is it possible that a well-respected journalist working for one of the most well-respected news program could destroy themselves with a lie? is it possible that someone of that stature could make a lie so bad that they would demean the profession of journalism in the process? wow! not only was this possible. it just happened.
leslie stahl, a journalist for the program 60 minutes, destroyed her career, her news agency and the profession of journalism with one lie.
this story is not about politics. it is merely an aside to this tale.
simply put, there is a laptop computer owned by a particular person which was left at a computer repair shop. it was eventually given to the fbi. Also, a well-respected newspaper and political operatives had been able to have access the contents. the contents of the laptop contained emails. in an interview with the president of the united states, on the issue of the contents of the laptop, ms. stahl insisted that the contents of the laptop “can’t be verified”
this statement is a complete lie. any person watching the interchange understands that she was lying. simply put: journalism 101. if you want to verify an email, all you have to do to begin the verification process would be to contact the person who owned the laptop and ask them questions such as, “was this your lap top?” and “are those your emails?” if that individuals denied it was their lap top or denied that it was their emails, then as a reporter, you can report that the individual denied owning the computer and/or denied the authenticity of the emails. this would be a truthful statement. ms. stahl, however, lies to the president of the united states about the practice and profession of journalism.
this lie was an act of self-destruction. she literally blew her self up. any respect for her and her reputation evaporated instantaneously. in blowing her self up, she also took with the 60 minutes program as well as the institution of journalism. what is the public to think about journalism when one of the most well-respected journalists who works for one of the most well respected news programs makes such a pathetic lie which demeans the profession of journalism? a little lie, a lot of damage. this damage to the profession of journalism will remain the the public consciousness for years to come.
what do we learn from this? while lies are damaging to the direct victim of the lie, there is collateral damage that can occur as a result of a lie. a liar can damage their professional or occupation. a liar can damage the business at which they are employed. a liar can damage their own reputation which they may have spent years cultivating.
while honesty may not be an easy path to take in life, it is certainly less destructive and harmful than one of lies.