Friday, October 22, 2010

Juan Williams and the NPR Code of Ethics

NPR recently ended their contract with news analyst Juan Williams after comments he made made on the Fox New Channel show the O'Riley Factor, citing that this comment was inconsistent with NPR's ethical standards and practices.

NPR Coverage of the story can be seen here.

Fox News Channel's coverage of the story can be seen here.

The New York Times coverage of the story can be seen here.

The NPR Code of Ethics does appear to cover the behavior and comments NPR journalists can make when they appear in outside speaking engagements, though we can guess that Juan Williams did get permission to appear on the show from NPR, as required by the code. However, should codes of ethics regulate what a journalist can say when he is not "on the job"? How far should an ethics code govern the behavior of the employees of a business or a profession?

1 comment:

Dr. Speed said...

Actually, the NPR Code of Ethics DOES seem to speak to what Juan Williams did. Per the NPR Code, "In appearing on TV or other media including electronic Web-based forums, NPR journalists should not express views they would not air in their role as an NPR journalist." It is unlikely that, while speaking on an NPR Program, Juan would have said that he would have been afraid of someone dressed in Muslim garb.His comments suggets not only racial or ethnic profiling, but also pure insensitivity, neither of which would have been acceptable to NPR listeners and management.