smear) update. There’s a major industry that pays crazy amounts of money to paparazzi for “exclusive” shots of these women and other celebrities. According to this article, such a shot of Angelina Jolie is currently only worth 1/3 of a Britney shot. Here’s the article:

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Music/01/29/thebritney.economy.ap/index.htmlhttp://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Music/01/29/thebritney.economy.ap/index.html

    Follow the money and don’t blame the victim. I do think she is being victimized to a degree. Just because someone has wealth, talent and looks doesn’t mean they can — or should — withstand the insane pressures of more-than-public life. I think of all the people I know who have moderate biochemical issues under control with medication, and are learning to manage the stress that you and I do on a daily basis. I can’t even begin to imagine how someone under that kind of microscope like Spears can begin to cope, especially if they have any biochemical imbalances and/or mental issues.

    While Spears or anyone else has to take responsibility for how they deal with their problems (and lord knows she’s got ’em), I squarely blame the American and British public for contributing to her meltdown by providing a market for paparazzi and other smear seekers to invade her privacy and worsen her situation. If so many people didn’t get off on her pain, she’d probably be under a lot less pressure and could deal with her issues in a calmer environment.

    I do wish the media and sociologists would turn that microscope back onto us, the cruelly insatiable audience, rather than the poor woman who can’t get a moment’s peace. But I guess we’re not profitable enough.

  8. 8 marksandell
    January 31, 2008 at 15:22

    Hello ZK, i wouldn’t say Liverpool were horrible but they weren’t as frightening as they can be. I may as well confess this too: i left after 92 minutes to get to the tube early. I heard the penalty as i left the ground. Serves me right.
    As for your other point, i take it entirely on board (hence my slightly defensive tone on the blog !)but we will- for a while- talk about the issue this evening. Peter Preston, a former editor of the Guardian in the UK is one of our guests.
    And Brett, good point well made about “hiding” .

  9. 9 marksandell
    January 31, 2008 at 15:27

    Thoughtful stuff Maria, thankyou.
    and yes, i am aware that by talking about her we’re part of the scrum as well.

  10. 10 steve
    January 31, 2008 at 15:31

    I think if there’s anything positive that can come out of Britney Spears, is that more attention may get paid to mental illness. If anyone’s dated a bit these days, you’ll realize just how crazy people can be. Sometimes it’s absolutely frightening how crazy people are. I only know what women tend to be like, and I’m sure men are crazy too. I think with all of the terrible parenting going on these days, kids are growing up being even more self absorbed than people in the past have been, and being a narcissist or having some other personality disorder in addition to being bipolar creates absolute disaster scenarios.

  11. 11 steve
    January 31, 2008 at 15:34

    Maria. media coverage of Britney’s crazy behavior doesn’t make her engage in that behavior. She’s solely to blame for her own actions. You’re taking away personal responsibility from her. People are responsible for their own decisions. she makes stupid, bone headed decisions, and they are her fault, nobody elses.

  12. 12 George USA
    January 31, 2008 at 15:52

    Steve-

    I agree with Maria.

    The bad decisions we all make have consequences as you say, but you do not have 24/7 stalking and publishing of your goof ups.

    This circus does not want Britney to recover, she is better “copy” fried, and she has no chance of recovery being hounded.

    “Let him who is without fault cast the first stone.” Or in this case, publish the first follow up story.

  13. 13 VictorK
    January 31, 2008 at 16:03

    I feel sorry for Britney. Anybody who doesn’t should just ask themselves: how would you feel about what she’s going thorugh if she were your sister or daughter? Still, it’s interesting to see the grounds that cause some people to stop seeing her as a human being and deny her even the scantiest consideration (she’s an American, she’s rich, she makes popular music, she’s a woman). Britney’s not the only one the psychiatrists could have a field day with.

    Her story does highlight an abuse that ought to be curbed: media irresponsibility and unaccountability. There ought to be privacy laws that shield aspects of individuals’ private lives from media scrutiny, underpinned by a range of civil remedies for invasion of privacy such as heavy financial penalties and full page apologies. Press freedom is something that, like ‘democracy’, we in the West have come to treat as an idol to be worshipped, even when it leads to human sacrifice.

  14. January 31, 2008 at 16:17

    The say bad news is always good news, so you guys are suggesting that spears is Bad news or amessed up celebrity.Ok my take on that is simple this American Pop star and the media have some thing in common to share if not the stories about her makes their sales f then she’s alady of headlines.
    To business now , Britney Need some serious rehab because media houses seem likely to lose some where,”Spears you are becoming a mess to the mess style up your life please……..”

  15. 15 Denise in Chicago
    January 31, 2008 at 16:31

    It’s easy to blame Britney, but aren’t the readers or viewers of the media circus surrounding her really to blame? If there were no customers for this trash then they would back off. Let’s stop patronizing the websites and magazines that produce this nonsense and maybe they find other, more important, stories to follow.

  16. 16 marksandell
    January 31, 2008 at 16:35

    From Andrew on e-mail

    “Having endured the endless outpouring of saddness (and blanket media coverage) over the death of Heath Ledger here in Australia with numerous friends, family and commentators pointing out how he never partook of drugs yet finding footage of him at a drugs party and admitting to frequent and heavy drug usage I have to be blatant and say a loud no to whether Britney Spears should be left alone.

    Cruel to be so unkind, but ultimately they are the masters of their own fate and if they want to live the life and abuse the system that places them there, then certainly it is on their own heads what fate befalls them. Many people in worse circumstances get by and lead lives while peppered with disappointment and difficulty manage to get on with it and are able to find their way with the help that is offered should they need it. In the west there are plenty of social programmes that are easily found which can offer support and tangible assistance in times of crisis. In the end it is up to the person to seek help when necessary and you cannot rely on handlers or concerned others to live you life for you and spoon feed you.

    An individual such as Spears has many advantages that most wil never have, has in the past fed off the media attention and fan adulation that places them in that situation. They overindulge – it is inevitable and is seen over and over again – and then it is almost expected that the world will come to their assistance. It is a tough thing to say, but there comes a point when you simply cannot be the minder or nanny of everyone on the planet regardless of how dire the situation might be for them especially when most of it is due to their own ignorance or stupidity. Also, the salacious nature of media consumers will ensure that there is always a market for the perverse voyeurism that surrounds such clebrities. The media only provides what those same people who deride them for their intrusiveness want… and that is all the details all the time. If Britney Spears is falling in a heap, well she had ample opportunity to do something for herself, where does personal responsibility for your own actions come into it if at all? It seems that is not a concern and it is up to everyone else to run around and clean up others’ mess. No one can be that devoid of some sense of self not to know when it is time to get real and get their life in order.

  17. 17 John D. Anthony
    January 31, 2008 at 16:36

    I won’t argue that the public has an insatiable morbid curiousity but the sad truth is that it’s been that way for a long time and it’s not going to change except for the worse.And yes, Britney is clearly disturbed and in pain.
    My point is that there are hundreds of other celebrities who realize that the path they have chosen makes it impossible for them to live “normal” lives and have adapted to it, living largely outside the world view.
    The fact is that she can obviously afford to have a private life but chooses not to. She drives her own car and goes to places where the paparazzi hang out. Any rational person with her resources would retire for the sake of the children but she can’t. She’s addicted to the attention and the only cures are obscurity or immortality.

  18. 18 steve
    January 31, 2008 at 16:40

    George, if I knew the press was following me around, I wouldn’t do anything that would get their attention. In short, I wouldn’t make idiotic decisions nor would I act crazy. So again, you’re basically blaming the media for her poor decisionmaking. Remember, they don’t make her do anything, they just film it and write about it. She’s to blame for her own bad choices, and the more you say it’ sthe media’s fault, the more you enable bad behavior like this.

  19. 19 steve
    January 31, 2008 at 16:45

    Question for you all blaming the media for Britney’s choices. If Britney were a male, would you be saying the same thing?

  20. 20 steve
    January 31, 2008 at 17:07

    Ken: You should overhear comments people say while out, people next to you are just as shallow, especially in major metropolitan areas. Just listen in, and you’ll hear women making fun of others because of their shoes, what kind of bag she has, or whether she’s dating a rich guy or not. Almost everything on TV is absolutely mindless, trend following. If you think about it, when you see people go out to bars, most of them especially at clubs, are there just to be seen and show off, rather than have fun. They’re there for attention. Especially the people who go out to get whatever drink is “trendy” so they can be seen drinking it, even if they don’t like it. You know, more of the “I don’t really like sushi, and it’s very expensive, but since it’s trendy, I eat sushi”

  21. January 31, 2008 at 17:18

    this two issues sums up everything .in afghanizthan in the name of war against terror un and usa acted so fast transgressing all un charters but in kenya unitednations ,usa and others are all,from churchleaders,political leadersand others leadenfooted to act .humanity is in peril in kenya ,afghanizthan ,iraq etc .oh is there someone institution wise or country wise to “SPEAR”home the message to this catastrophy faced people the message that “NO GOD ,NO PEACE…KNOW GOD ,KNOW PEACE “rather than doing papparazi work hunting with “SPEARS” behind BRITNEY for some titbits.

    DEVADAS.V
    KERALA
    INDIA

  22. January 31, 2008 at 17:19

    Having endured the endless outpouring of saddness (and blanket media coverage) over the death of Heath Ledger here in Australia with numerous friends, family and commentators pointing out how he never partook of drugs yet finding footage of him at a drugs party and admitting to frequent and heavy drug usage I have to be blatant and say a loud no to whether Britney Spears should be left alone.

    Cruel to be so unkind, but ultimately they are the masters of their own fate and if they want to live the life and abuse the system that places them there, then certainly it is on their own heads what fate befalls them. Many people in worse circumstances get by and lead lives while peppered with disappointment and difficulty manage to get on with it and are able to find their way with the help that is offered should they need it. In the west there are plenty of social programmes that are easily found which can offer support and tangible assistance in times of crisis. In the end it is up to the person to seek help when necessary and you cannot rely on handlers or concerned others to live you life for you and spoon feed you.

    An individual such as Spears has many advantages that most wil never have, has in the past fed off the media attention and fan adulation that places them in that situation. They overindulge – it is inevitable and is seen over and over again – and then it is almost expected that the world will come to their assistance. It is a tough thing to say, but there comes a point when you simply cannot be the minder or nanny of everyone on the planet regardless of how dire the situation might be for them especially when most of it is due to their own ignorance or stupidity. Also, the salacious nature of media consumers will ensure that there is always a market for the perverse voyeurism that surrounds such clebrities. The media only provides what those same people who deride them for their intrusiveness want… and that is all the details all the time. If Britney Spears is falling in a heap, well she had ample opportunity to do something for herself, where does personal responsibility for your own actions come into it if at all? It seems that is not a concern and it is up to everyone else to run around and clean up others’ mess. No one can be that devoid of some sense of self not to know when it is time to get real and get their life in order.

    Andrew

    Australia

  23. January 31, 2008 at 17:20

    The other day I saw a television program with a bunch of gossips and paparazzi sitting around talking about famous people’s clothes, hair, weight and all kinds of superficial nonsense. After turning off the program, I felt the people that create and consume this kind of trash are devoid of empathy and most likely mildly psychotic. Personally I could care less about Britney, Madonna or Brangelina’s personal lives because I have a life of my own!!!

    Ken in Cleveland

  24. 24 gary
    January 31, 2008 at 17:22

    Hello All,
    Please stop talking about Ms. Spears. She has importance only to herself and to her family. If you stap paying her attention, perhaps this would dawn on her, and everyone, including Ms Spears would be the better off.
    later,
    gfh

  25. January 31, 2008 at 18:07

    The Problem with Britney is too many people care about what she is doing. The problem with people is that too many of them care about what Britney is doing. Then those people wonder why their governments are at war, their economy is in the tank, their world is polluted, and/ or why there hasn’t been a cure found for their heinous life threatening disease.

    The answer is simple, while your leaders debate and demonstrate their ability to lead the country, “people” are watching the Britney story unfold. It is a sickness that infest the human race. It seems the more advanced we are, the more it appease to us. The desire to perceived simplistic garble and avoid deep though is so compelling that even a legitimate news source like the BBC is drawn to cover the Britney story. Even while more pressing and potentially evolutionary issues are plentiful.

    The Human race is the silliest thing I have ever participated in.

  26. January 31, 2008 at 18:07

    If you see past her name, her clothes and her face, she is a woman who lost custody of her two boys, lost her husband and has failed at jump-starting her career. To make matters worse, no one is giving her the proper attention she needs. She needs help. I would not be suprised if she takes her own life…and if she does, the blood would be on our hands.

    Daniel
    KALW, San Francisco

  27. 27 Fred Greatorex
    January 31, 2008 at 18:13

    I think after reading the posts, it’s pretty clear: people have heard enough of Brittany, let’s talk about something else. Can we just have the entertainment industry news cover Brittany and those of us who don’t want to hear about it can stick to outlets like NPR & the BBC.

  28. January 31, 2008 at 18:16

    Britney Spears again? I m turning you off again.
    Hana Z., Prague

  29. 29 Sean
    January 31, 2008 at 18:16

    It is truly sad when stories such as these take precedence over the major social, political, and economic events going on in the world right now. Britney Spears obviously has issues she needs to work on, but I can’t see how that should be a public affair. Those issues are best dealt with in private. I think the media exposure that has swarmed around her lately is a reflection of the perverse fascination society seems to have on people who are struggling. People want to know every detail of her problems, yet many know nothing of the suffering of those in Darfur for instance. People are willfully ignorant to those worldwide problems, and don’t seem at all inclined to to anything but watch a celebrity self destruct in the public spotlight. Why does the media play on this sort of base sensationalism?

  30. 30 marksandell
    January 31, 2008 at 18:24

    Hi Hana, yes Britney again. The second time in 2 and a half years. I can only apologise.

  31. January 31, 2008 at 18:38

    She rode on a tiger and now that she has fallen of . . . Well, your guess is as good as mine.
    Harry

  32. January 31, 2008 at 18:42

    This same craziness led to Princess Diana’s death. It’s human desire to know even celebrities have it as worse.
    Bellion- Kenya.

  33. January 31, 2008 at 18:44

    Why is this a topic for a respectable news show like World Have Your Say? I’m not even going to dignify the topic by giving an opinion, other than this is a waste of 30 minutes of air time.

    Ryan Barone

  34. 34 Megan
    January 31, 2008 at 18:44

    The blame at this point is really unimportant. The fact of the matter is that we have a parent who is obviously unstable and facing addictions that she cannot shake. You can even say that she has an addiction to the paparrazi, a weird relationship to say the least.
    So we should all help her with treatment that she cannot do on her own. We should stop looking at the pictures, buying the magazines and watching the media stories on her. If the attention isn’t there maybe she will go get the help she really needs and her two sons deserve.

  35. January 31, 2008 at 18:45

    I don’t know anyone who is actually that interested in what Britney Spears is doing… I don’t know why the media bothers to hound her, the general public doesn’t care much anymore.

    Kim Olson
    Portland, Oregon, USA

  36. January 31, 2008 at 18:45

    To say she deserves this hounding by the press because she courted the press is akin to saying a battered woman deserves it because she courted a man!

    I am saddened and keep thinking of Marilyn Monroe. Too much for too fragile a person?

  37. January 31, 2008 at 18:45

    There are hundreds of famous people out there, Britney Spears is not the only one. Plenty of these other famous people manage to stay out of the spotlight by leading private lives. Britney is intentionally making her life known for the entire world by just feeding into the paparazzi.

    We have no responsibility to leave her along, she chose her own life and if she wants privacy she could make that happen by toning down her wild life.

    AYLEEN CROTTY
    (A-Leen)
    Portland, Oregon USA

  38. January 31, 2008 at 18:46

    NO — she does not ‘deserve’ to be left alone, because, as you say, she asked for it, begged for it, courted it from the time she could walk. “SHOULD” she be left alone? YES! WHY? Because WE deserve it. We don’t care!!!!! If it wasn’t spouted all over the media every quarter day, noone would know, or care. The media demands we pay attention, so we do, but if THEY left it alone, so would we.
    thanx-

    wil ferguson
    traverse city, michigan, usa

  39. January 31, 2008 at 18:46

    World Have Your Say,

    I’ve recently stumbled across your program (I listen via the internet) and have been greatly enjoying the last few programs on the situation in Kenya and resources in Africa. The situation in Kenya doesn’t seem to receive much coverage here in the United States, so being able to hear the voices of the people from there provides great insight into the situation.

    Having said that, the second half of today’s program is just beginning with the proposed topic of Britney Spears. This topic leaves me with a puzzled look on my face. I can’t see how she, or any celebrity, deserves a part of this program where there are more important and serious things going on in the world. I understand the face that you need to cover more than just situations going on in Africa, but those stories seem so much more important than the going ons of some celebrity. Maybe it’s because these kind of stories (Britney) that get more coverage in U.S. media than events like Kenya do, but it seems like a waste of effort to have a story on her.

    I look forward to your next broadcast,
    Andrew

  40. January 31, 2008 at 18:47

    Maybe all the media attention might save her life? I mean, if she keeps on getting hospitalized, whatever treatment they are trying isn’t helping. Maybe if she could have a lucid moment, and watch the media coverage of how crazy she is, she might realize there’s something wrong, rather than need to have half of the police department have to come to get her, strap her down, and waste local taxpayer money? Obviously losing her kids wasn’t enough, maybe a video record would be enough for her to realize how messed up she is, and it might save her life, because the way she’s going now, she won’t live another year.

    Steve
    USA

  41. 41 John in Utah
    January 31, 2008 at 18:47

    Leave Britney Alone! Look, she obviously has mental problems. Celebrity or not she deserves space and time from the public to deal with her health.

  42. January 31, 2008 at 18:48

    I dont understand why people obsess so much with celebrities. the tabloids in the supermarkets and certain cable channels shove this information down your throat.
    I think people should focus more on the problems of the world and have the paparatzi chase down and follow the political and other people responsible for it.

    Bruno
    Salt Lake City Utah.

  43. 43 Anthony
    January 31, 2008 at 18:48

    Britney has brought this on herself.Whether consciously or unconsciously,this fact does not give us the right to scavenge on her life till who knows what.

  44. January 31, 2008 at 18:49

    Do you stop being human once you hit the gossip collumns?

    Tor, Oslo

  45. 45 mike o'brien
    January 31, 2008 at 18:49

    the story on the radio is should we leave britney spears alone?

    when are we going to be left alone?

    i’m turning off the radio for some music now.

  46. January 31, 2008 at 18:49

    I think the publics and the paperazzis fascination with her is pathetic!

    KOG

  47. January 31, 2008 at 18:50

    Britny Spears is a spoilt brat.The West must stop idolzng its misguided eminents &reinforcing their empty antics.
    BOL,Kenya

  48. 48 Kate
    January 31, 2008 at 18:52

    I think it’s pretty sick that the paparazzi are using the “She asked for it” phrase- the same thing that rapists say!

  49. 49 Fred Greatorex
    January 31, 2008 at 18:53

    I agree with Hanna Z. As soon as talk of Ms. Spears came on, I turned off WHYS. I’ll be back tomorrow, hopefully for a “Spears-free” show.

  50. 50 chuck
    January 31, 2008 at 18:55

    I think this would all be clearer if we make a simple distinction. there are really 2 questions being confused as one.

    1. do we have a legal right to “watch” this? by watch, I mean to include photograph, videotape, read, view, etc.

    yes. she’s an adult, and has put herself into this light. that’s a short discussion.

    2. do we have a moral right to “watch” this?

    no. morality has a higher standard than what’s legal.

    locally, we’ve had 2 different people in the last month who attempted to run across multiple lanes of freeway after their vehicles stalled. both were struck and killed.

    to me this is similar.

    hitting these people wasn’t legally wrong, because they’d knowlngly put themselves into those positions.

    but had someone followed them from lane to lane, aiming to hit them, I think we’d all agree that was morally wrong.

  51. 51 Karen in Austin
    January 31, 2008 at 18:58

    I’m really disappointed in today’s choice of topic. I’ve come to depend on this program for intelligent discussion of world issues from diverse participants. Given the number of important issues that need discussion, I simply cannot understand why time is given to this topic in this forum. Leave it to the tabloids and gossip columns.

  52. 52 wil
    January 31, 2008 at 18:59

    Let’s face it: If the media wasn’t blasting it all over, and the “stalk-aratzi” weren’t out hunting her down, we wouldn’t know nearly as much about it as we do now.
    And that goes for almost all of what passes for NEWS these days. Most of what I’m hearing and seeing is pablum for the masses about insignificant people doing marginally stupid things, out in public where they will be seen. It’s all rubbish, and we all know it. Instead of finding out what we (may) need to get by for another day, I’m hearing Dave’s Top-Ten from last night. Which I’ve already heard!!! That, or Britiney’s last nose-dive, or Paris’ last bj, or Tara’s (now HEERREE is complete waste of space and volume) last scree about her own ass. It’s fat; she’s a nobody; move the f*** on. Please???????
    (I need to find out how my stocks are doin’. [Mit says “Buy!”])

  53. 53 wil
    January 31, 2008 at 19:07

    Doesn’t all this hub-bub also take your minds OFF of things that (are supposed to) matter in this, admit it, pretty screwed-up planet, and do we not always end up getting waaay more screwed over than we need to, by “the powers that be?” We should be watching Bush and Cheney, and their cast of thousands, and NOT Brittiney, or Paris, and, my GOD, certainly not Tara. And Dr. Phil, who is not a real Dr. And Brother Jim Bakker. There are enough people out there, Osama bin Laden not withstanding, that we NEED to be paying attention to. Or our Presidents, and P.M.’s, and wars-for-no-reason. Perk-up, folks: like Captain Jack says: “The 21st. Century is when it all changes. And you gotta be ready for it.”
    “Keeep your stick on the ice.”

  54. January 31, 2008 at 19:11

    Again, your guests are blaming the press for the actions of the person they photograph. The photographers didn’t make Amy Winehouse smoke crack. She did it. If anything, the criticism she gets might be what actually saves her life, otherwise she’ll be another celebrity that dies from overdosing on drugs.

    Steve
    USA

  55. January 31, 2008 at 19:12

    Again, your guests are blaming the press for the actions of the person they photograph. The photographers didn’t make Amy Winehouse smoke crack. She did it. If anything, the criticism she gets might be what actually saves her life, otherwise she’ll be another celebrity that dies from overdosing on drugs.

    Steve
    USA

  56. January 31, 2008 at 19:13

    Regarding Britney Spears.
    The paparazzi is out of control! The communications media is naive if they think they don’t lead public interest in specific directions. It all just comes down to making money. Disgusting.
    Rebecca
    Portland, OR

  57. January 31, 2008 at 19:13

    I’d just like to point out that while you guys are devoting your attention to Spears there are many examples of great role models, like Peggy Whitson, Commander of The International Space Station, and a very hard worker and well educated and far more deserving of attention!

    Tom D Ford

    Bend, OR

  58. January 31, 2008 at 19:15

    Britney Spears is “public property” in the public mind. Britney was raised in the limelight, has known fame and all it’s trappings since she was a young girl. The only way for Britney Spears to find her private life, is for a personal advocate who has nothing but her best interest as a human being can step in and take her into seclusion. She has no ability to advocate for herself at this time. In this regard, her family and chosen support system have failed her tremendously. If she has good personal support, the paparazzi will fade into the background as with other famous folk.

    Siere Munro, Portland OR

  59. January 31, 2008 at 19:15

    I am responding to a previous comment regarding the need for the General Public to turn off the TV. It really doesn’t matter if you do in fact turn off the TV, nearly every singe magazine on the grocery aisle recently has had an item regarding her latest shenanigans.

    The reality is that she is sick, she needs help and I can only hope someone gives her help. I don’t know if she is “relishing” the attention. It may be more that she thinks there isn’t a point to try and stay out of the public. What IS the point, they follow her everywhere.

    What at the stalking laws if someone invaded the common person’s privacy and constantly followed someone who is not a celebrity?

  60. January 31, 2008 at 19:15

    I think that only someone who has experienced this kind of mental instability or studied it can understand who Britney is and what she is doing. I see a lot of compassion for Britney as the 8-year-old forced into this career, but much less for the Britney who gets out of rehab and then comes back to the media for more coverage. She still is that 8-year-old. She is sick and her continuing to put herself in the limelight is all she knows, it is like an abused wife returning to her husband or a drug addict returning to the drug. As journalists, we need to pull back, regardless of whether she deserves it or not, but because we are good people who are smart enough to see when something is not helping another human being pull themselves out of the mud. She could commit suicide—then how would all her stalkers feel?


    Tiffany Corrine Dow
    International Journalism MA
    JOMEC Cardiff University, Wales

  61. 61 steve
    January 31, 2008 at 19:19

    To make matters worse, no one is giving her the proper attention she needs. She needs help. I would not be suprised if she takes her own life…and if she does, the blood would be on our hands.

    Daniel
    KALW, San Francisco

    Daniel, your attitude enables horrible behaviour. Anyone that “needs” attention is mentally ill to begin with. If she takes her own life, she did it on her own unless you put a gun in her hand and forced her to do it. Stop taking responsibility away from people who make poor decisions. This only enables people to make poor decisions.

  62. 62 Thomas Murray
    January 31, 2008 at 22:24

    At first I thought how perverse it is to spill intellectual energy over Britney Spear’s troubles when the people of Kenya are slaughtering each other. But, you know, I think it’s all kinda related.

    We were nowhere near as hard on ourselves in the ’70s. In half the drunk driving stops, the offender was often told just to go home. (I know I was.) Drugs were plentiful (and cheap). And eccentric behavior was the norm. (Shrooms anyone?)

    I lived in Los Angeles for about three years testing the waters for a screenwriting career, and found that the mixture of celebrity status (even for wannabes) , sackfuls of temptation (of every pharmaceutical kind), too much time on one’s hands in a city crazy to grant every kind of indulgence, and cops who are crazy bad fanatical about enforcing every titter and jot of highway law, it’s a wonder that the whole freaking city of L.A. isn’t in rehab or jail.

    Problem in the U.S. is that we are way way WAY too hard on ourselves. If a similar attitude prevailed in Kenya, then it’s no wonder that they’re eating themselves alive. A people can bear only so much pressure before they break.
    The case of troubled celebrities in America is only the tip of the iceberg.

    I hope things get better for Ms. Spears. They sure didn’t for Heath Ledger.

    We all need to lighten up.

    [P.S.: This WHYS site is a good start. Cheers…]

    –Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

  63. January 31, 2008 at 23:55

    I have very mixed feelings about Britney. On the one hand theres sympathy for a young woman who clearly has mental health problems. On the other hand when you see pictures of her being escorted to hospital by a retinue of police cars and helicopters it’s hard not to think that she has brought a lot of her troubles down on herself. I suspect that if she doesnt get herself properly sorted things will really come down with a crash and we might be reading about the death of this young lady one day soon.

    London

  64. February 1, 2008 at 00:00

    Sorry – I meant to add in relation to the BBC – I do think that there has been some dumbing down and that issues like what is happening to Bitney get more attention than they deserve. They do need to be covered but not the extent of coverage that these celebrity issues get. The BBC is not the worst offender in this respect though.

  65. 65 viola anderson
    February 1, 2008 at 05:39

    Maybe we should look at the issue of Ms. Spears being hounded by out-of-control reporters(?) this way:

    If you equate the papparazis’ money lust with rapists’ power lust, then it seems she is, indeed, a victim if they are doing things to her which she did not invite–and who in her right mind would invite such attention? This is the first time I’ve heard people say that part of celebrities’ jobs is to be stalked and hounded by another group of people who believe their jobs give them the right to behave badly. Sort of like the old “I was only obeying orders; I was only doing my job” argument.

  66. 66 Stephanie J
    February 1, 2008 at 07:10

    I agree, Maria Alexander – “Britney isn’t addicted to attention: we’re addicted to her pain.”

    Oregon, U.S.A.

  67. 67 5ccpress
    February 1, 2008 at 07:33

    I am amazed at the hypocrisy of the press INCLUDING the BBC on this issue. As a former editor of a paper here in Nigeria, I know the kind of conversations that go on when the front page of a publication is being discussed inside any publication and it is not a salutary process. The publisher wants shock news, a different angle, a more embarrassing picture, a weirder story, something that will make the public stop and pay attention to their particular publication. It is not a case of presenting ‘the news’ which can often be dull and technical and hard to spice up for the front page so BBC please do not patronise us with high minded attitudes about ‘reporting’ news. Britney Spears is not even a major talent in the music industry, but here she is making more news than the Darfur killings, Keny’a ethnic massacres, the Congolese rebel problems, the U.S. Presidential primaries … And why, because it is simple, can be graphically illustrated, easily obtained and self-explanatory. This is the era of news as entertainment. Celebrities are not created by celebrities, no, they are creations of the media who need to become ever more MTV-like in their approach to content delivery – nice little snippets of nonsense presented as ‘useful’ information.
    Can I get news of how different leaders of the tribes in Kenya are reacting to the apparent melt-down of their society, NO, not sexy, not easily digestible, won’t give media the ‘hits’ that justify their existence. I do not like and have never liked Ms. Spears though her music is fairly inoffensive, however I find that it is a lazy media that spends more time trying to extract news from/about her that is truly failing the public. I am sure someone will one day win a Pulitzer for writing about Britney, or perhaps the next BBC Reporter of the Year will emerge from this despicable pack to truly confirm the lack of vision that sometimes is too visible at the BBC. There was a time the accusation against the BBC was that it was too high-minded, now it seems that in pursuit of ‘ratings’ it has joined the pack of bottom-feeders ready to search the depths before that ‘big story’ gets snapped up by Jerry Springer or some similar simian.
    The public itself has a share of the blame for being so desperate in its pursuit of unintelligent news, information and entertainment. But when the main news providers have set an agenda, how can they now turn around and accuse their customers of bad taste??? All in all, I am a very big fan of the BBC World Service, but I find if I need to read a good news article the New York Times seems to provide better fare. There is a certain dumbing down that is too evident in many media outlets, including yours truly. Each media organisation can decide what is news and how it gets presented. There is a way Ms Spears could have been reported that would make sense, but I am so bored with that topic and now very alive to the fact that the media has become a fan of ‘reality-entertainment’ reporting with little regard for the weight of the issues or its impact on lives. If Ms Spears were to commit suicide in the middle of the street, I am sure your reporters would be standing aside snapping away while having a nice philosophical discussion about whether they should ‘intervene’ which would be like becoming a part of the story, or just observe and ‘report’ the facts as they happen.

    From Lagos, Nigeria

  68. 68 Dennis Cote
    February 1, 2008 at 09:12

    When I watch the news, I expect to see NEWS.
    Someone’s drug induced ego trip is not news to me.
    If she dies from it, she earned it.
    I have no tolerance for drug usage!
    She’s a “has-been” and she finally figured it out. Sadly she didn’t figure it out at the start of her alleged career, when some goofball made the mistake of saying she had a cute bellybutton.
    Has anyone heard about the drug bust in Swanzey, New Hampshire on the national/international media? No,of course not, there wasn’t a desperate loser trying to keep her name in the public eye.
    It’s a waste of electricity to even stoop to her level and promote/transmit such travesty.
    Yet the media is forgetting their newest concern, “what will the CHILDREN say/do?”
    The media is feeding this crap to the children and wondering why the world’s filling up with crack, meth, and other assorted drug using children.
    STOP GIVING THEM IDEAS!

  69. 69 Albert
    February 1, 2008 at 10:55

    Ive seen story about Britney on CNN’s Larry King show as well. Noone blamed CNN . A lot of people watched it and were very interested. Otherwise it wouldn’t become number 1 viewed story on cnn.com for half an hour

  70. 70 marksandell
    February 1, 2008 at 11:26

    An anonymous listener :
    “your show World have your say is not very inviting when the phone number is said once very fast which leads me to wonder if that is the game here. There are millions who are sick of hearing about Britney Spears rathar than more serious news, commentary. your show really doesn’t appear to invite calls, it seems to love to hear themselves talk which is a bore, would like more deeper discussion on global warming, history of the British in Kenya, Iraq, etc.
    thank you”

  71. 71 marksandell
    February 1, 2008 at 11:34

    Thanks for all these comments. We talked about Britney and the world didn’t end. Thanks to most of you who engaged with the debate. Some of you think we’ve descended into the gutter, but a good few of you don’t. The venom aimed at Ms Spears always surprises me, but some of the frankly snobbish e-mails and texts from some people, did not. Radio 5 Live discussed the issue this morning , including an interview with Tony Blair’s chief spin doctor Alastair Campbell. Judging by the e-mails and texts read out on air, the snobbery and the venom are just as deep rooted here in the UK. Ros is in Ghana today talking about African attitudes to work, and Rabsy is back on the programme, so things are definitely looking up.

  72. 72 Thomas Murray
    February 1, 2008 at 21:02

    Sad to say, The Los Angeles Times’ website has recorded 801 posted comments since the story broke on Thursday, most of them complaining about how much time people are wasting on it.

    Sadder still…I’m post #204.

    –Louisville, Kentucky, USA.

  73. 73 Paul Edwards
    February 3, 2008 at 11:50

    I just want to say, that i suffer with a Bipolar Disorder formally known as a Manic Depression which don’t give the name justice. This is apparently what Britney is suffering with and if this is the case she needs to be left alone. Newspapers need to keep there big noses out likewise so do all news reporters. You will only tip a bipolar patient over the edge by hounding them. Like i say i have first hand experience and Britney does not mean what she says and does as this is part of the condition. So go ahead ridicule her and see what you get in return. One day it may happen to one of you lot and then someone might start reporting on you.

    She is in the right hands and with the proper medication will be stable again. Come on Britney keep your chin up you can fight this.

  74. 74 Dennis
    May 11, 2008 at 21:36

    Hunting with Spears,

    It is sad that she has some mental health problems
    and the world paparazzi is going to make more
    trouble for her….

    Also, she has blamed in the whole situation….

    Dennis~Madrid, U.S.A.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: