That is the question:
As the so-called “D.C. Madam” case unfolds in the nation’s capital, with alleged prostitution ringleader Jeane Palfrey claiming a list of thousands of prominent clients, Washington-area editors say they are following the story, but remain reluctant to print such a list, were it available, without serious scrutiny.
“You would have to evaluate it to the extent humanly possible and verify it,” said Michael Tackett, Washington bureau chief for the Chicago Tribune. “If one of the names is wrong and you print it, how do you unring that bell for that person?” He said reprinting a list from another news outlet is not an excuse for getting it wrong. “You’ve got to verify it yourself,” he said.
Andrew Alexander, Washington bureau chief for Cox Newspapers, which serves 17 daily papers, also urged caution when exposing anyone on the list. “It would be a starting point to do additional reporting,” he said about any list the bureau might obtain. “We would have to see who is on the list, we would have to look at matters of fairness, and of accuracy.”