CONSUMERS OF INFORMATION pay for that information - whether you receive it from a newspaper you bought, a magazine you subscribe to or the broadcast news for which you pay a cable bill. Even if you get your news online, you pay for your Internet service. Information is not free.
If it is understood that we pay for information, is it wrong for the content generators to pay for information as well?
Recently deceased sports broadcaster George Michael paid players and coaches on the Washington Redskins for information, according to the Washington City Paper.
“The fact is, a player deserves to be compensated if you use his name to sell it," Michael told the Washington Post in 1992.
"Checkbook journalism" has long been considered unethical. If you are paying people to tell you stuff, they are moved to say what you want them to say. They make more money that way.
The National Enquirer pays for information unabashedly.
"Paying for information is no different than what the police or other law enforcement do," editor Barry Levine, a 1981 TU journalism grad, told Politics Daily. "If the tip pans out and can be substantiated, then paying for information doesn't taint the process."
The National Enquirer doggedly pursued former presidential candidate John Edwards who fathered a child out of wedlock, while his own wife was suffering with cancer. They broke a huge story that could impact the nation and the world. The Politics Daily writer says that the National Enquirer deserves to win a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage.
What do you think? Is it wrong to pay for information?
And think about this for a second: if you are paying for information, aren't the news media going to provide you primarily with information you want to hear? Are you getting the full marketplace of ideas or are you being told what news media think will sell?
6 months ago