Washington's Scandals Spotlight Journalistic Ethics, Too

By Hughes, John | The Christian Science Monitor, March 18, 1998 | Go to article overview

Washington's Scandals Spotlight Journalistic Ethics, Too


Hughes, John, The Christian Science Monitor


After every great national scandal, journalists embark on an orgy of self-examination about the quality of their coverage. We did it after Watergate - and after the O.J. Simpson trial, and the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. And though the story involving President Clinton and Monica Lewinsky is still unfolding, the press is engaged in yet another assessment of its performance.

This is a good thing. The profession of journalism is not without blemish. We journalists spend a lot of time examining the ethical deficiencies of others. It is only fitting that we examine our own.

The American press is probably the freest in the world. It is one of the most technologically advanced. But are our ethics improving or deteriorating? On the one hand, thousands of journalists all over the country - generally honest, mostly hard-working, sometimes underpaid - are doing a good job. Day after day they cover city halls and police departments, legislatures, state and federal agencies, and funnel a flow of necessary and useful information to their readers and listeners and viewers. Earlier this month I spent several days in New York on a jury of editors charged with selecting nominations for the Pulitzer prize from some 1,500 submissions. The entries came from newspapers large and small and they did a lot to restore my confidence in the quality of American journalism. There were brilliant examples of spot news coverage, superb photographs, heartwarming feature stories, and examples of investigative reporting that redressed wrongs and brought change and improvement to many communities. Clearly, the press can be a constructive force for good. On the other hand, the corridor talk at the Pulitzer judging focused entirely on the quality of reporting on the Clinton-Lewinsky story, and on some deficiencies in that reporting. Should the private lives of public figures be off-limits to scrutiny by the press? I don't believe so. That scrutiny is the price that must be paid by those who seek to lead. A president who lies to his wife and family may lie to the voters. But the scrutiny by the press must be responsible and purposeful, not merely prurient. The decision to publish or not to publish should be case-by-case, generally based on whether the private peccadilloes affect the individual's public performance. The press would be derelict if it had not covered the issue of the relationship between Clinton and Lewinsky. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Washington's Scandals Spotlight Journalistic Ethics, Too
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.