The Media…Overstepping or Merely Reporting? by Valerie J. Patterson

If you’re like a lot of Americans and folks around the globe, you’ve been watching the Olympics.  Even if winter sports are not your thing, you’re bound to have seen some sort of coverage by accident, even.

I’ve seen crashes on the slopes I thought surely had to have ended a career.  I’ve seen a skater quit due to a back injury.  I’ve seen both men and women crash on the half pipe. And I’ve seen a lot of tears…not only over missing a shot at the podium but also because our media has pushed these fine athletes to tears with their invasive questions.

This annoys me.


Brody Miller comes to mind.  There’s been a media hailstorm over the female reporter who repeatedly asked Mr. Miller about his deceased brother.  Mr. Miller evaded her question time and time again until he simply, seemingly had no choice but to answer her as she was relentless.  Only after he shed a tear did she let up.  It was painful to watch.  It also got people riled up.  Most thought she was invading his privacy all for ratings.  Most thought she should have stopped asking after he sidestepped her question the second time.  I thought it never should have been asked.  At all.

After people berated the reporter’s actions, Brody Miller even eventually came to her defense and said she was simply doing her job.  I disagree.  I think she was following the normal route most–if not nearly all–reporters take and that is to go after the sensationalized story.

I don’t think being a reporter gives you the right to push people to the brink of emotional distress.  I don’t think being a reporter gives one the right to prod their subject until they break down into tears.  Any rational. compassionate individual is going to miss a recently deceased family member from their lives whether it be a parent, grandparent, sibling or child.  Why must the media always go for the throat…or in this case, the heart?


14 responses to “The Media…Overstepping or Merely Reporting? by Valerie J. Patterson

  1. There are some rules in my life that are easier to follow than for athletes in the world wide spot light. There will be no stopping the reporters.

    For me I have a few rules. Never talk to reporters about anything—not even Diane Sawyer.

    two, never talk to law enforcement personnel unless your attorney is with you no matter how innocent you know you are. 25% of men on prison for rape are innocent. The innocent program finds that 25% of the men in prison whose DNA is still there from the crime, proves they were not the rapist. A university crime class in Illinois studied the public records of men on death row–later another college did the same thing. Some were innocent. Many on too high a criminal charge. The governor finally commented all death row convictions and gave them life in prison. Oddly, later the governor went to prison of a crime.

    Taking to reporters and police officers is something that I will not do unless I have legal counsel.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      I never have cause to talked to reporters unless it’s about book promotion, but I agree with you and also tend to think it’s wise to just decline and move on. Thanks for weighing in! 😛

  2. Nice job!! I know you just spoke for thousands of people !!

  3. I so agree, Valerie. I get incensed when reporters shove a microphone in someone’s face at the scene of a tragedy or when someone has just lost someone close and ask “and how are you feeling?” So incredibly intrusive and cruel.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      I don’t know f they don’t think before they speak or if they just are callous. I think the media has gotten far worse in recent years. Everyone wants to sensationalize everything, Whatever happened to simply reporting the news? Thanks for commenting, Tricia! 😛

  4. Yep, I’m on that bandwagon. Reporters sometimes seem to act like paparazzi. There’s no limit to what they will do to get a story. Sigh.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      Exactly, Laurie….no limit. Didn’t there used to be an unwritten rule or etiquette in this profession? I can remember when the evening news was just that…reporting the day’s events. Now, stations run teaser ads for an hour leading up to the news: An exclusive seen only here on ZZZZ. Or: Why has this teenager been removed from his home? Find out at ZZZZ Channel 5 News.

      It just seems like it’s more a game of who can get the most dirt instead of who can get the most facts. At any rate, at the Olympics, it should be about the wins or the losses, not the recent deaths in an athlete’s life.

      Thanks, Laurie! 😛

  5. I think the key is that ‘some’ reporters will do anything for a story. Like everything there are some good ones out there. I know of one time when the neighbors of a friend were arrested for meth. I drove into my friends drive in front of a reporter and he asked me if I would talk to him. When I declined he was fine with it.

    Paparazzi reporters are another thing. To bad there is a market for what the sell.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      I tend to think it’s more than “some” that go after the sensationalized story these days. Agreed, there are a few solid reporters left, those that are in it for the news, not the hype, but it just seems there aren’t enough of those reporters to balance out the hype-binging ones. On a daily basis I speak with a reporter who is in it for the news. Even he laments how the industry has changed. I can’t even imagine how it is to live in New York City or LA where there’s constantly news happening all around. It simply was disappointing to see the way reporters were handling the athletes at the games. Talk about their victory or their loss. If they evade your question once, leave it alone.

      Thanks Lavada! 😛

  6. I totally agree, Valerie. It was wrong, wrong. I can’t stand the over-reaching. The media has always been invasive but I think it has gotten much worse over the last few years. I don’t like it. Thanks for the post about it. More needs to be said about these vultures- more dialogue about it may help to bring about some changes although I think I’m being optimistic there.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      I just have to wonder how these reporters would react were the shoe on the other foot and it was their life/actions under scrutiny? They cross the line over and over again, and I don’t see it changing any time soon, Jillian. Sadly.

  7. I fully agree. I gave up watching sports on TV some time ago because of the inane comments by the reporters, especially when someone falls or fails. It’s not necessary. The same with news reporters, they ask such stupid questions you would quite gladly cheer if they occasionally got a bash on the nose – not that I condone violence but really… the intrusions are sometimes just too much. Enough said.

    • Valerie J. Patterson

      You hit the nail on the head…or the reporter on the nose, Kit…the questions are stupid. Why ask an athlete after defeat how they feel. Duh! They’re sad, disappointed, etc. Unfortunately, that same athlete would be chastised if s/he walked away from the reporter. Poor sportsmanship is what they’d say. Nothing would be said of the reporter and the stupid questions.

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