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Ethics

While Bill Cosby’s Lawyer Blames CNN, We Might Blame the System

cnn don lemon bill cosby

More than 20 women have come forward to accuse the Cos of sexual assault. Countless interviews have been requested and all have been denied. The first time Bill Cosby came forward to say anything was when he thanked Whoopi Goldberg and Jill Scott via Twitter.

Much to Cosby’s chagrin, professionals at certain national networks who allegedly do “news” for a living have been talking about it.

The comedian’s lawyer is a little miffed that the news cycle keeps on rolling past his brownstone, which is why he sent CNN President Jeff Zucker a letter accusing the network of setting out to tarnish his client’s reputation.

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Mediabistro Job FairLand your next big gig! Join us on January 27 at the Altman Building in New York City for an incredible opportunity to meet with hiring managers from the top New York media companies, network with other professionals and industry leaders, and land your next job. Register now!

Journalists Weigh in on the Ethics of the Sony Hack Stories

We all know how Sony, Aaron Sorkin, Brad Pitt and Rubenstein Communications think the media world should respond to ongoing leaks from the Sony Pictures hack: ignore them.

CNN’s Reliable Sources (hosted by the Brian Stelter, founder of our sister site TVNewser) asked the question on Sunday and got some mixed different answers. In the first part of the interview, Andrew Wallenstein of Variety frames the question as a serious one, saying, “I don’t do that lightly…it was going to get out there anyway, and we have to be part of the conversation.”

Dawn Chmielewski of Re\code was a bit more blunt on New Day:

Well, then. Check out Gawker’s explanation of the issue — which mentions the leak of a clip from The Interview depicting the death of the very Korean dictator at the heart of this story — to Mike Allen of Politico after the jump.

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Rolling Stone Revises Apology as Backlash Against its Handling of Rape Story Grows

A Note to Our Readers | Rolling StoneIn order to change the current culture and systems that allow colleges and universities to systematically fail victims of sexual assault in the name of self-preservation and rosier PR, many things must take place — not the least of which is the spreading of awareness of such egregious failures through deep-digging, responsible journalism. It’s for this reason that Rolling Stone‘s recent article “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA” was so explosive; it’s also the reason that the magazine’s bad-to-worse handling of the story has caused such a massive firestorm.

A few weeks after the magazine published its account of “Jackie’s” brutal assault by seven members of a UVA fraternity, some discrepancies in the details of the student’s story began to surface. In response, Rolling Stone posted a statement on Friday, signed by managing editor Will Dana, which admitted, “there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account,” and then added, “We have come to the conclusion that our trust in her was misplaced.”

This “apology” didn’t sit well with many readers, as it seemed, rather than taking responsibility for its own failure to fact-check, the magazine was effectively placing the blame squarely on the shoulders of a possible trauma victim. The backlash was swift, and many took to Twitter, using the hashtag #IStandWithJackie to call out the magazine, pointing out that trauma victims often misremember details, and that this didn’t necessarily mean her story was fundamentally untrue.


Rather than further apologizing for its tone-deaf apology, the magazine responded by quietly deleting its statement and publishing an updated version the next day. The new version explains the editorial choices in greater detail and puts the responsibility of fact-checking and well-rounded research back on its own plate. The statement reads in part: Read more

GOP Comms Director Resigns After Rant About Obama Daughters Goes Viral

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Photo Credit: AP

Hell has finally frozen over as our fractious political parties have figured out something to agree upon: don’t mess with another man’s kids.

An unwritten rule in Washington has long held that journalists and political opponents alike do not report negative news about the children of our elected officials.

Elizabeth Lauten, communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.), broke that rule all over Facebook last week…and this morning we learned that she paid for her mistake with her job.

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NYT PR Defends Decision to Publish the Name of Officer Darren Wilson’s Street

NYT Building

Journalists are supposed to be our storytellers, our soothsayers, our trusted cohorts who are all given carte blanche to walk into our homes or places of employment and give us — as one sage orator once opined — “just the facts, ma’am.” Yet, ethical concerns come into play every day.

This week, the conservative Washington Examiner asked the question: is it ethically acceptable to publish the name of the street on which the key figure in the world’s most controversial story recently bought a home?

Eileen Murphy, VP of corporate communications at the Times, answered “yes” and defended the paper’s decision to do so.

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Obama Promotes Press Freedom Abroad, Has Media Relations Problems at Home

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers an address to the Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative in YangonThe American President is no stranger to dust-ups with the leering media.

This is a man who inspired high-fives  in newsrooms across this great land of ours when he declared that he would have the “most transparent administration in U.S. history.” Regretfully, that promise lasted all of a few weeks.

Journalism groups have scolded him and his response has been a questionable finger pointed in their direction because they “spread cynicism.” Now the president, while traveling in China and Myanmar, says that the  the media should have greater access to do their job in those lands.

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Senator McConnell’s ‘No Shutdown’ Promise Looks Short-Lived

mitch mcconnell

Dear America, On second thought… 

There are only a few guarantees in life: death, taxes, gravity, and the fact that politicians will say and do anything for a vote. Many would sell their own mother, but given the fact most of those folks have been on Capitol Hill for more than two decades, mom probably bought the farm a few years back.

Anywho, several politicians have been raising the same old flags of truce and speaking longingly of bipartisanship since the Republican takeover of The Senate a couple of weeks back. Among those spreading the Sister Sledge harmony is the new Lord of the Flies, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), majority leader. Here’s his quote:

“Let me make it clear: There will be no government shutdowns and no default on the national debt.”

Nice for a Kumbaya moment as McConnell stated at the weekly Republican policy luncheon late last week (source). Only one small problem, he has used that line before. Like, last year.

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More Trouble in Russia

ukraine-2014-shutterstockWe’ve just gotten around to reading this post that appeared in The Daily Beast earlier in the week. Writing for the Beast, Bill Conroy accuses New York-based firm Goldin Solutions of shielding a state-owned Russian investment fund from sanctions levied by the US government.

Goldin was hired by The Russian Direct Investment Fund to help improve its reputation within the American business/media communities in the wake of sanctions based on Russia’s recent aggression toward Ukraine. While all major Russian banks were targeted, the RDIF was not despite the fact that it is managed by a state-owned bank.

The larger ethical argument concerns whether the RDIF — which was designed to help bolster Russian businesses working with foreign investors — should be exempt from sanctions because it does not directly support the country’s military. (It also happens to work with executives from many major Western businesses like Goldman Sachs and General Electric.)

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Lena Dunham Proves Some Stories About ‘Girls’ Go Too Far

lena grace dunhamAs it goes in Hollywood, most of the beautiful people have a golden fleece force field around them, which absolves them from having to act like the rest of us.

Very few times do they experience the standard blowback that comes from acting like a fool. Sure, they have to deal with the dregs of society known as paparazzi, but they’re rich…so they’ll be all right.

Lena Dunham, the creative wunderkind behind HBO’s hit series Girls, wishes she got that kind of consideration for a quite-possibly-embellished story about what some call “sexually abusing her sister.”

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White House Charging Reporters $60K to Do Their Jobs

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(Photo Credits: FOXNews.com, AP)

In the PRNewserverse, we heart our journalist friends.

We appreciate their dedication to the craft of sharing stories and the sacrifices they make to do so. Consider the White House Press Corps. Their behavioral patterns follow the ebbs and flows of whatever the administration occupies the position at the time.

One small problem: President Obama isn’t that crazy about them. He has tried ignoring them, to the point of being given a petition. He has done a “Statue of Liberty” flag football move to avoid them en route to a fundraiser. He has even pointed his finger in their faces and accused them of spreading cynicism.

Now, the administration has effectively instituted a cover charge for reporters to get in the club to which they already belong.  Read more

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