Wednesday, July 23, 2003

the Vile side

I don't know what I think about the Kobe Bryant accusations (nor, in truth, do any of us at this point, before the facts have been attested to). I do know what I think of the emergent coverage of the story. In that spirit, I recommend this article which buttresses my sense of disgust at so very many angles of this event.

I cannot even begin to imagine what life must now be like for the alleged victim. First she must deal with the trauma associated with the week prior to the 4th of July. Follow that with a situation to which I cannot draw a parallel- a situation which seemingly places one person against the entirety of the nation. Certainly her family and true friends (as opposed to the friends we've seen in the news) are "on her side" as is the local D.A. and numerous support organizations which understand what she is going through. Certainly her circle of support extends beyond this group. We will likely never hear from her supporters. As a nation, we already "know" Kobe Bryant, no need to go digging through his life. Publicly at least (and appropriately given our legal traditions respecting the presumption of innocence) Kobe has not been condemned as a guilty and despicable man. The same cannot be said for the young lady involved. Websites have sprung up, dedicated to trashing her. Major media outlets feel caught between a rock and a hard place- following a legitimate news story while knowingly getting "scooped" on the story (though very little if any of the scooped material is actually relevant and thus truly newsworthy) by unscupulous websites. While resisting the temptation to "out" the alleged victim, they readily note that the information is available on the Internet.* Osama is possibly the only other case with such unidirectional expression of sentiment. Even Saddam had more vocal support in the U.S. And that is disgusting.

* In the political sphere, when someone publishes details of how to poison the water supply, build bombs, or criticizes our preparedness they are attacked for "giving aid and comfort to our enemies." I'm certainly not endorsing this tactic, but how is the news media's handling of the low standards of web publishing any different?


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