Monday, September 22, 2008


Oldtown News
Vancouver, BC


Are media going to far by exposing political candidates and politicians private lives?

While the public are entitled to know certain information on political candidates, however, as a society whether politicians private lives are open for exposure, especially if our past experiences do not affect our ability to do the work required of us, these are questions citizens must ask themselves.

This is a result of the media frenzy occurring with regularity regarding politicians private lives.

It started when this blogwriter was vilified in the press 24 Hours over an old online ad which appeared on a private adult website.

The frenzy carried on from there with mainstream media spilling the news about a couple of NDP candidates, Dana Larsen and Kirk Tousaw, for smoking pot. They were exposed because they had smoked marijuana on video a number of years back.

Now the media has bombarded us with yet more news about another political candidate, Julian West, who it appears was promoting nudity 12 years ago at an earth-save event. Mr Julian has since apologized for what he calls his error of judgement.

When I go out for a burger, I'm not delving into the cook's past. I don't ask if he or she has ever had an sexually transmitted disease or whether they have committed any sin. What I'm concerned about is whether they cook a good eatable burger. Anything else happening in their life doesn't matter to me.

In the political realm, as a voter I don't need to know if a female politician has ever had an abortion. First off, it is none of my business and second, even if she had, it wouldn't reflect on her ability to do the job.

While the media are delivering the news as they see fit, what constitutes as news has become distorted. In fact when a news team presents us with news stories, do we care about what happens in their private lives. It shouldn't enter our thoughts on whether the newsperson may be alcoholic, smokes or belongs to a swingers club. What we care about is good news reporting.

The media though seem to think they have the god-given right to expose political candidates pasts and this is troubling.

While in some instances it is OK to share pertinent information if someone running for office has done time in jail for a crime which if repeated could affect their ability to do their job, however, just sharing information for the sake of titillating the public is scandal-driven journalism and in this day and age, has no place in our living rooms.

Society has evolved thank god and we could care less about our politicians private affairs.

We don't need our politicians to be sexually celibate, righteous or without a history or past.

Citizens want to be represented by our politicians. This is what good politicians do. We want our politicians to act on behalf of the public interest and for the greater public good. We cannot expect anything more as our politicians are only human too.

Smart media deliver us information on politicians or aspiring politicians record of public & community service, commitment to ensuring the public are well represented & well served and matters of public trust.

If the righteous in society need to be represented by those who in their eyes, have not sinned, they can get their morality from church leaders and I respect that.

We must also respect that there must remain a seperation between church and state. We must also strive to uphold this vitally important principle.

While the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation, the private lives of public officials has no business in the living rooms of the nation.

Jamie Lee Hamilton