It is a sad reality of the times in which we live that the media and paparazzi think that they have a right to do and say whatever they want. If a person is a celebrity, they are subject to the media’s whims. The lack of privacy is a negative side effect of being a star. Patrick Swayze is one of those who is now suffering, not just from his bout with Pancreatic Cancer, but due to the battle of the media.
Stars are human beings first. They should have their right to keep their personal health private, but tabloids make it too tempting for the slew of hospital and medical personnel that have hordes of money thrown in their faces for information. Michael Landon was forced to announce his illness because of the tabloids, and Swayze had to do the same thing. The choice for these people is tell it your way or sit back and watch the tabloids tell it their way.
The problem is that the tabloids don’t always have it right. When the National Enquirer broke the Swayze story, they gave him five weeks to live. That was a year ago, and he’s alive and fighting.
Many times in recent months, the nasty rags that call themselves news media have reported that Swayze has been on his death bed. The news has disturbed his mother, Patsy, greatly. Patsy Swayze is a strong woman, but she’s lost a husband and a daughter, and she’s getting up in years. She’s relied on Patrick as the eldest of her surviving children to take care of the family. Now, he’s fighting the battle of his life. Seeing headlines in big, bold letters claiming that he’s saying ‘good-bye’ to his wife and is preparing to die just isn’t easy to see, even if you know it’s wrong.
The tabloids don’t care about people, and the problem with our society is that too many people see those headlines and believe them. Even people who claim they don’t pay attention do know those headlines and will gossip about them, believing that their disclaimer about not buying the trashy magazine or believing it makes it okay to talk about it. This is the battle that Swayze and others fight.
It angers me that my favorite actor, which is Patrick Swayze, is suddenly getting all kinds of attention, only because he has this dreaded disease. What I’m thankful for, though, is that he is turning this into a positive. Now, Swayze is standing up and making his voice count. It’s not a situation he ever wanted to be in, but it’s his life.
As I write this, two other writers have commented on this situation. I really wish that the male, who says he’s a fan, had done a bit more research. In reading his words, I felt so much like he was just part of the problem because he passed on wrong information, things that were tabloid folly, but inaccurate. The plane crash Swayze was involved in, for instance, was a serious thing, but it was not related to alcohol. There’s a lot of misinformation out there, but as a fan, I followed that closely and I’ve read the NTSB reports. There was no wrongdoing on Swayze’s part at all. The one thing that writer said that really was true was that Patrick Swayze is a fighter. He’s already beaten the odds, regardless of what comes down the road. He’s fighting this cancer with everything that he has, and he has more fight than most of us.
The media needs to back off, but they won’t. It’s not their nature. The only way they’ll learn is if it hits them directly. How would they like to be the subject of their own scrutiny? That’s the only thing that would bring about change. However, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
Patrick Swayze is a star. Right or wrong, he’s lost some of his rights to privacy as a result. Still, the media, even the trashy rags, have an obligation to at least tell the truth without embellishments. Unfortunately, embellishments sell, so until we, the public, refuse to buy, nothing will ever change.
By the same token, those gossiping and causing problems on the internet need to get a life as well. I’ll never understand why anyone would delight from another person’s strife, but it is here, in abundance, on the world wide web. Visits to various forums prove that. It’s gotten nasty on some websites, and it, too, has caused the Swayze family pain that they don’t need. People can be cruel for no reason. Again, I turn to karma. The trouble makers, like the media, may one day have to face their own troubles. If that time comes, they may wish they’d chosen a different path today.