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Thread: Journalistic Ethics

  1. #1
    Remember Rule #1 Senior Member Sasaki Kojiro's Avatar
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    Default Journalistic Ethics

    Who do you agree with?


  2. #2
    Horse Archer Senior Member Sarmatian's Avatar
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    Default Re: Journalistic Ethics

    No gah! option, the poll is declared null and void.

  3. #3
    Bureaucratically Efficient Senior Member TinCow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Journalistic Ethics

    Wow, what a difficult question. I can't answer the poll because I think they are all correct. I believe that Jennings is correct in that he and most Americans (myself included) would warn the US soldiers. I believe the Wallace is correct in that nationality does not trump the duty of the journalist to be impartial. I believe that the Colonel is correct in that it would be disgraceful for those journalists to expect American soldiers to come to their rescue if they then found themselves in peril, and yet the soldiers would do it anyway.

    If I had to pick one though, I would pick Wallace. Nationality is not the end-all-be-all of duty and responsibility. Americans do incorrect things all the time, both individually and collectively. A journalist, or anyone else for that matter, should not be expected to support Americans simply on the basis that they are Americans. The question is greater than simple national identity, and goes into the deeper question of what it is that is going on that raises the question in the first place. When it comes to the Press, the United States was founded on the fundamental principle of freedom of speech. That is the one thing, IMHO, that is the keystone of our entire society and national identity, and that is a principle that must be preserved above all others. If we lose freedom of speech, then we lose the United States. Thus, it is more important to protect freedom of speech than it is to protect any individual American.

    The question is entirely situational though, and can easily be turned the other way. Keep the same example, but have the American journalist be embedded in the village of My Lai. Then ask the journalist whether he would alert a nearby Vietcong group about the American attack on the village. In that situation, I think it would be far easier to allow the journalist to side with the 'enemy' because the Americans themselves are in the wrong.

    Regardless, a supremely difficult question. The best we can do, I think, is to avoid ever being in that situation to begin with.

  4. #4
    Nobody expects the Forum Administrator Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Journalistic Ethics

    Nationality would trump profession for the vast majority of people. There might be a few journos who would take their role as absolutely as Wallace, but not many, not many at all.

    Moreover, the military has gotten much savvier about managing press since Vietnam. By embedding journos with units, the journos naturally form a bond with the soldiers, and report more favorably on our actions. Independent journos who are not embedded get no protection and no guarantees, and they tend to die. As the writer in the link above put it, "it is too dangerous, in most cases, to cover modern warfare without protection from an army."

    So the question is highly relevant ... to the 1970s. Events and techniques have moved on since then.

    -edit-

    Just to be clear, I would vote "gah," since all three have valid points that are now largely irrelevant. This is why a "gah" option is traditional in the BR.
    Last edited by Lemur; 12-05-2012 at 21:52.
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

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  5. #5
    The Black Moderator Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Journalistic Ethics

    Freedom of Speech part of Consitution Yes/No

    Do US military pledge to protect the Consitution Yes/No

    If both of these are yes. Doesn't that mean the Colonel is holding his pledge in contempt by holding the hypothetical journalists constitutional dilemma in contempt? After all they are upholding constitutional values and he has pledged to protect them. If he finds that too difficult move to Russia and he can happily see journos killed off for stating the facts all the time.

    Every action or inaction has a consequence. So the Colonel really should have thought about what a USA would be without Freedom of Speech, not only in principle on paper, but how hard it is for journalists to do and the outcome of not doing so. Truth is a sharp blade that cuts its wielder to the quick.
    Last edited by Papewaio; 12-05-2012 at 21:37.

  6. #6
    Nobody expects the Forum Administrator Lemur's Avatar
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    Default Re: Journalistic Ethics

    What's particularly interesting about the choice of video and questions is how upside-down it is today. If we have a problem with modern war reporting, it's that our jornos are too comfy with the troops and therefore unwilling to report negatives. It's perfectly understandable—who doesn't love the guys who keep us alive?—but it's also a problem.
    "Those are my principles, and if you don't like them ... well, I have others." — Groucho Marx

  7. #7
    has a Senior Member HoreTore's Avatar
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    Default Re: Journalistic Ethics

    I agree with none of them, since their arguments are presented in videoformat. Hell will freeze over before I watch political youtube videos.


    Stick to pen and paper, you blasphemers!!
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  8. #8
    The Black Moderator Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Journalistic Ethics

    It was presented this way to aid the dyslexic-dyspolixia exposure to hypothetical constitutional conundrums.

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  9. #9
    smell the glove Senior Member Major Robert Dump's Avatar
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    Default Re: Journalistic Ethics

    I do not think the journalists not reporting negative things have anything to do with being "too comfy" and everything to do with having their credentials pulled from theater if they piss of The Man. And naturally, in a long-going conflict, The Man changes every 9-12 months, along with all his little public affairs minions below him, all of whom have their own idiotic ideas. Seriously, I have seen a small town city newspaper jounralist kicked out of afghanistan by Division level PAOs because he told the truth about how long it took for a remote outpost to get its mail from home. Research a little on the Michael Yon debacle where he made some people mad with his critiques on medevac policies (they're stupid), and the higher ups at in RC East took it in stride, but some idiot senior enlisted and field grades at the brigade level sent an email out to everyone in the battlespace where Yon was set to return, and basically said he was "banned from RC East", when in fact these brigade yahoos had no control over RC East, and could, at most ban him from their province of control

    Then you've got military journalism, which, barring Stars and Stripes, is written like an 8th grade yearbook and apparently thinks every reader is a FOOL, so no one trusts what the PAOs put out because its either watered down, exaggerated or outright idiotic

    I would also tend to disagree about the negative reporting not in that negatives are ignored or underreported (i dont think they are, in afghanistan), but that positives are totally under reported.

    I'm not talking about the CIC saying "we're winning" (we're not) or what some general has to say. I'm talking about the battalion of Marines in a southern province who set up a girls school on base, and every day sends out a route clearance package and an MP company to block, distract and disrupt traffic so the bus, escorted by military vehicles, can move through town safely, and then they do it again 9 hours later when the class is over. This operation costs a pretty penny every day, people put their lives at risk, and its all for about 75 little girls. But you don't hear about that, now do you?

    I'm talking about the convoys who pull over to help broken down cars on the side of the roads, pull cars out of ditches, give CPR to people in distress, act as ambulances and break the mission to drive someone to a clinic

    The press likes to act like the majority of afghans want NATO gone and that simply is not true. It's not. Show me all the crap reporting you want with cherry picked interviews of some random 12 year old girl, face uncovered, standing in her school yard, with a paved road behind her, saying "there has been no progress, america needs to go", but until you have answered emails and phone calls from concerned afghan friends, dealt with shuras of worried elders regarding the drawdown, and had to explain to your interpeters that although they have worked for NATO for 10 years they wont be able to immigrate to the states pretty much without a ten year wait unless they go to mexico first, learn spanish and come in that way, in which case they will be welcomed with open arms. Nobody reports on that.

    I don't even know what I was talking about anymore. Sorry for the rant.
    Baby Quit Your Cryin' Put Your Clown Britches On!!!

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  10. #10
    The Black Moderator Papewaio's Avatar
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    Default Re: Journalistic Ethics

    So could you report on that?

  11. #11
    smell the glove Senior Member Major Robert Dump's Avatar
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    Default Re: Journalistic Ethics

    Quote Originally Posted by Papewaio View Post
    So could you report on that?
    Yes, but that wasn't my job and I didnt have the time. I would rather do the good deeds than tell stories about them. Quite frankly I could care less what people back home think, and all stories had to be vetted through The Man who had a tendency to gay them up. I picked up partial job PAO duties to cover for a guy who went home early, and the results were catastrophic:

    First, we discovered the the post mission storyboards were were doing were being taken by AFN, Freedom Watch, and individual battalion and brigade PAOs writing for their respective websites or newsletter and being turned into stories. The stories were written as if my unit was a part of their unit, which we were not. The stories were written from the first person, as if the author was present, which they were not. Errors were common in these stories. It was dishonest and sloppy. We complained.

    The 101st PAO then demanded we start sending them stories or they would continue the practice. So I did a story. It followed a series of poultry training classes my team organized and funded for boys and girls, but the boys were just to placate the locals, the real focus was on the girls. At the end of these courses, each student would be surprised with a fully functional colony of chickens, a years worth of feed and coops. It was a great program. Unforunately, the kids however would get their hopes up and their expectations were too high, and they wanted us to come back and teach them all this other stuff that we did not have the manpower or time to do. This was the angle of the story: that more was needed, and we could not lead these kids to believe more was coming if, in fact, we did not deliver. It was a long story. Magazine feature quality. I can write.

    Well, they edited it. They turned it into a 5 paragraph story full of chicken puns that I did not write. They took out great pictures of us with the kids because we did god-awful things like roll our sleeves up in 105 degree weather. And they left my name on it. I would link to the story, but it has my name on it, and there are people on this board who I do not trust with my name.

    After that, every story I submitted was a farce, of The Onion quality, and they complained to my coloenl and he just blew them off. What kind of stories? We flipped a trailer full of water in downtown Gardez, and the locals swarmed the bottles and ran off with them (we let them, less to clean up) and I did a story on our "Humanitarian Aid Drop in Gardez". I also did stories on bathroom graffiti and Man Love Thrusdays

    Oh, and AFN published photos and videos of 4 of my interpeters, in print and on youtube no less, despite there being theater rules against it, and then they drug their feet and argued with me about taking it down, at which point in the email chain I CC'c EVERY MILITARY EMAIL ACCOUNT IN AFGHANISTAN warning people not to allow AFN to imbed with them or they would endanger your interpeters lives.

    So, if people remembered who I was, I might not be welcome there as a journo unless I lied about my intent. I could also get in trouble if I still belong to the military. The only way around this is to show up on a commercial flight and live amongst the locals, which some bloggers actually do.
    Baby Quit Your Cryin' Put Your Clown Britches On!!!

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  12. #12
    Senior Member Senior Member Brenus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Journalistic Ethics

    Well, it is a non-subject. Journalist’s ethic (if ever existed) disappeared slowly and continuously from newspapers and other media. We are some who can remember Timisoara “reports” (mass graves), Kuwait “reports” (babies killed in Hospital) and Kosovo “reports” (horse shoes Operation), all stories we know now were deceptions. And I take here only the non-controversial ones.

    To put the debate only on the “my country can’t be right” and what to choose between “my Country does wrong” and “telling the Truth will break her heart” is too short.
    Patriotism can’t cover-up for murders. That was the excuses of the Nazis in Nuremberg, and now, in all War Crimes.

    The appalling comment from the Lt Colonel is one of the worst I never heard. So, does he want to cover-up some criminals under the pretext they are in uniforms? If some who happened to be journalist make the murder public, he understand that others soldiers will not go to recue or help the ones who spoke about it? Did he learn from My Lai?

    What put soldiers life in danger is not telling that some of them were murderers… As much as I know, it is the fact that there is a war they fighting in. My Grand-father didn’t killed Germans because they were Germans, but because they were occupying France. He didn’t wait them to commit war crimes (which they started quite early, I give you that) to blow-up their trains and sabotaging what he could (not only him and alone).
    It can aggravate the hatred and resentment. However, the ones who took weapons did it before.

    Some can even argue that to cover-up murders will reinforce the enemies as the feeling of injustice towards the impunity of the occupiers…
    I do remember my feeling when some pilots got away with murder (almost literally) after having killed Italians people, were shipped back to USA and found not guilty, even not man-slaughter after a accident.
    Last edited by Brenus; 12-06-2012 at 13:53.
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire.

    "I've been in few famous last stands, lad, and they're butcher shops. That's what Blouse's leading you into, mark my words. What'll you lot do then? We've had a few scuffles, but that's not war. Think you'll be man enough to stand, when the metal meets the meat?"
    "You did, sarge", said Polly." You said you were in few last stands."
    "Yeah, lad. But I was holding the metal"
    Sergeant Major Jackrum 10th Light Foot Infantery Regiment "Inns-and-Out"

  13. #13
    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: Journalistic Ethics

    I avoid any so-called quality-media and all state-media. Blogs serve me just fine. It isn't perfect as they also get it wrong sometimes but at least they aren't on anyones tit. They are usually right. Not always, but most of the time.
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