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The Thin Blue Lie (2000) is a made for television film released on August 13, 2000 about Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Jonathan Neumann (Rob Morrow), who, along with his partner Phil Chadway (Randy Quaid), win the Pulitzer Prize in 1978 for a series of articles exposing Philadelphia mayor Frank Rizzo (Paul Sorvino) and the Philadelphia Police Department for corruption. According to the articles, suspects were beaten and tortured in interrogation rooms in an effort to meet the high quota of criminal cases solved by Philadelphia detectives. Neumann and Chadway met extreme opposition from the police department, working amidst phone tappings, apartment ransackings, and threats of death and bodily harm.

Issues That Pertain to American Journalism Ethics

Throughout the movie, Neumann faced a number of ethical dilemmas. First, most of his colleagues disagreed that he should pursue claims of torture from "suspects," citing that the city's crime level was at an all-time low, and to question Rizzo's police policies would put the city's safety in jeopardy. Second, when interviewing victims of police brutality, Neumann had to assure the frightened victims that they would not be harmed by talking to him, when in fact, they had been threatened by police and warned against talking to and/or cooperating with reporters. Third, Neumann had to find one detective willing to essentially betray his fellow officers in order to substantiate his claims.

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