PETER SUSSMAN: "Was I tagged because this is such a tough ethical issue to parse?
"It is not."With this kind of entanglement with the subject of its news stories, the Times has given up the right to expect any trust or credibility for its journalism on education. They are trapped in a massive conflict of interest, and no amount of pro forma disclosure will fix that. It's so sad to see what has happened to that once-great publication."You can add to the comment that trust and credibility are the life's blood of journalism, and without it, a "news" organization is no different than any other partisan in public disputes, with the added problem that there is no major paper to hold it accountable, although in this case a blogger has apparently stepped into the breach. People have jeopardized and lost their jobs for defending their editorial independence and standing up to such conflicts of interest."I haven't read the background on the issue you've highlighted, but if all your information is accurate, the Times' problem extends beyond opinions to reporting, however well-intentioned their education reporters are."
--Peter Sussman, retired longtime San Francisco Chronicle editor. Sussman has held a number of positions in the Society of Professional Journalists, the nation’s oldest, largest and most broadly based association of journalists. He was a 15-year member of the Society’s national Ethics Committee and was a co-author of the organization’s 1996 Code of Ethics, which had generally been considered the primary ethics code for the profession for almost two decades.