Why shouldn't journalists run quotes by sources?

  • Article by: BOB LEWIS
  • Updated: September 26, 2012 - 7:00 PM

In the 16 years I've been writing and publishing, it never once occurred to me that working with sources to make sure my articles are honest and informative might constitute a breach of professional ethics.

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PrivateSep. 27, 1212:28 AM

Surprised and disappointed that the newspaper would publish such a blatantly false opinion column. The writer knows nothing about journalism and doesn't back up any claims. "Now that I know, I'm left with the nagging sense that my lack of professionalism isn't the problem. It's a journalistic code of ethics that prizes accurate quotes more than accurate meaning." No, the ethics of professional journalism are the opposite. If the Strib editors want to help destroy their profession-- a vital institution of any free people -- they may as well urge selling out to Rupert Murdoch.

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owatonnabillSep. 27, 1211:18 AM

The problem is that many journalists have their own agenda, or are unfortunate enough to work for a media outlet that does. Ask Dan Rather. Face it: you're not gonna read many articles in the Strib talking up Michelle Bachmann's accomplishments, or see many pieces on Fox that glowingly describe Hillary Clinton's work as Secretary of State. But it goes deeper than that. Truth can be presented in such a way as to elicit negative reaction, not by content but by structure and wording. A quote may be honestly presented, but if the piece containing the quote refers to the speaker as an "aging politician" as opposed to a "venerable statesman", what will be the effect on the reader/viewer? Deception can take place on many levels, and if the presenter is clever enough, what we feel may be completely opposite of what we hear.

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