You recently published a column by Kathleen Parker wherein she claims President Donald Trump isn’t quite right in the head. Some of his friends say he has become odder than usual, and plenty of physicians, psychiatrists and psychologists have told her off-the-record that something is wrong with the president.
No question, Parker has the right to express her opinion about the state of the president’s mental health. But it is irresponsible, and in today’s divisive political environment dangerous, for someone in her position as a columnist with wide readership to make such a statement. In her attempt to lend credibility to her opinion, she refers to the above unnamed friends and unnamed off-the-record medical sources.
More and more information offered to readers is based on unnamed sources. Opinion and speculation is no longer limited to the opinion section of newspapers. Frequently, it is mixed in with the report of facts.
Regarding Parker’s column, does it not concern your editorial staff that it is publishing inflammatory commentary containing references to unnamed sources? Maybe it is time for the editorial staff to review the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics.
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