CHUNG AWARD NOMINEE

Introducing a new feature that keeps tabs on the media’s wanton invasion of public and private figures’ privacy. A clear winner this week is the Washington Post. Check out this astonishing story today about the governor of Maryland, Parris Glendening. It seems he is having a relationship with a member of his staff. He is divorced; there are no laws against this; he has conducted his love affair with discretion. What does the Post do? It sends reporters to catch the guy leaving his paramour’s house in the early morning: “Washington Post reporters observed the governor emerging from the aide’s Annapolis town home after spending the night there several times this summer.” Several times? Is this a good way to deploy reporters – having them stake out someone’s home to catch them in a relationship? And get this paragraph, pointed out to me by Jake Tapper: “In May, a source unfriendly to the governor told The Washington Post that Glendening often visited [his lover’s] Annapolis town house, a short drive from the State House. In a month-long period, Post reporters, watching from a shopping center parking lot across the street from Crawford’s town house, saw Glendening there without his security detail, and on several occasions he spent the night.” In other words, some slimeball who wanted to smear Glendening was a key source for the Post’s entrapment. The Post might say in its defense that because the governor’s lover is on his staff and because her influence is said to be growing, there is a justification for this invasion of privacy. Hooey. The Post has found nothing improper in Glendening’s public actions that might mean undue influence or special favors for his lover. The fact that she is close to him is not relevant in and of itself. It’s just a juicy story that once upon a time would have been left to the National Enquirer. The Post wins the first Chung Award. Keep your eyes open for others.

INNOCENT UNTIL … : My latest TRB defends a principle apparently forgotten by today’s media.