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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

The Feather

Letter to the Editor

Media overstep privacy boundaries

A recent scandal involving Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich gathered much media attention. His story was even categorized as breaking news on 24-hour news channels and articles were published in newspapers and all over the Internet. Blagojevich’s reputation as well as his rights to personal privacy and due process have gone straight down the toilet.

Sure, Blagojevich was caught red-handed discussing taking bribes to fill President-elect Barack Obama’s Senate seat ? by a tapped telephone, to be exact ? but this does not mean he should suddenly be denied his right to privacy.

When spoken, Blagojevich’s comments were intended only for the ears of his company. In no way am I saying that Blagojevich should not be prosecuted and impeached from office. I believe the law should demand justice for the horrific pictures some will paint in their minds about Illinois residents and politicians due to his speculation about taking bribes.

However, his foul, squalid comments should not be repeated outside of the courtroom ? let alone read in print by millions of innocent, unsuspecting people.

According to the Society of Professional Journalists, whose job it is to “improve and protect journalism”: “Ethical journalists treat sources, subjects and colleagues as human beings deserving of respect… Journalists should show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage.”

There is no doubt about the fact that Blagojevich chose for himself a life in the public eye. However, I believe every person ? no matter how corrupt or angelic they are ? deserves privacy in his or her life. It is a natural-born right which he is currently being denied. Everyone can relate to wanting privacy.

Apparently our nation’s leaders agree with me. It is for this reason that there are stringent rules regarding confidentiality of medical records and the crimes committed by minors.

On the other hand, Blagojevich’s intentions to take bribes was a terrible, tremendous blow to the United States’ integrity and reputation, and especially to citizens of Illinois. We, as a nation, should do our best to not judge Blagojevich’s heart or Illinois as a whole.

It is for this reason that I am appalled by FBI agent Robert Grant’s absurd and unnecessary comment attained from The Swamp: “If [Illinois] isn’t the most corrupt state in the United States, it’s certainly one [explicit] of a competitor,” Grant said. “Even the most cynical agents in our office were shocked.”

While the media are required to report the truth, there are some times when the whole truth does not need to be heard. In no way is a newspaper lying by not reporting a gruesome car accident, for this could potentially disturb and offend the families of the victims. In the same way, Blagojevich deserves the right to due process and privacy, of which the media have unfortunately robbed him.

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    Maddie YeeAug 18, 2010 at 6:57 am

    Congratulations Paige! It was so much fun watching you play at Selland for your last year. You are such a great basketball player and leader on your team. Keep playing for the Lord.