05/16/08 — In the public eye: If you take the job, be ready for the accountability

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In the public eye: If you take the job, be ready for the accountability

Watchdog — what does that mean?

There are some who think that perhaps the media spend a little too much time harassing politicians and others who have been entrusted with public positions. They say that the scrutiny keeps many good people from trying to take on public office.

That might be. It certainly isn’t easy to be under a microscope — and not too many of us would be able to withstand the heat.

But it goes along with the turf. Not that it is ever OK to cheat on your wife, break the law or do anything else that might be morally questionable, but when you have pledged to uphold a higher standard, and have asked a community to put its faith in you, you must strive to be more, not less, accountable and responsible.

So, while the media seem to be hunting those who serve in public office, the truth is they are merely making sure that those who are entrusted with power do not misuse it or defame it.

And sometimes that requires keeping a pretty close eye on not only what they say and do in public, but how they live their lives outside the confines of their public office.

A free press was set up originally as a watchdog on government and those who run it. The idea was that human beings are sometimes fallible and corruptible, and that if there was someone watching, they might be less likely to succumb to evil influences.

Who knows if it is working or not, but at any rate, it’s a system of checks and balances we want to keep.

Published in Editorials on May 16, 2008 9:59 AM