Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

May 2, 2013

GARY'S WORLD: Sexual preferences are not breaking news

By Gary Nelson
Senior staff writer

CROSSVILLE — Sometimes when I think about how much the world and society and the media have changed over the past 20 years, it makes me cringe.

The priority and importance the national media places on some stories makes me long for the news coverage of days gone by. At least the standards, anyway.

I mean, why do we have to know EVERYTHING about celebrities and broadcast it as “Breaking News?”

There have been many instances over the past few years where I have been bothered by this, but the most recent event, earlier this week, just boggled my mind on how it could be considered breaking news.

The event I’m talking about is NBA player Jason Collins coming out and announcing he was gay in a letter published in Sports Illustrated Magazine.

The national media jumped on this promotion bandwagon like a pack of starving hyenas devouring an animal carcass.

It was everywhere!

Now, before anyone gets their panties in a wad and starts screaming this is an anti-gay article I’d like to set the record straight — I am not saying I support, nor am I saying I am against, people who are gay. I have friends and some out of state family members who are gay.

Any of these people can testify that I neither condemn nor support their sexual preference because that is between them, God and whomever their partner is — and that’s the way it should be.

Private.

What bothers me is the way the national media sensationalizes this sort of news and puts it in everyone’s faces. Whatever happened to privacy and respect of personal issues?

Why do we (the public) have to know about every little detail regarding celebrities and athletes and have it broadcast as “Breaking News?”

Here are some simple guidelines:

Earthquake and tsunami hitting Thailand — yes, that’s breaking news. Bad weather, significant deaths, horrific crime events, major business stories that effect the economy — yes, breaking news.

Kim Khardasian getting divorced, major athlete announcing his sexual preference, big name entertainer adopting a child from a third-world country — NOT breaking news.

Announcement of upcoming cast of celebrities to appear on Dancing With The Stars — NOT breaking news.

I kid you not, each and everyone of those subjects I just mentioned, as ridiculous as they sound, were mentioned as breaking news.

Some subjects, like one’s sexual preference, should be left alone, personal and private. Why broadcast it on national TV 24/7?

Believe me, I understand the whole role model theory and the support system and the theory that this will help younger people who are struggling with their sexual identity. I do, but it still doesn’t have to be portrayed as if it’s a major news story that everybody needs to know.

Honestly, before this announcement and coming out in the national media, how many people really even heard of this guy?

Aren’t there other issues that should be deemed more important and labeled as breaking news over the announcement of sexual preferences?

Again, I am not saying I’m for or against gay people or a gay lifestyle. If that’s the way you are and live your life, then fine. That’s up to you. Your sexual preference is your business.

What I am against is the national media promoting sexual preference announcements like they are breaking news stories. Please.

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Gary Nelson is a Crossville Chronicle staffwriter. His column is published each Friday. He may be reached at gnelson@crossville-chronicle.com.