Tuesday, December 29, 2009

NBC blasted for "checkbook journalism" in Goldman custody case

Again, I have to wonder why dad DAVID GOLDMAN is treated like royalty when so many other parents, especially mothers, get NO help with locating or recovering their missing and/or abducted children. They especially don't get chartered planes offered up on a golden platter like NBC did for Goldman. What is up with that?


December 28, 2009
Goldman case: Journalism group rips NBC News

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) blasted NBC News for practicing checkbook journalism to obtain an interview with David Goldman and his son, Sean, in connection with a headline-grabbing international custody case. NBC News paid for the plane that took Goldman and his son from Brazil (where the boy was living) to the United States.

SPJ's Ethics Committee said in a statement released Monday that it is "appalled" that "NBC News breached widely accepted ethical journalism guidelines by providing the plane that carried David Goldman and his son Sean back to the United States from Brazil...."

The statement went on to say: "NBC conducted an exclusive interview with David Goldman during the flight it financed and another exclusive interview once the Goldmans returned to the United States. Journalists know this practice as 'checkbook journalism.' The SPJ Code of Ethics urges journalists to act independently by avoiding bidding for news and by avoiding conflicts of interest."

NBC News has been involved in other forms of questionable "journalism" in connection with its top-rated morning show, "Today," where the Goldman interview first appeared.

In November, an NBC production company produced an hourlong interview show for TLC featuring the cable channel's reality TV star, Kate Gosselin. Natalie Morales, a correspondent and anchor for NBC News, conducted the interview for the show that aired on TLC in the cable channel's "Jon & Kate Plus 8" weekly lineup spot. TLC and NBC News were essentially production partners in the show at a time when Gosselin was also appearing on the "Today" show as someone in the news.

But the Goldman payout is far more obvious and egregious.

Here is more from the SPJ statement and its Ethics Committee condemnation of NBC News:

By making itself part of a breaking news story on which it was reporting — apparently to cash in on the exclusivity assured by its expensive gesture — NBC jeopardized its journalistic independence and credibility in its initial and subsequent reports. In effect, the network branded the story as its own, creating a corporate and promotional interest in the way the story unfolds. NBC's ability to report the story fairly has been compromised by its financial involvement.

"The public could rightly assume that NBC News bought exclusive interviews and images, as well as the family's loyalty, with an extravagant gift," Ethics Committee Chairman Andy Schotz said.

The news media's duty is to report news, not help create it. The race to be first should not involve buying — directly or indirectly — interviews, an unseemly practice that raises questions of neutrality, integrity and credibility.

"Mixing financial and promotional motives with an impartial search for truth stains honest, ethical reporting," Schotz said."Checkbook journalism has no place in the news business."

The SPJ Code of Ethics also urges journalists to "clarify and explain news coverage and invite dialogue with the public over journalistic conduct."

"NBC must now, belatedly, explain why it entangled its news reporting and corporate interests in this story, as well as the terms of any deal it made with the Goldman family," Schotz said. "NBC also is ethically bound to adequately disclose its active role in the story in each of its future reports on the Goldmans."