Boycott Amanda Lamb’s “Love Lies”

Amanda Lamb’s new book will be released in just a few days.  The excerpt from it indicates that she classifies this case as a domestic violence case.  The overwhelming majority of us who watched the trial and listened to the testimony were unconvinced at the domestic violence claims.  Some will say “oh, it doesn’t have to be physical, it can be emotional abuse” and I agree that DV can take that form, but it wasn’t part of the Cooper’s relationship in any way, shape or form.  The issues that arose at the trial stemmed from a budget, lack of access to bank accounts and disagreements over Brad wanting to hold one of the children’s passports so Nancy wouldn’t be able to flee with the children.

Nancy was given a substantial cash allowance of $300/week and she was free to come and go as she pleased.  Brad often watched the children while Nancy was out with friends and went on trips with family and friends.  Brad would give her additional cash for trips.  That doesn’t sound like a controlling relationship to me.

When I first learned of this book, the trial hadn’t even started.  There is an obvious conflict of interest here because Amanda Lamb covered this story from the beginning and all throughout the trial.  From the beginning her book was to be about domestic violence regardless of what was presented at the trial and she was able to influence public opinion with her news articles. Her future book sales were also dependent on a “guilty” verdict. The more she could convince the public that Brad was guilty of domestic violence, the more books she would sell and the more she would profit from this tragedy. One day after Brad was convicted, she wrote an article titled, “Nancy Cooper Case was About Domestic Violence”.

Now she is using her position at WRAL to promote the book:

WRAL reporter Amanda Lamb’s latest book hits store shelves Dec. 6, and she’ll be out promoting it this weekend. Amanda wrote “Love Lies” about the Nancy Cooper murder case, a story she covered for WRAL.

Amanda says the main message of “Love Lies” is that domestic violence happens in every socioeconomic level of society and that education and money are not barriers to domestic abuse. It is not always a black eye or a broken arm. It can be much more subtle than that.

Amanda Lamb is clearly violating journalistic ethics.  How can it be permissible to report on a case for a news organization while simultaneously writing a book about that very case?  It wasn’t as if she’d planned to wait until the trial concluded to write this book.  She had the title and cover and at least some of the book written before the trial even began.

From every article I’ve read, this certainly violates ethical standards in journalism.  From the article, “How journalists avoid conflicts of interest”,

According to the Anti-Corruption Resource Center Web site: “A conflict of interest arises when an individual with a formal responsibility to serve the public participates in an activity that jeopardizes his or her professional judgment, objectivity and independence. Often this activity primarily serves personal interests and can potentially influence the objective exercise of the individual’s official duties.

From the New York Times Policy on Ethics in Journalism:

133. Staff members who plan outside writing or other outside creative work must never permit an impression that they might benefit financially from the outcome of news events. Thus a staff member may not negotiate about rights to an article or story idea before the article has appeared. Staff members involved in covering a running story may not negotiate over creative works of any sort based on that coverage until the news has played out.

I don’t know what WRAL’s policy is, but clearly ethics were violated here. What if Brad had been found “not guilty”?  What would have happened to her book deal?  She was in a position where the outcome of the news story influenced her future financial profits from the book.  What motivation would she have had to report what really happened….the police misconduct, the biased judge, the jury being barred from hearing key testimony?  None.  Her book deal would fall through.

I have written to the General Manager of WRAL and since they are an affiliate of CBS, I will write to corporate management there as well. If you agree that a conflict of interest occurred, please write to Steve Hammel, V.P. and General Manager at WRAL and let him know your thoughts.

Edited to add:  Here is the response I received from the News Director of WRAL:

Thank you for contacting WRAL and sharing your concerns about Amanda
Lamb's book. We do not believe there are any ethical concerns here.
Amanda is among several reporters who've reported on this case
for WRAL. Our coverage has been and will continue to be accurate,
fair, and thorough.

Rick Gall
News Director
WRAL News

Please continue to let them know that you are not okay with this and that it does greatly diminish their integrity.

15 thoughts on “Boycott Amanda Lamb’s “Love Lies”

  1. This is an excellent post. I am glad you took the time to research the “ethics” (if there are any left) of journalism. I was appalled that her book was originally slated for release prior to the trial date. She knew the ending before it even started and did what she could to make that ending happen.

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  2. absolutely boycott anything Amanda Lamb’s puts out there.she’s a liar. And she’s the type of person that would convict somebody that’s not even guilty just to get the good news ratings. Absolutely boycott that book. Sincerely T.

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  3. This book is classified as “Fiction” right?…it has to be – because it contains NOTHING remotely factual! When someone with the public trust disregards the “actual” facts in a case – slanting every line and word in her daily trial coverage – making sure the publics perception of this trial lines up with what she already had written in her book, is not only unethical and a breach of public trust – its a sad reflection on what a small person she really is to purposely ruin an innocent mans world – for her personal gain. Memo to Ms. Lamb from God: You also will stand and be judged for your decietful actions – not by a weak minded Wake County judge – but by the creator of the universe…that Ms. Lamb should scare you.

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  4. The title to this book…..LIES….tells me all that I want to know….and now to hear Ms. Lamb speak about it being DOMESTIC VIOLENCE….really????????????????????????????????

    So could someone please tell me how NO ONE….NOT ONE PERSON….indicated that it was a DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ISSUE with the COOPERS….so I guess this little “fact/lie” was ALSO COVERED UP….fact or fiction? I would say that it is ALL LIES….so it must be FICTION…in my opinion…..

    I still DO NOT UNDERSTAND WHY ANYONE would even want to spend $$$$$$ for something that they can VIEW on WRAL…..Ms. Lamb did say on the interview….that she will REVEAL things that were NOT heard in COURT……REALLY???????????????????? So she knows something that was NOT REVEALED…..interesting…..

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  5. The book doesn’t come out until tomorrow I heard. Have you gotten an advance copy of it? How do you know what it says in the book? Looked on Amazon and there is no preview of any chapters.

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  6. I e-mailed WRAL and they told me that they have since changed policies and they basically told me they did not care either. I e-mailed them as soon I learned about the book coming out. I can not believe it at all.It infuriates me to no end.

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  7. Post as many comments you can on the Amazon website. Also we should spam every article Lamb writes on Wral with comments. She frequently writes articles in the go ask mom section and every time she does I call her out for this incomprehensible book.

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    • Well, I can post a comment there because I read it today and it was a waste of time. I was hoping to learn something I didn’t know but all Lamb does is summarize the affidavits. Anyone following the trial had already seen them. It was very poorly written in my opinion. And there were inaccuracies that I will be writing about. It’s sad that I have to point them out but clearly she wanted a certain outcome and chose to blind herself to several facts. They aren’t going away though. Facts are facts.

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  8. Is there any kind of journalistic ethics panel we can report this to? I have some friends at the J school at UNC I’ll ask them if there are any steps we can take but if anyone knows please share.

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    • I think the best thing to do is point out how she breached ethical standards and send it to all the media outlets you can find. You could just forward this blog post to make it easy.

      WRAL wants to pretend everything is fine with a reporter covering a news story while trying to profit from the story on the side. It’s clearly a conflict of interest any way you look at it.

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  9. The book not only gives no new information, except perhaps that the Rentz’s have a houseboat, but presents even the trial testimony very dishonestly. Here’s how the erasing of NC’s phone is described:
    “But Detective Young also admitted that he had accidentally erased the history from Nancy’s AT&T phone, making it harder to isolate the exact call history. Young said he was simply following the instructions of an AT&T representative who was trying to walk him through accessing the password-protected phone. When he entered the incorrect password, he said he accidentally erased the information on the phone. Defense attorneys said this information could have helped them find the real killer. Once again, Kurtz used this as an example of what he saw as a bumbling investigation by Cary police.”

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    • I agree, ClaraB. There were several instances of this too. The dress is another one that stood out to me. As well as the “missing” shoes that police never even looked for. She really should have done some homework before writing a book about the case.

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  10. I personally will NEVER buy any of her books and have gone so far as to retitle her book as Book Of Lies… Don’t get me on a roll here because I can and will come up with better titles than that! Amanda Lies, Amanda’s Lies, Lambs That Lie, The Lying Lamb, Bryce’s MoM

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