A video of ESPN reporter Britt McHenry is making the rounds on social and traditional media for her berating a towing company employee. I’ve seen the video, and yes, she was out of line. She was angry and pompous, reminiscent of Alec Baldwin in many ways. These kinds of videos get clicks though, people want to see these melt downs. But as entertaining as they are, I’m not so sure I like the idea of recording and publicizing them.
Our society seems to be taking on for itself the role of Big Brother’s thought police, and everyone is carrying their own portable telescreen. Our worst moments are being caught on audio or video and shown to the world. Then what? People are “forced” to apologize and often lose their job. They are punished financially for having a bad day or just being rude. Should McHenry apologize? Yes. But not to us, to the employee she berated. We have no stake in the argument.
This is nothing more than societal thought-policing. We’ve been headed down this road for a while and I don’t particularly care for it. With the amount of times I hear “don’t take this the wrong way…” or, “I don’t mean any offence, but…” you’d think thought-crime was an actual crime. Not just any thought or opinions, just the unfashionable ones and that’s dangerous.
When you punish ideas and opinions, you run the risk of being at the dirty end of the stick someday. Trends change, and your ideas can become unfashionable at any time. But it will be too late, you’ll have apoligized, but with pink slip grasped firmly in hand all for thinking the wrong thing.