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Washington Post Story on Michelle Obama's Shopping Trip Includes Analysis from Prof. Bob Steele '69

October 3, 2011

5748October 3, 2011, Greencastle, Ind. — In the view of Bob Steele, Phyllis W. Nicholas Director of DePauw University's Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics, "absent some cards that haven't been turned face up on the table, there's no evidence to suggest that the White House and AP were in cahoots." Dr. Steele is quoted in a Washington Post story examining a shopping trip by First Lady Michelle Obama to a Target store last week, which was captured in images by an Associated Press photographer.

How that photojournalist happened to be on hand has generated questions from some. "Amid a severe recession, they have upbraided her for personal trips abroad and summer vacations in Martha's Vineyard. The sniping was renewed two weeks ago, when she appeared at a fundraiser in New York wearing $40,000 worth of borrowed diamond jewelry," reports the Post's Paul Farhi. "Bob Steele, a journalism ethics professor at DePauw University in Indiana, says the available facts don't quite warrant the conclusion that Mrs. Obama's trip to Target was calculated to counter that criticism." 

2823Steele, who also serves as Distinguished Professor of Journalism Ethics at DePauw, states, "Journalists and news organizations should not allow themselves to be manipulated in the pursuit of truthful and fair news coverage, and, in general, they should be more open about revealing the methods and processes they use to gather the news."

Access the complete article at the Post's website.

A 1969 graduate of DePauw, Robert M. Steele is one of America's leading experts on media ethics and is regularly quoted in news stories.  Last week he was cited in a syndicated column which appeared in newspapers across America and discussed a new book on Sarah Palin with the Boston Globe.

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