It is appalling that you took advantage of a man whom you knew to be seriously ill. It is appalling that baited him, knowing that his judgment was impaired by illness. It is appalling that you pretended to be someone he trusted, by your sham pulse-taking. I assume that you disclosed none of this to your editors. If you did, and they still ran the story, they are just as bad as you. As to excusing your actions with "it was early in my career," you are blaming youth for lack of morality. That is a specious stance. As to the pot poll (not the dictator), I am dismayed that so few respondants believe one should reap the consequences of breaking the rules, not to mention the law. This is a slippery slope. But then, I don't parallel park by playing bumper pool.
This is in reference to the story I related last week about the sick man in the hospital who gave me the secret to his Little Black Book, which contained evidence of bribes/kickbacks/gratuities to city officials.
I challenged this poster to elaborate on why he felt my actions were "appalling," and here is the elaboration. Let's talk about this.
The state was investigating very serious allegations about public corruption; the man in question owned a company that sold (or rented) things to the city at inflated prices -- had he given cash gifts to city officials, as was alleged, this amounted to kickbacks.
I was in his hospital room, having arrived there legally, with legitimate questions to ask. I was not affected by a restraining order, which pertained only to state investigators.
When I saw he looked pretty sick, do you feel I had to leave immediately? Few journalists, or ethicists, would agree. What you do is assess the situation. If you feel you are endangering his life, you leave. If you make an error, you live with the consequences, which would be dire.
We are not playing games here; this was about a serious issue of public concern, and whatever my responsibilities were to this man, I also had conflicting responsibilities to my job, which was discovering the truth.
At no point during this interview did he seem to be in medical distress over and above his clearly weakened condition. He engaged me enthusiastically. As soon as I had what I needed, I left.
Was it wrong to play to his ego, knowing he was enfeebled and (in and out) a little confused? Maybe. You could go either way on that. I think it was okay.
Was it okay to take his pulse? No! A really bad sin, I think. It is the only point at which I was deliberately misleading him. I said that last week.
As to smoking pot: Look, you are a rule follower. I am a rule skeptic. We are not going to agree on this one.
Thanks for writing back.
Public Corruption is a fact of life- example Our Congress, and even if you took them on, which would be great, front page story- going to a hospital to interview a really sick man who doesn't know what he's doing is SICK.- then to brag about a first big story makes your ethics really questionable-just sayin'- wish you'd kept that tidbit to yourself.
Listen, you may as well lecture an astronaut about the huge carbon footprint a space launch creates. This is what we DO.
As a result of this story, people in Albany learned that their elected officials happily accepted cash gifts from a man they funnelled business to, at inflated prices. You know?
Sure. It's legal. Smoking a doobie is illegal, however mild the infraction. It seems that you are saying that smoking, like speeding, is OK because it is wrong de jure and not de facto. Which I guess I can live with, except that it makes the reporter the arbiter of what is okay. What if you think that adultery is a de jure offense? Does that make it okay to sleep with another person's spouse to get a story?
I don't disagree with your analysis here, but I think it's more objective, and less subjective, than you think. The reporter is the arbiter only in the sense that he or she can ask his or herself: Am I hurting anybody here? Am I doing anything dishonest?
Stealing hurts, and is dishonest. Sleeping with another's spouse can be seen as hurting another person, jeopardizing a marriage, and whatnot. It also, arguably, is dishonest because, you know, sleeping with someone is pleasurable -- it's being done FOR YOU.
Taking a hit of a pipe that's offered to you just isn't dishonest. It doesn't hurt anyone. You're not doing it for self-pleasure, you're doing it to facilitate a story.
Boehner is a thug, truly, along with the other 'gang' members. Each are more concerned about their own careers and keeping tax credits for their campaign contributers. No matter that they are selling us down the river. I do hope that the American voters will not have amnesia going into this next election cycle. Why they chose to wake up while this president is in office is a mystery to me. A few short years ago it was ok to let the grandkids pay for this war. It was patriotic and the right thing to do for our troops. The rich will be able to buy America pennies on the dollar. Buy one house or business, get the second one FREE.
If I were a political cartoonist, the cartoon I would draw this morning would be Boehner, and Obama and McConnell and Reid all looking proudly at their new baby -- the bill -- and it would be the ugliest baby you ever saw. Only the public, looking in through a window, would be seeing the ugliness.