Unethical People

In the world of media today, an ethics code is one of the most important things to follow. Unfortunately, Mike Barnicle and Patricia Smith did not feel the same way. Mike Barnicle and Patricia Smith, both former workers for The Boston Globe, plagiarized and falsified information in order to bring forth newsworthy stories. Throughout this paper I will discuss the unethical acts of both Barnicle and Smith, the problems they caused for themselves, and the problems they caused for The Boston Globe.

"The following is what happens when a company lacks consistent response to, and enforcement of, its core values and standards"(Hoffman 1). The summer of 1998 became one of the worst summers The Boston Globe has ever seen. For thirty years The Boston Globe had built itself a great reputation and had won twelve Pulitzer prizes. "The Globe even outshone its cross-town rival, the Boston Herald" (Hoffman 1). In 1973 the Globe hired a writer by the name of Mike Barnicle. Mike wrote about the Boston?s working class. Including cops, single mothers, gas station owners, elderly immigrants and young veterans. Problems with Barnicle started to surface early in his Boston Globe career. The Globe settled two lawsuits stating that Barnicle plagiarized quotes of famous people. Also, a man by the name of Mike Royoko complained that Barnicle was copying his work. Many workers at the Globe then came to resent him and complained that he was arrogant.

Just when it seemed that Mike Barnicle?s problems were beginning to subside, on August 1, 1998, Barnicle wrote a column titled, "I was just thinking?..". A reader called the Globe and alerted the Boston Herald that many of the excerpts in Barnicles column actually came from George Carlins book, Brain Droppings. The column Barnicle had written was not his own work..

This was the worst case scenario for the Boston Globe because their competitor released the story first and at the same time revealing the earlier problems the Globe had had with Mike Barnicle. "The thirty eight, one-liners in the column included eight items similar to George Carlin?s book, without citing Carlin as the source"(Jurkowitz 1). Here is an excerpt from the actual article that Barnicle wrote compared to the writings of George Carlin.

The book: "If cockpit voice recorders are so indestructible, why don?t they just build an airplane that?s just one big cockpit voice recorder?"(Carlin;Jurkowitz 3).

The column: "How come planes aren?t made with the same indestructible material used to assemble those black boxes that always survive crashes?"(Barnicle;Jurkowitz 3).

The book: "People who should be phased out: Guys who wear suits all day and think an earring makes them cool all night."(Carlin;Jurkowitz 3).

The column: "I don?t get it when guys over forty think they?re cool because they wear an earring."(Barnicle;Jurkowitz 3).

As you can see through this small excerpt, Mike Barnicle obviously took his column from George Carlin?s book, even though Barnicle claims to have never read Carlin?s book. This wasn?t the end to Barnicle?s unethical ways. In1995 Barnicle wrote a piece about two families with a child at Children?s Hospital. The story had been told to Barnicle, but was never meant for news and the story was embellished and flawed in the retelling. Barnicle wrote that one family lost a child and the other family generously gave them a personal gift of ten thousand dollars, when in actuality a gift of five thousand dollars was given and it was given to go toward a scholarship, not a personal gift. Also the race of the child was not accurate.

When The Boston Globe became aware of what Barnicle was doing they were outraged. The Globe immediately asked for Barnicle?s resignation accusing him of plagarism and falsification. Barnicle states, "Plagiarism is not the word to use here. Laziness or stupidity might be."(Jurkowitz 2). Barnicle asked the Globe to run a final column so that he could argue his case. Barnicle?s request was denied, but he was allowed to write a column announcing his resignation.

So at the age of fifty-four in August of 1998, Barnicle resigned. In his resignation column he states, "My employment ended in forced resignation and personal disbelief this August when I could not immediately provide sources for a 1995 column that included the reconstruction of dialogue I had not actually heard directly."(Barnicle 5). Barnicle had worked at the Globe for twenty-five years and