WIUM Tristates Public Radio

A Lack of Regard for Ethics and Decency

Dec 15, 2015

After the FBI finished going through the home of mass murderers Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the agency turned the property back over to the landlord. The landlord then opened it up to reporters, some of whom rummaged through the apartment on live television.

Many journalism organizations were appalled by the scene.  Shop Talk panelist Jasmine Crighton is among those disappointed by what she saw.

Crighton does not blame reporters for wanting to go through the home in hopes of finding something to help tell the story, but she said it should not have been done on live television.

Crighton said one reporter held a photo of a child to the camera and read the child’s name on the air.  She said the child had nothing to do with the shooting and the reporter’s actions were inappropriate.

Panelist Rich Egger agreed. He said the Poynter Institute also felt reporters had a duty to go through the apartment in hopes of providing some context, but it should not have been done in a live broadcast.

Egger also pointed out the FBI had already searched the apartment so it was highly unlikely anything of consequence remained there.

Panelist Jonathan Ahl called the live broadcasts reckless. He said there was no regard for ethics or basic human decency. 

Ahl said he would fire everyone involved if he was in a position of authority at a broadcast outlet that aired the scene live.