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University of Wisconsin–Madison
School of Journalism and Mass Communication

Ethics in the news – Nov. 24

CNN journalist in a Nov. 19 tweet reported the passage of a House bill on immigration that could limit the number of Syrians the U.S. accepts. Then, she tacked on a sentence:

 

Later that evening, she tweeted that she apologized for editorializing.

 

But, her apology wasn’t enough to save her from a two-week suspension.

Former center director Stephen A. Ward has written about the changing norm of objectivity in journalism, but he is adamant that the principle not be abandoned.

The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald wrote that expressing opinion isn’t uniformly punished at CNN. But, that Labott’s opinion wasn’t good for business made it worthy of punishment, he wrote.

Mathew Ingram at Fortune Magazine agreed that Labott’s sin was not expressing any opinion – it was expressing a political opinion.

Afterall, earlier that day a different CNN journalist had asked President Obama a rather blunt, editorialized, sensationalized question. HuffPost’s Michael Calderone wrote that these situations  highlight “the often arbitrary distinction between analysis and punishment-worthy editorializing or opining.”

In other ethics news this week:

Ethics Center in the news:

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