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:
House passes bill that could limit Syrian refugees. Statue of Liberty bows head in anguish @CNNPolitics https://t.co/5RvZwVftgD
— Elise Labott (@eliselabottcnn) November 19, 2015
Later that evening, she tweeted that she apologized for editorializing.
Everyone, It was wrong of me to editorialize. My tweet was inappropriate and disrespectful. I sincerely apologize.
— Elise Labott (@eliselabottcnn) November 20, 2015
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:
- Vox’s Dylan Matthews explores how the media can report on Donald Trump’s claims. Michael W. Wagner wrote a guest post for the center about the ethics of covering Trump.
- Reuter’s updated its photo format policy, which may lead to fewer ethical lapses
- The Denver Post’s Cannabist did a year with a documentary crew about mainstream marijuana journalism. Earlier this year, Steven Wang wrote about the ethics of marijuana journalism.
- Columbia Journalism put in context much of the recent discussion about ethics and conflicts of interest in science journalism.
- Some members of Society of Professional Journalists say the ethical thing to do is engage in the Gamergate conversation.
- What are the ethics of engaging on social media? Allie VanNest wrote about the Silicon Valley + Journalism conference hosted by the Tow Center.
Ethics Center in the news:
- Lindsay Palmer’s piece about journalism’s response to the Paris terror attacks was posted at MediaShift.