News broke yesterday that Gina Chon, a Wall Street Journal reporter, recently resigned because she failed to reveal a conflict on interest to her editor. She didn’t let her editor know that she was having an affair with Brett McGurk, a National Security Council staffer who is now Barack Obama’s nomination for ambassador to Iraq. Both Chon and McGurk were married at the time, to different people, but have since divorced and married each other.
This whole half scandal came as a result of a bunch of email leaks, by some anonymous source online.
Amid half a scandal over a journalist sleeping with her subject, little has been said about how indecent it was for someone to anonymously leak private emails. Chon and McGurk have both taken quite a bit of flak for this whole episode. Chon has already had to resign and McGurk’s nomination to the ambassadorship has been called into question.
But have they really done anything so shockingly wrong? I think Chon was obviously in the wrong not to disclose her relationship to her editor. That undermines good journalism and she should have taken herself off the beat. McGurk really hasn’t done anything wrong. I won’t comment on his marital infidelities, that’s a matter between him and his former wife, but wouldn’t it be massively unfair if his career in the foreign service was derailed because anonymous leaked his private emails?
Ask and answer in the Urtak below.