"Journalistic Stings Go Mainstream" - Edward Wasserman - Miami Herald

"Journalistic Stings Go Mainstream" - Edward Wasserman - Miami Herald

by: Edward Wasserman | publication date: March 14, 2011 | Publication: Miami Herald |

"Here's a problem of professional ethics right out of today's headlines: If a news organization prohibits its own staff from using certain reporting techniques—say, deception—should it publish information that somebody else gathered using those same forbidden techniques? Consider the resurgence of journalistic stings engineered by free-swinging ideologues to embarrass political opponents. Stings are a kind of undercover reporting in which targets are lured into fabricated situations intended to make them look bad. Most recently, a major fund raiser for National Public Radio was secretly videotaped in a Georgetown restaurant by two men posing as potential contributors. The official, Ron Schiller, made disparaging remarks about the Tea Party and acquiesced in offensive comments about Zionist influence made by the phonies, who claimed to be from some Islamic foundation. The video got picked up by established news media, Schiller, scheduled to leave NPR for a position with the Aspen Institute, lost both jobs, and NPR boss Vivian Schiller (no relation) was forced out."

Commentary on the ethics of undercover reporting, putting in context the O'Keefe sting on NPR.

Access to online material.