Fame has its perks. The famous usually get paid very well, they are allowed greater access to most anything and they seldom have to worry about how what they’re doing is being received, as we’re always willing to tell them.
There are two kinds of fame. The first is the traditional way, where a person’s accomplishment brings them fame. Whether they invented something, were elected to a high office or did a great job running a well known company, this kind of fame can often be planned for and somewhat managed.
The second kind of the people that are famous for being famous. Whether they are from the Jersey Shore cast, a rich heiress or made a sex tape, these people are often unprepared for the challenges they face.
We used to treat these two kinds of people differently. As a society, we often felt that those who earned their fame deserved at least some level of respect or privacy. I acknowledge that it’s often hard to feel sorry for famous and successful people, but there are some things that should always be off limits.
Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple and one of the main reasons for Apple’s current dominance, is dying. He had a liver transplant a few years ago and was recently seen entering a cancer clinic. For both Apple fans and haters, this is not a good thing, as the one thing both sides agree on is that a healthy Jobs is good for the industry as a whole, and his very existence shouldn’t be the source of rampant speculation.
But the “news” and rumor sites don’t think so. While I agree with the Macalope’s statement that reporting he was seen entering a clinic is certainly newsworthy, publishing reports of exactly how long he may have to live is disgusting.
While there may be no one to specifically blame here, this is easily the worst example of what happens when page views and popularity become the driving force behind what’s newsworthy. Journalism may be dying, but dammit, you wouldn’t have seen any “How long can Steve Jobs stick around” type headlines on the New York Times or even the New Times (hopefully).
As an industry tasked with controlling the type of information that is available to the public, it’s important that anyone who has a problem with this type of “reporting” make their thoughts known.
The price of fame is high, but it shouldn’t cost your dignity.