Two Ethics Heroes : Media Critics Jeff Greenfield And Howard Kurtz


Maybe there are some cracks in the wall. God, I hope so.

Two media critics affiliated with major news organizations have recently come right out and stated what we have been talking about here on Ethics Alarms regarding the failure of journalists to observe core ethical standards in their commitment to bring down a President who horrifies them, and who has not taken his abuse lying down, as Presidential norms previously required.

The sharp contrast with Greenfield and Kurtz’s remarkable candor that marks most of their industry was on display today, as The Washington Post held a series of panel discussions and aired live video around the theme “Americans & The Media: Sorting Fact from Fake News.” One  segment featured Post political reporter Dan Balz, one of the Post reporters I would categorize as a straight-shooter most of the time, talking to PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff and Fox Special Report host Bret Baier. Woodruff’s comments were obtuse and depressing, but typical of most journalists and their defenders.

 BALZ: Judy you said something recently  I want to read to people: “You shouldn’t go into journalism if you want to win a popularity contest. If you’re doing your job, there are always going to be people who criticize your reporting. But we’ve never been at a place like we are today where there’s practically an entire industry around criticizing the media and holding the mainstream media up as suspect [ Balz didn’t read, but she also wrote, “and out to destroy an entire political philosophy in this country.” Well I said “most of the time.”]. I think the term ‘fake news’ has done a lot of damage to the media.” Describe the damage.

WOODRUFF: The damage is in the minds and the eyes of people who are consumers all across the country. And you see it in the polls. You see it in this [Knight Foundation] poll, a lessening of trust in the news media. I believe – it sounds corny, but I believe so passionately that a free press, free media, the role that we play, news media in our democracy, is part of what holds democracy together. And if enough Americans start thinking the press is not to be believed, that we are to be shoved to the side, regulated, or treated, controlled in some way, then I think we’ve got real problems. Even if it doesn’t get to that point, and they just don’t believe what we’re doing, then I think our democracy is weakened, and I think that’s what’s happening.

Got that? It’s the critics who are undermining the news media, not the unethical news media conduct that justifies the criticism! This quote is astounding. Journalists like Woodruff don’t see anything wrong with how they are doing their job, or rather not doing it. What harms democracy, Judy, is journalists behaving so unethically that the the public loses trust in them, not the criticism.

Now here are the two Ethics Heroes that do not parrot Woodruff’s defensive spin: Continue reading

Ethics Corrupter Weekend, Part II. Unethical And Corrupting Quote Of The Week: PBS Anchor Judy Woodruff


“But, for the audience, why does it matter? Why did that — why does it matter whether she was saying one thing?”

PBS anchor Judy Woodruff, in a discussion of the Benghazi hearings and the revelation in her e-mails that Hillary Clinton immediately discounted the YouTube video explanation that she later embraced without equivocation in public statements and interviews, as well as in discussions with the victims’ families.

Has there ever been a more self-evident unethical quote from a U.S. broadcast journalist?

What does it matter if the Secretary of State lied to the public?

What does it matter if the liar is a candidate for President?

What does it matter if our leaders “say one thing” to confidants—in Clinton’s case, her daughter, and another to everyone else?

What does it matter if the Obama administration falsely and intentionally  blamed four deaths on a YouTube video, rather than the fact that Obama’s claims of eviscerating al Qaeda were campaign hype?

What does it matter???

Sure, Judy, and what does it matter if the mainstream news media doesn’t care if our leaders are trustworthy and honest, and regard outright lying by them as trivial?

I’m not going to waste any more time explaining what’s unethical about this statement. Any adults who can’t figure it out on their own are lost causes, and to explain it to normal people insults their intelligence.


Pointer: Newsbusters