The Society of Professional Journalists says television network NBC went over the line when it got exclusive interviews with the Goldman family following their retrieval of a son from Brazil, after funding the trip.
According to reports, NBC chartered the flight bringing David Goldman and son Sean home from Brazil, and along the way got interviews aboard the plane and later on “The Today Show.”
SPJ said, “By making itself part of a breaking news story on which it was reporting — apparently to cash in on the exclusivity assured by its expensive gesture — NBC jeopardized its journalistic independence and credibility in its initial and subsequent reports. In effect, the network branded the story as its own, creating a corporate and promotional interest in the way the story unfolds. NBC’s ability to report the story fairly has been compromised by its financial involvement.”
“NBC must now, belatedly, explain why it entangled its news reporting and corporate interests in this story, as well as the terms of any deal it made with the Goldman family,” said SPJ Ethics Committee Chairman Andy Schotz said. “NBC also is ethically bound to adequately disclose its active role in the story in each of its future reports on the Goldmans.”