This Just In: Journalism Ethics Is Still Dead…

An ad currently running on the New York Times website:

Drone footage that shows Greenland melting away. Long narratives about the plight of climate refugees, from Louisiana to Bolivia and beyond. A series on the California drought. Color-coded maps that show how hot it could be in 2060.

The New York Times is a leader in covering climate change. Now The Times is ramping up its coverage to make the most important story in the world even more relevant, urgent and accessible to a huge audience around the globe. We are looking for an editor to lead this dynamic new group. We want someone with an entrepreneurial streak who is obsessed with finding new ways to connect with readers and new ways to tell this vital story.

The coverage should encompass: the science of climate change; the politics of climate debates; the technological race to find solutions; the economic consequences of climate change; and profiles of fascinating characters enmeshed in the issues. The coverage should include journalism in a variety of formats: video, photography, newsletters, features, podcasts, conferences and more. The unit should make strategic decisions about which forms are top priorities and which are not.

The climate editor will collaborate with many others throughout the newsroom, but will operate apart from the current department structure, with no print obligations. (The Times is also searching for editors to lead similar teams exploring education and gender.)

This is, of course, smoking gun evidence of a political agenda, bias, and the intent of the Times to warp policy and public opinion according to what it has already determined is “the most important story in the world.”  Facts are supposed to dictate which stories are perceived as more important than others, not individual tactics that make an issue or story appear to be “even more relevant” and “urgent.” And what is a news organization doing looking for “strategy” ? Strategy for what? The only strategy news organizations adopt, outside of business strategy, is called “indoctrination,” a strategy of persuasion. Ethical journalism requires no strategy; the New York Times ethics code mentions no “strategies.” Strategies are in the realm of advocacy and politics. The code does demand that the Times protect its neutrality at all times and in every thing it does. How does openly seeking an issue advocate to promote what the Times, in its arrogant and politically slanted wisdom and bias, has decided is “the most important story in the world” meet those standards of ethical journalism?

It doesn’t, of course. The code, like so many ethics codes in government and the private sector, is a public relations document, designed to deceive and promote unwarranted trust.

19 thoughts on “This Just In: Journalism Ethics Is Still Dead…

  1. Greetings Ethicsalarms,

    I came across this site by accident and several ( too many is also appropriate ) hours later i am still reading.
    I am not an internet commenter, my online contributions can be counted on the fingers off 1 hand ( one that mishandled some fireworks even ).
    But there was something that irked me but i had a hard time putting into words.
    It is most likely me, i am from Europe ( the Netherlands ) and Bernie Sanders would be a centrist candidate here. So i have a clear personal bias and i try to be aware of it.
    Now on to my issue, when a person looks for ethicsalarms (TM pending i assume) they are literally everywhere. While browsing the posts i have the feeling that ethicsalarms by liberalmedia/persons are overrepresented.
    A quick search on climate change on the foxnews site shows an agenda/strategy just as clear as the above article. This does, of course, does not make the above any less true.
    I might be premature in posting this, but i got swept up in the moment and i will run the actual numbers in a free weekend soon.
    One thing is for sure you have a new regular visitor.

    PS I especially enjoyed the section on US Presidents.

    • Thanks, and thanks especially for the appreciation of the POTUS posts. A labor of love for me.

      Fox is avowedly an agenda-based news source, designed to counter the huge left-tilt to the rest of broadcast media. In an ethical journalism environment, there would be no need for Fox, but sadly, it does provide a useful service. Objective is isn’t, but it has never claimed to be. NYT, in contrast, is held up as the gold standard for US journalism. It is the role model, and it cannot ethically do what Fox does. This really is a betrayal of the public trust.

      • Thank you for your reply, and point well taken.

        I do think ( fear! my bias ) however that there are countless of people that take the word of foxnews as gospel.
        But like i said it is quite possible that i am wrong and that my gutfeeling is my personal bias.

        with kindest regards,


        • Oh, there are definitely those who take it as gospel, which is especially strange, since Fox is as much of a mixed bag, maybe more, than any other network, with establishment liberal journalists, right wing demagogues, and some really smart, fair journalists. But mixed bags aren’t trustworthy. I swore off Fox for good when it didn’t fire O’Reilly for evidence of outright, Brian Williams style lies.

        • Mark

          Greetings from a third generation Dutch American.

          You are correct that some people take the word of FoxNews as gospel, that is absolutely true. But believe it or not, some people take the word of CBS News or the New York Times as gospel too. I posit that this is just as bad (I think it’s worse, but that’s MY bias).

          If there were no forest fires, there would be no need for Smoky the Bear, so too it is with the mainstream media and FoxNews.

        • No, it always was tongue in cheek, referring to the network balancing the bias of the mainstream media, thus achieving something like a fair fight. It has amazed me that so many people missed the obvious tweak. I always thought it was cheeky and clever. That’s Ailes. Too bad he’s such a scumbag.

            • Only people who realized the the mainstream media had been lying to them for decades and had a united point of view, you mean, not “right wing.” I, for example, being a student of the American Presidency since I was 9, was shocked to find out that the press hid JFK’s sometimes dangerous affairs from the public “for their own good,” and FDR’s health problems, and helped bias the public against Nixon in 1960 in myriad ways. It seemed to me even as a child that the press had no right to manipulate facts and news like that according to their own agendas, and later, it was profoundly disillusioning to learn how far left, say, Walter Cronkite was, while falsely presenting himself as objective and apolitical. Yet to this second, liberals and Democrats, who did and do benefit from this slant, adamantly deny it exists. That still pisses me off after all these years. But they were raised to believe that slant is reality.

  2. A couple of years ago, I shared a hospital room with a young man who kept his TV on all the time, tuned only to Fox News. And I was in severe pain from an infection in my lumbar area. Analgesics resolved both problems.

  3. The reason I watch FOX more than occasionally is that I get access to stories that I would never hear about on the “mainstream media”. FOX also features some really smart commentators from time to time like Dinesh D’Souza. They also have Juan Williams who definitely isn’t a conservative but does present an intelligent argument for the left occasionally.

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