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Charlie Sheen: Winning or a Waste of Time?

by on September 14, 2011

This might be an issue where the ethical conundrum is a bit harder to detect than in some of the discussion we had in class yesterday. For all of the attention that Charlie Sheen has received since his ‘tiger blood’ declaration, I am left with this question: Why are new outlets, print, broadcast and electronic alike, devoting so many resources and so much time to this train wreck? To me, this is not newsworthy. There are plenty of other things that the news outlets could be spending their time investigating and, consequently, reporting about. As we have been told repeatedly in journalism classes (David Perkins’ JOURN 300, anyone?), investigative reporting is too expensive and time consuming. If this is so, then do we simply abandon investigative journalism for this:

I suppose the ethical issue that is presented with this Charlie Sheen ‘winning’ gravy boat is where are the journalists and editors that are publishing this crap? Perhaps it is the owner of these outlets that pushes for these fluffy, sensationalized stories. Owner intervention, in fact, was the topic of my response paper this week. When do owners have too much say in what goes into the news? When does it reach the point of compromise in what journalism, I think, should be, which is the reporting of information that is pertinent to the reader’s everyday life? It is probably somewhere around the time that the Washington Post publishes another article on the Charlie Sheen crap storm, months after it initially become ‘hot news’:


What does everyone else think? Too much celebrity, not enough investigation? That’s where I am, at least.


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  1. I actually read an article about journalism ethics in the case of Charlie Sheen (

    The issue was do you knowingly provoke an unstable person by shining the spotlight on them when they should be seeking help. I believe that the Charlie Sheen story is something that should stay on E News, not the major news networks. It falls into the category of sensationalism. What was so special about the Charlie Sheen story that needed to make it in major newspaper? Why was his face plastered on television and the web? Of course, the story is interesting, but for the wrong reasons. We were watching the downfall of a man who could at any moment have gone past the point of no return. And what is worse is journalists were just fueling it. I think that journalists really need to reconsider covering a story in so much depth when it is clear that the subject is in an unstable state of mind that could be dangerous to himself.

    To answer your question, I completely agree: too much celebrity, not enough investigation. Journalists got caught up with the man himself and the presence he brought to every interview, every appearance, that they lost track of the point of the story- why, how, what’s next, what did he have to do to get better? At the end of the day, I don’t know what is in store for Charlie Sheen anymore. I don’t know what really caused his ultimate breakdown, or what he’s planning to do in terms of rehabilitation. All I know is that he’s being roasted on Comedy Central, and he has “tiger blood” in his veins.

  2. I think that the whole Charlie Sheen Winning and Tiger blood campaign was definitely newsworthy. When Charlie Sheen made his twitter, he hit like 3 million followers in like a week… Obviously that is what the public wanted. Right not Sheen has close to 5 million followers. More than top tweeters like a Chad Ochocinco.

    #Winning and #TigerBlood was a trending topic on twitter for weeks and the public liked it. Just because you don’t necessarily don’t like a news topic, doesn’t mean its not Newsworthy. Everyone wanted to know what was going on with Charlie Sheen during this whole campaign….You have to give your audience what they want or you might lose them…

  3. I believe Charlie Sheen’s news and his whole ordeal should stay on networks such as Entertainment Tonight, Extra, E!, etc. I also agree that the media should give what the public wants Otherwise, the public will find other outlets and other ways to get the news they want to read. Strategically speaking, it was wise to follow Charlie Sheen and his Winning campaign. However, I think the border line from being ethical to unethical is when the media starts pushing and asking for too much.

    These people should be talking to doctors rather than interviewers. They definitely should be seeking help, especially Charlie Sheen. It won’t be long before a celebrity is being overly glamourized and the next story they have is how they committed suicide. The main problem I think journalists struggle is is when it becomes overly newsworthy. I also agree with annabriare, and how today, we don’t even know what the story is with Charlie Sheen–the who, the what, the actual substance of it.

  4. emilyrosemclaughlin permalink

    The Matt Lauer interview with Mr. Sheen aired today through the show. Weird.

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