Politics & Media
May 15, 2009, 11:08AM

How a Media Frenzy Gets Started

Advice from "America's worst mom."

About a year ago, I let my 9-year-old ride the New York subway alone for the first time. I didn’t do it because I was brave or reckless or seeking a book contract. I did it because I know my son the way you know your kids. I knew he was ready, so I let him go. Then I wrote a column about it for The New York Sun. Big deal, right? 
Well, the night the column ran, someone from the Today show called me at home to ask, Did I really let my son take the subway by himself? 
Just abandoned him in the middle of the city and told him to find his way home? 
Well, abandoned is kind of a strong word, but … yes, I did leave him at Bloomingdale’s. 
In this day and age? 
No, in Ladies’ Handbags. 
Oh, she loved that. Would I be willing to come on the air and talk about it? 
Sure, why not? 
I had no idea what was about to hit me. 
A day later, there across from me was Ann Curry looking outrageously pretty and slightly alarmed, because her next guest (the one right before George Clooney) just might be criminally insane. By way of introduction, she turned to the camera and asked, “Is she an enlightened mom or a really bad one?”
The shot widened to reveal … me. And my son Izzy. And some “parenting expert” perched on that famous couch right next to us, who, I soon learned, was there to Teach Us a Lesson.

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