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Sean Penn interviews El Chapo and suddenly journalists care about ethics

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No one expected Sean Penn to interview the world’s most wanted drug kingpin after he escaped prison for the second time. But three months before El Chapo was recaptured by Mexican Marines, he was hanging out with the actor in a jungle for a lengthy Rolling Stone interview. In an interesting turn of events, Penn’s discussion with El Chapo has been criticized as “unethical” by politicians and journalists who couldn’t score or stomach the interview.

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At the heart of the issue is how Penn allowed the violent head of the Sinaloa drug cartel to sign off on the final Rolling Stone piece, which certainly does breach journalistic ethics. One rule of journalism is to ensure that the subject being reported on doesn’t have any sway or influence on the final product, and letting El Chapo decide what can and can’t be published defeats the true purpose of doing the interview in the first place.

“Allowing any source control over a story’s content is inexcusable,” Andrew Seaman, chair of the Society of Professional Journalist’s ethics committee wrote in a blog post. “The practice of pre-approval discredits the entire story. The writer, who in this case is an actor and activist, may write the story in a more favorable light and omit unflattering facts in an attempt to not be rejected.”

Seaman does make a good point. But with the daily ethics violations committed by people who were actually trained to be journalists, it does seem strange that all of a sudden members of the media want to hash out what’s acceptable in reporting the news or conducting interviews.

Private interests often have a great deal of influence in U.S. news, and often times corrupt the integrity of media in the country. Often times journalists will be overly kind or biased in favor of the advertisers who fund their outlets. Very rarely does that sort of corruption rile up members of the media.

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A few years ago, journalist David Sirota broke a news story regarding PBS’s negative coverage of pensions in a two-year news series called “Pension Peril.” Through Sirota’s impressive investigative work, it was discovered that PBS solicited donations from billionaire John Arnold to produce the series. Arnold has spent millions of his own money to push an agenda to slash the retirement benefits of public employees.

Arnold gave the media outlet a massive $3.5 million donation, and PBS knew that he would be willing to spend the cash if their reporting was favorable to his political agenda. After Sirota’s exposé, PBS returned the money to Arnold.

That type of ethical breach occurs more often in journalism than the media would care to admit, but no one in the establishment ever speaks out against it. Sirota’s investigation didn’t get much play in the mainstream media, and the only time journalistic integrity is questioned is when establishment journalists don’t get their way…like an interview with El Chapo.

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DNA to solve mystery of Napoleon’s general lost in Russia

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Archaeologists are set to unveil the answer to a 200-year-old question over the remains of a French general who died during Napoleon's 1812 campaign in Russia.

Charles Etienne Gudin was hit by a cannonball in the Battle of Valutino on August 19 near Smolensk, a city west of Moscow close to the border with Belarus.

His leg was amputated and he died three days later from gangrene, aged 44.

The French army cut out his heart, now buried at the Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, but the site of the rest of his remains was never known, until researchers found a likely skeleton this summer.

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WATCH LIVE: Trump to address the nation after mass shootings leave 29 dead

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US President Donald Trump will address the nation on Monday after two shootings left 29 people dead and sparked accusations that his rhetoric was part of the problem.

The rampages turned innocent snippets of everyday life into nightmares of bloodshed: 20 people were shot dead while shopping at a crowded Walmart in El Paso, Texas on Saturday morning, and nine more outside a bar in a popular nightlife district in Dayton, Ohio just 13 hours later.

Trump will again find himself in the role of consoler-in-chief after a tragedy -- which he has struggled with in the past -- when he speaks at 10:00 am (1400 GMT).

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Ana Kasparian's #NoFilter

Trump to address nation after US shootings leave 29 dead

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US President Donald Trump will address the nation on Monday after two shootings left 29 people dead and sparked accusations that his rhetoric was part of the problem.

The rampages turned innocent snippets of everyday life into nightmares of bloodshed: 20 people were shot dead while shopping at a crowded Walmart in El Paso, Texas on Saturday morning, and nine more outside a bar in a popular nightlife district in Dayton, Ohio just 13 hours later.

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