AJR  Letters
From AJR,   February/March 2005

Emulating Enron   

By Unknown

Emulating Enron Thanks for your article about the defensive crouch that many news organizations automatically take when their stories come under attack ("Knocking Down the Stonewall," December/ January).

However, I take little comfort from journalist John Seigenthaler's claim that news companies disclose their mistakes more readily than corporate malefactors like Enron. After all, unlike other industries, the news media are supposed to be in the business of exposing wrongdoing in the first place.

Increasingly, it seems that media corporations are emulating the worst tactics of the rest of corporate America when they get caught committing malpractice--by stonewalling, spinning, covering up, passing the buck, and otherwise denying responsibility.

In my own case, after 20 years as an investigative reporter, I decided it was time to get out of the business when I realized that some of the news executives I worked for had less in common with their crusading reporters than with the people we were investigating.

Mark Feldstein
Director of journalism & associate professor
School of Media and Public Affairs
George Washington University
Washington, D.C.