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EDITORIAL ETHICAL LAPSE TELEMUNDO AND SALINAS FACE SERIOUS QUESTIONS.

SEPARATE from the troubling revelations about Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's affair and what it says about his fitness as a leader, there's the question of journalistic ethics.

Specifically, those of Telemundo and Mirthala Salinas, the political reporter and anchor for the Spanish-language television station who's apparently carried on an affair with the mayor for about a year -- if not longer.

In journalism, one of the biggest sins after making things up is dating a source. It's a basic conflict of interest, and the public has every right to expect that the people delivering the news aren't in bed with those they cover.

On Thursday, Telemundo executives placed Salinas on leave and announced they will "conduct an internal review of the decisions and events that led us to where we are today."

The Telemundo "review" has real potential to merely whitewash the station management's role in the affair and paint Salinas as a scarlet woman. Indeed, that's likely what will happen.

Certainly, her past dalliances with two other Los Angeles politicians -- state Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez and former Los Angeles City Council President Alex Padilla, now a state senator -- increase the cause for concern. If she reported on their actions, her credibility and Telemundo's will be severely damaged.

From all indications, Salinas told her bosses that she was involved with the mayor and asked for a change of assignment. She also reportedly asked not to have to anchor reports about him, particularly when she was made to announce -- with a straight face -- that the "rumors are true," Villaraigosa and his wife are separating.

If Salinas is telling the truth, then the station was guilty not just of violating journalistic standards, but of violating the integrity of one of its star reporters.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jul 9, 2007
Words:289
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