There is a new game in town, and it is not so much a game as it is an exercise in investigative reporting. That is, a journalist who uncovers abuse and corruption in the workplace. This reporter is not reporting to be reporting, or opining, or blogging, but is instead working as an undercover operative, or reporter, embedded in the act of an investigation. The reporting on the embedded reporter’s findings, often presented as news, is meant to persuade company leaders and lawmakers to pass laws requiring businesses to protect against sexual harassment and other abuses in the workplace.
Unfortunately, some journalists are not so ethical. They do not report what they know because they want to be first and foremost. They are willing to lie for that purpose. When a reporter who uncovers abuse and corruption in the workplace decides to withhold that information from their readers, they are hurting the very purpose of what they are reporting. They may even end up in court, defending their decision, when a whistle blower tries to put them out of business because of the harm that he or she has caused.
There is a line, sometimes blurred between reporting and advocacy. When a reporter decides to withhold information from their readers, they are not simply exercising their right to free speech, but instead are practicing advocacy with a harmful outcome. Just like all reporters must adhere to certain journalistic ethics, including honesty and accuracy, a journalist who uncovers abuse and corruption in the workplace must likewise adhere to the same standards of ethics. They cannot, as a practical matter, publish classified information that would harm the people they are trying to help.
Unfortunately, some in the media are not actually journalists; they are more political advocates. They use their influence to get the news out. This makes it difficult to hold them accountable for what they are reporting. As a result, many people doubt the objectivity of the news media. When a journalist refuses to toe the politically correct line, he or she can lose their professional reputation and their job.
It is up to every citizen to make sure that the journalists they choose to report on sensitive topics are doing so without any outside influences. Anyone who is a journalist should be held to the same high standard that they would have if they were working for any other type of news organization. A journalist who uncovers abuse and corruption in the workplace has put himself or herself in a position of danger. If a reporter crosses the line by withholding information, the damage is already done.
When a journalist who uncovers abuse and corruption is threatened or loses their job, that reporter may find themselves in a very dangerous situation. Those who know the dangers don’t mention them to their employers. Instead, they try to get jobs with other news outlets or in other fields. This could lead to life-threatening risks. Because of this threat, a responsible person who is a victim of such activity will do everything in his or her power to ensure that a sexual harassment case like this does not end in litigation and a settlement that puts a victim in a compromising situation.