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She was an astute student of her own press and colluded with newspaper confidants to get her side across.   Was this a mistake? Did Diana go too far?


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Dear FRONTLINE,

I wasn't particularly interested in watching another program on Princess Diana, but because it was Frontline I was interested to see what approach it might take. The historical overview of the Royal Family and the media was fascinating and truly caught my interest. As society and the Information Age changed the Royal Family discovered that it too would need to change its relationship with the media.

What I was not prepared for was Frontline's "closing arguments" that Diana was playing a dangerous game with the media and lost. The media became a necessary evil in her public and private life. Was she using the media when she was photographed at social events, or calling attention to causes that others turn away from? As a mother isn't it normal to protect your children (i.e., from the cameras) and yet teach them how they will need to exist and function in the real world? The contrast of seeing Diana harassed by a photographer in the airport versus solo photos of her in a bathing suit (obviously taken with those three foot lenses) does not support the idea to me that Diana "used" the media in a calculated way. The program faulted her for even talking or joking with the media. Is any situation supposed to be all or nothing?

Right or wrong Diana was a human being first. Under the pressures of being the most photographed woman in the world beginning at such a young age Diana had the right to tell her story in whatever way she saw fit. Being beautiful, famous, of royalty, and a humanitarian does not give the media to take away all rights to privacy.

Ellen Ferguson
Citrus Heights, CA
ellensue@ns.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

Is your program some sort of cover-up for what the media has done to "The Peoples Princess" I was not pleased to hear some statements which really questions the intelligence of the viewers.. How much ever you try to escape from the blame it is very clear and fresh (and will be forever) that media has blood on its hands.... a silent witness which cannot be proven in any house of law. Yes!! I agree that the princess used the media a very few times.. but didn't the media used her in turn always gaining/profiting out of the private moments of a person.. It would have been more appreciated if the telecast had covered what good things the princess has done with her popularity by using the media. What did she gain by using media??? HER DEATH.. And the closing sentence of the show saying that she played the game and lost.. was not appropriate.. you could have put it this way.. "We played the game with her and won the game in her death"....

SV
Milwaukee, WI
sv@hotmail.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

It looked to me as if the same form of reasoning among the British press and the Paparazzi concerning Diana is that classic but illegitimate rationalization men have used to justify rape for centuries: "She looked like she wanted it." There is nothing wrong with wanting to appear attractive, just as there is nothing wrong with Diana's use of the press for the exposure of humanitarian issues. She may have been unwise in her public actions toward the other royals, and she probably did sell her soul by doing such, but that will never justify the systematic gang-rape she endured at the hands of the tabloid press. I would not expect your show to come down as strong as I have on this matter; a fear of losing press freedoms would cause any video journalist to shudder at the thought of trying to remove a speck from someone else's objective lens.

John King
Bolivar, Missouri

Dear FRONTLINE

While I have always enjoyed your programs for being well written and thought provoking, The Princess and the Press is an exception. You can now include yourself with the rest of the media in laying blame on Diana for her tragic end. I believe she used the media for her survival, short as it was, and to get her idea's to the public and good for her! I am haunted by the image of her that her last thoughts on this earth was a flash from a camera.

Nancy Alvarado
adc@alliancedatacom.com
Dallas TX

Dear FRONTLINE,

Diana was a beautiful human being who might have lived her life in the spotlight but obviously she was very much alone. Everyone who took an interest in her is now responsible for not only her death, but the manner in which her life came to an abrupt end and why she must now lie forever on a small island alone. The Royal family is to blame, they took away her title, thus taking away her right to lie next to her children in death in the Abbey. The press is to blame, they couldn't leave her alone because of the price of a picture was to high for them to turn down (which goes to show that money means more to a person than a life itself). And not to be left out in the finger pointing, the public itself. Because of public interest Diana could not be permitted to lie in peace with her father and ancestors because the public would not leave her alone. And knowing how sick some people are, they would probably end up vandalizing the family church just to get some sort of souvenir. So in the end the decision made by her family to have Diana interred on the small island was the best answer to such a tragic situation. However, we all need to take responsibility for Diana having to lie forever isolated from her family especially from her boys. How proud we must feel.

Nicole Elsey
Marietta, GA
mene@bellsouth.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

After the initial rush of sadness and pity that your program evoked, "The Princess and the Press" continues to make me ponder the role of the media. The predominance of male opinion that we heard from the press underscores the fact that any man with a long lens was given free rein to harass this beautiful young woman. The scene in the airport was so disturbing because it showed the mindless intensity of the desire of these men to touch, control and own Diana. They had no right. The ill-bred journalism of Rupert Murdoch is of the lowest class Australian and British type. It illustrates the desire of the ignorant to crush and destroy all that is too fine for it to understand or appreciate.

Susan Sprecher
Vicksburg, MS
sprecher@magnolia.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

First of all the Princess understood how to "use" the media in a way that would benefit, not her self but those that she championed causes for. I really think that the media needs to understand that just like any other person Princess Diana had a private side, and wished not for it to be exploited all over the evening news. How would any other person feel if they had cameras around or on them 24-7? It seemed that the press didn't understand the Princesses' wish in 1993 to be left alone. As the program said, the value of a picture of the Princess went almost through the roof, why couldn't they just leave her alone? Did they really need that one picture, that one picture cost her life. Now the world of 2000 and beyond will never know the greater good that the Princess stood for, my children will never know who she was and for that I am truly sad! I think the way in which the media makes icons and breaks them needs to be examined, we as the public should also examine our values (I am just as guilty as the rest of you) I leave with one last question, next time ask yourself "Do I really need that one picture or bit of info?"

Chicago, Illinois

Dear FRONTLINE,

I was appalled at the tasteless and self-serving character assassination of the late Diana, Princess of Wales that aired on PBS Tuesday, November 18th. I found it a thinly veiled vindication of the press and championing of the monarchy, even quoting HRH Elizabeth II's ambiguous remark that anyone who knew Diana could never forget her, after portraying Diana in a most unflattering light. If this program is representative of the press, it illustrates that in spite of stalking her for 24 hours a day, the media came away without even the most superficial insight into this woman. This is all the more glaring in view of her unprecedented self-disclosure. I found the statement that she played a dangerous game and lost, particularly callous, offensive and lacking in insight. I was very surprised to learn that PBS is also capable of the worst kind of yellow journalism.

Martha Doherty
Saylorsburg, PA
avp@epix.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

Although I enjoyed and appreciated the effort regarding the relationship between Princess Diana and the press, I was disturbed at some of the editorial commentary and the slanted view in which I thought the princess was presented. Words like "obsessive" etc. were used to describe Diana's behavior. As a clinical psychologist, I was dismayed at the casual use of terms implying pathology. As a woman I was appalled at the perpetration of the thinking that women are somehow disturbed for reacting to situations around them that are insane.

As a psychotherapist who has worked with many people on their journey to heightened growth and maturity, I am greatly impressed by the way in which Diana handled the abuse that was regularly heaped on her. What is truly amazing is that she continued to grow in spite of this. I admire and respect this in anyone, but to see this happen while all the time knowing that the world is watching is truly amazing. I am disappointed that frontline didn't concentrate more on Diana's strength and courage and maturity in spite of the press!

Dear FRONTLINE,

My, my, my.... Frontline sure went to a lot of work to defend the behavior and actions of the media re: hounding Princess Di. It's a terrible shame that the media couldn't draw the line between when it was APPROPRIATE to report her actions vs. when it was PRUDENT to just leave her alone. Wasn't Frontline's defense of the media's behavior touching? Just because Princess Diana gave them the "green light" on some occasions, they felt justified to run all the "red lights", thereafter. I mean, she was teasing them, after all. What were they to do, right? Whatever!! It's especially offensive that Frontline should insult my (our) intelligence by even suggesting that their (the media's) actions were justified. I don't buy it! And why are so many people getting hung-up on whether or not she was smart enough or not smart enough to work the media? Quite frankly, it doesn't matter if she was "as dumb as a box o' rocks" , they should've had the respect to leave her alone when she asked them to do so. That goes for her and any body else that has a camera pointed at them!

There was one particular scene in Frontline's program that perfectly, fabulously captured the true ugliness of the media - it was when Princess Diana was ducking behind her tennis racquet, trying to make her way through a throng of reporters, when one photographer stood RIGHT in front of her. She bumped right into the ape. He didn't even have the courtesy to move out the poor woman's way just to let her walk by. Why didn't he just shove the camera down her throat and get a picture of her tonsils while he was at it. After all, we all really, really, REALLY wanted to see her tonsils!!!

Kartina Cranor
Gainesville, Fl.
v980254@student.health.ufl.edu

Dear FRONTLINE,

In your piece on Lady Diana, you do yourselves and her a great disservice. I'd hoped that you might show some objectivity, yet you've presented "just another media apology". Using the excuse that the Princess "sometimes had use for the media", overlooks the fact that she somehow had to learn to deal with her fate as a stalked person. Would Diana ever have become so jaded as to share intimate details had every other version not already been promulgated? We'll never know...what we do know is that her life had been intruded on even before an engagement had been announced. After the engagement she became no more than chum in a feeding frenzy of sharks. She found herself required to play in a game where the rules changed with each move. You disappoint with your conclusion that Diana was complicit in the media attack that led to her death merely because she tried to play the hand she had been dealt.

SKW
Atlanta, GA
modaface@hotmail.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

I think Diana did what every woman does in her situation. When the dice are rolled and sides are drawn she had no choice but to go public. Keeping everything secret is what got her in trouble in the first place. When I went through my divorce I poured out my soul to whomever was willing to listen. Had the press been one of my resources I would have told all too. She was in the end honest to herself and the world and I have to admire that and overlook her faults. Ultimately she paid the highest price for having that resource.

Edmonds WA

Dear FRONTLINE,

Diana, the Princess of Wales, used her celebrity to promote issues that might otherwise never have had the coverage. AIDS, homelessness, eating disorders and the ban on land mines would never have had the coverage that they gained when associated with the Princess of Wales. I believe that Diana, whom I greatly admire, is a victim of our society. We tend to see someone such as herself and place them on a pedestal. However, they are only human - everyone makes mistakes and when the Princess of Wales made mistakes, they were blown out of all proportions. We want and expect information about celebrities such as Diana as well as movie actors - what they wear, how they see, what they eat, where they vacation. Celebrities have a right to their privacy, just as we have a right to ours!

Tracie Nancy Taylor
Magog, Quebec
tracie.taylor@sympatico.ca

Dear FRONTLINE,

The media burden Princess Diana bore was by all accounts unprecedented. I'm certain she did not realize until it was far to late the complete devastation they were going to deliver to her life. The horror of her story for me comes not from the particulars of her situation, but from the fact that world morality has degenerated to the point where this could happen. Where a human being could be so publicly hunted and slaughtered for the monetary gains of some and the "enjoyment" of the rest.

Jill Halstrom
Brush Prairie, Wa
H17510@AOL.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

The whole subject of Princess Diana; her life and her death, seems to be one in which the dim line between objectivity and subjectivity has completely disappeared. If it were possible to view this subject with complete objectivity, the picture of Diana would certainly be less than perfect. She was flighty and immature, obsessive, jealous, and possessive. She was impulsive, did not consider the long term effects of her actions, and she was really, not very smart. She was tortured with internal conflict because to the world she was a "star", but within the royal family she was considered a "dim bulb": Diana thought she should be as much of a star within the family as without. She cultivated the press, both mainline and tabloid, to her own ends, but unrealistically expected this relationship to function only on her own terms. She then played the role of "victim" when it did not. She used her beauty and ingratiating demeanor to gain status as a caring humanitarian; she had a unique talent to project a facade of caring, she knew just whom to "touch" to further this image. Objectively, she lived the bulk of her life as an incredibly adorable, hopelessly spoiled child. Many of her manipulative actions were nothing other than slightly disguised versions of the kicking, screaming, breath holding tantrums a spoiled toddler might throw. Subjectively, Diana was a beautiful young woman, married much too young into a glamorous marriage. At 19, she was too young and naive to realize that such a marriage had to have some element of convenience from the perspective of Charles and the royal family. When she came to this realization, she used what means she had at hand to cope with it. As the marriage crumbled, she used the only means she had at hand to counter the immense power of the Royals, and to take from the marriage the privilege to participate significantly in the rearing of her sons. Her very public imperfection, and her life of "the fairy tale gone wrong" have immortalized her as "the Queen of Hearts".

Laura Davenport
Hermiston, Or
willies@oregontrail.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

I must admit that I have never seen your program before but it caught my eye last night. Your coverage of the late Princess Diana is and will be an ongoing obsession for the public at large. I believe it is the responsibility of the media to cover news in an objective and fair manor. For us who look to you to educate and enlighten us to the news, locally, nationally and around the world.

I have always enjoyed the coverage of Princess Diana. I feel she did such great work for mankind. I do however feel that in many ways our fascination with royalty or celebrities in general, could be taken to an extreme. Everyone needs privacy. Even in my job as a teacher and a minister, there are times when I need to get away and relax. Sometimes that is almost impossible. We must remember, Princess Diana lived a life that many of us if we are honest would have loved to trade a day with her.

But alas, reality hits and we realize that all of us have a job to do on earth. Is there a balance to the issue of supply and demand, the need to be informed and entertained? I hope so. Lastly, let me say I hope that Princess Diana's brothers eulogy was not done in vain. I hope that Charles and Diana's son will be left alone unless they willingly give interviews. The really need their privacy.

Does anyone have an update on how they are doing? I would like to know. Do they still get letters of encouragement? Where would I be able to send them a note of encouragement? Let us all pray for them. A loss of anyone is a traumatic thing. May God comfort them through out their lives. Thanks again PBS for your wonderful coverage of Princess Diana and her family!

Rev. Darrell J. Cope
Jacksonville, Florida
revdc@hotmail.com

Dear FRONTLINE,
It has always seemed disingenuous to me that the media has not been sophisticated enough to separate what is newsworthy and what is private business.

The Princess, toward the end of her life, seemed to be saying, in effect, "If you're going to use me, at least let it be for things that are more worthwhile than telephoto shots of a 5-months-pregnant, 20-year-old girl on a private vacation.

I know what it's like to walk into the local Wal-Mart on a Saturday at midnight, not expecting to run into anyone I know and therefore not dressed for the occasion of being spotted by children I teach (and their parents). It's not a time I intend to meet my " public", and, even at fifty-one, it makes me a bit uneasy. I cannot even imagine how this lovely young woman managed the last fourteen years of her life, raised her boys, did so much and such various good, and kept any semblance of personal sanity.

I hold her up as a role model to my daughter and my students, not because she was beautiful and rich and a celebrity, but because of what she did with her life and even more, because of how she continued to grow in spite of everything, into someone who made lemonade - with some very sour lemons indeed.

Mariana Walker
Alvin, TX
mariana_walker@geocities.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

I don't care if the Princess used the media to further her causes. In my opinion, every single photographer who took pictures of the princess during obviously private moments has blood on his hands.

New York, NY

Dear FRONTLINE,

I believe that Princess Diana used the press very wisely. What they forget is that she did give them the interviews that they craved so much, however, they abused her privacy. Yes, she was a public figure, but she was a person with feelings, wants, needs just like everyone else. She was entitled to some privacy just like the press is. How would they like to be followed everywhere? Plus, they seemed to feel it was their right to intrude into her life, I don't believe that it was their right. Diana did so much good for "people" that's what I want to read about. I don't want to read about her vacations, and private moments, they should be hers and her family's. Now the children are suffering, they no longer have a mother. She adored her children and that has been taken away from all of them.

Lori Shelton
Wayne, PA
lori.shelton@mci2000.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

Appalling is your defense of the media by implying that Diana was "asking for it" because she was a beautiful woman flirting with the press. Now that her media rape, media murder and media burial are past, I am disappointed that Frontline served up the same old tabloid story without any new insight.
Matt O'Brien
Tucson, Arizona

Dear FRONTLINE,

Your program tonight dealing with Princess Diana and the press attempted to note the differences between the interests of the press and those of Diana. Surely Diana used the press, as anyone of statute would in order to promote the causes for which she worked, and possibly her own private interests as well. But I did not hear any mention that the press, as an industry, also used Diana, their sole motive being profit. Ultimately, however, it must be recognized that the readership, in their insatiable hunger for the kind of tripe published in large part by the tabloids, is responsible for forcing Diana into the evasive lifestyle that eventually led to her death.

Your program concluded by implying that Diana had played the game an lost. It is not so much that she lost, but that the press won, and in that victory, we all lost.

Thank you,
Salvador del Castillo

Dear FRONTLINE,

I was disappointed & angered by the media's portrayal of the Princess & the Press. Yes Diana was a public figure who interacted with the media to promote her causes. Yet her involvement was not self-serving nor warranted the loss of privacy & the harassment she experienced. Your program as well as the headlines you selected for your web site were a further exploitation of the Princess. Shame on the media for trying to deny their part in her tragic death.

Gayle Carlson
E. Hanover, NJ
Carlson@main.morris.org

Dear FRONTLINE,

Did Diana go too far for the only famous interview in 1995?
Maybe not, because she may wanted to clarify the rumors or more like to put the brake on the rumors about her or whoever around her.
About her and other confidants? Some confidants knew her long before Diana started to see Charles. James Whitaker was one of those. Yes, it became love/hate relationship. From what I studied the history of Diana and the media, Diana seemed that she fought for her right of privacy for so long time. Did the media heard her cries. Nope, they did not. I think the media is developed a new problem (may be very old one, anyway) which does not know how to separate the public and private roles. They should be focus on the public roles MORE than the private roles.
Other problem is that British government does not allow the Royal Family, which included Diana, to go into "political area". It is kind of taboo for them to play some political roles. They may cried the same way Diana had done. My mother thinks Diana did some favors for the Royal Family especially the Queen. Diana, since her divorce, done many good things that Queen may wanted to do herself.

Stacy Wakefield
Platte City, MO
Sleepyrdhd@KCnet.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

I don't think it is fair to blame the Princess for not knowing how to handle the media when she was nineteen years old. Of course, there were times when she welcomed the publicity and other times when she wanted to be left alone. Isn't it that way with everybody? Didn't she deserve a private life? I just hate it that she was run after by the paparazzi on the last day of her life, a day that should have been full of joy. Does no one realize they took photographs of her as she lay dying in that car? Can anyone justify that kind of media obsession? Come on, people. There is a time and a place for photographs and a time and a place for privacy. I'd rather have fewer pictures and a live Princess.

Gerry Morgan
Auburn, AL
Dixiebelle@msn.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

Diana was not astute enough to deal with such a large, and far reaching press, she did not utilize the resources of a press agent that could measure the weight of the messages she wanted to get across. She didn't have the sophistication to make good judgment in handling a determined, experienced press corps. She would have had a certain amount of insulation from a "pack" if she had not declined the protection of the security detail given to all Royals. Emotions ruled her behavior and over-ran what good sense a professional public relations person might have brought to her cause. It was a mistake to seek help from a press that sees their job as selling newspapers, an absolute conflict of interest. She abdicated her self respect by dragging on an argument she couldn't win without objective counsel from someone who knew how to manage the power of the press to her advantage. Friends and colleagues may have meant well, but in reality, served their own self interest first..

The Princess lost track of her role in British history by forgetting that she was Queen in waiting, not Queen. The Prince of Wales will be king and William will be king in his maturity. It would certainly be very wrong for a young man to shoulder the weight of the throne, probably becoming the puppet of greedy, unethical politicians. And William will assume the throne as Windsor. Prince Charles will make certain that his son will have the advantage of the education and knowledge to reign. The House of Windsor is not without compassion and feeling for all human beings - Diana didn't invent them.

In the end, the press - the avenue to public influence she so desperately sought became the engine of her own self destruction. That public influence became her goal, but she lost sight of her own message. And that, in the final analysis, cost her everything.

Diana sought to manipulate and to use the press. It was the press that used and manipulated her

Sammy R. Stull
Phoenix AZ
sammys@primenet.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

People in the public eye in this country make extensive use of security police forces and personal body guards. Having seen hours of Princess Diana video of both her personal and private lives broadcast since her death, there is no consistent presence of personal protection surrounding her.

I do not think that it would be too far reaching to suggest that if the British Monarchy took the extra steps or measures to ensure the privacy of their own kind, that, perhaps, the paparazzi or general press would not have had such a detrimental impact on our beloved Queen of Hearts, or any other important personage in the Royalty.

Even in the early stages of the marriage the Queen herself made official comments to the effect that the outlandish full-time news-reporter coverage of Diana was certainly too much for such a young woman to bear.

I wonder why, then, did the Royalty not take the obvious measure of ordering personal security to protect the personage of their own in-house world-wide superstar, since formal requests had been ignored.

As to the justification of Diana using the press to her own ends when and where she wanted... that is exactly the business of the press and her own decision. All other "commoner" people (not in the non-public eye) engage the press in a manner know as Public Affairs. You find some sort of Public Affairs office in just about every commercial institution, public organization or government. Her actions in that respect cannot be seen in any other light than pure realism, and in going with the times of the present day and age. Princess Diana did so very much for so many across social an cultural barriers, why not just remember her in nothing less than that positive image.

Boone, NC

Dear FRONTLINE,

I think Diana still was naive about what the press was really capable of. She was smart to use them to publicize her humanitarian efforts and her charity work, yet she did not seem to realize that she was playing with fire. I think she often thought it was a game, like cat-and-mouse, but it was also a hassle and eventually became dangerous. I think she did not see the danger coming. I also think others could possibly have been at fault for not making her understand what she was dealing with. I don't think Diana understood the difference between the tabloid press and the paparazzi press.

I think the tabloids have some standards, thought they're pretty low. I do think the tabloids failed miserably in their responsibility to inform the freelance reporters and photographers that there were lines which could not be crossed. I also think that in trying to be in touch with the "common people", that Diana left herself too vulnerable to harassment and attack. I do not think that some of the former constraints of the monarchy were fair either, and I do applaud Diana for trying to "dust off the cobwebs", as has been said often enough of her. But I think she allowed them too much room in the beginning. Just like the old saying, "Give a man an inch, and he'll take a mile". Well, the British paparazzi took a lot more than just " a mile". They were on a roller coaster, out of control; every new development sent them spinning to new heights (and depths) of intrusion. I dare say they would have filmed her on the toilet if they'd had half-a-chance!! I think just about everyone is to blame, from the consuming public who bought the rags in the first place, to the press who would stop at nothing, to even Diana herself. She did not mean for things to get so out-of-hand of course. She probably thought she was in control most of the time. Maybe she was at times, as in the BBC interview, but I think this was seldom the case. The Hounds of Hell were at her back, and she was still trying to run with high heels on. No wonder she fell...to her death. So very, very Sad!

Valerie A. Moore
Muskogee, OK
vmoor@iamerica.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

I was interested to watch your program on Diana, Princess of Wales and the media. It was harrowing to see the footage of all the photographers following her around, the photographers themselves admitting that where there were once 7 photographers covering royal events now there would be 70. At the time people would wonder publicly how Diana was going to handle it, saying that Charles was "used to the attention." Now we wonder if the degree of attention was entirely unprecedented.

It seems fascinating that perhaps the press coverage pressured Prince Charles into proposing marriage. It adds to the notion of the media as some sort of conspirator in their relationship from the beginning. These two people were never really free from the pressure of the press. I also think that all of this is separate from the attention of the public. The public was not clamoring to see her face in every paper every single day. Papers that ran conventional news didn't report a loss of circulation. I think the newspapers created a sensation by marketing, and pandering to the interest that did exist.

I've never had any patience for the idea that if the Princess cooperated with the media on one occasion she then lost her right to privacy at all other moments. Is it impossible for an individual to exert control over their public image? Why does the press bridle so much at the attempt? I found the Frontline program fairly responsible dealing with these issues, but when tabloid journalists use this to defend themselves for stalking and provoking their subjects it brings to mind a vengeful rapist saying "the bitch wanted
it."

Watching scores of journalists traipsing through the snow in Klosters, realizing that there may not be any unfamiliar public images of the Princess left, it seems clear that there are enormous negative consequences to this sort of situation. The editors were waiting for her to "crack." That was always the "next big story." They were ready when it happened. There truly is a dynamic relationship between the famous and the media. In retrospect it does seem astounding that something tragic didn't happen sooner.

I feel enormous compassion for the British royal family, and for the Princess in particular, having to deal with the mushrooming of media that has occurred recently.

Sincerely,
Allison Easter

Dear FRONTLINE,

Your show on Tuesday evening regarding Princess Diana was interesting. It was nice to see some of the inside commentary given from the press' point of view. However it is still amazing to me how the press is still looking for vindication, trying to justify literally hounding a person to death.

Comments like "she knew the press was there, but did nothing about it" and "when she wanted to be seen, she made sure she was seen" cannot and will never justify the hounding and total disregard for her privacy. Obviously, the press really hates it when someone takes the least advantage of the situation they have been forced into, through no doing of their own. Couldn't there be at least a modicum of decency on behalf of the press, or does capitalism at it's worst require all of them to be like vultures and sharks, physically and mentally?

True, she would not have been so well known if it hadn't been for the press at all, but she would honestly have fared equally as well with about 1% of the smotherage she was literally plagued with. That's because she was the person she was: a true princess, and the press should not give itself credit when their own true and only motivation was to make a buck. Follow the monetary gains made, and one can truly identify who profited and who didn't; but in this case, who profited, and who died.

These are just some of the thoughts your program evoked in this viewer. Sorry if they turned out to be a little acrid. Judging from the presentation of the program, this probably was not the response it was meant to evoke.

Regards,
Otto Mageland
Greenfield, WI
leaker1@execpc.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

It's something I've thought about a lot, as a journalist, and in the end I believe as follows: Diana should have been respected in her right to say "enough!" It was HER life...she should have had the final say of when it's okay to have her picture taken, and when it feels intrusive. If she felt, at a given moment, that she wanted to talk to the press about her private life, then that was her choice. If, at a later date, she didn't want to discuss her private life, then that should have been her choice too! Please bear with me as I have an analogy that I believe it illustrates my point well: It's like a woman who has been raped by a boyfriend and someone asks, "Well weren't you wearing provocative clothing? Hadn't you had sex with him before? etc." Hidden question being, didn't you somehow bring this on yourself? But none of that matters. If she said no that one time, EVEN if she had said yes before, and he forced her completely against her will, then it is rape.

Maybe Diana invited the press into her private life at different times. But that didn't give them the right to have access to her private life at ALL times, against her will. Even if Diana used the press, they were willing to be used. They could have said NO! We don't want to come to your photo shoot! We don't want to interview you! Clearly, the press was willing to be used. However, when they used her, she was not willing. Unfortunately, that didn't matter, she was not given the option of saying no. They needed to leave her alone when she asked for this. This was her right as a human being. So no, I don't believe Diana went too far. I believe the press went too far.

LG
St. Louis, MO
lmg67@aol.com

Dear FRONTLINE,

I personally do not feel that Princess Diana went too far with the press. I feel the press went too with her. If she gave the press information concerning herself, it was to protect and defend herself her from rumors and the royal family. The press, regardless of who they are covering, should know when to quit. Even though she was a public figure, she was still entitled to privacy.

Under no circumstance does the press have the right to intrude on that. Just when she FINALLY found happiness they took it away from her. I fully agreed with EVERY word the Earl Spencer spoke of at the funeral. Just knowing that she was finally happy at the time of her death is a comfort, but it is a shame the price she had to pay to get it.

Angela Deaton
Jacksonville, FL
akdeaton@bellsouth.net

Dear FRONTLINE,

I am still dismayed at the attempt of the press to exonerate itself in its oppression of Diana. One could compare the presence of the photographers to gnats attacking one constantly. We could expect them to cover her at public functions but I truly believe that one does not have to be a saint or genius to realize that even the most public of people deserve some measure of privacy. If Diana threw

them bones from time to time it very well could have been with the idea that giving them something might hold them off. She may well have used the press to suit her purposes but it was a "privilege" she earned from all of the harassment. These people in the media should be able to see that. Her use of media confuses nothing.

There was NO rational or excusable reason to torment their "golden goose" to the point of killing her. To chase after her car like a swarm of bees was most irresponsible. If courts do not hold them legally responsible a great many of us shall hold them truly morally responsible. There is no mitigation on the parts of any news people for their behavior. They saw her as a very tasty meal ticket and never as a human being deserving of any privacy.

Glen Ellyn, IL

Dear FRONTLINE,

I'm not one often given to watching reports of ó nor one often moved by the tragedies of the rich and well-known. However, seeing a review of the late Princess Diana's so-called storybook life on tonight's program (11/18/97), I found myself greatly saddened and shaking my head once aware of it again.

I understand that the matter of the public's curiosity can't be ignored and call it normal as well. Nonetheless, the satisfiers of the like should by law be required to keep a respectful distance and maintain a respectful demeanor in the carrying out of their livelihoods.

Your program nearly finished, I was quite put off by almost the last of its narration stating, "She played a dangerous game and she lost." It took me quite by surprise because I was watching . . . "Frontline". I feel that this was a most presumptuous and stiltedly judgmental end to a news program that I usually hold in high esteem.

Not meaning to be vulgar but unable to draw a better comparison just this moment, I ask, if someone likes sex does that mean he or she deserves rape? Assuming both the sender and receiver of this message agree, "Of course not," I'll also ask, if you like to have your picture in the papers once in a while don't you have the right to, metaphorically speaking, say, "Uh-uh, not tonight. I've got a headache," and have that wish respected even if not understood?

As with so many representatives of the press shown on your program, was it Frontline's intention to say, "She asked for it," too? Beyond the senseless death of another human being I'm equally as sorrowed in feeling that for the sake of a cutesy touch you've caused yourselves to appear of no higher level than the jackals with cameras that helped end that life.

Venson Eugene Thomas
Long Island City, NY




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