jeudi, août 28, 2008


In this article (link) by NYT columnist Nick Kristof, he travels back to a few columns he wrote in 2002 that mentioned a "person of interest" in the investigation of the dealdy 2001 anthrax attacks. That person, Dr. Steven Hatfill, has now been awarded a multimillion settlement from the US government for wrongly pursuing him. Hatfill's suit against him and the paper was dismissed.

In the column, Kristof apologizes to Hatfill, and then asks when public interests outweighs possible emotional harm to a person, or persons, under investigation.

In setting out three examples of possible stories, and asking us to become the journalists making the judgement call, Kristof asserts that where the scales tip in the public interest, journalists should be " very wary" of withholding information.

That's such a careful turn of phrase. In this arena journalists get to play God-and blessed the men or women who are disturbed by that.

Every such decision will be made with the possibility that it may have unforeseen consequences.

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