Monday’s media blitz by former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg has been followed with some serious questions about the ethics of interviewing someone whose behavior seemed so erratic.
Was he drinking or drunk? Was he taking some sort of prescription medication that was affecting him? Was he trying to prank the media as his mentor, Roger Stone, was known for? Was it newsworthy?
Poynter’s ethics chair, Indira Lakshmanan, raised several key points in this piece she wrote for poynter.org:
“We journalists must ask ourselves first: Is the information accurate and true, and does it add to our audience’s understanding of the subject? If a source is erratic, or seems to be drugged or drunk (which Nunberg denied when asked directly by CNN’s Erin Burnett), journalists should think hard about the value to our audience of airing a live interview with someone who may not be in their right mind.”
In the same piece, Al Tompkins noted:
“The main problem with the interviews is that they were live. He personally attacks some individuals, including press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in the interviews. The interviewer should have strongly challenged such statements.”
Others weighed in as well (albeit from sometimes partisan views):
Sam Nunberg’s live interviews were strange and uncomfortable. Should he have been on TV at all? (Washington Post) MSNBC, CNN blur journalism ethics lines with ‘irresponsible’ Sam Nunberg ‘scandal porn’ interviews (Fox News) ‘The View’ Debated The Ethics Of Airing Sam Nunberg’s Unhinged Cable News Interviews (Uproxx) On-Air Interviews – A
Read more here: https://www.poynter.org/news/morning-mediawire-think-twice-airing-live-interview-erratic-subject