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Ethics

NEWS

The endless loop of terror victims: Lazy journalism that lets ISIS run the newsroom

Watching cable TV and listening to radio last night and this morning, I found myself trapped in an endless loop of panicked victims screaming and fleeing the suicide bombing at a concert in Manchester, England. Shaky witness cellphone video aired again and again, and the image of a girl leaping off a staircase lodged in my mind. Yes, the attack … Read More
NEWS

Fox News's retraction is a woefully inadequate response to its colossal mistake

The family of murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich may have applauded Fox News’ “retraction,” but as retractions go, Fox’s effort was lame. It didn't include a correction, which would have gone a long way toward showing that the network learned from its mistake and was truly contrite. Corrections are inevitable in journalism. When done well, they serve a purpose … Read More
NEWS

Fox News retracts bogus Seth Rich story

Fox News announced on Tuesday afternoon it is retracting an inaccurate story about the death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich, after a personal appeal from Rich's family and a public outcry from media observers. "On May 16, a story was posted on the Fox News website on the investigation into the 2016 murder of DNC Staffer Seth … Read More
NEWS

Should The Washington Post have withheld sensitive details about an ISIS bomb plot?

When The Washington Post broke the story this week that President Trump shared highly classified intelligence from a U.S. ally with Russia, not everything the reporters knew made it into print. Halfway through the story, this paragraph referring to the ISIS plot revealed by Trump appeared: “The Post is withholding most plot details, including the name of the city, … Read More
NEWS

In a tweet, President Trump threatens to cancel press briefings

In a mini-tweetstorm Friday that combined references to alleged unfair treatment of his spokespeople and the firing of FBI Director James Comey, President Trump raised the possibility of canceling regular briefings with the White House press corps. The Fake Media is working overtime today! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017 … Read More
NEWS

Was CNN right to show video of Syrian nerve gas attack?

Doomed children gasp their last breaths in the back of a truck filled with lifeless bodies that could have been their playmates hours ago. Volunteers sprint back and forth in an attempt to salvage the remaining lives. And a camera witnesses it all, capturing video that the public won't see for more than a month. That was the scene shown … Read More
NEWS

What causes fake news, and what are its solutions? Journalists from NPR, CNN and the founder of PolitiFact weigh in

When NPR's David Folkenflik was growing up in the Southern California town of Laguna Beach, he would occasionally visit an enormous newsstand where readers could find almost anything they wanted to read. The Economist was next to Time. The surfer magazines were next to the tattoo magazines. The fake or dubious news — the National Enquirers of the world — were … Read More
NEWS

Jeff Zucker: MSNBC is 'the opposition,' Fox News is 'state-run TV'

Fox News is "state-run TV" and MSNBC has become "the opposition" in primetime and in the mornings, CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker said in an interview, adding that he thinks CNN is "seeking the truth." Zucker, speaking in an interview with New Yorker Editor David Remnick for The New Yorker Radio Hour on Friday, added that there are "clear agendas" … Read More
NEWS

Breitbart struggles to define its role in Trump era: Bad boy, watchdog or lapdog?

Breitbart News hit a wall Tuesday in its campaign to storm the ramparts of the media establishment when one of the most influential press associations in Washington, D.C. denied its application for credentials to cover Congress because of concerns over the site’s funding, staffing, workspace and independence. The decision by the Standing Committee of Correspondents of the House and Senate … Read More
NEWS

Don't call Steve Stephens 'The Facebook Killer'

We in the media love nicknames for notorious people. Often, these names are associated with a place or thing that has a random connection, like The Boston Strangler, The Green River Killer or The San Bernardino Shooters. This time it's "The Facebook killer," the shorthand description for the actions of Steve Stephens, who killed an elderly Cleveland man at random, … Read More
NEWS

Bill O'Reilly scandal illustrates the price of toxic newsroom star culture

It was money that kept Bill O’Reilly in his bulletproof bully’s pulpit at Fox News despite sordid sex harassment claims dating back 13 years. And in the end, it was money — not morals — that catapulted him out. For two decades, O’Reilly has been the acid-tongued, anti-political correctness muse and megaphone of the populist right and scolder of the … Read More
NEWS

Is Facebook a publisher? Murder in Cleveland raises the question again

By now, it's a common refrain: Facebook insists that it's not a media company, even though it does exactly what most news organizations do: Show its users advertising that's adjacent to content relevant to their interests. The "we're not a media company" claim is meant to obviate Facebook's responsibility to make the kind of discerning choices about content that … Read More
NEWS

The credibility of financial news sites has been damaged. It's up to them to fix it.

When investors go to financial news websites, they’re looking for unbiased, independent guidance. Financial news sites’ reputations, user traffic and advertising depend on readers’ trust — and often the explicit promise — that writers don’t have conflicts of interest and don’t accept payments that could sway the advice they give. So when the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Monday … Read More
NEWS

Was the United passenger's 'troubled past' newsworthy?

It didn't take long for the latest incident on United Airlines to become a white-hot center of debate among journalists. The Louisville Courier-Journal on Tuesday began taking flak for revealing what it called the "troubled past" of David Dao, the doctor who was dragged off a United flight Sunday after refusing to deplane to make room for company employees. Read More
NEWS

Reporter’s firing exposes political pressure on state-funded public radio stations

Imagine if politicians could exert financial pressure on newsrooms to fire journalists who air their controversial comments. It sounds like a gross violation of press freedom, right? Well, it happens at state-owned media in places such as Russia, Egypt and China. And it may have just happened in Tennessee. When public radio reporter Jacqui Helbert was fired March 21 from … Read More
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