Gawd, this is distasteful - fairness requires it, though. Trust me, this is the first time I’ve had anything noncontemptuous to say about Ms. “It’s a good thing”, and it’s only gonna be marginal.
We’ve all heard a great deal about the US Justice Department investigation into insider trading at ImClone (obligatory link) - how the CEO, Sam Waksal, tipped off friends and family members just before the stock did an impersonation of David Caruso’s career. But the only one of those persons prominently in the news for that is Martha Stewart. As annoying as I and many others find her, I think we have to admit she’s being treated unfairly by the press. But she’s a public figure, used to it, and can handle that part. However, news reports such as the CNN one I just linked seem (perhaps incorrectly) to imply that only Stewart is being targeted from among all the recipients of inside ImClone information.
What concerns me is the possibility that some young, ambitious, career-oriented legal beagles at Justice are going trophy-hunting here. It’s all well and good to bring senior-level miscreants to justice when they deserve it, but it doesn’t get one the respect that it might if their names had heretofore been reported only in the business pages. Bagging a celebrity, though, especially one not with a lot of public sympathy, would get the victorious investigator in the news, and readily laid for months as well as promoted quickly.
There was an interview with some securities lawyer, not connected to the case, on NPR this morning (hey, I have a long commute and I’d finished all the books on tape I had) that adds to this concern. He talked repeatedly about how Stewart was “the prize” in this investigation, and was almost gleeful about his expectation that she’d get the “perp walk” in a few weeks at most. Sure, he’s just a nobody talking big, but aren’t the people on the inside of the investigation at equal risk of losing perspective? The deterrent value of the “perp walk” probably deserves its own thread, but go ahead if you like.
Oh, yeah, there has to be a debate topic here, doesn’t there? Try this: Is the possible greater deterrent value to others, due to greater publicity, of targeting celebrities worth it, or does it just mean that famous people need to be more careful or they’ll get targeted just for being famous?