NBC accused of shoddy checkbook journalism on Brazil child custody story

by editor on December 30, 2009

Admittedly, we didn’t have a lot of interest in the case of David Goldman, the American father who was battling to get his son back from the kid’s adopted stepfather in Brazil. But when we saw that Goldman was flying back and forth from New Jersey to Brazil in a private jet, we briefly thought to ourselves, “Jeez, that guy must have a ton of money.”

We were wrong. Turns out NBC has a ton of money and they spent it like Barack Obama on speed to become the exclusive David Goldman network.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that NBC’s actions have earned the network a scathing rebuke from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Ethics Committee:

The panel says it’s “appalled” because NBC News chartered a plane for Goldman and his son, Sean, to fly from Brazil to the United States. They were reunited after a five-year custody battle, and they arrived in Orlando on Christmas Eve. In paying for the plane, NBC News engaged in “checkbook journalism,” the Ethics Committee says.

The journalists’ group has a code of ethics that urges reporters to refrain from bidding for news.

“The public could rightly assume that NBC News bought exclusive interviews and images, as well as the family’s loyalty, with an extravagant gift,” Ethics Committee Chairman Andy Schotz said.

In a statement, NBC News said: “The Goldmans were invited on a jet NBC News chartered to fly home to the U.S. on Thursday, December 24. NBC News has followed this story since the Goldmans’ story first ran on Dateline nearly one year ago — David Goldman since has appeared on Today seventeen times. NBC News has not and will not pay for an interview.”

With its lavish gesture to the Goldmans, NBC News helped create the news and jeopardized its credibility, the SPJ Ethics Committee said.

“Mixing financial and promotional motives with an impartial search for truth stains honest, ethical reporting,” Schotz said. “Checkbook journalism has no place in the news business.”

Close, Schotz, but no cigar.

What you should have said is that NBC has no place in the new business.

Source: Orlando Sentinel

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I would never have allowed cameras on the face of my son inside my own home. David Goldman can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but he can not fool all of the people all of the time. It is all about money, in my view. NBC should extricate itself from what it appears to be the explotation of a minor for ratings.


Indeed they are lame and they should not be allowed to exist anymore.