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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Veteran journalist Marvin Kalb strongly takes his peers to task for their often-misguided coverage of the Monica Lewinsky scandal's first 13 days, meticulously detailing the questionable methods and ethical decisions made in the nation's newsrooms.
Kalb lists some major changes in the industry as key factors in the deterioration of newsroom ethics. A major one is the recent proliferation of round-the-clock "news" channels such as MSNBC, Fox News, and CNBC; their constant need for compelling stories often means that countless hours of programming are devoted to various talking heads sharing theories and speculations. In addition, the Internet -- and its many "news" sites such as The Drudge Report -- has its own unquenchable thirst for breaking news.
Another factor, Kalb relates, is the lapsing of time-honored journalistic standards. The general rule used to be that no story would be published without the existence of two solid sources. But the increased competition during the Lewinsky scandal often led to news outlets merely parroting what other outlets were reporting, leaving them unaware of the legitimacy of the story's original sources. This led to dubiously sourced stories spreading like wildfire, as stories are rushed into print merely to keep up with the competition.
Kalb also cites the ever-increasing consolidation of the news industry, leading to increased scrutiny of news budgets and a greater emphasis on corporate profits -- at the expense of standards. One Scandalous Story represents an urgent plea for, as he puts it, "a few good men and women" to rise up within the industry, reject the "rush to judgment" mentality, and reclaim the standards of excellence journalists once staunchly followed. (Nicholas Sinisi)
Nicholas Sinisi is the Barnes&Noble.com Nonfiction Editor.