In This Case, Getting the Scoop Was Shameful

Arthur Ashe, dying of AIDS, says he wished to live out his final years keeping his secret to himself. But he says questioning from a newspaper reporter forced him to announce his disease to the whole wide world.

If a reporter forced his hand, then God save all of us in journalism from ourselves.

"I have AIDS," Ashe declared yesterday afternoon, trying in vain to keep his emotions in check. "I am sorry that I have been forced to make this revelation now, at this time. There is no good reason for this to happen now, but it has happened."

It happened because we in America live in a state of constant feeding frenzy now. Gossip is our snack food. The need for empty caloric titillation never goes away, it only arrives in a different wrapping each new morning.

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