I’m no advocate of wild and crazy polygamist sects–but in my mind they are less danger to our society and future than hyper-aggressive, media-driven government officials who get carried away in trying to enforce the current view of moral standards. The Texas polygamist sect controversy has bothered me considerably. Long before the news came out about an Appeals Court overturning the seizure I worried that this was one more sad example of government officials responding more to media frenzy than reality.
Now, I recognize that it is possible that poor innocent children were being horribly abused–in that case I am grateful for laws and officials enforcing those laws to protect the innocent. But it could also be that the media in their increasingly desperate quest for ratings and ad sales have grossly exaggerated the danger and the risk to the children. But because it plays all over (incessantly, nauseatingly) on the likes of Greta Van Susteren, MSNBC, CNN Headline News–officials feel they must respond or the outrage created by the hyped up media coverage will rebound on them.
There is a completely predictable pattern here which I talked about in Now Is Too Late: an event happens in which people may or may not be at risk, the media covers it with the primary focus being on getting ratings, the officials interpret the exaggeration as public outcry and respond, the response is all out of proportion to the actual risk, we have new laws and regulations that further restrict our lives and cause additional unneeded costs–all because the media needs ratings. I don’t know how to fix this problem. I’m hoping bloggers can help–and here’s one blogger that is trying.