Friday, October 08, 2004

Questionable ethics

On October 8th, I picked up the front section of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune and found two articles that bothered the heck out of me. here, I have been preaching that bloggers don't have the know-how to be journalists. That it's too easy to deceive. And here are two stories of journalists caught in in a web. One journalist from the New York Times was ordered to reveal her source in the leak of a CIA agent. The reporter will be jailed until she gives up her source. Disclosing the name of a covert CIA agent in a story is a crime. But then what are we teaching the bloggers. It's okay to say if you had a source that is funneling you information. Is there really a source, or are you making it up. The source has to be at least given up to the court, so the facts can be known if they are really an informant or someone just making names up for profit. It's a strange Catch-22. Then, Fox.com ran a story a story for a few hours that was a hoax. Suppposedly, it ran because editors didn't catch the material because they were "fatigued and bad judgement but not malice." Fox boasts a fair and balanced news coverage but the hoax of President Bush mocking a top correspondent wasn't just an innocent prank. The incident happened after last week's first debate inwhich John Kerry was quoted as falunting his great manicure and sex appeal. But Fox isn't doing much to the guy who wrote it, which isn't a good thing either. I have been preaching that it is important to rectify mistakes made. This shows you are really attempting to be fair and balanced.
Besides, it also shows a lack for the candidate a reporter is covering. Most journalists face serious consequences when fabricating a story. Is this the kind of message we want to send to people. There are bloggers out there, who Rebecca Blood encourages to try to be professional...becaue that's what journalists are.
Recently, a Wall Street Journal reporter sent an e-mail expressing his personal sentiment: "For those of us on the ground it's hard to imagine what if anything could salvage Iraq from it's violent downward spiral." The Journal defended the reporter as exemplary and undistorted by her private opinions, but she will not be covering the war for awhile.
Which proves to bloggers that there has to be responsibility for what you right and the journalistic profession does censure and correct problems when they arise. At least some do.
They say Dan Rather is going to be hung out and dry. But you can't blam him for the scandal CBS was involved it. It was everyone's fault. There should have been the system of checks and balances, and information should have been checked as well as the documents. Again, an example to bloggers as not what to do. Check, check and re-check the facts. Link your information to make it air-tight
Maybe we didn't hear about it because some journalistic community thought it better that we not know. of course, it would only question the integrity of individuals and that's wrong to send a scent of dishonesty into the world. We have to do a better job policing and handcuffing those who make a mockery of the fourth-estate. AFterall, there are those who have worked all their lives to maintain a high level of trust and validity to their work. Why should we have a couple of bad apples spoil it and sent a message to everyone, including bloggers, "That it's all right to do this as long as you don't get caught."
Wrong message!

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