In the last two decades network television newsmagazines in an endless search for ratings, which translates into revenues, have declared war on the right of privacy we all enjoy as Americans. The hidden camera is “infotainment” masquerading as journalism, pandering to the most base emotions, including voyeurism, with eavesdropping used to obtain the salacious footage. A hidden camera story is essentially a “grainy little morality play,” edited to heighten the entertainment value, where journalists go undercover to mythologize their work by becoming protagonists, modern “folk heroes” who ferret out wrongdoing as the superheroes of pop culture. Undoubtedly, the most insidious and frightening intrusion cases involve an expectation of privacy, with spies working in conjunction with an enemy or competitor of the victim to set up the fraud. In addition to intrusion and/or statutory privacy claims (or in the case of business entities, non-privacy claims), this Article contends that hidden cameras portray individuals in both a defamatory manner and in a false light—by definition and by design. Constitutional malice should therefore be easy to prove in hidden camera cases—indeed, it should be presumed.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/david_elder/4/