I really liked this little story published by Craig Chamberlin, a fellow student and one of my colleagues at a university publication. It is meant as a metaphor, that we should be careful of making journalistic choices based on what "rights" the media in general choose to exercise.
A man is walking down a path in the woods and comes across a house where he hears the whining of a dog in the back yard. He goes back to investigate. When he gets there, he sees a man kicking the dog causing the dog to whine.
“Why are you kicking your dog?” he asked the man.
“Because everyone else is kicking their dogs,” he replied.
“But it isn’t right to kick your dog.” the man insisted.
“Are you suggesting everyone else is wrong?” he replied again.
The question struck the man, he thought about it, then he replied, “Well no, but in this case, kicking your dog certainly seems unjustified.”
Offended, he states “Hey, if everyone else is kicking their dogs, then I am going to kick my dog too, and you have no right to tell me it’s the wrong thing to do.”
The man, upset, replies to him again, “But you're hurting your dog for no reason.”
He replies, “Perhaps you should go ask others if it is okay for me to kick the dog before you criticize me for doing so.”
The man, surprised by the response, tells him “I really don’t need to ask anyone else, in this particular instance, you clearly shouldn’t be kicking your dog. I don’t care what other people are doing right now.”
He finally replied, “If everyone else is kicking their dogs, then they must have a good reason for it, so I’m going to continue kicking mine.”
The man, saddened and disappointed he couldn’t get through to him, asked him a question, “Don’t you think you should find out why they are kicking their dogs before you start doing it yourself?”
He thought for a moment, “Hmm, why would I question what everyone else is doing?”
The man responded, “Well, how do you know if they are justified in kicking their dogs?”
He thought again for a moment, “Well… I suppose they could be wrong, but I already have been kicking my dog for an hour.”
The man responded, “You can always stop kicking your dog and make it right.”
He replied, “But that would mean I was wrong to kick the dog in the first place, wouldn’t it?”
The man replied, “Of course.”
Finally, he stated, “I’d rather not, after all, it’s not my dog.”
The man walked away in sadness. It is true, he had no right to impude on his business and question his justification for kicking his dog, but it just seemed like the right thing to do.