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Coverage of Vitter Sex Scandal Raises Questions About Privacy

Media coverage surrounding Sen. David Vitter, R-La., has raised questions about how private matters involving public figures become news. A media critic assesses the coverage of the latest Washington sex scandal.

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    With those words, Senator David Vitter, Republican of Louisiana, sought to blunt political damage and media attention from a sex scandal. Long an outspoken voice on conservative social issues, the 46-year-old Vitter had acknowledged a "serious sin" after his Washington telephone number was found among those called several years ago by an escort service run by Deborah Jeane Palfrey, known as the D.C. Madam. Prosecutors say it was a prostitution ring.

    Vitter and his family went into seclusion for a week, trying to avoid reporters. The story has had big play on talk radio and cable news in particular.


    If he can't be loyal to his wife, he's not going to be loyal to us, the people.


    And in a strange twist, Hustler magazine is said to be involved.


    At a news conference Monday night, the senator's wife, Wendy, asked reporters to leave the family alone.

    WENDY VITTER, Wife of Sen. David Vitter: It's been terribly hard to have the media parked on our front lawn and following us every day. And yesterday, the media was camped at our church, at our home, and our church every day.