"Pulitzers: Was Mirage a Deception?" - Columbia Journalism Review

"Pulitzers: Was Mirage a Deception?" - Columbia Journalism Review

by: Steve Robinson | publication date: July 1, 1979 | Publication: Columbia Journalism Review | volume: 18 | journal issue: 2 | pages: pp14-15

"James Reston helped to define the issue when he reportedly drew a distinction between 'pretense' and 'deception' at the [Pulitzer] board meeting. Pretense, in this scheme is a passive act: the reporter allows someone to draw the wrong conclusion about who he is or what he knows. Deception, however, is active; the reporter intends to mislead. 'It's biblical, man,' says [Ben] Bradlee of the Post. 'How can newspapers fight for honesy and integrity when they themslevse are less than honest in getting a story? Would you want a cop to pose as a newspaperman?' Other board members, however, admit that they have allowed reporters to conceal their identities in the past, and most reserve the right to do so in the future."

Discussion of the brouhaha at the 1979 Pulitzer Prize deliberations over the methods used in the Chicago Sun-Times' Mirage sting.

Copyrighted, used with permission.