Friday, October 24, 2014

When journalists have an ethical obligation to roll their eyes...

...or at least ask a follow-up question.

Maybe it's just me, but don't journalists have an obligation to object when sources say something blatantly, laughably untrue? If the subject of an interview has just insulted the intelligence of your readers, should you at least attempt to get a more truthful response?

Andrew Cuomo has a new book out. To promote it he has a brief interview with Amy Chozick in the New York Times. I realize that this isn't a setting where you expect hard-hitting journalism, but this still stands out.
You also write that there are ultimately more negatives than positives to being a famous politician’s son. Why? I wouldn’t trade my father or our experiences for anything. But politically, it’s a negative, because you get all your father’s enemies — and not all his friends.
As Scott Lemieux observes, "It’s amazing how many public officials in this land have managed to get beyond this handicap anyway." Everyone knows that Cuomo's background gave him an enormous advantage. He knows it. Chozick knows it. Her editor knows it. We know it.

However, Cuomo also knows that no no one at the NYT is going to rock this particular boat. It's possible that Chozick asked some kind of follow-up -- the article includes the rather troubling disclaimer "INTERVIEW HAS BEEN CONDENSED AND EDITED".-- but the piece that I saw just moves on.

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