The "mystery woman" who bore former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s love child has been identified by name in a host of media outlets, from Radar Online and Star magazine to Fox News and The New York Times. Her picture has graced the cover of both New York City tabloids, and photos of Arnold's possible love child have popped up around the internet. Other media organizations have elected not to publish the woman’s photo or name — triggering "debates in newsrooms around the country," says Douglas Wong at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Should the media avoid using the name and image of Schwarzenegger's mistress and love child?
There's no good reason to protect her privacy: Journalists' "basic job is to inform readers about news events," so it would take a "pretty compelling reason" to exclude information, says New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller, as quoted by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. In this case, "we don’t see that compelling reason." And the reality here is that the woman involved simply doesn’t have "much privacy left for us to protect."
"Why the Post-Dispatch didn't run an article naming Schwarzenegger's mistress"
Well, protecting her protects her innocent child: Newspapers shouldn't ID Arnold's mistress because "it's Schwarzenegger's conduct that's newsworthy," says Los Angeles Times Editor Russ Stanton, as quoted by his newspaper. The public has a "legitimate interest" in his actions, given the office he held and his continued prominence. But in this case, identifying the mother would have also meant identifying "an innocent child." We opted to protect the child.
"Schwarzenegger mistress not named here, a rarity in media"
Who even cares about Arnold anymore?: This story "warranted a mention" that took about 20 seconds of our newscast, but that’s it, says Judy Woodruff at PBS NewsHour. "Schwarzenegger no longer holds public office, so there is no public policy implication," unlike the case of former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn. Yes, there "are plenty of questions that beg answers" in the Schwarzenegger affair, but "what benefit is served by filling up airtime, print, and internet space” with them? That’s why we "won't go there."
"Woodruff: Private lives, public officials, and media maelstroms"