UNITED STATES—Ok, in the past few weeks some alarming things have been uncovered about Sony Pictures Entertainment as private emails from studio execs were unleashed to the public. The leaks are the result of hackers who are not pleased with the upcoming Seth Rogen and James Franco comedy “The Interview” which puts the spotlight on North Korea and its ruthless leader.
The big question that has many discussing is rather the media has continued the agenda of the hackers by exposing emails that were probably expected to remain private. Actress Angelina Jolie, actor Kevin Hart and President Barack Obama were just a few of the individuals who found themselves making headlines over the internet in the past week.
I don’t think it’s worth discussing the specifics of the emails, but some inappropriate comments and thoughts were unleashed that people were probably hoping would stay hidden. I recalled watching something on television about accountability. That is so important. If you’re willing to write something in an email that is disgusting in tone and manner, you better be prepared to take the backlash if that information were to be unleashed to the masses.
The issue of journalistic integrity has placed the limelight on the media, which causes me to question rather the information that was leaked was newsworthy or not. I guess that depends on who is consuming the information. With the internet, we all consume ‘news’ in massive amounts, hence the QUOTATIONS around the word news.
Let’s face it, lots of things that find themselves making headlines are not necessarily newsworthy content, but when it comes to online media, being the first to break a story is crucial. It’s about drawing that traffic to the site, getting kudos for ‘breaking’ a story that others have yet to unleash. I’m not an avid fan of salacious content because what does it say about us as a culture? Are we shallow, do we really not care much about issues that are of heightened importance beyond who broke up with whom or who did what to annoy the world of pop culture?
The backlash from the leak has gotten so extreme, the U.S. premiere of the movie was without any press. That’s a first; I can’t recall the last time the press was MIA at a movie premiere because of bad press, if anything that would be a reason to have press. Remember its better to be talked about than to not be talked about than at all. I have a strong feeling that all this debate about the leak is only going to propel the level of moviegoers to see the movie “The Interview.” In fact, Sony Pictures announced the halt of the release of the comedy that was to be unleashed into theaters on December 25.
To make matters worse, the hackers have threatened attacks on any movie theaters showcasing the flick. Wow, the hackers have truly won in their attempt in silencing this film.
Will those big-time studio execs who found themselves at the forefront of the emails going to have a tough time moving forward? Without a doubt, for some of the actors who were at the center of those emails, it might cause them to distance themselves from those execs and doing projects with the studio. Not a good sign for the studio at all. The bigger question is why we are not discussing the issue of the hackers.
This is illegal and we’re consuming this information and kind of doing the bidding of these hackers. They’re winning and we’re losing. Why? The scrutiny of a movie that was to be considered funny may not see the light of day because of this public debate: should the media unleash this private information or should we keep it hidden and locked away with the key? Slippery slope, by not doing so we would condone bad behavior, but by doing it we sensationalize the material.
As a journalist, the question that has to be asked is rather the ends justify the means. What impact does this material have on the public if it’s unleashed? Is there a direct impact?