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Special to FOX Watch
Journalistic Misconduct by Two FOX News Analysts -- And What You Can Do About It
March 10, 2003 -- Los Angeles (Scoobie Davis Online) -- For faithful readers of Scoobie Davis Online, I going to go over some territory that I have covered in the past, but with a new wrinkle.
Those of you familiar with my writing know that I have railed against not only Sun Myung Moon but against his journalistic monstrosity, The Washington Times.
Not only is the Times, in Paul Krugman's words, a "house organ" for the Bush regime, but also it fosters an atmosphere of journalistic dishonesty.
One of the many instances of journalistic misconduct in the Times that has caught my attention was committed by reporter Bill Sammon, who wrote the following in his best-selling book "At Any Cost: How Al Gore Tried To Steal the Election", which was excerpted in the Times:
Gore sounds like a real villain here.
The only problem is that Sammon is lying.
Here is the part of the Washington Post article that Sammon used to base his accusation that Gore "was looking out for Number One, plain and simple":
This excerpt illustrates why Sammon didn't use footnotes in "At Any Cost". If anyone were to check the Post article that Sammon cited, it would reveal that the Post story reported the exact opposite of what Sammon was conveying to his readers.
If it were not for the efforts of Bob Somerby of the Daily Howler, this libel might not have come to light. Somerby took the effort to find the original Washington Post article that Sammon cited; what he found was that Sammon had methodically misrepresented the article to give the opposite meaning of the article.
Somerby did a painstakingly analysis of how Sammon did this; his findings clearly indicate that the systematic omissions and paraphrases of the article by Sammon are such that a reasonable person is forced to conclude that Sammon consciously and systematically twisted the Post article to convey the opposite of its original meaning.
I defy anyone to read the original Post article, Sammon's representation of it, and Somerby's response, and not conclude that Sammon engaged in gross journalistic misconduct and libel.
That Sammon is not jobless now is due to two things:
1) Sammon works for the Moonie-owned Washington Times and FOX News (as a FOX News Analyst) -- two organizations that don't care much about journalistic ethics; and
2) The lack of an effective echo chamber for the left. If progressives had a web site that receives the same number of hits as the Drudge Report, or if Drudge had analyzed Sammon's words instead of promoting his books, then presently Bill Sammon would be considered a latter-day Janet Cooke instead of having two best-selling books ("At Any Cost" and "Fighting Back"). In fact, Cooke should be considered a rank amateur compared to Sammon. Cooke fabricated a story to benefit herself -- nobody was hurt. Sammon stained the reputation of another person with his journalistic fraud.
Here's where it gets interesting.
While there isn't much we can do to Sammon other than to report on his misconduct, we can address Washington Post reporter Ceci Connolly's journalistic misconduct in this case.
Connolly, like Sammon, is also a FOX News analyst.
She also was one of the co-authors of the Post story that Sammon cited.
I had written Connolly to see if she wanted to publicly comment on it; I received no response.
For being publicly silent on the matter, Connolly is in gross dereliction of her duties as a journalist.
According to the Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists, it is the obligation of journalists to "[e]xpose unethical practices of journalists and the news media." This is especially the case when another journalist who is engaging in libel grossly misrepresents one's own reporting.
In addition, the fact that both Connolly and Sammon serve as FOX News analysts raises serious questions about issues addressed by the aforementioned code -- namely that:
1) Journalists should avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived;
2) Journalists should remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility; and
3) Journalists should refuse gifts, favors, fees, free travel and special treatment, and shun secondary employment, political involvement, public office and service in community organizations if they compromise journalistic integrity.
While Connolly is clearly derelict regarding not her reporting Sammon's journalistic misconduct, the other possible violations have not been established -- this is clearly the job of an ombudsman.
Connolly works for the Washington Post, and it is an organization that at least tries to address journalistic misconduct (even though it employs someone like Connolly).
Michael Getler, the ombudsman for Connolly's primary employer, the Washington Post, should address these issues.
Contact Michael Getler at email@example.com and inform him about Ceci Connolly's misconduct.
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ISSN No. 1523-1690