NBC: Producer Erred In Writing Governors About Convict


Two media experts say a “Dateline NBC” producer who wrote letters to two governors recommending leniency for a convict suspected of killing two women overstepped his boundaries as a journalist, reports the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. Producer Shane Bishop wrote Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush last month saying he could get a confession from an Arkansas convict if the governors waived the death penalty in their states. Bob Steele, who teaches ethics at the Poynter Institute for journalists in Florida, said, “Journalists should never become players in a story. Our job as journalists is to hold institutions and individuals accountable. Journalists should not be making deals with the same public officials we cover.” John Tisdale, who teaches a graduate class in ethics at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, said, “Journalists are to a certain degree detectives, but it gives me some unease when a journalist writes a letter to the governor on behalf of a murderer.”

NBC says Bishop was wrong. “Shane Bishop’s actions in connection with two unsolved murders in the Fort Worth area in 1982 and 1983 do not reflect the views or opinions of NBC News or Dateline NBC,” the network said. “He took these actions without the knowledge or consent of NBC News officials. Given that Mr. Bishop’s actions are in violation of NBC News policy, appropriate action has been taken.”

Link: http://www.dfw.com/mld/dfw/news/local/states/texas/arlington/13448276.htm

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