Soundtrack in my head: Don Henley, “Dirty Laundry”
The media outlets and Florida prosecutors are at it again. They have chosen to release to the public yet more dirty details about Lisa Nowak’s private life. She is the former U.S. astronaut arrested a few weeks ago and later formally charged with attempted kidnapping.
I won’t repeat the details here except to say that they reference digital photos, and ones similar to them are probably found on the hard drives of millions of home computers in the United States. The Associated Press article went into fairly significant detail about the photos. However, the AP story did not reveal until the ninth paragraph that investigators concluded that the photos had no direct evidence related to the attempted kidnapping charges.
Why bury such an important fact so deep in a story? And why print the details if it has no connection with the case? It seems to me that the notion of the “public’s right to know” is being stretched to rather ridiculous proportions here. It also speaks volumes of what the mass media considers to be news and not news.
Months before the opening gavel of her trial, the former astronaut’s dignity has taken a beating in the public arena. This has happened because officials in Florida chose to release embarrassing and questionably relevant details about her arrest, the items found in her car, and what she was wearing under her clothes. The most recent details fit right into that pattern. Perhaps it’s part of an effort to put a spin on the trial months ahead of time, or maybe even extract a guilty plea—Nowak has pleaded not guilty to the charges filed against her.
It’s not hard to imagine why the prosecutors would release such sordid details, but why have news outlets taken to these details like a dog rolling in something fetid? If people really want to obsess on the type of photos found on a disk in Ms. Nowak’s car, let them download their own from the Internet.
Let’s be blunt here: insisting on publishing dirty details about Lisa Nowak’s private life has no legitimate purposes except to boost media ratings. That they don’t care about the immense level of destruction being inflicted on the life of a person speaks volumes about the values of the people giving us our news.