For today’s question of Media Ethics we have one Robert Caruso and MSNBC!
Are you ready for some fun??? I sure am!
Robert Caruso is a man of mad secretarial skills (“ensured travel arrangements for guests, honorariums, expenses, and appropriate administrative support”) who has been apparently passing himself off as some kind of military genius to the media…
That’s not how Caruso has been selling his “expert” credentials. MSNBC actually introduced him as a “Defense Department official” in a segment about how best to solve the Syrian civil war, as Caruso sat opposite a four-star general. (A screenshot of this TV coup is now his Twitter avatar.) Eli Lake, formerly of the Daily Beast, now at Bloomberg, once quoted him as an “official at the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.”
If you go read the entire article at DeadSpin.com you’ll find that a surprisingly large number of popular media companies gave Robert Caruso a platform to preach war from… despite him not having any real credentials.
Now, if Brendan James at DeadSpin can go and double-check all of Caruso’s wild credential claims… why didn’t any of the media companies who so happily let him spout off on national television?
Is that ethical?
Is it ethical for a media company to present an individual as some kind of credentialed expert without ever verifying his experience? This is a serious subject you know… we’re literally talking about a man advocating killing people in front of millions of households.
Doesn’t that deserve to be taken seriously?
And yet… it seems like these media companies were much more interested in pushing out content than anything else… I’d say they’re almost like nihilists… but that’s not right is it. They’re much more akin to hedonists aren’t they.
Anyways… to continue…
A clip of Robert Caruso on MSNBC…
Even as his press portfolio grew, people who know him say, things degenerated for Caruso after the breakup. He crashed for months at a time with different friends and acquaintances, often without paying rent, until one by one they asked him to move out. Others tried to help him get on his feet. But once anyone began to question or challenge his behavior, they discovered Caruso’s tendency to call them, stalk them, and make threats on their family.
“They all realized they needed to get away from this guy ASAP,” said a former friend and roommate, including himself in the bunch.
Robert Caruso may very well be mentally ill… I do not know. He certainly sounds and acts in an unstable manner. It’s actually a little concerning… when you see people interacting with him (like in the tweet below) it doesn’t seem like he has a firm grasp on reality.
— Andrew Perez (@andrewperezdc) November 4, 2016
But doesn’t that just make it even more concerning that this man was given a national platform by various media companies?
As a question of ethics… well I think it’s dubious. Are media companies truly so concerned with merely pushing content that they can’t be bothered to verify anything? Is that where we are? One big hypocritical mess where media companies claim to be ethical journalists and yet allow a possibly mentally ill secretary to spout off on national television about war policy without any kind of verification?
Feel free to share your feelings on the ethics of this mess below in the comments section.
Media Ethics Score: 5 / 10 (there's some ethical mess to clean up here, but maybe some of it went under the stove, we'll have to have a look see)
*edited some typos (11/4/2016)… my hands were so furiously doing the clickity clacking of typing that I missed some*