In the Los Angeles Times, Asra Nomani, a former contributor to People,calls on Time Warner and other media conglomerates to leave Britney alone.Portfolio's Jeff Bercovicicompares Nomani's call to the moment when Joseph McCarthy was famously asked: "Have you no sense of decency?" (Who knew dirt-digger Bercovici could raise himself up to such moral height?) The celebrity weeklies are sufficiently on the defensive that they maintain an official silence; but, under the protection of anonymity, one senior editor hits back at the critics. When one of the biggest pop stars in music history — one who no less has had a long and open relationship with the press — loses her children, ties up our court system, and is diagnosed with a major mental illness that also afflicts many other Americans, that is a news story. Are the actions of the mentally ill man who recently murdered the Upper East Side psychiatrist, or the NIU killer, any more or less worthy of exploration and explanation? And is it exploitative of the New York Times to run a series on military personnel who kill and beat and stalk their wives and children when they return home from serving in Iraq? These are people after all who actually did reside in privacy prior to their newsmaking bouts of mental illness. To somehow say that Britney Spears, or any celebrity, who have flown like moths to the flame of fame, deserve more privacy or consideration than private citizens is actually journalistically bankrupt, and a rather pathetic attempt at "morality" cloaked behind celebrity worship. Any person or outlet in the mainstream media who actually attempts to put forth this "morality" argument is a. either ignoring other news and events that have likely gone neglected as his or her own outlet chases Britney Spears (i.e., the Los Angeles Times), or b. desperate to find a new way to draw attention to a topic they know their readers continue to be interested in. Yes, these stories need to be handled sensitively, but to say they are not newsworthy... well, you might as well stop being a journalist, and go bag groceries.