I'm amused to see that the fallback argument of the right in the Donald Sterling case is that we should be more concerned about the violation of Sterling's privacy than about his remarks and his conduct. Yes, it seems likely that Sterling was taped in violation of California's two-party consent law. If that leads to a criminal punishment comparable to whatever's happened in similar situations, fine. (I imagine there aren't a lot of folks doing hard time in San Quentin on a taping-my-scumbag-significant-other rap.)
But, um, aren't right-wingers the folks who made James O'Keefe a hero? And Linda Tripp a heroine? And don't they love lawbreaking when it serves a higher law? One right-wing commentator compared Cliven Bundy to King, Gandhi, Jefferson, FDR, Washington, Thoreau, Paul Revere, and the guys who died at the Alamo. Donald Sterling's remarks were abhorrent, as even right-wing commntators piously note when they talk about the story -- but I guess that doesn't mean V. Stiviano is Gandhi. Have I got that correct, righties?
So there's this:
I'm old enuf to remember when the left at least pretended to believe in privacy.— John Nolte (@NolteNC) April 29, 2014
And at NBA commissioner Adam Silver's press conference yesterday there was Jovan Lien, a producer for Megyn Kelly's show on Fox News. Lien echoed remarks made by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban:
"Should someone lose their team for remarks shared in private?" she asked. "Is this a slippery slope?"And, ultimately, there was Megyn Kelly herself, on her show last night.
"Whether or not these remarks were initially shared in private, they are now public," Silver explained. "And they represent his views."
A couple of highlights:
MEGYN KELLY: The question tonight: No one is defending the remarks. Nobody is defending the remarks. The question is whether the deprivation of his property rights, in terms of his ownership rights of a sports team, you know, his financial livelihood, and the swift condemnation by every corner, basically taking away his livelihood, is a slippery slope, as Mark Cuban suggested.His livelihood? Donald Sterling is one of the thousand richest men in the world, with a net worth of $1.9 billion. If he's forced to sell the Clippers, he's selling a team he bought for $12 million in 1981 and that's now valued at $575
KELLY: ... is this the future of America, where private conversations between two people who are supposedly in a relationship wind up going public and then somebody who makes clearly inappropriate remarks, to put it charitably, has everything taken away from him?Everything! Everything is being taken away from Sterling! With no compensation! (Apart from, y'know, that billion or so.)
Kelly addresses this question to sports agent Steve Olenick, who replies.
STEVE OLENICK: Megyn, I think you're spot-on. I think this potentially becomes the norm. I mean, look at this. If this happens to Mr. Sterling, this potentially could happen to anybody.Anybody! This could happen to any ordinary schlubby American couple, because TMZ would be equally interested in our arguments!
Donald Sterling is a public figure. People like Sterling have had their dirty laundry aired in public for as long as there's been mass media. You want to deal with the legal ramifications on this? Fine. You want to put real teeth in the taping law, or in its enforcement, so people genuinely fear the consequences of doing something like this? Sure, let's have that conversation. But as long as we don't severely punish the making and publishing of tapes like this, information about the rich and famous that we weren't supposed to know will get out, as it always has. And the court of public opinion doesn't have the same rules of evidence as courts of law -- which is fine.
UPDATE: Oh, this is rich -- a
UPDATE: I wonder how far the right would be willing to go on privacy. How about that Texas family law judge whose brutal beating of his daughter was secretly videotaped by the daughter, then posted online? The video went viral, and the judge was suspended for a time, then lost his judgeship in an election last month. Should we have fretted about that sadist's right to privacy, according to conservatives? Wait, never mind -- I think I know the answer.