A DISCUSSION OF LAW AND JOURNALISM

Tag: News of the World scandal

The Wall Street Journal’s First Amendment Hypocrisy

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By Trevor Timm

Late last night, The Wall Street Journal published a flailing, desperate editorial, attempting to tamp down the hacking scandal that has engulfed its owner Rupert Murdoch for the past two weeks. In a classic case of blame deflection, the paper took shots at several news organizations on both sides of the Atlantic that are not owned by News Corporation. But lost in the mire of attempted score settling and self-pity is the paper’s incredible stance on WikiLeaks and the First Amendment, which reeks of hypocrisy, and should not be left without a response.

The editorial, of course, does not dispute any of the facts in the hacking scandal investigation, which has been spearheaded by The Guardian and its intrepid reporter, Nick Davies. Instead, the Journal questions what’s driving The Guardian and its ilk, and then declares anything The Guardian has to say about journalistic ethics is null and void because it published, or partnered with others who published, documents leaked to WikiLeaks.

We also trust that readers can see through the commercial and ideological motives of our competitor-critics. The Schadenfreude is so thick you can’t cut it with a chainsaw. Especially redolent are lectures about journalistic standards from publications that give Julian Assange and WikiLeaks their moral imprimatur.

This argument would also, of course, discount other papers’ comments on “journalistic standards,” including the Washington Post and the New York Times. (more…)

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