Journalism Ethics: Yesterday and Today at the NY Times

Michael Goodwin, who writes opinion pieces for the NY Post, just published a column called “New York Times reporter broke the biggest rule in journalism (link here)”

It is about the Times reporter, Ali Watkins, who previously worked for other papers and who slept with her source, the head of security for the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Good source.

He apparently shared classified information with her as well as his Precious Bodily Fluids. He has now been indicted.

Goodwin contrasts her lenient treatment with the standards of the legendary (and now departed) NYT editor, Abe Rosenthal.

Soon after a woman who had covered politics in Philadelphia was hired by the Times, a story from Philly said she had a secret affair with a politician she covered and accepted expensive gifts from him.

Rosenthal asked the woman if the story was true and, when she replied yes, immediately told her to clean out her desk and said she would never work for the paper again.

Word of the incident spread quickly through the newsroom, and several female reporters complained to Rosenthal. They argued that the woman was treated unfairly, at which point Abe raised his finger for silence and said something to this effect:

“I don’t care if you f–k an elephant on your personal time, but then you can’t cover the circus for the paper.” 

–Michael Goodwin on Abe Rosenthal

Comment:

Today’s New York Times editors:

“Say, Ali, would you like to meet Jim Comey?”

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