ABC News Paid Weiner Witness

This is interesting:

ABC News paid nursing student Meagan Broussard between $10,000 and $15,000 to license dozens of photos, emails, Facebook messages and cell phone call logs from Rep. Anthony Weiner, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed.

The network announced it had paid to license the photos during its Monday-night broadcasts and in its online story. Mediabistro’s TV Newser first reported the figure.

Leaving aside the story itself, it strikes me that there is always a serious question of journalistic ethics when news organizations pay sources for information.

The other question, of course, is whether Andrew Breitbart or anyone affiliated with him paid any of the sources that he had in this story.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Quick Takes, US Politics, , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. EddieInCA says:

    ABC, TMZ, CBS, MTV NBC, FOX, CNN… They’re all interchangeable now, aren’t they?

    Seriously, in this new world where Kim Kardashian is a multi-millionaire for being a ______, who is shocked that ABC is paying for lewd photos of a congressman?

    I only wish they’d have paid as much attention to a few other politicians who were… you know… actually breaking the law… John Edwards, John Ensign, and David Vitter, who was a John.

  2. James Joyner says:

    I’m not a fan of pay-for-play, although it sounds like they’re basically licensing content here. Essentially, they’re paying a freelance photographer moreso than a “source” in this case.

  3. @James

    Of course, the woman didn’t take the photos, she was the recipient so to the extent there was a license in the sense of copyright law (if that’s where you’re coming from) I don’t think she’d be considered the “owner” of the content.

  4. Dean says:

    The other question, of course, is whether Andrew Breitbart or anyone affiliated with him paid any of the sources that he had in this story.

    Just curious, what’s the point if ABC paid, but Breitbart did not?

  5. ADam says:

    Everybodys a whore in the media business. Sitting around, let’s get the Jewish guy with the big nose. Weiner said, why bother with me when Clarence Thomas, useless as can be, took $800,000 and refused to recuse himself? Which is the greater ethical violation and threat?

  6. G.A.Phillips says:

    Which is the greater ethical violation and threat?

    Burp………..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNddW2xmZp8&feature=related

  7. I’ve never understood why paying sources is unethical. Everyone else involved is getting paid. The reporter, the producers, the crew, the network. Why is the source the one party not permitted to profit from the exercise?

  8. James Joyner says:

    @Doug:

    I don’t know what the copyright law is here and would defer to you on that. But I figure if a public figure sends me a picture of his junk [Note to public figures: Please do this. It’s great for traffic.] that I have the right to publish them or sell them to news outlets. If not, that’s an interesting way to get around the 1st Amendment, since it would be illegal to publish Weiner’s copyrighted wiener photos without his permission.

  9. @James

    I was probably taking the term “license” too technically………occupational hazard

  10. TG Chicago says:

    I’m not a fan of pay-for-play, although it sounds like they’re basically licensing content here. Essentially, they’re paying a freelance photographer moreso than a “source” in this case.

    Well, yeah… that’s what they’re saying they’re doing. They know that if they were upfront and didn’t use weasel-words, it would make them look worse. But regardless of how they spin it, they’re paying a source.