I sometimes wonder if I’m just wasting my time at journalism school. We so much talk about ethics in our classes, and then we see these ethics hardly being observed in American mainstream media. I watched 60 Minutes interview with Ahmadinejad on Sunday and I was amazed how unprofessional Pelley acted. Has any journalism professor who teaches at American universities watched that interview?!

We learn that in an interview we should not lead the interviewee to an answer. If the interviewee does not answer our question, we can reword the question, but we are not allowed to force the interviewee to answer in a specific manner. After all, we should respect someone’s right not to answer a question. We should always be polite. We should talk based on facts. We cannot generalize and give comments without having direct and indirect quotes from credible sources. A journalist should not add his own subjective biases to the story. A journalist should let the reader/audience decide.

As much as I dislike Ahmadinejad and am against his policies, I was disgusted by the rude, ill-mannered, and unprofessional behavior of Pelley.

Does any journalism professor actually care how journalism is really practiced in the American mainstream media these days? What should I do with what I learn about ethics of journalism at school on one hand, and the interviewers’ and the “super stars” of cable news networks’ practice of journalism on the other hand? Which one is the right thing to do? If the latter is right, then why do we bother ourselves at school to talk about ethics?

p.s. 1. Again I repeat that I dislike Ahmadinejad greatly and am against many of his policies fundementally. That doesn’t stop me from criticizing the practice of journalism in the US though, specially while I know how journalism schools insist on ethics. Pelley’s work was abhorring last night.

p.s. 2. I have more to say about Ahmadinejad’s remarks (and sometimes big fat lies) both in 60 Minutes and at the University of Columbia. But I should sleep now to get up early and go to the airport.

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