Sunday, October 19, 2008


My readers were divided on whether the media crosses a forbidden line when it reports on the children of political candidates. In an informal survey on my column's blog, 46 percent of those responding thought that such coverage was out of line under any circumstances, while 35 percent thought it was acceptable when older children were concerned. Only 19 percent thought that candidates' children are fair game for the media across the board.

"I agree that children are off limits in most things," one reader writes, "especially the dirty game of politics."

"When someone is basing a political campaign, in any part, on `family values,"' another writes, "their own family values become fair play."

Sheri Nelson of Mission Viejo, Calif., thinks that the campaign issues don't matter.

"Children shouldn't be hounded by the media at any time," Nelson writes. "Neither should adults, for that matter."

But Jon Akutagawa of Costa Mesa, Calif., observes that "a child is supposedly a reflection of our teachings, a product of our experience."

If candidates have issues with their offspring, he says, perhaps it's because they cannot handle their own families.

If so, Akutagawa wonders, "Can that person then be trusted to handle their responsibility?"

Check out other opinions here, or post your own by clicking on "Comments" or "Post a comment" below.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business and The Good, the Bad, and Your Business: Choosing Right When Ethical Dilemmas Pull You Apart, is an associate professor at Emerson College in Boston, where he teaches writing and ethics. He is also the administrator of The Right Thing, a Web log focused on ethical issues.

Do you have ethical questions that you need answered? Send them to or to "The Right Thing," The New York Times Syndicate, 500 Seventh Avenue, 8th floor, New York, NY 10018. Please remember to tell me who you are, where you're from, as well as where you read the column.

c.2008 The New York Times Syndicate (Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate)

No comments: