Truth (and Falsehood) Occupy Both Sides of the Aisle

As an aging baby boomer, the Barometer has been tickled to see Watergate sleuth/reporter, Bob Woodward, landing on the wrong side of a Democratic president.  Mr. Woodward and his Washington Post colleague, Carl Bernstein, were the bane of the Nixon White House’s existence during the Watergate scandal.  From that point forward, Mr. Woodward  became the dean of journalism with his books used as definitive history for any administration.

However, Mr. Woodward crossed a line when he stood firm on his reporting that the so-called budget sequestration (the automatic cuts in spending) was Mr. Obama’s idea.  He went further into disowning territory when he revealed that he was told by White House aide, Gene Sperling, that he would “regret” his reporting on the sequestration.

“How could you do it, Bob?” seemed to be the outcry.  Mr. Woodward understands the ethics of journalism. His role is to report the truth.  He did because Mr. Sperling and the White House acknowledged that his reporting was correct.  Mr. Woodward has shown what we all should have known through the study of history.  Sometimes the truth helps one party and sometimes it helps another.  Truth does exist, and it cross political lines. No party owns truth.  While each party may want to own truth as a means of winning battles, truth almost always lies somewhere in between party positions.  Mr. Woodward understands this reality, and, as a result, reported unflattering information.  Mr. Woodward was acting as an ethical journalist in doing so, something he did during Watergate.  Different folks are howling now than were doing so in 1972-73.  Howling did not make those stubborn facts any less accurate.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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