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Levi's Blues (cont'd)

Andrew Sullivan responds to my earlier post about the media turning the Palin-Johnston family feud into spectator sport:

I would assume that the responsibility for making this a "spectator sport" lies with those who placed this family drama front and center in the last campaign as a reason to vote for McCain-Palin.

I also assume that Jason knows that no one on the right or left pushed Bristol and Tripp into the arms of Greta van Susteren, or forced Levi onto the Tyra Banks show or CBS in the morning and no one forced Palin to send out a brutal press release attacking Levi before the Tyra show even aired. And now we are all supposed not to notice?

It cannot be fair for a national politician to run on family values and abstinence, to put her own family, and even a special needs infant, on national television as a vote-getting ploy, to tell the world that a marriage is in the works for her teen mom daughter, then trash the father of her grandson ... and then complain when the media covers it!

I agree with some of what Andrew's saying here. At the end of the day, I do blame Sarah Palin for all this. As I've written before, I think she put her own ambition ahead of her family's interests when she accepted McCain's offer to be his running mate, since she had to know that, by doing so, she'd be subjecting her pregnant teenage daughter to the sort of media scrutiny (and ridicule) no one should ever bring upon her own child.

That said, what I find distressing--and actually a bit unseemly--about the coverage of Levi and Bristol and their problems is the glee people seem to be taking in them. For instance, here's Andrew's earlier post on the Palin-Johnston feud:

What interests me more is the potential for this kind of thing to escalate, leading to all sorts of possibilities and future revelations. If you've ever been a Judge Judy fan, you'll know what I mean.

Maybe Andrew hopes Levi will confirm his longstanding suspicions that Sarah Palin isn't really Trig's mother. Who knows? But it seems as if he's rooting--almost salivating--for this thing to get uglier. And that's what I disagree with. Sure, in a way, it would be just desserts for Sarah Palin. But it wouldn't be fair to Levi and Bristol who are, I'll say again, teenagers who didn't ask--and don't deserve--to have their personal troubles played out in the national media. Andrew's right: the media can't exactly ignore those troubles (given that Sarah Palin, now Bristol and Levi, put them out there for all to see); but the media doesn't have to enflame the situation either. I just don't see how support of or opposition to Sarah Palin could ever justify trashing the lives of these two kids--which, it seems, is what a lot of people with strong feelings about Sarah Palin are trying to do.

--Jason Zengerle