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April 27, 2005


I'm no journalistic ethicist, and I've wondered for a while what is the right thing to do in this situation:

A collegue publishes a story that makes Republicans look bad. I start receiving unsolicited phone calls from Republican operatives telling me why the story is unfounded. I'm asked to write a story on the topic. I begin to research the operatives' claims and find them reasonable.

The dilemma is subtle: if I write "My collegue's story is unfounded because...", haven't I given in to the political pressure from the Republican operatives? If I write "Republicans claim that my collegue's story is unfounded because...", aren't I playing in to he said/she said crapfest? But the latter is more accurate to my experience, and the former smacks of non-independence. But the former is more fact-based and the latter is just gossipy.

I dunno. I don't know, but I bet there's a lot of this sort of pondering going on.

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