Journalism ethics and Wyoming

El Gran Wyoming (The Great Wyoming) is actually a spanish showman. He’s well known, among other things, for holding a clear personal position in some politics issues. Some of his opponents consider him to be very near to the party currently governing in Spain (although that doesn’t prevent him from making parody of it, now and in the past).

Intereconomía is a TV channel absolutely opposed to the governing party, and aligned with ultra-catholic, right-wing positions. They are fiercely critics with Wyoming, among others. So Wyoming and Intereconomía keep an ill-concealed clash.

Recently, the TV channel where Wyoming works recorded a fake video where Wyoming appeared to be severely mistreating an intern, showing an unfair and arrogant attitude. They sent that video to Intereconomía, pretending that it had been recorded secretly. Xavier Horcajo, the director of that channel and conductor of a program, took the bait, showed the video as a “world exclusive” and, of course, he and his partners took the opportunity to call Wyoming every name under the sun… once more.

I personally haven’t learned anything new about Wyoming or Intereconomía. But some controversy has arised about the limits of journalism and professional deonthology, that looks interesting to me.

I’ve been considering different points of view. First, the reaction of Horcajo: lots of accusations against Wyoming (totally unrelated to the issue: the financing of his TV channel, for instance). But not even the slightest acknowledgement of any mistake. Given that sign of credibility (and he’s the director of the channel!), I think it’s his spectators to blame from now on.

As for Wyoming, apparently Madrid Press Association has criticized him. Its president (Fernando González Urbaneja) has said that Wyoming’s trap is disrespectful with journalism and violates the rules of this profession.

As for traps, or hidden cameras, I have mixed emotions. On one side, I believe that publicly denouncing things, and sheding light over dark issues, is one of the main goals of journalism; on the other side, it’s easy to exceed the limits and adopt an unfair behaviour. I believe the key point is to make a honest use of these resources, and most of all, avoiding to become the star of the history. That makes the difference between a journalist and an idiot. In that sense, I could agree with González Urbaneja.

But after some thinking, I have to redeem Wyoming, for several reasons.

First because, actually, the result of his trap is more valuable as a journalistic work than Horcajo’s. He has showed Horcajo up as someone who is a slave of his own prejudice and hate, a sectarian person that doesn’t accept a second thought and whose work as a journalist is affected by that attitude. And he doesn’t admit a mistake, even when he has made a fool of himself in front of the public. That is clearly relevant for his role. As I see it, Wyoming’s main goal was not exactly to ridicule or mock Horcajo in itself, as some others have done in the past with some politicians, pretending to be presidents of some country or things like that in phone jokes, with no other intention. He has shown that a supposed journalist is eager to publish a (pretty obviously) fake information to satisfy his personal hatred. QED. Horcajo has not proven any significant point against Wyoming.

Second, because González Urbaneja, and Horcajo, are forgetting a vital point: Wyoming is not, neither claims to be, a journalist. His is not a news bulletin; it’s a humoristic show. Whenever it resembles a news program, it is an obvious parody. One can argue about humour limits, but not about fair journalism in this case.

Of course, my judgement would change if Horcajo admitted to be actually making a humoristic show and not a serious program. But that’s not the case. Unfortunately.

Unless Intereconomía is, in itself, a viral parody made by Wyoming. Sometimes I find it difficult to believe otherwise.

On the other hand, the director of the newspaper where I read González Urbaneja’s criticisms becomes the star of a hideous story about a theft. He appears, very happy and enjoying his role, with a stolen object. Is that journalism?

2 comentarios to “Journalism ethics and Wyoming”

  1. Sergio Says:

    Well, I don’t feel like judging Mr. Monzon ( a.k.a. El Gran Wyoming ) as I find it a very difficult task, plenty of the fuzziest nuances.But I think there is a very clear thing to remark in this case, regarding Mr. Horcajo’s behavior. It’s a well established routine trying to contrast his information sources…. Even judges and Courts, when studying lawsuits involving press informations, almost always ask the journalist if he or she tried ( and, in that case, if he/she managed to ) contrast the information with the people involved…. This well established practise seems that wasn’t observed at all by this sir… I join your QED, Guti…. There are things very subtle that could be discussed, but the fact that Mr. Urbaneja doesn´t contrast his informations seems the sharpest thing that should be declared proved studied the unquestionable facts. Have a nice day, and sorry for my poor English.

  2. Guti Says:

    Thanks for coming! The sharpest thing for Urbaneja is actually everything except the main one: that he should resign. Period.Sorry for… er… what?

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