The Society of Professional Journalists is "appalled" that NBC News gave a ride to the U.S. from Brazil to David Goldman, and his son, who have been involved in a high-profile custody battle.
In a statement, SPJ Ethics Committee Chairman Andy Schotz said, "The public could rightly assume that NBC News bought exclusive interviews and images, as well as the family’s loyalty, with an extravagant gift."
NBC taped the first exclusive interview with Goldman during the flight, for the Monday “Today” show.
NBC claimed it didn’t pay for the interview, noting, "The Goldmans were invited on a jet NBC News chartered to fly home to the U.S. on Thursday, Dec. 24," and adding, "NBC News has followed this story since the Goldman’s story first ran on Dateline nearly one year ago — David Goldman since has appeared on Today seventeen times." The NBC statement was printed by B&C.
"Mixing financial and promotional motives with an impartial search for truth stains honest, ethical reporting," Schotz said in the SPJ statement. "Checkbook journalism has no place in the news business."
–Elizabeth Jensen and Chuck Ross