“Deep Cough” is a tobacco company that sued ABC newspaper for an article they ran “Smoke Screen,” that researched the intricacies of nicotine, it’s addictive nature, it’s part in cigarettes, and the dangers of smoking. All sources gave permission to release their name, except for “Deep Cough” and their wishes were not granted.
After suing ABC, “Deep Cough” received an apology from the network, but what that enough? It did not change the past, the damage was done.
The book asks a few questions regarding the responsibility of the “corporate ownership” to encourage and protect investigative reporting. I believe it is their responsibility to ensure that all information cites the sources correctly and fairly. Everything done off the record should be reported as off the record without identifying the source.
Journalists do not necessarily have a responsibility to the public to find ways to counter the demands of the bottom line.
I believe that journalists have a very extreme watchdog role when it comes to covering corporations and economically powerful interests because these are going to be the stories with the most coverage, and journalists who have integrity are going to want to remain a credible source of information.