What would happen to a journalist who used information in a story that was false? You would hope that reporter would first of all be excoriated by the rest of the media, forced to apologize to the harmed/defamed/slandered party, be subject to a huge lawsuit by the injured party, lose all credibility, and be fired. Yes that is what should happen. It wasn’t that long ago that Dan Rather used fake military documents to try to take down a sitting president. In his arrogance, Rather has stuck by his “story” even though the documents were proven to be forged. Rather was forced to “retire” and suffers the distinction of being a fraud which for a narcissist has to be a pretty severe punishment. His opinion will always be tainted by that partisan scandal by a supposed neutral journalist.
Fast forward to ABC News’ Chief Correspondent Brian Ross. Ross anchored a series of scathing reports sensationalizing an alleged problem with sudden acceleration in some Toyota vehicles. The problem was that there was no problem with Toyota cars and Ross and ABC was caught using unethical methods to create videos and the use of “experts” who were being paid by plaintiffs. Essentially the reports were false, he knew it yet aired it anyway. The scientific community, including experts at NASA, have not found any problems with Toyota vehicles. Rather (pun intended) than face being excoriated by the rest of the media, forced to apologize to the harmed/defamed/slandered party, be subject to a huge lawsuit by the injured party, lose all credibility, and be fired Ross was given of all things an award. Yes Ross and ABC recently were awarded the Edward R. Murrow Award. Murrow is widely regarded as the ultimate reporter so this seems totally out of character. The award is now perhaps more about getting ratings than good reporting. That is disappointing though not surprising when you look at today’s main-stream media.
You would hope that Toyota would take action, but I guess the publicity and reopening of the negative publicity. The Gawker website has a good piece on the case.