More bad weather(men)

In the local news, David Rogers, a former local weatherman, apparently ran over some construction workers.

About a month ago, the wife of another local weatherman, Dick Goddard, apparently attacked her husband. Now she may be undergoing court mandated counseling.

I can understand why the David Rogers story has been all over the news. From a local perspective, it’s not often that somebody commits an act such as the one he is alleged to have done. But what about the case for Dick Goddard?

Dick Goddard was involved in a domestic dispute. Unfortunately, physical violence in domestic disputes is not that uncommon. As a child, we had a family at the end of our street that had the police out a few times a year. At our current home, we have one set of neighbors who can be heard arguing in the summertime, and the police have been called out once (in two years).

None of these other disputes made the news. Most of them didn’t even make the local paper. If they’re mentioned at all, it’s in the “police blotter” section of the weekly advertising paper. And those news entries simply read “A 42 year-old woman reported that her 46 year-old husband struck her during a domestic dispute. No arrests were made.” No names are given. The street or neighborhood isn’t even mentioned.

As a rule, we respect the privacy of individuals, but not if they happen to be in the public eye. Dick Goddard is a local legend. He founded the “Wooly Bear Festival” in Vermilion, Ohio. He has been broadcasting the weather in Cleveland since 1966. He’s about as big a local personality as you can have.

But does this give the news media permission to make a big deal of an event that is relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things — other than the fact it involved a celebrity? Dick Goddard was the victim in this case.

Julie Hilden wrote a brief discussion of celebrity privacy. I must say that I agree completely with her analysis of the issue.

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