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Ethical issues in journalism

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The Watergate scandal was gripping for a number of years in the 70s. Key to this was the task of the Washington Post together with its reporters’ incredible persistence on an incident many people were not on at the start (Marion 51). And as the incident was starting to take root, many young individuals at the same time were starting to think in idealistic ways concerning their careers (Olmsted 57). This scandal was too attention-getting that a lot of people were fascinated the notion that journalism can, in reality, have an effect and that it can be a career path, which is meaningful and rewarding (Marion 51). Prior to the Watergate incident, journalists saw their roles as only reporting the news (Streitmatter 78).

After Watergate, journalists have set themselves as a priestly class, whose goal is just to unearth scandal—at any cost—ensuring that they get a movie and book deal for themselves in due course (Marion 51). There are basically two issues with this way of viewing the world (Glavinic 16). The first is that big governmental scandals are very rare (Cook 1).

Whereas public officials, at times, break the law and more frequently do brainless things, most people in government jobs are hard-working, who endeavour to do the morally right thing. As a result, journalists, who, at all times, assume that if anything goes wrong, then there has to be sinister grounds for it, have a definitely biased perspective (Marion 53). Reporting incidents filtered by a conspiratorial prism offers a distorted perception of reality (Cook 1). The other major issue with the post-Watergate attitude is that it has separated the media from the rest of the world.

It has developed a Journalist versus “Them” loom, wherein the Journalist knows that they are much smarter and more righteous than the “Them” could ever wish to be (Glavinic 16). Apart from altering the news, this haughty, supercilious position has had an extremely unbecoming manipulation on the media. Since the media knows that it is, in fact, superior to the rest of humankind, there is a notion that the standard rules of conduct, which govern mere mortals, should not bother journalist, making them break almost all ethical issues that are meant to guide them (Marion 53). Journalists violated sanctity and privacy of private financial records (Olmsted 57).

In September, 1972, keen to set up a connection between Segretti, as well as the organisers of the Watergate operation, Bernstein formulated a plot to phone Liddy Gordon and pretend to be Segretti.

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