Skip to comments.Shocking Inside DC Scandal Rumor: A Media Ethics Dilemma
Posted on 10/30/2007 6:09:13 PM PDT by jimboster
So I was down in DC this past weekend and happened to run into a well-connected media person, who told me flatly, unequivocally that everyone knows The LA Times was sitting on a story, all wrapped up and ready to go about what is a potentially devastating sexual scandal involving a leading Presidential candidate. Everyone knows meaning everyone in the DC mainstream media political reporting world. Sitting on it because the paper couldnt decide the complex ethics of whether and when to run it. The way I heard it theyd had it for a while but dont know what to do. The person who told me )not an LAT person) knows I write and didnt say dont write about this.
If its true, I dont envy the LAT. I respect their hesitation, their dilemma, deciding to run or not to run it raises a lot of difficult journalism ethics questions and theyre likely to be attacked, when it comes outthe story or their suppression of the storywhatever they do.
Ive been sensing hints that somethings going on, somethings going unspoken in certain insider coverage of the campaign (and by the way this rumor the LA Times is supposedly sitting on is one I never heard in this specific form before. By the way, ts not the Edwards rumor, its something else.
And when my source said everyone in Washington, knows about it he means everyone in the elite Mainstream media, not just the LA Times, but everyone regularly writing about the Presdidential campaign knows about it and doesnt know what to do with it. And I must admit it really is was juicy if true. But I dont know if its true and I cant decide if I think its relevant. But the fact that everyone in the elite media knew about it and was keeping silent about it, is, itself, news. But you cant report the news without reporting the thing itself. Troubling!
It raises all sorts of ethical questions. What about private sexual behavior is relevant? What about a marriage belongs in the coverage of a presidential campaign? Does it go to the judgment of the candidate in question? Didnt we all have a national nervous breakdown over these questions nearly a decade ago?
Now, as I say its a rumor; I havent seen the supporting evidence. But the person who told me said it offhandedly as if everyone in his world knew about it. And if you look close enough you can find hints of something impending, something potentially derailing to this candidate in the reporting of the campaign. Which could mean that something unspoken, unwritten about is influencing what is written, what we read.
Why are well wired media elite keeping silent about it? Because they think we cant handle the truth? Because they think its substantively irrelevant? What standards of judgment are they using? Are they afraid that to print it will bring on opprobrium. Are they afraid not printing it will bring on opprobrium? Or both?
But alas if it leaks out from less responsible sources. then all their contextual protectiveness of us will have been wasted.
And what about timing? They, meaning the DC elite media, must know if it comes out before the parties select their primary winners and eventual nominees, voters would have the ability to decide how important they felt it to the narrative of the candidate in question. Arent they, in delaying and not letting the pieces fall where they potentially may, not refusing to act but acting in a different waytaking it upon themselves to decide the Presidential election by their silence?
If they waited until the nominees were chosen wouldnt that be unfair because, arguably, it could sink the candidacy of one of the potential nominees after the nomination was finalized? And doesnt the fact that they all know somethings there but cant say affect their campaign coverage in a subterranean, subconscious way that their readers are excluded from?
I just dont know the answer. Im glad in a situation like this, if there is in fact truth to it, that I wouldnt have to be the decider. I wouldnt want to be in a position of having to make that choice. But its a choice that may well decide a crucial turning point in history. Or maybe not: Maybe voters will decide they dont think its important, however juicy. But should it be their choice or the choice of the media elites? It illustrates the fact that there are still two cultures at war within our political culture, insiders and outsiders. As a relative outsider I have to admit I was shocked not just by this but by several other things everyone down there knows.
There seem to be two conflicting imperatives here. The new media, Web 2.0 anti-elitist preference for transparency and immediacy and the traditional elitist preference for reflection, judgment and standardstheir reflection, their small-group judgment and standards. Their civic duty to protect us from knowing too much.
I feel a little uneasy reporting this. No matter how well nailed they think they have it, it may turn out to be untrue. What Im really reporting on is the unreported persistence of a schism between the DC media elites and their inside knowlede and the public that is kept in the dark. For their own good? Maybe theyd dismiss it as irrelevant, but shouldnt they know?
I dont know.
The ethical dilemma for liberals could be trying to decide whether to run it now against a Republican hopeful, or sit on it in hopes of slaying the Republican Presidential Candidate. Sort of like CBS's ethical dilemma about when to release stories they had (or pretended they had) on Bush.
One answer: They're dishonest. It's not like the "well wired media elite" (sic) have been completely honest with us and many of us know it.
Hard to believe that, withe all the reporters covering the campaigns, EVERYONE keeps their lips shut...
What about private sexual behavior is relevant?
Anything concerning a Republican, nothing concerning a Democrat.
What about a marriage belongs in the coverage of a presidential campaign?
Anything that acts to the advantage of a Democrat or embarrassment of a Republican.
Does it go to the judgment of the candidate in question?
Trick question, right? Correct answer: it depends, class altogether, on whether said candidate is a Republican or a Democrat.
Didnt we all have a national nervous breakdown over these questions nearly a decade ago?
I don't know about you, but was fine. Clinton embarrassed himself so thoroughly that even the MSM couldn't cover up for him.
Just call me Professor of Journalistic Ethics. You can play along at home, kids.
He never reported anything. Just went on and on about a rumor and hearsay. Bunch of talk with no real subtance. Lots of inuendo, but no meat to anything said.
Nothing but teasers IMHO and the way I see it, he should either come out and say directly what it is he is talking about, or don't write about it at all.
Bill Richardson has a lot going on in the sex department but who cares?
Kind of like an ethics problem like this: A and B go into business and decide to split all the profit 50/50.
One day a client comes in and overpays his bill to A.
The ethics problem is: should A keep the overpayment for himself, or split it with his partner B. - Tom
Not Obama. Its Hillary and 3 or the 4 woman on The View!
LOL! You’re right.
This could be about a Republican, you know. Let’s see. Giuliani? Thompson? Romney? Huckabee? McCain?
If he says it’s “juicy” if true, then look at the squeaky-cleanest Republicans, which in this context would be Romney and Huckabee.
Am I the only one who thinks it could be ... Rudy?
Just a pure guess, but that guy has enough baggage to fill a sinkhole.
What hints have we seen?
Hillary's coverage hasn't been quite as fawning, but I don't know if that's a hint.
Since he ruled out Edwards- it has to be Obama, Hillary, Mitt, Fred or Rudy.
Interesting- sooner or later it’s going to get out.
“A” should return the overpayment to the client. Or is this a trick question?
I agree Kalee. If its a repub they are going to sit on it, wait for the worst moment for that candidate to release it, and then fall back on the ol’ “ethics” line as their reasoning for sitting on it. They really do think they are smarter than most people. To them, Freepers and Rush fans are just dumb hicks with shotguns and bibles.
There is only one answer to this. First premise, modern journalism knows no standards or ethics. What fits the desired template gets reported, whether true or not. What goes against the desired template gets spiked, regardless.
For this reason, we know they aren’t talking about a republican. Therefore, my guess is Hillary or Obama, whom the press wants protected.
Who are the "elite" DC reporters?
Bingo. It can’t possibly be a republican or it would already be on the front page everywhere.
Here's the clue in this piece.
I can't figure it out, but the journalist given us a clue...so who is being reported about with a "hint" of something impending?
OK, its actually Mike Gravel having senior sex with Chris Dodd! Joe Biden joins in every third thursday for “Salad” night!
That's good for a 20 point bump in the polls if you're a dim.
Interesting turn of phrase, indeed. Makes me think this involves Hillary, who's been dogged by rumors for years, but nothing specific.
I don't think Bill qualifies.
It can’t be Obama. Joe Biden has vouched that Obama is , “..articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. “
If the MSM’s debating it - it’s dem — they protect their own... Or it’s a Republican they don’t want to “fall” yet... bias makes ‘em soooooooo predictable.
Be ready for responses from folks that can’t tease out the irony from your post.
A typical family pattern that results in a child becoming homosexual is an absent father and a dominant mother. It doesn’t always work out that way, but it does fairly often.
I bring up the possibility because, when you think about it, that seems to be the story of Obama’s life. He had two fathers, both Muslims, both difficult or absent; and a dominant, trendy, rich hippie mother.
Sure, he’s married, but politicians often use marriage for cover.
This is purely speculative, of course. We’ll see. Or maybe we won’t see. I don’t know how credible this source is.
This screams "Democrat".
If it were a Republican, we'd have read it already.
I agree — the “in this specific form” would seem to imply that it’s someone with a well-known history of scandal. That would point to the ‘toons or Giuliani. But who knows?
Why did it take twelve paragraphs to not even say that the muckrakers and scandalmongers have some juicy gossip but have not determined yet how to spin it for the most devastating effect?
Ding, ding, ding - we have a winnah...
Maybe the behavior at issue involves a candidate's spouse?
My guess is it is Rudy.
I know, I know, Obama’s in the gay sex tape with Viscount Linley.
Rumors of Hillary's gayness have been around for years.
Rumors of straight affairs (a la Foster, Hubble) have also been around.
Some evidence of it WOULD be in that specific form.
A DIFFERENT form would be Hillary with a different species, possibly vegetable.
Hillary's been around long enough to have all sorts of rumors bound.
I'm betting O'bama, because, despite all evidence, they call him a "leading" candidate.
And they wouldn't sit on a Republican scandal.
yup Daralundy , .. it took all the way to 16 posts to “Ring da Bell”
Hillarys Mystery Woman: Who is Huma? http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1872041/posts
It's from last April ... and had me and a lot of others wondering. This woman, the article says, "lives with the Clintons."
If it were a republican, we’d have heard it by now, splashed everywhere. And a lesser candidate like Breck Girl or Obama wouldn’t cause this much consternation. Hildebeast may take a big hit. My guess is the democrats would rally around her.
“I know something you don’t know.” - Ron Rosenbaum, 3rd Grader
Well, then it couldn't possibly be Hillary, because everything under the sun has been rumored about Bill.
Hillary’s a MAN, baby!
Naw, old news. ;)
Well, if it’s a Republican it’s better we know now than later. They can’t hurt with this.