Monthly Archives: August 2008

Journalism Ethics 101 – My Conversations with New York Times Reporter Janny Scott

Twenty Questions on Ethics and Standards for the New York Times.

In 2005, I was interviewed by New York Times reporter Janny Scott about the Incarnation Children’s Center (ICC) scandal. My investigation had revealed that orphaned children were being used in taxpayer and Pharma–funded drug studies in a Catholic orphanage in New York City.

The studies involved FDA Black-Box labeled drugs, in high doses and combinations. (The FDA Black Box label indicates that a drug has caused permanent damage or has killed patients taking the drug, at its normal, prescribed dose). Orphans were receiving a half dozen of these drugs at once.

  • My published work featured interviews with the medical director of the ICC, and children, guardians and current and former employees from the drug-test orphanage.
  • In my reporting, I reviewed and cited the medical literature on the putative Aids drugs and HIV tests used in the ICC orphanage.
  • I named and reviewed the studies listed in the government’s clinical trials database (clincialtrials.org) that were being conducted at the orphanage and its referring hospitals.
  • In the course of my reporting, I had also been able to enter the ICC orphanage itself, undercover, with one of the families I was working with, and I reported on what I experienced in meeting the children held there.

The story was followed up by numerous news agencies, and spawned several independent investigations, as well as a BBC documentary (that was later attacked by pro-pharma/drug activists).

The New York Times caught up with the story by mid 2005; Times reporter, Janny Scott, interviewed me by phone and then in an email correspondence that lasted over a month. I supplied her with referenced material, and also with contact information, phone numbers and names for my inside sources (as well as my sources permission and agreement to be interviewed by the Times).

Ms. Scott (and her junior writing partner, Leslie Kaufman), also had access to all the materials already published on the ICC story by myself and independent news agencies [1, 2, 3].

She took my interview, sources and information, but suppressed all of it in her reporting. She did not cite me correctly relating to the publication of my article. She misquoted me from emails that I sent her, and she actively suppressed the sources I gave her, who had inside information about the ICC trials.
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