Wednesday, March 17, 2010

This is way to rich to pass up: NY Times preaches ethics

Thanks to Mr Scribbler who put this on one of those confusing x rated dating sites, or maybe twitter or faceoff or was it something else Off? Face the Nation? Could be, Scrib is more of a celeb than he lets on:

For Freelancers, Whose Ethics Matter?
By Mike Janssen on Mar 16, 2010 10:38 AM

A memo sent yesterday by the New York Times suggests an opportunity for freelancers to review their practices for ethical soundness. The memo urged freelancers to revisit the Times’s ethics policy and to be wary of areas particularly ripe for potential conflicts:

Work for companies or organizations that The Times may cover.
Undisclosed ties between the writer and people or institutions mentioned in an article.
Lobbying, advocacy or political activities or contributions related to the area of coverage.
This raises the question: Whose ethical standards do freelancers follow? More often than not, the answer is probably “their own”—and a grasp of ethics can rely heavily on a writer’s professional path. They’re learned, not innate. And unless a freelancer establishes a long-running relationship with a particular publication, it may be rare that he or she ever sees an employer’s ethics policy—if the employer even has one in writing. (Smaller publications in particular may overlook this.)

This is unfortunate because, perhaps more so than journalists tethered to one employer, freelancers may be at greater risk of wading into ethically murky situations. They often cover a variety of subjects for a wide range of clients—somewhere along the way, wires may get crossed, and unexpected conflicts could surface just as a byproduct of all the sources, employers and interests being juggled.

Periodically thumbing through ethics codes such as the Times’s may not be a bad idea for a freelancer, just to get a sense of potential pitfalls. The Project for Ethics in Journalism offers this compendium of codes from various news organizations.

This smacks of job protection and resistance to the growing independent news sources. Sure, some may have an agenda, but it hardly seems possible that their slant is less steep than that of the NY Times, and the usual media suspects.

Seriously, how can anyone not see the slant when the partnership between them and governments have painted anyone opposed to the IRS as a "right wing wacko". Nutcases like neo nazis are painted the same. I guess that socialist equals right wing, because that is what the fascist thing was about. The professor who shot up the faculty meeting was not labeled. Reportedly she was an active campaigner for the current administration. A lunatic is a lunatic.

Back tp the point, it seems odd that the Times would pretend to be above the common unwashed; the lowly freelancer. Remember all the stories they got caught inventing a few years back? I am ever suspicious of news organizations which pretend to be above others who do not share their worldview, or even their concept of what is news.

Standards of integrity would be great to see in all publications and news media. Generally they are the government's marketing department, and the sales tool for the special interests which own those in office.

It has come to the point that huge blocks of the population don't really want truth or value it. They think in terms of the two teams we've been given as our choice. If you criticize democrats or Obama on lines of principle the knee jerk response is "what about Bush, etc.?". Geez. That is rarely the point. One over-stepping administration for another.

Integrity? Give me a break, New York Times. How aout publishing what is in major bills, verbatim, and be sure to cover unequal treatment of various states and groups, earmarks and all that. Of course when you are reporting on things that involve thousands of pages, that's tough.

Having been in marketing and under some circumstances I didn't like, I recognize the tactics; especially the one of telling you what something "means" or will do for you, while avoiding actually defining the "it". Responsible journalists would be digging into that relentlessly. Not t mention the cases in which people in the armed forces and others are being railroaded dishonestly for doing their jobs, or just being on the wrong side of the philosophical spectrum, or maybe just convenient vehicles for people to play political games.

So, you fear competition, Times? Too bad. Practice some objectivity yourselves and maybe life will get better.

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