Gerald Ford's Private Service Not So Private
I was just watching the beginning of former president Gerald R. Ford's private funeral on CNN.
Betty Ford, looking understandably stricken and shaky, was led into the church by a military officer who spoke to her softly as he led her into a pew. The rest of the family filed in and the camera panned the room. Then, it went in for an extreme close-up of Betty Ford's face. And it held there. Luckily when the service started the cameras were turned off.
Now, I know Gerald Ford was a public figure–perhaps the biggest one the country has–but there was something incredibly unsettling to me about how this very private moment was invaded by the cameras. I imagine the family gave permission for the presence of media, but it got me thinking about how much the lines are blurred between what is private, and what the public feels entitled to witness. Or, better yet, what the networks thinks we feel entitled to witness.
For me it was very uncomfortable to watch, especially knowing there are several official state ceremonies scheduled for the upcoming days of which we are also getting "live and comprehensive coverage" of the former president's death.