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Class Supplement, TOEFL Essay, Do the media concentrate too much on the private lives of famous people? Essay for Ideas and Expressions -rewritten-


Wring 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 with this idea?

Essay for Ideas and Expressions:

When we say something is too much, we mean either it crosses some line or it is doing harm, or both. Celebrity journalism makes illegal reports and makes celebrities suffer. In competition for higher ratings, its coverage will go over the top. Therefore, I agree with the statement that the mass media concentrate too much on the private lives of famous people.

Most celebrity reports are illegal. Although freedom of press is strongly protected to prevent important information from being hidden from the public, a person’s privacy is also protected by law unless hiding it is seriously against public interests. Then publicizing a famous person’s private information that has nothing to do with public interests is illegal. Just like other people, celebrities have no obligation to make their whole lives open to public. However, many reports invading celebrities’ privacy are being made just to satisfy curiosities of audience and readers. The reason why so few law suits are made is that there are too many cases and each case is too small, although not petty, to file. But this does not change the fact that celebrity journalism goes beyond the bounds of decency.

In addition, there have been many celebrities whose lives were irreversibly affected by media reports for which they were not accountable to the public. Some became mentally or physically ill, others died. It is clear that media coverage about famous people has gone too far. Some gossipers might quip that transparent private life is the price you pay for being famous. However, the fact that Queen Elizabeth’s face without make-up will never be in print, while those of pop stars are, shows that not all famous people have to show every aspect of their lives. When you make some people feel pain while you do not do the same to others, the action is called bullying. Gossiping can be a kind of bullying under the guise of attention.

Mass media, except for those independent, are by nature destined to focus too much on unnecessary topics. Like other profit-making entities, media pursue higher ratings or circulation and for that purpose they will do anything. Just like other companies, they produce demand. Just as other companies try to sell not really necessary goods, mass media try to sell not really necessary information, gossip, of which we weak humans cannot stop taking a bite. They advertise with sound bites and sensational pictures so that people will pay attention to gossip, while down-playing scandals of their sponsors.

Because today’s media attention on famous people is illegal, is doing harm to innocent individuals, and is the reflection of unscrupulous economic activities, it can be said that  mass media concentrate too much on the private lives of celebrities. If the media, except for investigative journalism, reported only what celebrities want to share with their fans, we might become better people.

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