The Campaign Spot

The On-Again, Off-Again ‘Avert-Your-Eyes’ Stance of the Media on Politicians’ Children

Ruth Marcus, today:

As a parent, I sympathize. But as a parent in the media, I also know that the Palins assumed this risk. Anyone who watched coverage of the Bush twins’ barroom exploits knew the avert-your-eyes stance towards candidates’ children has its limits.

That limit seems to hit the partisan line. You’ll never see the Saturday Night Live sketches that dealt with Chelsea Clinton ever again. There was cursory coverage of Al Gore’s sons troubles on the road, and Howard Dean’s son’s run-in with the law. Nobody’s dared look into the lives of the Obama girls, nor should they. But the media’s self-control seems to evaporate when it comes to Republican officials’ children – I’m thinking of several news outlets’ decision that the voting preference of Giuliani’s daughter was newsworthy.
Beyond that, if Marcus is really that bothered by the media spotlight on young Bristol Palin, she could have, you know, found something else to write about. As it is, her column amounts to, “Isn’t it terrible the way her pregnancy will turn into a political football? Now, let’s take this opportunity to whack the Republicans for promoting abstinence,” and to declare that “the most we as parents can hope for is to insulate our children, as best we can, from the consequences of their own stupidity.”

The Latest