Editor's Note: Bruce Weinstein, "The Ethics Guy" will analyze the ethical issues at stake with former White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan and his new book, tonight on 360° 10p ET.
The Ethics Guy, BusinessWeek
For the past several days, there has been a lot of discussion about Scott McClellan and why he has written his tell-all book, “What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington's Culture of Deception.” Much of the criticism has focused on McClellan’s motivation for writing this book. Is he disgruntled? Does he feel guilty? Is he simply trying to cash in on his former position in the Bush administration?
As provocative as these questions may be, they are not nearly as important as the central ethical question raised by this story: was it right for McClellan to write such a book?
Looking at the ethical issues at stake, I argue the following:
Of course, not all kiss-and-tell books are ethical. In 2004, I argued on AC360 that it was wrong for Michael Bergin to write “The Other Man,” which detailed his purported love affair with Carolyn Bessette Kennedy. Her untimely death prevented her from responding to the claims in the book. (On that program, Randy Cohen, who writes the ethics column for the New York Times Sunday magazine, argued against my position.)
In recent columns for BusinessWeek.com, I’ve considered the ethics of talking politics at work, the ethical responsibilities of the presidential candidates, and the art of losing well.
Anderson Cooper goes beyond the headlines to tell stories from many points of view, so you can make up your own mind about the news. Tune in weeknights at 8 and 10 ET on CNN.
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