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Ethical ViolationsCategories of Journalistic Ethical Violations

The Categories of Journalistic Ethical Violations that EyeOnThePost.Org uses are derived from a synthesis of The Washington Post's own Code of Ethics (WP), Honest Reporting's (HR) code, Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) and categories defined by the Board of Directors (BD) of EyeOnThePost.org.
  • Misleading Definitions and Terminology (HR): "By using terminology and definitions in a way that implies accepted fact, the media injects bias under the guise of objectivity." (WP): "No story is fair if it consciously or unconsciously misleads or even deceives the reader."
  • Imbalanced Reporting (HR): "Media reports frequently skew the picture by presenting only one side of the story." (WP): "Reporters and editors of The Post are committed to fairness. While arguments about objectivity are endless, the concept of fairness is something that editors and reporters can easily understand and pursue." (SPJ): "By choosing to report certain events over others, the media controls access to information and manipulates public sentiment."
  • Opinions Disguised as News (HR): "Failing to label News Analysis or Commentary articles that appear in the news section." (WP): "On this newspaper, the separation of news columns from the editorial and opposite-editorial pages is solemn and complete. This separation is intended to serve the reader, who is entitled to the facts in the news columns and to opinions on the editorial and 'op-ed' pages." (SPJ): "Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent fact or context."
  • Selective Omission (HR): "By failing to provide proper context and full background information, journalists can dramatically distort the true picture." (HR): "By choosing to report certain events over others, the media controls access to information and manipulates public sentiment." (WP): "No story is fair if it omits facts of major importance or significance. Fairness includes completeness. The newspaper shall tell ALL the truth so far as it can learn it, concerning the important affairs of America and the world." (SPJ): "By failing to provide proper context and full background information, journalists can dramatically distort the true picture."
  • Use of Unreliable Sources (SPJ): "Test the accuracy of information from all sources and exercise care to avoid inadvertent error."
  • Inappropriate Headlines (SPJ): "Make certain that headlines, news teases and promotional material, photos, video, audio, graphics, sound bites and quotations do not misrepresent. They should not oversimplify or highlight incidents out of context."
  • Inappropriate Photos
  • Using True Facts To Draw False Conclusions (HR): "Media reports frequently use true facts to draw erroneous conclusions."
  • Distortion of Facts (HR): Reporting of inaccurate, false, deliberately incomplete or misleading information. "In today's competitive media world, reporters frequently do not have the time, inclination or resources to properly verify information before submitting a story for publication."
  • Pejorative Syntax and Grammar (BD): The use of syntax and grammar to slant otherwise objective reporting.
  • Unreported News (BD): The omission of newsworthy events.
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Key:
HR = Honest Reporting
WP = Washington Post Code of Ethics
SPJ = Code of Ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists
BD = Board of Directors of EyeOnThePost.org
 

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