Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Checkbook Journalism? The SPJ is wrong!

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) have accused NBC News for paying for the plane that took David Goldman and his son from Brazil. To this member if the Family Abduction Community, that allegation is horrendous. First of all, I want to ask where was the Society of Professional Journalists in 1997 when Mackenzie Carpenter and Allen Detrich covered the abduction of several children into Faye Yager's Children of the Underground. In fact Photographer Allen Detrich took pictures as the underground mothers kidnapped their children. Detrich was later resigned from the Toledo Blade for a breach in ethnics after he was caught digitally altering his photos. At the time, we felt that some of the underground moms may not have kidnapped their children if Carpenter and Detrich or the media had not covered the story. The idea of appearing in the news may have actually acted as an added incentive for these moms committing this crime.

But that was back in 1997, and if the Society of Professional Journalism had taken the time to understand this parental kidnapping crime, they might have realized that from the viewpoint of this member of the family abduction community, the chartering of a private plane was more of a humanitarian issue. David Goldman had already flown to Brazil numerous times and paid thousands in legal fees, it is wrong for the SPJ to criticize this issue. Furthermore, if David would have been a passenger on a public airlines, you would have seen cell phone pictures and possibly YouTube videos all over the media. That would have been horrible.

So Dateline is exploiting the David Goldman story by its exclusive coverage. In my opinion, they deserve it since they have been covering this case from the very beginning after Sean's mother passed away. This case dragged on for many months and despite the good or bad news, NBC was there. Again, it is very wrong for the SPJ to take away from this very joyous occasion, the reunification of David and son Sean.

Finally, it's well known in the Family Abduction Community that after a recovery, several Airlines will provide discounted or sometimes complimentary tickets to left-hind parents. The reunification flight back home is by far one of the most cherished and memorable experiences for a left-behind recovering parent. I would hope to expect more from the SPJ!

The Editor

Goldman case: Journalism group rips NBC News

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) blasted NBC News for practicing checkbook journalism to obtain an interview with David Goldman and his son, Sean, in connection with a headline-grabbing international custody case. NBC News paid for the plane that took Goldman and his son from Brazil (where the boy was living) to the United States.

SPJ's Ethics Committee said in a statement released Monday that it is "appalled" that "NBC News breached widely accepted ethical journalism guidelines by providing the plane that carried David Goldman and his son Sean back to the United States from Brazil...."

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