Politicians are elected, in most countries, to do a job. Whether they do it well or badly leaves them open to criticism and if members of their administration, which have been elected or appointed, misbehave, then they too are rightly censored by the press. To what degree depends upon the culture of a country in the given set of circumstances.
In the United Kingdom, for instance, members of the media inserted a microphone in Prince Charles’ toilet bowl, to record what, the mind boggles. The British press has been requested by the British Royal Family to keep away from Prince Charles’ two sons, after the hounding that led indirectly to their mother’s death (Princess Diana).
Equally sinister is the interest in the children of politicians. When the son of Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister, was found lying in a pool of vomit having consumed too much beer, the tabloid press made a meal out of it. If any of them had been man enough to pick him up, clean him up and walk him home, probably nobody would have been any the wiser because until then nobody knew what he looked like.
In Russia, the media respectfully and correctly keep President Vladimir Putin’s daughters out of the public eye, for, as President Putin says, they have nothing to do with the job. The daughters of George Bush were not so lucky and now the international press is splashing stories about his niece across the headlines.
If the story were of public interest, it should be printed. However, how anyone can argue that an apparent drugs problem of the daughter of a President’s brother can be anything other than a family matter, defies logic. Using such family members as a means of creating readership is not journalism, it is malice, conniving evil, food only for mindless busybodies who have nothing better to do.
The line has to be drawn somewhere and it is fitting that the newspapers and the journalists take the first step. Many a time when one says one is a journalist, the reaction is “Oh, so you spend your time prying into the private lives of others to dig up dirt?” Not in this journal, not with these journalists.
Public office brings with it the responsibilities of public life. Public figures also have the right to a private life and this includes their friends and family. Whatever they do, so long as their actions do not endanger or affect the public domain, is private and as such has nothing whatsoever to do with the media.
That the stories about the niece of George Bush should be strewn around half the globe in countless languages (one has only to browse on the Internet) is a disgrace to the international journals which publish such unadulterated evil to gain cheap points at the expense of others.
Timothy BANCROFT-HINCHEY PRAVDA.Ru