This week, I did something that USA Today's executive leadership apparently hadn't done lately: I read the newspaper's "principles of ethical conduct for newsrooms."

It's pretty highfalutin. The media manifesto of virtue, posted online, applies to all employees "working with any news platform, including newspapers, websites, mobile devices, video, social media channels and live story events." Whether writing online or covering breaking developments, USA Today's journalists are supposedly committed to:

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s2smodern

Impolite question, but it needs to be asked: Is there a Republican dead body that left-wing partisans won't use to bash Donald Trump?

This week's partisan corpse abusers callously exploited the passing of George H.W. Bush, America's 41st president, to get in their digs at the current commander in chief. Their vulgar level of incivility was inversely propositional to their sanctimonious calls for decency.

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s2smodern

This is a tale of two young, outspoken women in media.

One is a liberal tech writer. The other is an enterprising conservative new media reporter. One has achieved meteoric success and now works at a top American newspaper. The other has been de-platformed and marginalized. Their wildly different fates tell you everything you need to know about Silicon Valley's free speech double standards.

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s2smodern

The package of criminal justice reform proposals endorsed by President Donald Trump is not "soft" on crime. It's tough on injustice. And it's about time.

Known as the "First Step Act," the legislation confronts the Titanic failure of the federal government's trillion-dollar war on drugs by reforming mandatory minimum sentences, rectifying unscientifically grounded disparities in criminal penalties for crack vs. powder cocaine users, and tackling recidivism among federal inmates through risk assessment, earned-time credit incentive structures, re-entry programs and transitional housing.

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s2smodern

Undoing wrongful convictions takes a killer instinct.

Chicago-based exoneration specialist Kathleen Zellner's got it. Her record speaks for itself. Over the past two decades, she has righted more wrongful convictions than any private attorney in America. What's her secret? The Herculean task of untangling official lies, investigative bias, prosecutorial misconduct, ineffective counsel and forensic junk science to free 19 innocent men requires more than intellectual firepower (of which Zellner possesses a chess grandmaster's surplus).

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s2smodern
Mike Scruggs