The press - leading the way or following the public?


Thoughts on the Leveson Inquiry

I don't know if anyone else has been following the Leveson Inquiry, currently taking place, inquiring into the practices and ethics of the press. I certainly have been. And I hope some of the foul people involved get what's coming to them. I really do.

The stories have been heart-wrenching: the McCann family with their 2-year-old twins, being set upon by photographers, frightening the children, banging on car windows, hiding in the bushes outside their house. The Dowler family who mistakenly thought that Milly was still alive when they discovered new space on her voicemail, when the messages had actually been deleted by NoW reporters. Also "celebrities", some of them among our most creative and talented people, having every aspect of their private lives out there for the public to chew over on a daily basis.

A mouthy paparrazo was on the radio, defending their intrusive practices in a delightfully obnoxious manner. Noone needed to challenge him. He condemned himself.

Interestingly (providentially?) I gained perspective on this in preparing our weekly ladies' Bible study on James ch.3 using some great notes by Philip Jensen and Kirsten Birkett. See the following:

"The gutter press exists not because of particularly evil publishers, but because the public buys it. We love gossip. We love hearing it, we love spreading it, and we especially love being the first with the news so we can shock others."

Outrageous! Is this really us?

I think it is.

Shame on us, who are so proud and at the same time insecure, that we need to know the details of other people's lives so we can feel superior. Shame on us for our nosiness, and voyeurism. Why do we need to know everything about everyone? It is the mature person who walks away from the opportunity to find out some juicy titbit about someone else.

We hypocrites would like to know about other people, but would rather die than reveal similar intimate details about ourselves.

It is overwhelmingly wonderful to know a God who knows all the intimate and humiliating details about our lives and minds, and yet still gives us the dignity of being worth everything to him. At the heart of the universe is one who sacrificed himself more than we will ever understand to rescue people like us from the depths of our own sin, from condemnation and judgement.

So let's give other people a break. After all, God gave us one. Don't buy gossip mags (doesn't the title tell you something might be wrong there?!). I don't want to be a part of the world which pays the wages of the paparazzi. We've got better things to fill our minds with.