I opened my Twitter to find a smiling Geraldo Rivera posing with President Trump on midterm election day. Rivera claimed he had a “private” moment with the president in Cleveland, but it was so “private” he had to post it for the world to see on Twitter.
Photos like this send the wrong message. What did it say to the public? His critics on Twitter believe the veteran journalist is bias and a supporter of the Republican Party. Rivera may disagree, but as the cliché goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.”
Rivera knows better. He allowed his ego to get in the way of his job as a journalist. He had to let everyone know he was hanging out with his buddy on midterm election day. It also doesn’t help that he works at Fox News that leans to the right.
I’ve said it before, journalists should not be posing with any politicians even if they are friends. It is our job to make sure we have balanced coverage without bias every time we cover a story.
Rivera needs a refresher course on the SPJ Code of Ethics:
Act Independently: The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public. Journalists should avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
As journalists we can always learn from other’s mistakes. Rivera gave me another photo I can use to teach student journalists WHAT NOT TO DO on the job.
Check out my article, Why journalists should not be taking selfies with political candidates. Also, it’s always a good idea to know the SPJ Code of Ethics.