St. Louis station KMOV-TV recently reported that Missouri Governor Eric Greitens had an affair with his former hair dresser in 2015 – a time when he was considering whether to run for office. Greitens has since acknowledged the affair but denied the report's allegation that he blackmailed the woman.
The TV station based its story on secret recordings made by the woman’s ex-husband. St. Louis Public Radio decided against pursuing the story because the woman declined to speak about the affair and the available information raised too many ethical questions and red flags.
The Shop Talk panelists agree with St. Louis Public Radio’s decision.
Panelist Jasmine Crighton said state law in Missouri allowed the ex-husband to record without notifying the woman. But Crighton considered that shaky ethical ground for a news story.
Panelist Will Buss said journalists should err on the side of caution instead of relying on information from a jilted ex-spouse.
Crighton and Buss both question whether an extramarital affair is newsworthy. And they point out this case of infidelity happened well before Greitens took office.
Panelist Rich Egger pointed out that Greitens is a member of the Republican Party, which has promoted family values and tried to claim the moral high ground in the past. So he suggested its politicians should be held to that standard – though perhaps Republicans abandoned those principles when the party chose to rally behind Donald Trump as its presidential nominee.
Jasmine Crighton is News Director of NEWS3 at Western Illinois University and Will Buss is the Director of Student Publications at WIU.