The first daughters' legal travails deserve press coverage, but should not be sensationalized, the Society of Professional Journalists said Friday.
White House attempts to discourage reporting on the Bush twins' alcohol violation charges are misguided because the incidents involve public figures and societal issues such as underage drinking, SPJ officials said. "If we failed to report these incidents, the public would quite rightly accuse us of covering for the Bush family," said Gary Hill the group's ethics committee co-chairman and director of investigations for KSTP-TV Minneapolis/St. Paul.
The reporting, however, should focus on whether the young women receive preferential treatment by the legal system, added SPJ president Ray Marcano, assistant managing editor of the Dayton, Ohio Daily News. "The coverage needs to be driven by such concerns, not the celebrity factor," he said.
- Bill McConnell