Federal

Jun 28, 2012

Slipper, the staffer and the journalist: how close is too close?

The Peter Slipper affair hasn't only raised questions about sexual harassment -- it's re-opened a debate almost as old as journalism itself: how close should reporters get to their sources in their bid to break a story?

Matthew Knott

Former Crikey media reporter

The Peter Slipper affair hasn’t only raised awkward questions about what does and doesn’t constitute s-xual harassment — it’s re-opened a debate almost as old as journalism itself: how close should reporters get to their sources in their bid to break a story?

On Tuesday, the Commonwealth lodged documents in court suggesting that News Limited had been involved in an elaborate plot to destroy Slipper’s career. One four-word text allegedly sent by journalist Steve Lewis to Slipper’s accuser James Ashby — “We will get him!” — has caused the most controversy.

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30 comments

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30 thoughts on “Slipper, the staffer and the journalist: how close is too close?

  1. Stevo the Working Twistie

    This seems to be all about the ethics and motives of an individual “journalist” (for want of a better word), but really it’s about the ethics and motives of an entire media organisation. Limited News has shown over and over again that it will do anything in its power to influence politics and opinion in ways that are to its benefit. The actions of an individual may not be directly ordered or supported by management, but they will almost certainly by encouraged by the organisational culture.

  2. klewso

    Annabel Crabb doesn’t know how “journalists/ism” work/s?

  3. klewso

    Let’s face it too many “political correspondents” have willingly become “co-respondents” – colouring their own reporting with their own prejudices.

  4. klewso

    Are “editors” “journalists” too?

  5. cairns50

    am i reading you correct mr nott ?

    you state mr lewis is one of the best like journos in the canberra press gallery

    then you go on to state that he was the reporter that broke the godwin grench affair about which mr grench send false emails and told lies concerning kevin rudd in what was an attempt to destroy the reputation of mr rudd by stating that he had acted corruptlly regarding the use of a car for electoral and political reasons

    mr grench was found to have lied about everything he wrote and said about mr rudd

    now you report that mr lewis has been deeply involved with mr ashby in an attempt to destroy mr slippers reputation

    and once again what mr lewis has been reporting appears to be nothing but lies

    but you say mr lewis is one of the best like journos in the canberra press gallery

    which begs me to ask the question, does a reporter have to be a liar to be well liked in the canberra press gallery ? and is that the sort of behaviour that enables a reporter to be well liked by his peers working in the same enviroment ?

  6. Edward James

    The fact that our governments and politicians still continue to indulge in a process famously identified by a long gone Queensland Premier as feeding the chooks, has not changed. What happens has a lot to do with the way Steve Lewis story about Peter Slipper’s accuser James Ashby unfolded. Journalist with some skill as word smiths often get poached to move away from newspapers and exercise their talents as word smiths / media officers and spin doctors on behalf of the dark side of politics. I have had some experience with TV and print journalist, I know many of them are not that “nice”, perhaps because they are about improving their employment position not yours in terms of exposing what you may think is a newsworthy story, perhaps about wrongful deaths of five people. In fact they have a lot in common with those dodgy politicians so many of us have met! Edward James 0243419140

  7. zut alors

    I hope that Ashby and Lewis will end up reaping precisely what they have sown.

  8. Edward James

    @ KLEWSO Posted Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 2:53 pm | Permalink Are “editors” “journalists” too? I often wonder KLEWSO when I read some of the stuff editors support if they understand, what Muller, now a professor at Melbourne University’s Centre for Advanced Journalism, says about several clauses in the MEAA code of ethics: “Use fair, honest and responsible means to obtain material”; “Do not suppress relevant available facts”; and “Disclose conflicts of interest that affect, or could be seen to affect, the accuracy, fairness or independence of your journalism”. It is worth noting I continue to identify a certain paper as a promulgator of lies. And those “in the media” around that paper have gone deaf dumb and blind. Edward James 0243419140

  9. Michael de Angelos

    “Ethicist and media commentator Leslie Cannold says the reporting of the Slipper affair threatens to further undermine the public’s trust in journalism.”

    The understatement of the year.

    Edward James is right and I’ve known many hacks and I wouldn’t trust them with your wife.
    Most are desperate opportunists working in an desperate industry where you are only as good as your last ‘scoop’. The whole business of news reporting now breeds exageration and contempt for the truth.

    There are few now left with ethics.

    Where is the apology from Lewis for his absurd Utegate beat-up?.
    They do it because they can get away with it and hope the public has short memories.

    Five years ago this bunch were screeching that on Jersey island a former children’s home was littered with murdered kiddies bodies yet it was hogwash.

    Never an apology-never an explanation. They think they can treat us as mugs and we won’t notice.

  10. eric

    Michael de Angelos
    Posted Thursday, 28 June 2012 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    “Never an apology-never an explanation. They think they can treat us as mugs and we won’t notice”.

    Unfortunately most of their mug readers only know what they are told and believe most of the outright lies and BS from News Ltd.

    I just hope that by splitting the company Murdoch loses some of his badly performing papers down the gurgler.

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