By Casey Bukro
The Society of Professional Journalists code of ethics urges journalists to “expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.”
The reason for that admonition is the time-honored practice by many journalists of looking the other way when one of their fellow journalists stumbles on ethics, although they are quick to criticize lapses by anyone else.
This is changing, as a story in Salon.com about Howard Kurtz moving to Fox News shows. Salon said that Fox News is “becoming the home of disgraced journalists…..”
Sounds a bit harsh. This commentary is not intended to pile on, but to point out that a willingness to discuss alleged transgressions by journalists is among the changes as journalism transforms itself, propelled in part by the digital revolution. Online journalists are less inclined to honor sacred cows.
Kurtz came pretty close to qualifying as a sacred cow. He was Washington bureau chief for Newsweek and The Daily Beast, and commented on shortfalls in journalism on CNN’s “Reliable Sources” show. He left those posts after apologizing for errors and admitting to them on his own CNN show.
Give the guy credit for fessing up, and symbolizing a new day in journalism when good journalists point out bad journalism, or bad journalists. They should take their lumps like everyone else.