Sunday, April 26, 2009


The Associated Press reports that disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois may be among the stars of an NBC reality show called "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" The show is to be filmed in the jungle of Costa Rica, however, and Blagojevich cannot leave the country without a court's permission to do so, since he faces trial on corruption charges and is free on bail.

Given that Blagojevich is an accused criminal whose alleged crimes were committed while in public office, is it unacceptable for him to be featured in a network television show? Or, since he remains innocent until proven guilty, should he be allowed to make money in any legal fashion?

Post your thoughts here by clicking on "comments" or "post a comment" below. Please include your name, hometown, and state, province, or country. Readers' comments may appear in an upcoming column. Or e-mail your comments to me at

You can also respond to the poll with this question that will appear on the right-hand side of the blog until polling is closed.

Jeffrey L. Seglin, author of The Right Thing: Conscience, Profit and Personal Responsibility in Today's Business (Smith Kerr, 2006), 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.

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M. Lawrence said...

Dear Jeff,
I wouldn't have a problem with Blago going to the jungles of Costa Rico if they'd give the show a more accurate name. I suggest: "I Think I'm Important - Does Anybody Care?" or "Help! I'm in the Jungle Without a Blowdryer!" Better yet, move it to the Andes and lose the map.

Anonymous said...

No, he should not be allowed to leave the country. Yes, he deserves his day in court. But the "innocent until proven guilty" occurs in the courtroom, before judge and jury. Prior to his day in court, he has been presumed guilty by professionals who weighed the evidence against him, much of which is his own recorded voice.

But there's a larger issue here. Why do so many in the USA, so many of We the People want to see someone like Blagojevich, or the Octomom, or Paris Hilton, or gangster recording "artists", et al? What do these people have to offer except becoming known for bad behavior. When we watch the poster boy (or girl) for bad behavior, we are rewarding well as the producers of the shows and the advertisers who subsidize that bad behavior.

The answer? Find out who advertises and thus provides the financial floor for these people, and call/write/email them and tell them you won't watch.....and you won't buy their products/services.
Help out.....don't be just part of the problem. If you're like me, you discuss this during lunch with others who feel the same way. But we don't do anything about it. Should we do something other than complain? I think so. And I will! Join me.

Kenney said...

I'm with Anonymous, only moreso. These media producers and their sponsoring advertisers not only subsidize the bad behavior, but they also profit from it. Economic boycotts may be an effective tool, along with more and more public discourse (lunchtime discussions are a good start). We must speak up and out. This is not censorship. The best way to combat bad speech in the marketplace of ideas is with more speech, better speech, good speech.

alohameme said...

To profit while under the scrutiny of the law is ludicrous, unless the person who is being arraigned is innocent and has to make a living.

alohameme said...

a couple of more things...the innocent will prevail after all media media hype; the guilty will fall.

Phil Clutts said...

I would think that anybody hammered in the press for misdoings he did not commit would either want to keep a low profile until the trial or present facts that would vindicate him. Maybe he has another thought in mind, namely, that even though it would not be unethical to appear on the show, doing so would more than likely contribute to his sleaze ball image. That would enable him to later claim that he couldn’t get a fair trial because of the negative nationwide publicity.

Phil Clutts
Harrisburg, NC

S. said...

See, I think your poll is missing an important third option: "Given that Blagojevich is an accused criminal whose alleged crimes were committed while in public office, he's a perfect choice for a network reality television show." :-)