Journalist Sacrifices Transparency in the Hunt for Ethics
JULY 10, 2007
In the aftermath of the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, it seems that even media ethics have hit a new low.
In a recent article in Harper’s Magazine, Washington editor Ken Silverstein went “undercover” to expose D.C. lobbying firms taking foreign clients globally known as “dictatorial regimes.” The Harper’s article touched on hot button issues such as shady, hidden-agenda congressional trips and lobby junkets disguised as educational events. But journalist Ken Silverstein seems to have taken the hunt just a bit too far.
Posing as a consultant for an ambiguous foreign client and with self-described “red flags” flying, Silverstein convinced two, prominent lobbying firms to create and present elaborate public image campaigns for his “client.” In an ensuing debate on NPR, Silverstein argued that the lobbyists would have never allowed him access to their upper echelon unless he misled them – but then again – he never gave them the chance.
Silverstein’s information was gathered and reported after one, introductory meeting and it was gathered in a fraudulent manner. Regardless of the shady business dealings lobbying firms are so famous for, Silverstein fabricated facts in order to gather facts. In trying to expose unethical behavior – he committed the very sin he was attempting to uncover.
While lobbyists in our nation’s capitol are currently known for under-the-table deals and less-than-ethical antics, the low reputation of the media is not helped by journalists who cut ethical corners to get the big story.
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