Ethics Quiz: Which Reporter Would You Fire?

If this box of hammers can do their jobs as well as they can, should they really be journalists?

If this box of hammers can do their jobs as well as they can, should they really be journalists?


  • The U.S. media establishment is in horrendous shape.
  • Its news coverage is untrustworthy, because so many of its members are untrustworthy.
  • The field of journalism is polluted with shallow, self-righteous, biased, narrow-minded hacks, and whatever genuine insight, ethics and talent the profession contains is usually overwhelmed by mediocrity.
  • Any hope of addressing the current grim state of the news media must begin with ejecting prominent reporters and journalists who have proven beyond a reasonable doubt the lack of temperament, standards, skills or values to practice responsible journalism.

With this as background, behold today’s Ethics Quiz, which is…

Which journalist, CBS News reporter Major Garrett, Washington Post reporter Suzi Parker, both, or neither, deserves to be asked to seek a career elsewhere?

Here are the contenders and their qualifications for oblivion:

A. Major Garrett: Apparently annoyed by some teasing tweets for a colleague,  he used his CBS-labled Twitter feed to send this message to his followers, and naturally, the rest of the civilized world:

“The fuck I am. That is shirty business what you did. Fix it. I’m not fucking kidding”

B. Suzy Parker: Since Sarah Palin is obviously a fool, and since Parker, like so many other members of the media, will believe the worst about her without a smidgeon of skepticism, Parker reported on the Washington Post website that

“Late last week Al Jazeera America announced the former vice-presidential candidate would be joining their news network” as part of her  “plan to reach millions of devoutly religious people through al-Jazeera.”

The news, which I bet you could guess without my telling you, was a joke, from an item on a satirical website.

The case for firing Garrett? Simple: he’s 9 years old. He misused his employer’s name and account, and showed himself to have worse judgment than the typical sea sponge. He is so dumb that he thinks the best way to argue with a single colleague is to scream epithets at everyone on Twitter. He is a recognizable on-air presence, and he lets loose with obscenities in a public forum? How can CBS trust someone who would do that? How unprofessional can a journalist get…that is, if being a professional journalist even matters any more? He is a handsome son of a gun.

The case for firing Parker? Easy: bias has eaten her brain, plus she is obviously willing to report stories as fact without doing the bare minimum of due diligence required by Journalist Ethics 101. If this is what the Washington Post calls a reporter, then the Post can’t call itself a respectable newspaper.

I’d fire them both.

And you?


Facts: The Blaze, Politico

Graphic: Garage Journal

12 thoughts on “Ethics Quiz: Which Reporter Would You Fire?

  1. Yes, fire them both. But I hold a faint hope that the 9 year old might be smacked by an elder for his language and sent to bed without his supper. That won’t happen for the other person.

    • Agreed.

      And let’s add to this list every talking head who hastily, lazily, blindly, and without confirmation, reported that “Ryan” and not “Adam” Lanza, had just murdered 20 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School– and then basically dismissed this egregious error with: “Ooops!”

      Just YOU, Private Citizen, try making a little “slip of the tongue” like that, and SEE what the blood thirsty Media does about it.

  2. I would fire Parker first because you can’t fix stupid and I can only do one thing at a time. I would then fire Garret because his offense was being egotistical, which was not unknown before this. After those firings, I would investigate which other reporters have done the same things and add them to the list of people to be fired (consistency is important). After the next round of firings, I think you would all agree that I would have destroyed journalism as we know it.

  3. Both are beneath contempt. Both should lose their jobs (if either had an ounce of integrity, they would have resigned by now, but alas….). The likelihood is that neither will be leaving journalism (though to refer to them as journalists is to mock the very concept). Maybe (possibly, kinda, sort of) one or the other will issue some apologetic sounding statement. Which will leave you, Jack, and the readers here at Ethics Alarms with the job of assigning such a statement (or statements) a ranking on your apology scale. A task I’m sure most of us would relish as much as we would having our eyes cleaned with No. 2 sandpaper.

  4. Fire them both. There IS no responsible journalism any more: all are hacks for one ideology or the other, and/or are not smart enough to analyze any situation and act responsibly. Didn’t we used to depend on journalists to give us the news? Now no one does, and we are left to our own devices to read/hear, do our own research, and try (try) to make our own decisions. I am. The “big lie” isn’t coming: “It’s he-e-e-e-r!”).

    • This is a problem. I was asking a class the other day if anything revolutionary had happened in their lifetime. I couldn’t think of anything (I said revolutionary, not evolutionary) because the last big thing I could think of was the fall of Communism. I think journalism might be it, though. Most of the knowledge that people have comes from some authority, whether it be a book, a parent, or a teacher. For many years, we had an authority in journalism that told us the news. We relied on it (wisely or not) to define what was happening, and what happened. We tuned in to ABC, CBS, and NBC for the nightly news. We regarded the accounts of things as reported by the New York Times as accurate as a history textbook. Now, anyone can be a journalist. Now we have 5 different, contradictory accounts of every action. We have the major new “authorities” intentionally skewing or fabricating the news. What do you believe when you don’t know what the truth is anymore and you can’t trust the ‘authorities’? This is new, this is revolutionary, and I don’t know if it is going to turn out for the good or the bad.

  5. Fire both. But if I had to fire only one: major Garrett.

    Suzy Parker displayed laziness and irresponsibility to her profession, but if hers eyes were to open, could retract her story and correct her record. Her mistake or maliciousness can be repaired (albeit difficult to do so)

    Garrett’s infraction was a loss of emotional control. It led him to misuse his Authority and misrepresent his employer in an obscenity filled rant. The loss of emotion control can be apologized for but I don’t think the damage can be repaired regardless of contrition.

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