On Feb. 11, an unidentified Media Matters videographer interviewed conservative actress Victoria Jackson on camera about Fox News.
The videographer can be heard on the video saying, “How important is Fox News for getting out our message?” [emphasis added]
A reporter is not supposed to pretend to be a supporter of an interviewee’s cause. The reporter can be warm and friendly but he is not supposed to play confidence games in order to get the story. In this case the videographer referred to “our message” in order to lull the interviewee into a false sense of security. It’s not OK and in the circumstances completely unnecessary to get the story.
Sometimes journalistic ethics can be stretched a bit, for example, in an undercover investigation involving individuals who would clam up at the first sight of a reporter, but at an open public event? No way.
Did Jackson say anything she would not have said had she known she was speaking to a hostile reporter? Who knows, but that’s beside the point. A supposed media watchdog group that incessantly whines about the alleged inadequacies of conservative media should go out of its way to follow the accepted conventions of journalism.
It’s just more proof that Media Matters is as unethical as it claims its conservative targets are.
(In the event Media Matters acquired the video from another media outlet, it was obliged to disclose this fact and is guilty of sloppiness. We also don’t know if the Media Matters person –assuming that’s who did the interview– was credentialed media at CPAC and displayed his credentials for Ms. Jackson to see.)
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