Bob Costas and the Media Miss the Real Problem

Bob Costas, an admitted ignoramus on the issue of the Second Amendment, chose halftime in a nationally broadcast football game to infect the world with his uneducated opinion on gun rights.

Speaking about Jovan Belcher, the NFL player who killed his girlfriend then committed suicide, Costas missed the point completely — as did the equally ignorant sports columnist Jason Whitlock. It wasn’t “loose gun laws” that sparked this tragedy. If anything, it had to do with how we treat celebrities.

Costas and Whitlock have the right to their opinions — and the Democrat Media Complex has the right to amplify them. My problem wasn’t with either of them having an opinion, opinions are like ignorant sports media — every network has one — my problem was with the immediate authority the Democrat Media Complex granted them both on the issue. People should have opinions, but uneducated ones should not be advanced by a media operating under the guise of informing the public.

Journalists were falling all over themselves seeking comment from them as if they knew something no one else did simply because those journalists think the same way. Much like an unknown, unaccomplished Georgetown law student named Sandra Fluke was granted gravitas by the media as an informed, accomplished, relevant activist simply because she agreed to participate in a Democratic press event on Capitol Hill about how strong, independent women need government to pay for their contraception, Costas became an expert on “gun culture.”

But was gun culture the problem here? Or celebrity culture? Most NFL fans probably never had heard of Javon Belcher before this incident. But the yes men, the people who suck up to celebrities to help them spend their money and have their fun, know who he was.

They make it their business to know. They attach themselves to the best high school and college athletes, then wait for the money to roll in. They try to stop the celebrity athlete from doing too much to compromise his earning potential. But beyond that, anything goes. After all, they aren’t called restraint men. “Stars” can go years without ever hearing the word “no.”

The singer Chris Brown knows what I mean. He recently got into a Twitter fight with a female comedy writer named Jenny Johnson. In the course of this “war,” Brown reverted to the misogynist’s security blanket — making overt sexual comments that were nasty and violent in nature. None of this is out of the ordinary for Twitter — I get nasty, threatening tweets regularly. Some people are simply incapable of disagreement or educated confrontation.

But most people aren’t famous…and most people don’t have Chris Brown’s past. As much as he’s known for his music, Brown is known for beating his then (and apparently now) girlfriend, the singer Rihanna. You’d think it would occur to someone with that well-known past it might not be a good idea to engage in misogynistic behavior on Twitter when you can simply ignore it. Failing that, you’d think at least once the people around him would advise him to pump the breaks on the misogyny in view of his past. But nooooo.

There are thousands of examples of celebrities acting in such a way that would have invited public scorn or shunning just a few decades ago. Think back on why we know who people like Paris Hilton and Kim Kardashian are in the first place. It’s not for accomplishment. The life story of Lindsay Lohan is one that should shame any parent, not have them trying to out-drink their kid while playing rock, paper, scissors to see who gets the last shot of Jägermeister before last call.

As celebrity has “Jersey Shore-d” from something earned to something given, the world has more yes men. The younger any level of celebrity is achieved, as in the case of Jovan Belcher, the less likely it is that “star” has ever been told “no” on anything. Just like children raised in a “participation trophy” culture who are unprepared for life in the competitive “real world” of business, people such as Belcher have no idea how to deal with real problems when they arise because they’ve been insulated from so many of them by the people around them.

Obviously not every person has it in them to beat or murder their girlfriend, but it wasn’t known to be in Brown or Belcher until they did it. And until they did it they probably walked up to and crossed many lines of societal norms many times we never heard of.

Bob Costas, Jason Whitlock or anyone else can blame whatever they like, but until we as a society stop elevating existing over accomplishment and celebrating people for spectacles that once were shunned, the actions of public figures will continue to shock…until they no longer do. Which is the real danger.

Derek Hunter is Washington, DC based writer, radio host and political strategist.: You can also stalk his thoughts 140 characters at a time on Twitter.

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