The Ethics of Reporting vs. The Ethics of Spying

 

The Tri-Wizard Tournament—Speak Slowly into My Acid Pen

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I

In Goblet of Fire, we find out through Rita Skeeter what damage an unethical reporter can do. It is obvious that her main focus is gossip and certainly not the truth. Rita Skeeter repeatedly fails to accurately document what people say, twisting it instead to her own ends and adding adjectives and adverbs to describe her “personal” observations— or, more accurately, her personal slant on her observations (GF 147, 202–3, 314–15, 437–40, 611–13)!

We eventually find out how Rita Skeeter gets so much juicy information: she is “bugging” everyone’s secure areas—by being a bug (GF 727)! Obviously, she obtains her information without the permission of the person she is “interviewing”—which is in itself quite unethical. Reporters are supposed to identify themselves and request an interview. Rita Skeeter is instead using what we would consider spy craft to eavesdrop on people and gather information.

Books_chapterart_gof_37

Unfortunately the movies skipped right over this juicy tidbit. Discovering that Rita Skeeter was an unregistered animagus may have been one of Hermione’s best moments!

 

 

Although spies are able to do eavesdrop on people, it is unethical for the press to use such means—as certain members of the press in London found out in 2011 when it was revealed that reporters were illegally intercepting and taping phone calls of famous people (including royalty) to get juicy stories. Read more about the International Phone Hacking Scandal here! 

peter-earnest-head-shot-372x372 In Harry Potter and the Art of Spying, Peter Earnest shares the story of the time he had to bug the office of one of his assets while working as a clandestine officer for the CIA!

We LOVE to HATE Rita Skeeter. Read other articles written by her on our blog! Long Lost Interview of Severus Snape, Rita Skeeter Interviews the Authors of Art of Spying , and Rita Skeeter Interviews President Obama.

Rita Skeeter Interviews President Obama

President Obama Calls Hillary a Loser and John Boehner He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named

by Special Correspondent Rita Skeeter*

Rita Skeeter Pic Obama stern

June 23, 2014

Rita Skeeter:  Thank you for having me here in the White House, President Obama.

The President:  Glad to have you.  But I didn’t quite understand which organization you are with.  The Daily ProphetThe Quibbler?

Rita Skeeter:  Oh, they didn’t tell you.  Fox News, of course.  Special correspondent.  All that jazz.

The President:  [shifting uncomfortably in his chair] Well, actually, I guess that figures  . . .

Rita Skeeter:  Read any good books lately?

The President:  Well, I am just now in the middle of Harry Potter and the Art of Spying by Lynn Boughey and Peter Earnest.  Peter is the head of the International Spy Museum and Michelle and my kids love going there, as Michelle has mentioned once on national TV.

Rita Skeeter:  I understand that you are a fan of Harry Potter.

The President:  Yes I am.  I loved reading those books to my daughters when they were young.  Great memories.

Rita Skeeter:  Any thoughts on how the series relates to the real world?

The President:  Well sure, it is hard not to think of Congress, and most particularly the House of Representatives, when you read about the Ministry of Magic.

Rita Skeeter:  Does that make you Cornelius Fudge?

The President:  No, I’d like to think of myself more as Dumbledore, if he were Minister of Magic.

Rita Skeeter:  But you’re married.

The President:  Well, yes, . . . but that’s allowed now, in part thanks to . . .

Rita Skeeter:  Fine, fine.  So what do you really think about John Boehner?

The President:  I consider him He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named.

Rita Skeeter:  Well, I guess we hit a soft spot there.  How about the Supreme Court?

The President:  There are four of them I like a lot, a fifth who it depends on the day, and the others . . .

Rita Skeeter:  Death Eaters?

The President:  Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want them to be part of the Wizengamot.

Rita Skeeter:  And what about Hillary Clinton.  She used to work for you, a really really big supporter . . . after losing to you, I recall . . . So, if you are the Minister of Magic, is she your  Professor Umbridge?

The President:  [bristling, a touch of anger showing] Hillary is no Umbridge!  She is, if anyone, Hermione Granger—a present day Hermione Granger . . . she is bright, hard-working, and frankly, given some of the things she was able to do as Secretary of State, I think she can do magic too!

Rita Skeeter:  So, have you read her new book?

The President:  I have.  It’s wonderful!

Rita Skeeter:  In the first chapter at page 19 she mentions that she didn’t always agree with you, but she refused to provide any juicy details because you are still President.  Would you like to share those times when the two of you were at each other’s throats?

The President:  I am happy to say we were never “at each other’s throats.”  We sometimes disagreed.  I don’t hire “yes men” – or “yes women.”

Rita Skeeter:  So when you disagreed, who won?

The President:  Well, as President, I guess I get the final say, so that would be me.

Rita Skeeter:  Lovely.  Thanks for the lead.  Now, are you finally ready to admit that we shouldn’t have gone into Iraq?

The President:  [again, bristling] I believe, if you check your facts, that it was the previous president who did that.

Rita Skeeter:  [disdainfully] Facts, facts . . . they have a habit of getting in the way of a good story, like, say, Benghazi.  Shall we talk about that?  Hillary blew that one too, right?

The President:  Hillary did exactly what anyone else would have done in that situation.   She explains everything in her book.

Rita Skeeter:  Yes, and we all noticed that she took the blame . . .

The President:  Yes, she did.

Rita Skeeter:  So the buck stops here – stops at the woman’s desk?

The President:  [anger clearly being suppressed]  I think we are about done here . . .  [starting to rise from chair]

Rita Skeeter:  Just a few more questions, if that is OK.  What are you most proud of during your term?

The President:  Well, the health care reform . . .

Rita Skeeter:  Which we noticed you named after yourself . . .

The President:  I believe its actual name is the Affordable Health Care Act, and I think the intent by others in naming it ObamaCare was kind of like putting Nifflers in Professor Umbridge’s office – but I have come to accept the nomenclature . . .

Rita Skeeter:  Get anything else done?

The President:  Well, yes.  Named several people to the Supreme Court, saved the economy that I inherited, got out of one war I inherited –

Rita Skeeter:  How’s that going so far?

The President:  That’s it.  [standing]  Nice to meet you.  [pointing to her acid green quill]  Nice pen, too.

[The President leaves.]

*Interview discovered by Lynn Boughey, co-author of Harry Potter and the Art of Spying and provided as a public service as a blog on www.artofspying.net