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The Sources’ Stake in the News

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deminks Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jan-17-10 08:33 AM
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The Sources’ Stake in the News

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/17/opinion/17pubed.html ?

WHEN The Times interviewed Michael Chertoff about airport security after the underwear bomber tried to blow up a passenger jet on Christmas Day, he said full-body scanners should be deployed at airports. Chertoff, the former secretary of homeland security, did not volunteer that he is a consultant to a company that makes such equipment, and though they spoke to him twice, reporters never asked if he had a financial stake in the matter.

Peter Galbraith, a former diplomat, wrote several Op-Ed columns a few years ago supporting a strong and independent Kurdistan. The editors who published his pieces learned only in November — from a front-page article — that Galbraith’s business ties to a Norwegian oil company operating in Kurdistan positioned him to earn millions.

Jonathan Gruber, a prominent M.I.T. health economist, wrote an Op-Ed column and was quoted frequently in other Times columns, news articles and blogs on health care reform before it came to light that he had a contract worth nearly $400,000 to analyze health proposals for the Obama administration.

Neil Sadick, a famed Manhattan dermatologist, was quoted in a Skin Deep column discussing electronic devices for the home treatment of acne, but the article did not say that Sadick has a business relationship with a company that makes one of the devices.

These examples have resulted in five embarrassing editors’ notes in the last two months — two of them last week — each of them saying readers should have been informed of the undisclosed interest. And on Thursday, the standards editor sent Times journalists a memo urging them to be “constantly alert” to the outside interests of expert sources. The cases raised timeless issues for journalists and sources about what readers have a right to know and whose responsibility it is to find it out or disclose it.

(end snip)

Chertoff further adds that it isn't his job to disclose his financial affiliations. It's the reporter's job to ask.
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