Reporting on Journalists Is Difficult
SCOTT SIMON, Host:
Yesterday, NPR's David Folkenflik reported on the efforts of former New York Times reporter Kurt Eichenwald to clear his name. Mr. Eichenwald was criticized for actions he took while reporting a story about child pornography to rescue a young man from that world. In his Reporter's Notebook, David describes the difficulties of reporting on our own profession.
DAVID FOLKENFLIK: I thought, I'm willing to pick up the phone. All it would cost me was a few minutes. It ended up consuming six months.
SIMON: For a reporter, paying a source is a little bit like bribing someone. He know not to do it. Eichenwald had an explanation.
KURT EICHENWALD: I believed that I had enough of a reputation and enough of a track record that when I say to other journalists, I don't remember that they could simply accept that or prove me wrong.
FOLKENFLIK: For a man who makes his living pinning down facts - complicated facts - it was humbling. I flew to see him in Dallas and I was still somewhat skeptical. I expected to sit down for an interview for an hour or so to fill out his story. I spent 13 hours at the Eichenwald household. He had several seizures. And Eichewald told me, in excruciatingly detail, what his life had been like for the past two and a half years and the mistakes he had made.
EICHENWALD: I should have said I can't. I can't handle this anymore. I am in trouble. I am in severe trouble. I need to get out.
FOLKENFLIK: It turns out, it can't be done. Not without a lot of pain.
SIMON: The full story from Friday's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED is available on npr.org.
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