|Join the dialogue!
Hear our panelists' perspectives, then tell us what you think.
Mayor Bill Campbell
Is anything private for public figures? In the past, even when journalists
knew about the private lives of politicians, there was a limit to what they
would report to the public. Today's overheated media environment has
exploded those old boundaries, producing an unprecedented airing of
candidates' private lives. Feeling vulnerable to pervasive media coverage
of the phrasing of everything they say and media scrutiny of everything they
ever did, politicians have turned to spin doctors and pollsters for help.
Should candidates and their families be entitled to a zone of privacy in
their personal life? How do we balance the public's right to know with the
individual's right to privacy?
For youth perspectives on these issues, visit Teenvoice.com's E-lections site, featuring student discussions, polls, and other resources. Check our list of resources for more organizations and websites that deal with these issues.
Mayor Bill Campbell|
"The issue is these media hounds that we're going to have to deal with. Dan
Rather's going to be on our front step with '48 Hours,' and then there's the
Internet people (Matt Drudge). All these folks are going to be on us. Can we
survive this test?"
"You have to sit down, and you have to say, 'Listen, I'm your priest, your
rabbi, whatever. You've got to confess all your sins to me. I have to know
what's in your background. And I'm not talking about did you get too drunk
at a fraternity party when you were in college. Is there a business deal
when you and your son were trying to buy the Atlanta Braves from Ted Turner?
Was there something there that'll come out that basically will have a
"If I check this out and it turns out, yeah, he did this 20 years ago, but he hasn't done anything since then, I may not report it to you. You may not like that, and you probably get it someplace else. But, if he made a mistake 20 years ago, and if since then, yes, he's talked strong against crime, I'm not sure that it's demonstrative of some deep and abiding hypocrisy if he made this mistake 20 years ago. Now, if he's had a pattern over the years of doing this, that makes the case stronger. But I just want to put an asterisk at the bottom of the page."
"I think we're creating a real problem as we have gotten deeper and deeper into the past and personal lives of candidates. We're going to be down to a very small body of
people. We're going to be excluding, eliminating huge numbers of very valuable talent."
"I think they should look into it. I think they should find out what the issue is. If you're running to be the highest law enforcement in the land, if you're looked up to as a role model for children, and poll after poll shows the President of the United States and the First Lady and others are people that young children look up to, I think it's a legitimate issue. It provides a window into the character of the individual. I think the press has an obligation to run that down."