When Children of Politicians and Judges Blog
posted by Daniel Solove
A recent article discusses blogs and social network website profiles by children of politicians and judges:
As the leader of the Republican party in the US Senate and a possible presidential candidate, Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee has a reputation for sober rectitude. The same cannot be said of his son Jonathan, a Vanderbilt University student who recently appeared on the internet wearing six cans of beer strapped to his belt.
Nor has Jonathan’s brother Bryan done much to help his father’s attempts to strike a reasonable note about US involvement in Iraq. “I was born an American by God’s amazing grace,” wrote Bryan Frist in an online profile. “Let’s bomb some people.” . . . .
Frist is one of at least half a dozen US politicians — and at least one US Supreme Court judge — whose public images have been dented in recent months by the internet antics of their offspring. Pictures of scantily clad daughters whooping it up have become a staple of internet gossip. . . .
No sooner had Congressman Louie Gohmert, a conservative Republican from Texas, unleashed a tirade against the moral inadequacies of Democrats opposed to the war in Iraq, than someone found internet pictures of his daughter Caroline dancing on a bartop and posing with a man in his underpants.
There was also embarrassment for Justice Samuel Alito, the conservative Supreme Court judge appointed by President George W Bush earlier this year. Alito is opposed to gay marriage, but a Facebook entry by his Georgetown University student daughter Laura declared, apparently tongue in cheek, that her relationship status was “Married to Kate Tice”. . . .
Roll Call, the Washington insiders’ newspaper published on Capitol Hill, recently reported that Jonathan Frist’s Facebook entry declared him a member of the “Jonathan Frist appreciation for ‘Waking Up White People’ Group”. It also mentioned a group where there were “No Jews allowed. Just kidding. No seriously”.
The Washington Post discovered last week that the son of a prominent Wall Street executive had been posting awkward criticisms of his father’s company, the telephone conglomerate AT&T, in a personal blog. . . .
The US media has in the past treated adolescent follies as largely a private matter, but the mushrooming trend towards public self-exposure on the internet is beginning to make life a misery for celebrities with children who blog.
Are children of politicians and judges fair game for media fodder, especially when they have their own blogs and Myspace or Facebook profiles?