Videotaping the rich and famous—or relatives of the rich and famous—while they do drugs isn’t, of course, a new phenomenon. But after Gawker’s “Crackstarter” campaign—where the website raised $200,000 to buy a video of Toronto mayor Rob Ford allegedly smoking crack—recently went bust (they raised the money but the guy who supposedly had the video went MIA), is it time to ask ourselves how much we should be supporting this sort of thing?
Caught on Tape but Who Cares?
Does anyone ever clean up or even suffer repercussions as a result of getting busted on video? (From the Kate Moss example, we learned that not only do they not get into trouble but they actually land even higher-paying gigs and continue to look amazing). Obviously there’s a major difference between the implications of a supermodel and someone holding a political position doing drugs. Still, by rewarding drug dealers and users with huge sums of money for duplicitously videotaping the well-known people they’re doing drugs with, is that really helping anyone? Is this citizen journalism or just giving addicts another way to cash in and feed their addictions? And does raising $200,000 for a person shady enough to press record when the crack pipe was fired up really make sense when there are many far more worthy people and organizations out there?
In the end, of course, the Rob Ford video itself is essentially irrelevant. The news that the video existed sparked countless Gawker posts, not to mention hundreds of articles in other publications (Google results as of this posting for a Rob Ford crack video search: 12,300,000). It’s safe to say that many people who had not even heard of Rob Ford before are now aware of the fact that he seems to have smoked crack. But news of this sort seems in many ways just to fall on deaf ears. Ford’s approval rating rose five points after the drug allegations surfaced, according to one survey. “The Ford Nation is a very loyal group of individuals and they’ve stuck with him through thick and thin,” the president of the company that did the survey is quoted as saying in a CTV News story. “They seem to be sticking with him and he seems to have had a relatively good week or two because there not been much new in terms of the allegations and he’s back focusing on city business.”
Kate Moss is represented by the number one international modeling agency IMG and has just inked a deal to design fashionable phone accessories. Joe Biden is still our VP. And the people who videotaped Moss, Ashley Biden and Rob Ford have more money to spend on drugs.
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