Feb 25, 2011

Wisconsin crank call went too far.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker was punked by a crank call from Ian Murphy, a blogger and 'new journalist' from the Buffalo Beast - details of that call can be found in a previous post.

Though many are disturbed that Governor Walker admitted to considering using violence and intimidation to end the protests, and that Walker would take phone calls from the billionaire tycoon and Tea Party founder Koch brothers but not his own state senators, I think the real issue here is the so-called journalist who used lies and deception to access governor Walker.

Ian Murphy is not a journalist. Any blogger who wishes to be called a journalist should still abide by the standards of ethics that all good journalists abide by.

The Society of Professional Journalists, in its Code of Ethics, argues that journalists should be 'honest, fair, and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting news.'

Mr. Murphy fails the honesty test. The information derived from his fake conversation with Governor Walker was drawn from deceit that makes my entire profession look bad. Publicatons like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal would fire a reporter for stooping to such methods.

When seeking out interviews, journalists should never misrepresent their name or affiliation. If politicians or private citizens decline to speak with us, that is indeed their right, as it is our freedom to report their 'non-statements' and to continue to try to contact them.

I believe the Buffalo Beast website owes Governor Walker - and the entire profession of journalism - an apology for their dishonesty.

On the other hand, it is surprisingly easy to prank Wisconsin's governor.

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Keep it civil and pg-13, please.