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TOEFL Essay Class Supplement


Sample Essay


Topic: Consider the following statement. The mass media (television, magazines, newspapers, and so on) concentrate too much on the private lives of famous people. Do you agree or disagree withthis idea? 


When we say something is too much, we mean either it crosses some line or it is doing harm, or both. Celebrity journalism crosses the line between freedom of press and violation of privacy, makes celebrities suffer, and makes us less human. Thus, I agree with the statement that the mass media concentrate too much on the private lives of famous people.


I understand freedom of press prevents information from being hidden from the public while a person’s privacy is protected by law unless hiding it is seriously against public interests. Then reporting a famous person’s private information that has nothing to do with public interests is illegal. Although professions of famous people are often related to public interests, their private lives are usually not. Just like other people, celebrities have no obligation to make their whole lives open to public. However, in reality there are many reports on celebrities whose contents are private and which are made just to satisfy curiosities of audience and readers, and therefore it can be said that the media’s reporting about famous people is too much.


In addition, today’s celebrity journalism seems to be bad for both famous people and gossipers. Bad effects on famous people are obvious. There have been many celebrities whose lives were irreversibly affected by media reports that they were not accountable to the public for. Some became mentally or physically ill, others died. It is clear that media coverage about famous people has gone too far. Gossiping also deteriorates our human nature. When we gossip, we enjoy ourselves at the expense of what someone does not want others to pay attention to. In short, gossipers have fun with someone else’s pain. This makes you lose the most human part of your being: empathy with those who are not directly related to you. It is often mentioned that lack of this quality underlies discrimination and violence. The media, pursuing higher ratings or circulation, provide as much private information as the audience and readers please and contribute to the degradation of humankind.


As most media reports of celebrities violate privacy and are doing harm to those involved, including audience and readers, it is clear that the mass media cover too much of the private lives of famous people. If the media reported only what celebrities want to share with their fans, we might become better people.


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