If you asked Journal Editor in Chief Kent Walz if he considered himself accountable to the Society of Professional Journalists Code of Ethics, link, and if he responded to your question; I assume his answer would be yes; Yes, I am accountable to the SPJ Code of ethics.
If you asked the Albuquerque Public Schools Board of Education if they are accountable to their own Code of Ethics, link, and if they would respond to your question, I assume their answer would be yes; Yes, we are accountable to our own Code of Ethics.
The truth is; neither would be telling the truth; Walz is no more accountable to his code of ethics than the board is to theirs. Both codes are utterly unenforceable.
|Esquivel spent >$750K on|
litigation and legal weaselry
in order to admit no guilt
evidence of his guilt
Walz could be held accountable for failing to respond quickly (or at all) to questions about the accuracy, clarity and fairness of his coverage. Walz could be held accountable for failing acknowledge mistakes and correct them promptly and prominently.
Walz and the Journal could be held accountable for failing to disclose their conflict of interests by withholding facts about the several relationships between Marty Esquivel, Walz and the Journal. Esquivel was not only a former Journal reporter, he has represented the Journal in a number of legal cases.
Walz and the Journal could be held accountable for yielding to internal and external pressure and granting favored treatment to a special interest; Marty Esquivel and his reputation as a lawyer, school board member and man.
Neither Walz nor the Journal can be held actually, honestly accountable to any higher standards of conduct than the law; the lowest standards of conduct acceptable to civilized human beings.
Perhaps that is why Walz and the Journal are so reticent to report that the school board is not only unaccountable to their own code of ethics; they are demonstrably unaccountable even to the law.
photos Mark Bralley