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Would you call this a Conflict of Interest? Part 1

by on October 24, 2014

So since we have been talking about Conflict of Interests in class this week, I thought it would be good to talk about some real life examples of “gray areas” when it comes to this ethical issue of a journalist having multiple relationships with a topic.

For this case we’ll use a segment from ABC’s “Good Morning America” as an example.

So ABC’s Senior Medical Contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton went onto the air to report on the misconceptions about accuracy/effectiveness of Annual Pelvic Exams for women. Ashton is also a certified OBGYN. This may be viewed as a conflict of interest since Ashton is deeply routed in ABC’s staff, and is being the only voice of this report as an expert. So the question posed is this: Is having Ashton reporting as the source for her own workplace/media organization considered a conflict of interest?

The HealthReviewNews blog thinks so,  and gives a deep analysis of why that is. The video of the segment is here as well. What are your thoughts? Is this in fact a conflict of interest?


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  1. this doesn’t seem like a conflict of interest to me. doctors operate based on principles of hard scientific fact, wouldn’t her being an OBGYN be a boon to this specific story, in terms of her having a thorough understanding of the subject matter? I don’t see what she would have to gain here by twisting facts. although on a level of mere perceived conflict of interest, I guess I could understand, although I still don’t believe there is one here.

  2. Kaitlin Boyer permalink

    I think ABC should have gotten another take on the issue. Just having their reporter who is OBGYN certified is not enough because if they want to avoid people questioning the “conflict of interest”, they should have gotten another opinion just to be safe.

    This is not to say the ABC reporter’s knowledge is not valid but it would have been more beneficial to have two voices.

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