NBC blasted for checkbook journalism
Is there any wonder that the news media and the entertainment industry are generally one and the same. I see no reason to give any special privileges to news reporters.
NBC blasted for checkbook journalism on David Goldman story — echoes of Casey Anthony coverage
Caylee and Casey Anthony, NBC, Today, WESH — posted by halboedeker on December, 28 2009 4:37 PM
NBC's interview with David Goldman has drawn a scathing review from the Society of Professional Journalists' Ethics Committee.
The panel says it's "appalled" because NBC News chartered a plane for Goldman and his son, Sean, to fly from Brazil to the United States. They were reunited after a five-year custody battle, and they arrived in Orlando on Christmas Eve. In paying for the plane, NBC News engaged in "checkbook journalism," the Ethics Committee says.
The journalists' group has a code of ethics that urges reporters to refrain from bidding for news.
"The public could rightly assume that NBC News bought exclusive interviews and images, as well as the family's loyalty, with an extravagant gift," Ethics Committee Chairman Andy Schotz said.
In a statement, NBC News said: "The Goldmans were invited on a jet NBC News chartered to fly home to the U.S. on Thursday, December 24. NBC News has followed this story since the Goldmans' story first ran on Dateline nearly one year ago — David Goldman since has appeared on Today seventeen times. NBC News has not and will not pay for an interview."
With its lavish gesture to the Goldmans, NBC News helped create the news and jeopardized its credibility, the SPJ Ethics Committee said.
"Mixing financial and promotional motives with an impartial search for truth stains honest, ethical reporting," Schotz said. "Checkbook journalism has no place in the news business."
The journalists' group is urging NBC News to show some transparency on the story. Meredith Vieira interviewed David Goldman on "Today" this morning. More of the interview will be seen in a two-hour "Dateline" at 8 p.m. Jan. 8.
From the beginning, NBC News has disclosed that it invited the Goldman family on the flight.
"NBC must now, belatedly, explain why it entangled its news reporting and corporate interests in this story, as well as the terms of any deal it made with the Goldman family," Schotz said. "NBC also is ethically bound to adequately disclose its active role in the story in each of its future reports on the Goldmans."
The Ethics Committee critique arrived after it was reported that CNN paid a licensing fee to Jasper Schuringa, the hero of Northwest Flight 253 who subdued a Nigerian man determined to blow up the plane. CNN paid for a cell phone image — and thus landed Schuringa for an exclusive interview.
The Web site Mediaite.com reported,"There's a reason Schuringa has not appeared any further on CNN or any other network – we hear he has asked for additional payment for any future interviews."
Many viewers have been appalled by fees that TV news organizations have paid for photographs and footage in the Casey Anthony case. The networks say they are not paying for interviews by paying the fees. But many observers have been infuriated that the Anthony family seems to be profiting from the death of a child, 2-year-old Caylee Anthony.
The Goldman story is an uplifting one, but paying for access is still paying for news. When money changes hands, that gives the appearance of compromising the reporting.
There should be one standard in journalism. No matter if the story is happy or tragic, checkbook journalism is wrong.