Keep Kids of Public Figures Out of The News

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Local on-line papers erupted last week with coverage of Sofia Covarrubias, age 13, who posted on her twitter account some not so nice words describing Mexicans that travel to the United States on holidays and then post pictures of themselves on facebook the places they had been as a way to brag about their travels. She was chatting with her friends.
It probably would have been no big deal except Sofia is the daughter of Baja California Sur’s Governor Marcos Covarrubias Villaseñor.  One on-line paper picked up the story and posted her tweets, calling her words racist and belittling to Mexicans.  Other papers soon followed the story, published it and in no time, her tweets and comments were making the national news cycle.
I won’t post the tweets and I won’t publish the words she used.  It is not the point of my letter.
The point is why are they publishing the words of a 13 year-old girl from her twitter account?  I don’t care who her parents are.  She is 13.  Do you remember what you were doing when you were 13?  Do you remember your thoughts or beliefs at that age?
Sofia Covarrubias is 13.  She is not a public figure.  She did not ask her dad to run for Governor.  She didn’t ask to be the daughter of our state’s highest office holder.
I remember in the United States there was uproar when, during the 2008 presidential elections, word got out that Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s teenage daughter was pregnant.
Presidential Candidate Barack Obama at the time said the media should back off the story, and that it has no bearing on Palin’s performance as Governor of Alaska or what kind of Vice President she would be. Obama told reporters, “people’s families are off limits, and people’s children are especially off limits.”
And I agreed.  Don’t get me wrong, I hated Sarah Palin and I thought the entire situation was a little ironic since Palin was known for her strong beliefs against sex before marriage. But her daughter, at the time, didn’t ask to be in the spotlight and she didn’t deserve it being so harsh on her during the campaign.  It was a family matter and it was no business of yours or mine.  Life happens.
Personally I think the focus should be on the politician, not their family. Unlike celebrities, politicians (in theory) do their job to serve the public and country, not for fame and glory. Their family, especially their minor children, should be off limits to the media.
The media gives people access to be able to choose a political party, devise attitudes on government parties and government decisions, and even politicians and their families. From newspapers to television to radio to the internet, the media is the leading factor in how we get out political news and how it is spinned.
I just feel there is so much to write about, to report. So many stories to follow and fact check and ask questions about.  So much that goes on here in La Paz is not okay.  There is plenty to write about concerning the Governor, his party, his policies.  Why are we bothering with a story about what his 13 year-old daughter writes on twitter?
Embarrass the Governor?  Make he and his wife look like bad people, bad parents?  This really infuriates me.
As a parent, I have more than once been embarrassed at the words that come out of my children’s mouths.  But when it happens, it is time to educate and make sure it doesn’t happen again.  I am sure the Covarrubias’ are doing just that. That is what parents do.
And as a parent and as a member of the media, it is a shame that some publishers decided that looking into and reporting on the lives of the teenage Covarrubias’ girls was ok. It is not.
Sofia Covarrubias’ twitter account has been disabled.
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