Author Topic: Releasing 911 calls to the public and other "private" information...  (Read 3473 times)

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VltGrantham

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I briefly caught a segment while flipping through channels yesterday of Demi Moore's breakdown and the 911 call that was played over the air.

Am I the only one who thinks this is an unnecessary, rude, invasion of privacy?  I don't care if the person is a public figure, I just find this exceedingly rude and insensitive.  When my former-FIL passed away from a sudden massive heart attack, I would have felt the same if the 911 call of that night had been opened to the masses as well.  I remember when Brittany Murphy passed away and that 911 call was released as well.

I just don't understand why some things are really any of our business.  This is a completely different scenario, but it's stuff like this and the love-child of Arnold Schwarznegger or the divorce dealings of Newt Gingrich that make me crazy.  I can understand if it somehow includes the defrauding of the government or breaking a criminal law, etc., but I do get tired of media and the feeding frenzy that follows information like this.

I understand that these people choose to live public lives, but I sincerely doubt that there are many people in this day and age who don't have at least one, if not more, skeleton in the closet that they would not be pleased to have revealed because someone, somewhere, decided that it was their business.  I do not understand why stars, government officials, and other public figures cannot be afforded some measure of privacy if only out of a respect for someone's private life.

LadyL

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Re: Releasing 911 calls to the public and other "private" information...
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2012, 02:03:29 PM »
"I do not understand why stars, government officials, and other public figures cannot be afforded some measure of privacy if only out of a respect for someone's private life."

I don't think any people in those positions have a reasonable expectation of privacy due to the nature of the career they have chosen.

The public release of 911 calls is in many places a matter of state law. Journalistic ethics are another thing altogether. This article pretty much sums up my views on the matter:
http://www.creators.com/opinion/connie-schultz/broadcasting-911-calls-is-crucial-sometimes.html

Outdoor Girl

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Re: Releasing 911 calls to the public and other "private" information...
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2012, 02:09:53 PM »
I agree.  I don't understand how it can be legal to release a 911 recording without the person involved's consent.  And I'm sure Demi didn't consent.

If releasing the call to the public serves some greater purpose, like recognizing the voice of a bomber (in the link LadyL posted), fine.  Or if the recordings are used in training of 911 dispatchers of what to do or what not to do, fine.  But whole sale public release?  No.

I don't like when they release booking photos of stars when they've been arrested, either.
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Rohanna

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Re: Releasing 911 calls to the public and other "private" information...
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2012, 02:21:48 PM »
I've never understood why it's illegal for a nurse to look st a celebrity's file without "cause", even if they never say anything g about it- but releasing much of the same info on a 911 tape is expected?

Strange loopholes in the law.
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Sabbyfrog2

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Re: Releasing 911 calls to the public and other "private" information...
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2012, 02:23:47 PM »
I actually agree with you OP. To me, being an actor/singer/sports star/etc... is a JOB. It doesn't make them any more or less special or less entitled to a reasonable amount of privacy than you or I. Do they expect to sacrifice a little privacy to be famous? Yes. It also comes with all the perks of being famous too (like not having to wait in line or ridiculous salaries) so I call it a fair trade off in a lot of ways. It's one thing to print thier photo taken on a public street and then printed in US Weekly, it's quite another to air something like that... there is a limit and I think this exeeds it.

WhiteTigerCub

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Re: Releasing 911 calls to the public and other "private" information...
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2012, 02:43:26 PM »
I've never understood why it's illegal for a nurse to look st a celebrity's file without "cause", even if they never say anything g about it- but releasing much of the same info on a 911 tape is expected?

Strange loopholes in the law.

My mom was a 911 dispatcher, she was a public employee and as such, held to disclosure laws that stated the office she worked for was required to allow their records be open to the public so that people could see what their public money was being spent on. Since hospitals are privately owned, I think it makes sense to limit access on health records to a 'need to know' basis.

I think in this case, that journalistic ethics is getting pretty loose. They 'need to know' and release this information because it sells their story. :/
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 02:45:01 PM by WhiteTigerCub »

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NyaChan

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Re: Releasing 911 calls to the public and other "private" information...
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2012, 02:46:44 PM »
I am actually taking a class on this right now & we just covered this topic :D  Unfortunately it is a law school class, so to be careful I guess I'll only say that while it does seem invasive to me in my personal opinion, there are reasons why it falls in to a category of information that can be released as far as the law is concerned.

mabelle

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Re: Releasing 911 calls to the public and other "private" information...
« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2012, 02:49:48 PM »
If the public weren't buying, the info wouldn't be selling...

Demi Moore is in a different 'class' than the politicians referenced - to my mind at least.The politicians are elected officials who campaign on image and platforms that include stuff like, "Family Values" and to find they are all-too-human and that their private behavior belies their words? That's totally fair game for journalists and pundits alike.

SisJackson

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Re: Releasing 911 calls to the public and other "private" information...
« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2012, 03:02:50 PM »
I actually agree with you OP. To me, being an actor/singer/sports star/etc... is a JOB. It doesn't make them any more or less special or less entitled to a reasonable amount of privacy than you or I. Do they expect to sacrifice a little privacy to be famous? Yes. It also comes with all the perks of being famous too (like not having to wait in line or ridiculous salaries) so I call it a fair trade off in a lot of ways. It's one thing to print thier photo taken on a public street and then printed in US Weekly, it's quite another to air something like that... there is a limit and I think this exeeds it.

Thing is, in my jurisdiction, everyone is afforded the same amount of privacy re: 911 recordings and mug shots.  Our local news plays 911 recordings pertaining to stories a few times per week.  In addition, there is a website for the local jail where the general public can go look at arrest records and mug shots on an almost-live stream.  Yes, there's a disclaimer at the top that says that all detainees are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but the information about the arrest is still public for anyone to look at.

It's news because the person is famous and many people are interested in what happens to the person.  A news story from a bunch of years back was major in my home town because the victim had once lived there, even though the actual incident happened several hundred miles away.  She was just a regular walking-around type person, nobody important to the vast majority of Americans, but because she had lived in my area once a long time previous, it was big news, and the perpetrator's mug shot, her picture, and all kinds of information surrounding the case was played over and over on our local news.

If people would like to have mug shots and 911 recordings made private for all citizens, then that's something to take up with lawmakers, but I don't think a small subsection of the populace should be shielded just because they are more in the public eye to begin with.

Judah

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Re: Releasing 911 calls to the public and other "private" information...
« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2012, 03:09:06 PM »
I am actually taking a class on this right now & we just covered this topic :D  Unfortunately it is a law school class, so to be careful I guess I'll only say that while it does seem invasive to me in my personal opinion, there are reasons why it falls in to a category of information that can be released as far as the law is concerned.

But we should only be discussing the etiquette side of the question. 

IMO, unless there is a very strong reason  for the tapes to be aired publicly, they should remain private for everyone.  There is very rarely a reason the public needs to hear a 911 tape. 
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Sabbyfrog2

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Re: Releasing 911 calls to the public and other "private" information...
« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2012, 03:24:21 PM »
I actually agree with you OP. To me, being an actor/singer/sports star/etc... is a JOB. It doesn't make them any more or less special or less entitled to a reasonable amount of privacy than you or I. Do they expect to sacrifice a little privacy to be famous? Yes. It also comes with all the perks of being famous too (like not having to wait in line or ridiculous salaries) so I call it a fair trade off in a lot of ways. It's one thing to print thier photo taken on a public street and then printed in US Weekly, it's quite another to air something like that... there is a limit and I think this exeeds it.

Thing is, in my jurisdiction, everyone is afforded the same amount of privacy re: 911 recordings and mug shots.  Our local news plays 911 recordings pertaining to stories a few times per week.  In addition, there is a website for the local jail where the general public can go look at arrest records and mug shots on an almost-live stream.  Yes, there's a disclaimer at the top that says that all detainees are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, but the information about the arrest is still public for anyone to look at.

It's news because the person is famous and many people are interested in what happens to the person.  A news story from a bunch of years back was major in my home town because the victim had once lived there, even though the actual incident happened several hundred miles away.  She was just a regular walking-around type person, nobody important to the vast majority of Americans, but because she had lived in my area once a long time previous, it was big news, and the perpetrator's mug shot, her picture, and all kinds of information surrounding the case was played over and over on our local news.

If people would like to have mug shots and 911 recordings made private for all citizens, then that's something to take up with lawmakers, but I don't think a small subsection of the populace should be shielded just because they are more in the public eye to begin with.

Re bolded #1: Just because people want to know it doesn't make it their business...

#2: Nor should their information and personal business be exposed anymore than you or I just because they are in the public eye. That's what I take issue with. If Joe Shmo is afforded a reasonable amount of privacy, then why isn't Demi Moore.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 03:30:12 PM by Sabbyfrog2 »

mlkind1789

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Re: Releasing 911 calls to the public and other "private" information...
« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2012, 03:28:03 PM »


I just don't understand why some things are really any of our business.  This is a completely different scenario, but it's stuff like this and the love-child of Arnold Schwarznegger or the divorce dealings of Newt Gingrich that make me crazy.  I can understand if it somehow includes the defrauding of the government or breaking a criminal law, etc., but I do get tired of media and the feeding frenzy that follows information like this.



I am going to tread very carefully here, but my opinion does differ a little bit.  I agree that the 911 calls for celebrities should not be made public, but from what I understand, they are part of the "public record" so to speak and that is allowable.  I tend to avoid them like the plague, but, the truth of it is, as long as there are people out there who want to hear the 911 calls and see the awful pictures and gossip mercilessly, someone will find a way to make a profit from it.

Now, the treading carefully part, I think that politicians lives should be open for inspection.  These people want us to trust them with our country, so yes, they should be open and honest about their lives.  I think we, as a people, have a right to know if the people who run this country are honest, moral, faithful people.  That being said, I do not think the spouses or children should be up for inspection.  As to your particular example, yes, I think we should be able to look at the marital transgressions of Newt Gingrich and use those to decide what we will about him.  His wife?  Leave her alone, she is not running for office.  In this particular case the water will become a bit murky at some point because of the way it happened, but leave her alone now.