Reply To: Scandals are useful because they focus our attention on problems in ways that no speaker or reformer ever could.
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University: Xi’an Jiaotong University
Some people believe that scandals are useful, because the scandals can attract public attention on social problems in a different way from speakers and reformers. In my humble opinion, scandals that could expose unhealthy societal phenomena are valuable. Such scandals can also prompt problem-solving. By contrast, scandals that only serve to capture public attention are meaningless.
Those who completely deny the value of scandals think that social change requires an appeal of a speaker or an implementation of a reformer. For example, a speech of Martin Luther King triggered a surge of demand for freedom and equality. In above example, the efforts of speakers and reformers are crucial. Without their promotion, these scandals can only get momentary attention.
However, it is precisely because of scandals in these areas that have reveal social problems and attract public attention that speakers and reformers can notice them. Scandals make speakers and reformers believe that these unhealthy phenomena urgent enough to need to be solved, and take efforts to solve problems. For example, Martin Luther King’s Civil Rights Movement originated from a scandal. In this scandal, a black woman refused to give her seat to a white woman, eventually jailed. From this perspective, the scandal attracts public attention to problems, prompting speaker and reformers to solve the problems as soon as possible. Such scandals have positive significance in the progress of society. It can be said the purpose of such scandals is to eliminate similar scandals in the future.
Even if social problems are not solved, such scandals will allow us to look at exposed issues from different views. For example, earthquake happened in 2011 endangered dozens of students in Japan. A speaker may comment the courage of rescue team and claim the inevitability of disaster. However, some media exposed scandals later. The scandals shows that the calamity could have been avoided, if teachers had taken right measures. What’s more, the Prism Gate infringe the privacy of citizens. It is a secret and illegal surveillance to citizens by NSA and FBI. Though it has not been prevented, Snowden still improve people’s consciousness of privacy protection.
Of course, some people think that the gossip scandals of celebrities can attract our attention into in unknown side fo celebrity. This type of gossip could be very entertaining. However, such scandals have no positive effect on social progress, and have no substantial social mean, even having negative impact on children. What’s more many media spread fake news to capture momentary attention. If not controlled, they will be mislead more people.
In a sum, in regard to scandals that expose unhealthy aspects of society, the scandals can attract public attention, increasing the sense of urgency ,and prompting speakers and reformers to solve problems. Such scandals are valuable. At the same time, such scandals can also allow people to view things from a new perspective. Whereas, there is no real worth in scandals that have no substantial value in solving social problems.