The Outing of Mayor Jim West
FRONTLINE's collection of interviews, along with links to The Spokesman-Review's coverage of the West scandal, thoughts on the ethical and journalistic issues surrounding the paper's coverage, and a summary of the FBI and city investigations as to whether West misused his office.
"Even the Mayor Wonders: Who is the Real Jim West?"
Seattle Times political writer David Postman, who covered Jim West during his years in the state Legislature, interviewed West at length for this profile, which covers the scandal, West's biography, The Spokesman-Review, Spokane's "inferiority complex" and the city's dark past. (Nov. 27, 2005)
"Who is Moto-Brock?"
Even though The Spokesman-Review refuses to name their "forensic computer expert" who posed as Moto-Brock on Gay.com, Spokane's alternative weekly The Pacific Northwest Inlander sought to discover his identity. In this cover story, Kevin Taylor, a former Spokesman-Review reporter and Inlander editor Ted MacGregor point to Marcus Lawson, a former U.S. Customs Agent who runs a computer forensics company in Spokane. (Nov. 16, 2005)
"Spokane Mayor Sex Scandal: Would You Give Paper an Award?"
In this posting on Pressthink, a blog hosted by Professor Jay Rosen of New York University's School of Journalism, guest blogger Leonard Witt conducts an instant-message interview with Spokesman-Review editor Steve Smith. Most interesting are the links beneath the interview to critics and defenders of the newspaper's investigation, including one to several newspapers' codes of ethics. (May 11, 2005)
Online home of the Poynter Institute, a resource for journalists with articles about the tools and ethical questions of the trade. The Spokesman-Review consulted with the Institute before publishing its stories on Mayor West. Among the tools on their Web site is a Media Ethics Bibliography listing resources from Poynter and other journalism sites.
"The Glass Closet"
In the fall of 2006 the scandal around Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.) drew attention to gay politicians and aides in the GOP. In this article for Salon.com, Alex Koppelman discusses the ethics of outing and the curious definition of "out" at play in the nation's capital, where some pols "intentionally cultivate vagueness when it comes to just how out of the closet they are." (Oct. 20, 2006)
"Investigating the 'Congressional Closet'"
In the wake of the Foley scandal, The Advocate republished this 1996 article about gay politicians who voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, including Foley. Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.) was contacted for comment when the story was being written, and decided to out himself before publication.
"Campaign Against Child Sex Predators Draws Critics"
In this Dallas Morning News Sunday cover story, staff writers Jason Trahan and Chris Colgin profile the Murphy, Texas, police department's collaboration with Perverted Justice and NBC's "To Catch a Predator" series. Perverted Justice volunteers chat online posing as underage boys and girls, inviting would-be pedophiles to meet in person, where they are confronted instead by NBC cameras -- and the police. Two months later, an assistant district attorney caught in the Murphy sting killed himself as police attempted to arrest him. (Sept. 10, 2006)