Wick Communications

Is this really a story?

In Ethics on May 20, 2011 at 6:13 am

This week the world learned that former California governor and international strongman Arnold Schwarzenegger is a pretty weak husband.

I get that his sordid affair is newsworthy (just ask former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford or former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, or former Nevada Sen. John Ensign, or former President Bill Clinton, or…), but is the mainstream print press overreaching on this one — on these things in general?

I ask partly because of this story from the New York Times. As you can see, a Times reporter joined others in hot pursuit of a woman who has lived a quiet existence in Bakersfield, until now. The story included this graph:

Native Dancer Street, the quiet cul-de-sac where Ms. Baena now lives in this Central Valley city, was a maelstrom of television cameras, reporters and onlookers Wednesday morning as her identity became known. Her one-story home sits at the end of the street in a tidy and trim subdivision. White blinds covered the windows of the tan-colored and red-tile-roof house Wednesday morning, and there was no sign of anyone inside. …

Is that right? It appeared no one was home. White blinds were closed in the tidy and trim subdivision… Am I the only one made a little squeamish by this? It’s as if the NYT became TMZ, only with better writers.

Arnold and Maria are public figures. If the tabloid press thinks readers are interested in their sex lives, well there isn’t much anyone can do except wait a couple days till someone else screws up and replaces them on the hot seat. But is the housekeeper’s identity worthy of a stakeout?

I know I’m shouting into the wind on this one. The other women involved with those other politicians were also all paraded in front of a hysterical and hypocritical public. As more and more of our political leaders find themselves in such peccadillos, I find myself less and less interested. I also imagine that worthy candidates are less and less interested in running for public office.

Clay

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