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A New Code Of Ethics was made by the SJP, how necessary is this, gathering that there already is an unofficial code of conduct?

by on September 18, 2014

It was recently announced that SJP, The Society of Professional Journalists, updated its Code of Ethics to include new transparency provisions. This was partly in response to the 60 Minutes’ Benghazi segment and CNN’s failure to disclose Newt Gingrich’s political ties.

In October 2013, 60 Minutes conducted a segment (which they later retracted) promoting a book by a supposed eyewitness of the 2012 Benghazi attacks, Dylan Davies. However, CBS failed to disclose that the book was published by Simon & Schuster imprint Threshold Editions, which is owned by CBS Corporation.

In addition, CNN also failed to disclose New Gingrich’s financial contributions through his PAC — to various politicians he had discussed or interviewed on-air. CNN actually changed its ethics policy to make clear that Gingrich’s actions were not violations.

Was it ethical for CBS journalists to conduct that interview when all the facts weren’t established? Considering the personal agenda by CBS with the book, even if this was just a coincidence, are they still obliged to carry out the interview? In CNN’s case, shouldn’t the journalists give the audience full accountability of Newt Gingrich? Was it ethical to change the ethics policy when there was a conflict of interest?

Also, do you feel that by making an official Code of Ethics, the SJP has prevented ethical situations like this from arising again? What if there is a situation that doesn’t fit into their code?


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