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The SPJ's double standards

Feb

27

by

The “Society of Professional Journalists” is pretty upset with the way that nobody covering the story seems to get angry enough about how Murphy was deceptive in his talk with Governor Walker. They cite their own ethical code in that journalists should be “honest, fair and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news.”

So Murphy clearly violated the SPJ’s ethical code as far as not being honest since he was pretending to be someone he wasn’t. But if you’re going to whine about every time a journalist lies in order to obtain information, then that effectively makes all undercover journalism “unethical” according to the standards of the Society of Professional Journalists. In fact, let’s see what the SPJ’s Code of Ethics has to say about undercover journalism:

Avoid undercover or other surreptitious methods of gathering information except when traditional open methods will not yield information vital to the public. Use of such methods should be explained as part of the story.

If someone at the SPJ were to actually read the story, they might have noticed that the very first thing they will read is a quote from a Democratic state senator in Wisconsin saying, and this is a paraphrase, that traditional open methods of contacting Governor Walker in order to obtain information vital to the public have not yielded results. So my question to the SPJ is: How exactly does Murphy’s story not qualify as an exception to the SPJ’s “no undercover work” rule?

Traditional open methods had not yielded this information, contrary to what certain pols and journos have been saying (more on that later). The information we uncovered is vital to the public. This should be a textbook case of acceptable undercover journalism according to the SPJ’s own standards.

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Update via comment #4 by Anteprepro: “Interesting tidbit: The SPJ has said absolutely nothing regarding Breitbart’s conservatard prankster/”journalist” James O’Keefe, also known as the ACORN pimp, the attempted wiretapper of a U.S. Senator, and the attempted seducer of a CNN correspondent. Apparently, that stuff is awwwright by the SPJ. If it wasn’t, it would be kinda useful if they formally condemned it, since a lot of people are under the misapprehension that what O’Keefe does [is] legitimate.”

Thanks for the info, Anteprepro. How did we miss that? Now that’s sloppy journalism!

  • Brian

    What the fuck is the Society of Professional Journalists? Their site says they’ve been “improving and protecting journalism since 1909″. They’re obviously pretty fucking terrible at that – most US journalists followed an illiterate moron off a cliff into Iraq cheering all the way, without giving it so much as a second thought. Just to take one example.

    Sure would have been nice to have a 20-minute phone call to Bush on tape for that one, to counteract the bullshit the press lapped up at their press conferences.

  • http://altpressonline.com joe schmidbauer

    What a joke! The Professional Hooker association has a higher ethical standard- At least a Blow-job is a blow-job, getting fucked in the ass is getting fucked in the ass, you know what you paid for. (right Chris Lee)

    Given the past twenty years the vast flow of mainstream journalism has been blowing institutional power and fucking the American public in the ass and calling journalism and truth.

  • Laura

    Is Wikileaks ethical? NYT published wikileaks..

  • Anteprepro

    Interesting tidbit: The SPJ has said absolutely nothing regarding Breitbart’s conservatard prankster/”journalist” James O’Keefe, also known as the ACORN pimp, the attempted wiretapper of a U.S. Senator, and the attempted seducer of a CNN correspondent. Apparently, that stuff is awwwright by the SPJ. If it wasn’t, it would be kinda useful if they formally condemned it, since a lot of people are under the misapprehension that what O’Keefe does it legitimate.

  • Pingback: The ethical implications of a prank phone call « Media Politics in Perspective

  • WeAreRose

    Not to mention Fox News, where is the SPJ’s high ethical compass when it comes to that atrocioty! News? That’s rich!

    Ted: “But why do they put a guarantee on the box, then?”
    Tommy: “‘Cause they know all the sold you was a guaranteed piece of bleep. That’s all it is isn’t it? Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it guaranteed, I will. I got spare time. But for now, for your customer’s sake, for your daughter’s sake, you might want to think about buying a quality product from me.”

  • admin

    Darth,
    There are a lot of great journalists out there. Really, there are.

  • Anteprepro

    BREAKING NEWS! http://www.politicsdaily.com/2011/03/08/stung-npr-execs-caught-in-candid-chat-with-would-be-muslim-dono/?ncid=webmail
    O’Keefe did something again. Got into NPR by dressing up as some evil Muslims and managed to hear a guy involved in NPR call Teabaggers “racist”. This is serious business! I’m sure that we can all wait for the SPJ to rebuke him for his fraudulent means of obtaining information! Just give it a day or two, I’m sure….

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