Journalists, and the internet, need to stop bringing the underage children of political figures into the fight. We must start considering the ethics of a situation before we break news.
Claudia Conway is a normal 15-year-old girl. She has TikTok, she puts on makeup and a cute outfit and does the dances everyone else does. Sometimes, she even offers up her political opinions. Normal, right? Typical behavior for a teen who is in the middle of finding themself.
Except her mom is Kellyanne Conway.
Somehow, media outlets think since her mom was an adviser to the Trump administration, this makes it fair game to report on Claudia Conway’s activities and her beliefs.
Conway is a child, not even old enough to drive. To put in her the spotlight at a young age at the height of a divided political time is almost child abuse. Journalists must do better.
When news broke of President Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis, the internet immediately began contact-tracing. Now, the celebration of Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court is being considered a super spreader event. Conway’s mom was at this event. Shortly after, White House aide Hope Hicks tested positive for COVID-19.
Conway took to TikTok to express her frustration at her mom. Then, she announced her mom’s positive COVID-19 diagnosis.
Naturally, the media went wild.
Within minutes Conway’s name was trending on Twitter. Then, she hit a million followers on TikTok. Hitting the livestream button, Conway expressed frustration with the bigger media outlets, such as CNN and Fox, for relying on her as a source.
“I can’t be a normal teenager and create content without making headlines,” Conway said on her livestream.
Conway then discussed how much making headlines affects her mental health. She receives death threats and hate comments from Trump supporters, while also having to deal with her mother’s reaction to these viral TikToks.
Journalists need to do better.
Knowing what we know, we should not be relying on a 15-year-old girl to be our primary source for breaking news. We should not be watching and waiting for her to criticize her mom or the administration in which her mom works. We should protect her. Conway should not have to limit her comments on her posts or even restrict herself from freely writing about her parents on her TikTok.
We were all afforded the luxury of a normal childhood. I probably have several tweets or posts out there criticizing my mom. Some even still pop up on my Facebook memories. I look back and cringe a little, but Conway will remember these times as some of her darkest days. She’s taken at least two social media breaks because of the hate she’s received. It’s disgusting, we are subjecting a child to punishment for daring to go against her parents’ beliefs. To use this girl as a primary source in a story is irresponsible and unethical. Journalists, and the internet, need to stop bringing the underage children of political figures into the fight. We must start considering the ethics of a situation before we break news.
Journalists, it’s time to do better.