WASHINGTON—Warning that the promise of publicity and notoriety is often exactly what motivates a run for the White House in the first place, media ethics groups called on news outlets Thursday to stop releasing the names of presidential candidates, part of an effort to stem the tide of copycats. “When a person launches a bid for president and then receives widespread media coverage, it only inspires other unstable individuals out there to do the exact same thing,” said media ethicist Payton Howard, who recommended reporters continue to cover announcements of candidacy when they have news value, but avoid naming the person campaigning for the presidency. “These announcements have been happening nearly every week, often accompanied by some sort of policy proposal that has been written in an attempt to justify the action. But when those ideas get repeated in the media, they can inspire a whole new crop of imitators who seek the attention that comes from a presidential campaign. It is irresponsible to make celebrities out of these people. They are clearly very sick.” At press time, it appeared the new media strategy failed when former New Orleans mayor Mitch Landrieu announced he was running for president.
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