Meanwhile, Bill's Content has been following the story of a Chicago Tribune columnist dismissed after an affair he'd had 14 years earlier surfaced. There's too much for me to summarize--visit Mr. Dennis and read for yourself--but a recent post reacting to a Newsweek column caught my attention because it sums up one of the reasons I never went into journalism, despite studying it passionately in high school and college:
I believe the profession has suffered from the change. The "hard-drinking, hard living" newsie culture gave us Watergate. The politically correct, tongue-clicking "smoke-free" culture gave us Chandra Levy and Monica Levy. Chicago Tribune editor Ann Marie Lipinski is a child of this second culture. When questioned by reporters as to exactly Green's 14-year-old consensual affair with a legal adult who he wrote about once was grounds for seeking Greene's dismissal, Lipinski cannot even put into words exactly why it was so horrible. It just runs afoul of her personal moralistic code. This code affects the entire industry. I suggest that the era of "hard-drinking, hard-living" newsies culture may have had its ethical lapses, but people who worked in this culture had little problem distinguishing minor peccadilloes and major breaches of public trust. Apparently, that is a muscle in Ann Marie Lipinski's brain that never got the proper amount of exercise in journalism school.