Tag Archives: privacy

A Lesson from the Romney/Harris-Perry Controversy

I was glad to see the classy manner with which Mitt Romney accepted Melissa Harris-Perry’s apology for remarks made on her MSNBC program about the former presidential candidate’s adopted African-American grandson. Hopefully, this puts an end to the incident because there are far more important issues on the national agenda for 2014.

Two quick observations from my years in politics and media:

Mitt Romney

Number one, the incident reminds us that all public figures, no matter how powerful or influential, are people just like the rest of us. They are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives, and so on. Yes, they signed up for a life in a fishbowl, and they’re more thick-skinned than most of us. But they experience the same feelings and emotions as we do.

I once worked with a man who had been a speechwriter for a member of the Kennedy family. He told me he began to think differently about what he once thought were harmless Kennedy jokes when he realized they involved someone’s uncle or father.

Secondly, I feel a need to clarify a sentiment emerging from the controversy, namely that targeting families of public figures is off-limits. While spouses, children and siblings may not have chosen to enter the limelight, politicians often use their family members to create warm, fuzzy images. In my opinion, they can’t have things both ways. Politicians and other public figures who use their families to score points can’t cry foul when someone brings one of those family members into the public discourse.

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Privacy, Civility and an All-Star Decision

I don’t care that Derek Jeter decided not to take part in this year’s Major League Baseball All-Star game.

Sure, it would have been great to watch Jeter play in the midsummer classic a few days after he made baseball history by becoming the first New York Yankee to reach the 3,000-hit mark.

But if the veteran shortstop feels he needs a few days off (as he did), that’s his prerogative.

The real question here is Continue reading

Has the Internet Made Debates over Privacy Moot?

By refusing to hear an appeal of a lower court decision that kept emails between Governor Corzine and the former head of a state employees union private, the New Jersey Supreme Court has effectively put an end to a long debate over whether the messages should be publicly disclosed.

But even if we have heard the last of this particular saga, privacy issues are likely to remain a hot topic — not only for public figures, but for the general citizenry as well. Continue reading