Reporting: How Much May One Lie To Get the Truth?

Professionally compelled to get the facts, reporters have long resorted to deception. As far back as 1886, a brash young journalist who called herself Nel lie Bly feigned insanity to expose the inhuman conditions in a mental hospital. And in 1919, Herbert Bayard Swope passed himself off as a diplomat, outfitted with cutaway coat and chauffeured limousine, to provide a firsthand account of peace-treaty negotiations at Versailles. Last week, as the result of a National Labor Relations Board decision, the concept of what journalists call "enterprising reporting" was subjected to Government review.

Not Acceptable. At the center of the case was...