Ken Tucker
June 17, 2009 AT 11:58 PM EDT

When did this country suddenly turn into Blame Nation? First David Letterman, now Kate Gosselin is under fire for… apparently spanking one of her kids? Sheesh. The poor woman, stalked by paparazzi, was caught disciplining daughter Leah (not shown in the picture here). Some creepy shutterbug snapped some pictures and got them into In Touch magazine, casting the story as though Kate was guilty of attempted homicide. (I mean, with a name like In Touch, you’d think they’d be into spanking.) Anyway, the pix are all over the Internet.

Sure, I looked at the photos online, I’m not ashamed to say. One likes to compare parenting styles. I can’t remember swatting my kids as Kate is shown doing, but I sure as heck remember being spanked as a child, and I don’t feel particularly damaged by it.

Every parent loses his or her temper occasionally. Some parents have different philosophies about how to enforce the rules. I doubt this scene will show up any time soon on Jon & Kate Plus 8. (Though with its ratings dropping, who knows?)

I guess my question isn’t, Do you think Kate should have spanked her child? It’s more this: Don’t you think pictures of a parent caught in a moment for which we don’t know the context seem mean, even if you’ve decided you don’t care for Kate? I come down on the side of giving her the benefit of the doubt, and a break. How about you?

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