SPJ condemns Fox Sports' host for fabricating quotes
Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins, SPJ National President, email@example.com
Kim Tsuyuki, SPJ Communications Specialist, firstname.lastname@example.org
INDIANAPOLIS — The Society of Professional Journalists is aware of the claims that Fox Sports’ host Charissa Thompson fabricated quotes while working as an NFL sideline reporter. The fabrication of quotes is a violation of SPJ's Code of Ethics and a dangerous practice.
Thompson said in a recent interview on the “Pardon My Take” podcast that she sometimes made-up coaches’ quotes during sideline reports, adding that no coach would deny a broad statement. This also isn’t the first time she’s admitted to making up quotes. She first admitted to it in 2022 during her “Calm Down” podcast with Fox Sports reporter Erin Andrews. Andrews said it was something she has also done, which is equally concerning to SPJ.
“Fabricating quotes or other information is unethical and a violation of the SPJ Code of Ethics,” said SPJ National President Ashanti Blaize-Hopkins. “Journalists should strive to seek truth and minimize harm. While some may believe it is harmless to fabricate these types of quotes, it begs the question, if a sports journalist can do so and get away with it, are other journalists doing the same thing? Thompson’s behavior is inexcusable and it damages the credibility of the entire field of journalism and fosters public distrust towards all the journalists who practice the highest ethical standards.”
Other journalists have been calling out Thompson’s behavior for being unethical. SPJ Board Member Kevin Smith told The Washington Post, “This is just appallingly bad journalism to engage in, and to brag about it and defend it as harmless is beyond the pale. SPJ’s ethics code addresses truth, harm, independence and accountability,” Smith added via email Thursday evening. “She gets the trifecta for destroying three ethical tenets with her lying.”
Journalists have also noted that the industry already stereotypes women reporters as “eye candy,” and that Thompson’s admittance only perpetuates that.
According to a report by the Pew Research Center, 46% of reporting journalists are women and only 15% of women journalists report on sports. Lisa Guerrero spoke during her SPJ23 keynote about the sexism and harassment she faced while being a sports reporter.
SPJ strives to maintain high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism. For more information, journalists should refer to the SPJ Code of Ethics.
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