On Monday, Newsweek.com violated journalistic ethics by merely republishing anti-gun propaganda from “The Trace,” Michael Bloomberg’s gun-control advocacy “news” site. Newsweek did no fact-checking, gathered no information, requested no response and questioned no findings in an article that—among other things—blamed NRA, the world’s premier gun-safety organization, for gun deaths among children.The Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics clearly states journalists should:
- Take responsibility for the accuracy of their work. Verify information before releasing it. Use original sources whenever possible.
- Provide context.
- Gather, update and correct information.
- Identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.
- Diligently seek subjects of news coverage to allow them to respond to criticism.
- Label advocacy and commentary.
Newsweek.com allowed “The Trace” to label itself as “an independent, nonprofit media organization dedicated to expanding coverage of guns”—a mischaracterization obvious to anyone who has ever read the stories there. Is it any wonder Americans have lost their trust in media?