COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Republican Party today called on WCPO, WEWS and the “Ohio Capital Journal” blog to immediately launch an ethics investigation into reporter Morgan Trau for her slanted and false reporting on the campaign for Ohio Supreme Court. Ms. Trau, a registered Democrat, either intentionally used false information or failed to make the most basic of inquiries to ascertain the truth. Either way, her reporting resulted in a shockingly biased story passed off as nonpartisan and fell well short of a reporter’s obligation to be objective and fair.
The first obligation in the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics declares, “ethical journalism should be accurate and fair. Journalists should be honest and courageous in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.” The evidence is irrefutable that Ms. Trau was not honest in the very first paragraph of her story:
Ms. Trau purposefully sought out and interviewed Tracy Pearson as one of these “nonpartisan lawyers.” Yet Tracy Pearson, is a self-proclaimed “democratic strategist,” according to her own website.
By purposefully selecting a self-declared ‘democratic strategist’ to criticize three Republican Ohio Supreme Court Justices and then falsely claiming that this Democrat strategist was somehow ‘non-partisan,’ Ms. Trau blatantly violated journalistic ethics and betrayed her viewers. News directors and editors at the media outlets and blog where this reporter works have a duty to promptly investigate this ethical violation.
Clearly, Ms. Pearson has an implicit bias on the topic of abortion and its impact on a political campaign as a staunch Democrat and pro-abortion advocate. There are many examples.
Ms. Pearson is an openly pro-abortion advocate on her Twitter feed, using the hashtag “#abortionishealthcare” to criticize Republicans and elect Democrats.
Ms. Pearson – using an Ohio example – ties Democrat election turnout to abortion:
Ms. Pearson, in a partisan screed well out of step with most Democrats, actually compared people who support the pro-life position with child rapists.
All of these extreme views on abortion and advocacy for Democrat candidates were available to Ms. Trau in a simple Google or Twitter search. But she either refused to do so or discovered the information and decided to hide it from her viewers. Either one violates conventional journalistic practices.
Ms. Pearson was so pleased with Ms. Trau’s story, she promoted it widely and even paid Twitter to publicize it further:
These facts would have discouraged any honest journalist from citing Ms. Pearson as a “nonpartisan” source on the topic of abortion in a partisan political campaign. The SPJ journalistic ethics code requires reporters to: “identify sources clearly. The public is entitled to as much information as possible to judge the reliability and motivations of sources.”
But rather than follow this ethics rule, Ms. Trau decided to base most of her reporting on Ms. Pearson’s highly partisan and ideological opinions.
In her Twitter bio. Ms. Trau claims she works for Cincinnati TV station WCPO, Cleveland TV station WEWS and a partisan news blog that calls itself “Ohio Capital Journal.”
Not only did she choose to use a pro-abortion, Democratic strategist in her story, Ms. Trau herself is a registered Democrat, according to Franklin County Board of Elections records.
Most reporters try to be fair and objective. But when a registered Democrat reporter colludes with a pro-abortion Democrat strategist to cobble together an abortion-related news story that misstates the law, it’s obvious that ethics rules have been broken. All these facts call into question the journalistic integrity of this piece and others published by Ms. Trau.
The Ohio Republican Party calls upon the news organizations and blog associated with Ms. Trau — WEWS Cleveland, the “Ohio Capital Journal” blog, and WCPO Cincinnati — to conduct internal investigations into the credibility, neutrality, and veracity of her reporting and publicize the results.