Amen: Publication of hacked George W. Bush e-mails raises journalism ethics questions
By the old rules of journalism, George W. Bush’s private e-mails to his family might never have been published or broadcast, certainly not without his permission. Most news organizations would have thought twice about publishing personal messages that were, in essence, stolen goods.
[Washington Post Executive Editor Martin] Baron said, “I don’t see a reason to display those photos. This is all private to the Bush family. There are no public policy implications here whatsoever.”
Baron drew a distinction between publishing important documents taken without authorization — such as the Pentagon Papers and the WikiLeaks cables — and personal materials taken from a private source. The former reveal the conduct of government actions, he said, while the latter do not.