According to the Members of the Society of Professional Journalists public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. Ethical journalism strives to ensure the free exchange of information that is accurate, fair, and thorough.
An ethical journalist acts with integrity.
Adhering strictly the SPJ’s 4 primary codes of journalism, CNN’s Brianna Keilar’s interview with longtime Donald Trump aide Michael Cohen was a train wreck of horrific dimension.
It is the journalist’s objective to ask a question—make an inquiry.
Once an answer is given, then that part of the journalist’s job is concluded.
Even a properly organized investigative journalist will agree with the above statement.
Now to dig deeper is an investigative field journalist’s objective, and is critical to the function of gathering truth and acquiring perspective.
However, there is the issue of Keilar’s function at CNN.
CNN delineates her title as senior political correspondent, not investigative reporter.
This does not preclude Keilar from exposing gross untruth and falsehood, but that is not what occurred. Rather, from the outset of the interview, Keilar attempted to “establish the supposition” of a fluid, ongoing sequence of political events—namely, the veracity and certainty of polls.
This is so far beyond the scope of, not only journalistic integrity, but human comprehension, that I will refrain from commenting further, except to briefly, in passing, comment on how many times in US political history polls have not only been incorrect, but manipulated to distort reality.
Keilar is far from the only CNN journalist to attempt such a journalistic transgression. What upset me is her lack of any semblance of restraint.
I will not attempt to “read her mind.”
I will say that her agenda appeared quite clear—she was there to prepare a foundation for how a US Voter is to look at the latest modifications made in the Trump campaign.
Her slapdash, bungled attempt at such outright propaganda is completely out of step with SPJ’s 4 primary codes of journalism.
The link and the exchange are listed below.
“You say it’s not a shakeup, but you guys are down,” Keilar began.
Cohen cut her off.
“Says who?” he asked.
After a brief pause, Keilar answered. “Polls, most of them, all of them,” she said incredulously.
Both Keilar and Cohen were silent for at least three seconds before he repeated his question.
“Says who?” Cohen asked.
“Polls, I just told you. I answered your question,” Keilar said.
“OK, which polls?” Cohen asked.
“All of them,” said Keilar.
Author of Publius: Libertas Aut Mors & Sword and the Pythia