The adage, often attributed to the late editor-in-chief of The New York Times, AM Rosenthal, is a crude explanation for one of the indiscreet golden rules of journalism: reporters should not sleep with their sources.
Nevertheless, as The Atlantic highlighted in 2015, Hollywood has a long, long history, perhaps even an obsession, of proverbially portraying journalists … well, fucking the elephant.
Whether they are outrageous reporters willing to use sex to get a shovel (see: House of Cards – Janine Skorsky, who admitted she "sucks, screws and jerks off What moves only to get a story ") or less Machiavellian, but still lazy and in terms of depictions (see: the old romantic comedy trope of a journalist earnes tly fall in love with a subject a la never been kissed, Trainwreck How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days, Perfect And So Many, Many More), Hollywood can not seem to fathom that a reporter can be trusted to keep her professional life and privacy separate.
That's why Clint Eastwood's upcoming streak Richard Jewell seems to be the last straw for so many.
Eastwood's film not only implies that a journalist sleeps with its sources, but it attributes the behavior of an actual journalist, the late Kathy Scruggs, with absolutely new evidence.
It exploded into a very public salvo involving the studio's Warner Brother movie, actress Olivia Wilde (who plays Scruggs)), The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Twitter in general.
Eastwood's film dramatizes the case of Richard Jewell, a security official who helped save lives and minimize the impact of the bombing of the Centennial Olympic Park during World War I 996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
However, after Jewell was initially heralded as a hero, public opinion turned when the FBI saw the man as the prime suspect in the attack.
Jewell was subjected to a harsh media review for weeks before he was finally released and re-recognized as a hero (and victim of the media circus).
In 1997, right – wing domestic terrorist Eric Rudolph was arrested and then arrested again. She was convicted of Olympic bombings and a series of other charges including attacks on an abortion clinic and a lesbian nightclub.
AJC first published the information that Jewell was considered a suspect. In recent years, there have been no allegations, evidences or hints that she slept with one of her sources. If anything, Scruggs' case might be more appropriate to talk about the gatekeeper role of journalism than it is Rosenthal's "Elephant Rule".
However, when AJC's current employees got wind of it, Eastwood had rewritten the story about their late colleague, the newspaper has beaten back.
"Maintaining false tropes over reporters and journalism itself should not go unchallenged at a time when our profession is almost constantly being attacked," said AJC editor Kevin G. Riley to IndieWire.
A lawyer from the newspaper also sent a heavily worded letter to Warner Brothers.
"It's obvious that nobody associated with the film has since been really interested in getting the exact facts from my clients. They have the information that was made available to them completely ignoring my client's representatives with the filmmakers, and the former AJC editor who was the head of Mrs. Scruggs gave relevant feedback on how the AJC broke the link ory and who was Mrs. Scruggs as a person and as a reporter " , it says in the letter according to deadline.
The AJC asked Warner Brothers to clarify that parts of the film were dramatized, and asked for a disclaimer should the film be added.
Warner Brothers, however, struck back and made it clear that the idea that Scruggs slept with an FBI agent to get the bullet was more implicit than stated in the film. They then turned to AJC itself.
"It is unfortunate and the ultimate irony that the Constitution of the Atlanta Journal, which was part of the hurry of the Judgment of Richard Jewell, is now trying to denigrate our filmmakers and actors" Read a statement from the studio . " Richard Jewell focuses on the true victim, trying to tell his story, confirm his innocence, and restore his name. "
(Warner Brother is owned by the same parent company as CNN: CNN reached a legal settlement with Richard Jewell in 1997, but by the time its own coverage of the matter was fair and balanced, it was still in the last week when a CNN producer publicly voiced concerns regarding the network's handling of the case.
Meanwhile, Wilde has also been involved.
"What I disliked was that this character was on a particular scene and I hear no one complaining about Jon Hamm's [FBI agent] character as inferred that he also had a relative ionenship with a reporter.It feels unfair that Kathy was minimized that way, "she said Deadline.
"When something about a female figure is somewhat questionable, we often use it to condemn that character or to the project for it It is a misunderstanding of feminism to assume that all women must be sexless. I refuse to minimize the character to this point, "she continued.
Wilde does not report either for Hollywood's disturbing story with the portrayal of journalists, nor for the fact that the submission is not factual.
For a Large Studio, It Is a Sweeping Film About the Media That Judges an Innocent Person It seems to be an "ultimate irony" that no one seems to take responsibility for having a dead woman without evidence accused of committing a grave ethical decline.