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Balanced Fare: We Report, You Deride

Thursday, June 13, 2002




Man, I Know Nothing


Whoa, I know just about zero about journalistic ethics. I mean, I saw “All the President’s Men", but the memory is not fresh, and "Three Days of the Condor" came out around the same time. And is Krugman even a journalist? He writes opinion pieces, hi there, MinuteMan, OPINION!

But I challenged his ethics [see the post below, "Krugman Watch Never Sleeps"], so I guess I better get educated. And it is the Times. And there must be some ethical rules somewhere. So let’s get googling.....

Hey, what about this:

Professional electronic journalists should:

Identify sources whenever possible. ....

But c’mon, that says electronic journalists. Dollars to donuts Krugman listens to NPR, but we can do better....

Now we are slinging good, old fashioned ink with the Gannett News Service. Let’s see:

Expect reporters and editors to seek to understand the motivations of a source and take those into account in evaluating the fairness and truthfulness of the information provided.

Hmm, they have this in a section on “unnamed sources.” No section for “Partly disclosed sources”. This may be harder than I thought....


Now, this site looks promising.

PROPOSED GUIDELINES FOR GOOD JOURNALISTIC PRACTICE.

Bingo, just what I need. Who are these guys, anyway?

Freedom of Expression and the Media in Lebanon.


Lebanon. I may want to come back to this. Lebanon? Al-Jazeera Lebanon? Jenin massacre Lebanon? This just keeps getting better....



Oh, my, the NY Times site itself. Page two on my google search, don’t people check ethics at the Times? Probably above reproach. And what do we see?

"Reporters, editors, photographers and all members of the news staff of The New York Times share a common and essential interest in protecting the integrity of the newspaper. As the news, editorial and business leadership of the newspaper declared jointly in 1998: "Our greatest strength is the authority and reputation of The Times. We must do nothing that would undermine or dilute it and everything possible to enhance it."

Editorial, too. Well, well, well.


"At a time of growing and even justified public suspicion about the impartiality, accuracy and integrity of some journalists and some journalism, it is imperative that The Times and its staff maintain the highest possible standards to insure that we do nothing that might erode readers' faith and confidence in our news columns. This means that staff members should be vigilant in avoiding any activity that might pose an actual or apparent conflict of interest and thus threaten the newspaper's ethical standing. And it also means that the journalism we practice daily must be beyond reproach."

Right on. And what time was that, the dark era of public suspicion? OK, this is dated Dec 13, 2000....


And here’s a bit on sources:

"Anonymity and Its Devices. [Skip blah, blah, blah, come to:] The stylebook discusses the forms of attribution for such cases: the general rule is to tell readers as much as we can about the placement and known motivation of the source. [More text, they make me look succinct, here we go:] There can be no prescribed formula for such attribution, but it should be literally truthful, and not coy."

Just nothing on partially identified sources. But I don’t think it looks so good for Paul. Such a coy fellow.



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