Is TMZ good or bad journalism?

TMZ is a well-known celebrity news website where you can get your latest gossip on celebrities, Hollywood rumors and entertainment news.  They have a TV show that shows videos of journalists interviewing celebrities as well as talk about specific things going on that they have discovered in Hollywood.  They also post to social media about news they have recently discovered.

TMZ journalism is questionable because they don’t really have boundaries.  When Harvey Levin, founder of celebrity news website, was questioned on if they have a specific “code of ethics” to avoid international news situations his response was jokingly “oh yeah we would never do anything like that.”  They seem to always post the latest celebrity gossip, but sometimes it can being going too far and even be false.

TMZ sports is responsible for leaking the Ray Rice video of him beating his wife in the elevator.  The question is asked, was this appropriate to show to the public?  Now, that the NFL has seen the video they are taking action, so was this video a good thing to show? This may be true. TMZ also was responsible for leaking Stephen Collin’s confession to being involved with a 10-year-old.  Again, the question is asked, “Is this appropriate to show to the public?”  Once this video was leaked, the popular 7th Heaven TV show that starred Collins no longer aired.  If this recording wasn’t leaked, would people like 7th Heaven still be taking action and cancelling the show?  Probably not. This goes into consequential ethics.  If the recording or video is shown to the public, is it creating more good or evil?  Yes, it may be a little inappropriate but if it’s going to get people to not support them and get higher people to take action then maybe it’s worth it.  Looking at both cases, I believe it has done more good than evil by punishing both stars.

However, TMZ has been known for having false accusations.  For example, they reported that Miley Cyrus died in a car accident in 2008 with no proof and later was removed from the website.  They also reported that Lil Wayne was in critical condtion and was being read his rights after suffering from a seizure.  TMZ reported that Lil Wayne was seconds away from dying.  This again was completely false and was later removed.  This leads to the question, yes TMZ is reporting everythign they hear the second they hear it, but shouldn’t they get their facts straight first?  Instead of being the first to post the news story, shouldn’t they make sure it’s actually true? Can we even rely on TMZ?

The media has mixed feelings of TMZ as well as the public.  If you ask someone like Evan Rosenblum who has worked with Harvey and TMZ how he feels about it, he will tell you TMZ is amazing.  The Daily Beast wrote an article saying that Rosenblum felt that Harvey is the best investigative journalist in the country and has broke amazing stories that the public needs to know.  Another media outlet that spoke about TMZ didn’t seem to agree with this statement.  The Chicago Now said that TMZ brings only negative press coverage for any person or company and they are looking to insult the topic at hand.  For example, TMZ respectfully reported the Tito and Jenna Jameson allegation, but after it was over continued to bash the couple.

Does TMZ do more harm than good? The question remains, but you can still ask yourself if the recording of Stephen Collins and Video of Ray Rice was never obtained and showed b TMZ, then would they still have jobs?  Probably.

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3 Responses to Is TMZ good or bad journalism?

  1. nicole mcgrory says:

    TMZ is a great source for celebrity gossip and keeps many viewers entertained, including myself. After you put everything together of what they have exposed, I believe they have done a lot more harm then good. Even though viewers want to see everything going on, we don’t always think about how it effects those being talked about. I understand that they have helped those committing crimes lose their jobs for good reasons, it effects more people, including family and victims. Unfortunately, the police do not always handle these situations the right way but I do not see it as TMZ’s opportunity to put it out to the public.

  2. Alex Lieberman says:

    Jaclyn asks the interesting questions of whether TMZ does more harm than good and whether this website is good or bad journalism. TMZ is a popular website. Many people love reading and seeing pictures of celebrities and learning about their good and bad times. There seems to be a high demand for TMZ. However, I agree with Jaclyn and believe that TMZ really doesn’t have boundaries. She also gives examples of instances when TMZ does not get their facts straight. I think TMZ can cause serious problems when they do not get their facts straight. I believe TMZ probably does more harm than good and often makes situations worse for certain celebrities, especially when they are going through difficult times. In these instances, the media violates the duty of not causing harm to others. Also, I think TMZ is not really good journalism although many people enjoy this website. TMZ, along with most tabloids are examples of sensationalistic journalism rather than high quality journalism. Unfortunately, TMZ and other tabloids can be too rough on celebrities and cause them a great deal of harm.

  3. Claire Handville says:

    I believe TMZ does more harm than good. I think the way they get their news is unethical because it is usually involves invasive paparazzi. However, Jackie brings up a good point that TMZ is fast to get news, and exposes conflicts that the public has the right to know. A good example she brought up was TMZ making the Ray Rice video public. If they never shared that footage, maybe the NFL would not have come forward. As journalists, I think they are egotistical. There seems to be very little thought of consequence to others when they publish a story.

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