In colonial America, the Puritans used stocks to punish transgressors of what passed for anti-social behavior at that time. The offender was taken to the village green where his head and hands were put between a two-piece yoke. The yoke was locked down and the unfortunate party was left exposed to public humiliation for an extended period of time.
Today there is a very different method for punishing those who offend the taste of the social arbiters of America, said arbiters being the media, the pundits, the bloviators, the gasbags, and yes, I dare say, the assholes who pollute the airways with their views and news.
Today the offender's face is on the TV screen. Sitting in our living rooms we can watch the punishment, shame, and embarassment as the tape of the transgressions is played repeatedly. Old transgressions committed years ago are shown again and they talk of 'a pattern here'.
When a question is raised about the propriety of these activities, the defenders state that the reporters are asking "legitimate questions". I wonder about that expression. What is a 'legitimate' question? For that matter, what is an 'illegitimate' question? Anyone? Anyone?
Over the past few decades, the Media has grown in power and influence.
Today when a movie is released, the major stars sit for an entire day to be interviewed either in person, by telephone, or via closed circuit TV in 20 to 30 minute segments with "Entertainment Reporters" all around the country. These appearances are mandatory.
In the sport of tennis, when a match is completed the players go to a press room and sit to be questioned by reporters about their game, their feelings about the game, their health, their mood, etc, etc, etc. These press appearances are mandatory subject to fines if not done.
As a rule most questions are insipid and boring and useless. The answers are tiresome cliches and boring. Why wouldn't they be?
The best that reporters can hope for is that someone will get upset and make a 'gaffe'. (Oh how they love that word.) When a gaffe is made, the Media smell blood and move to feed on it like the parasites they are.