Criticism surrounding a profile of stage 4 breast cancer patient Lisa Bonchek Adams has been mounting since Guardian writer Emma Keller published a controversial piece Jan. 8, and her husband, New York Times columnist and former executive editor Bill Keller seemed to sympathize with her position in a follow-up.
Adams has been chronicling musings and insights about her illness, sometimes painfully honest, through her personal blog and Twitter for some time now. Keller’s story about Adams, in which she wonders aloud about the “ethics” of tweeting about an incurable, aggressive sickness, as well as Bill Keller’s column, are in poor taste. So much so that the Guardian has removed the original story and begun an “investigation.”
In thinking about this whole unfortunate debacle, I’d like to consider some potential lessons:
1. Just because you can editorialize doesn’t mean you should.