The Moral Media: How Journalists Reason About Ethics
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USC experts discuss the implications of fake news on law, politics and society. Contact : Ian Chaffee at or ichaffee usc. If we were punished every time we said something wrong, none of us would be allowed to speak. But that demonstrates why the First Amendment is so important — even wrong speech can be said without fear of reprisal. An otherwise creditable news organization can get itself sued for not doing an adequate investigation of the facts before running the story; and, by lending its credibility to a bad story, probably deserves to be sued.
Contact : or movering digitalmedialaw. We do not need another law to address fake news. They can be no different from the broadcast standards and practices of the television networks. When the internet site shows that it has adopted these minimum standards of journalistic integrity, we can have a minimum threshold of trust in that source. They should inform the public of the importance of recognizing that the content has been subjected to professional scrutiny.
Since the service providers control the access to the social media consumer, the solution to the problem lies with them. Their failure to police what content can be posted on their sites encourages the creeping problem of fake news. It is time to act before a new generation of Americans is less informed and, therefore, equipped to govern. He can discuss the ethical implications of fake news and the adoption of industry standards to regulate outlets that promote it.
Contact : or fields marshall. But for a long time we have had a distribution system based on large networks that limited the amount of media people could consume. Reporters used to be illdressed, annoying types who thought of themselves as practicing a craft in a rough-and-ready, sometimes drunken, but always conscientious fashion. Today, reporters are ill-dressed, annoying types who think of themselves as the high priests of the journalism profession and who practice their secular religion in a relentlessly selfimportant and self-righteous fashion.
Of course, they vote Democratic.
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According to one survey, 90 percent of Washington journalists voted for Bill Clinton. Ninety percent! Among journalists, then, George Bush won about as much of the vote as someone would running against Party Secretary Leonid Brezhnev in the old Soviet Union. And the problems go much deeper.
His experience is not uncommon.
Hostility toward truth is extremely convenient for reporters because it frees them from the deadening and demeaning task of transmitting facts. It is no wonder that many journalists distrust and dislike individuals who stand up for truth and who strive to uphold ethical and legal standards that are based on moral absolutes. Bill Clinton has had his share of negative press.
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When he agreed to take the job five years ago, Starr probably expected some White House stonewalling and some flak from congressional Democrats. But surely he never dreamed of the rabid hostility he would encounter from the media, which has managed to portray him as both a religious zealot and a sexual obsessive.
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Starr has never lied under oath and has never fooled around with young interns. Yet he is regularly ridiculed for such offenses as singing hymns—not even singing hymns badly, just singing hymns.
His character is painted as black as the Hole of Calcutta. He is ruthless, unethical, strange, unhealthy, all for conducting an investigation aimed at discovering the truth. This is an interesting and murky area. The media itself once had a high regard for privacy. Certain things were just off limits. In a famous incident after her husband lost the presidential election, Pat Nixon confronted a couple of reporters who had shown up on the steps of her California home for day-after reaction. They considered it out of bounds; Pat Nixon was venting her personal grief, and there was no reason to broadcast it to the world.
Which brings us back to Ken Starr. Sexual harassment law with which it sympathized made possible the Paula Jones suit that precipitated the investigation.
It is judgment that really bothers the media. And here we arrive at a deeper, more disturbing trend. Unfortunately, this attitude is no longer confined just to the media or to other elites. In this penetrating analysis of the middle class, Wolfe demonstrates that most Americans lead responsible, morally upright lives, but that they are extremely reluctant to make moral judgments about other people.
They are also reluctant to rely upon their private beliefs as the basis for their opinions about public life.
SPJ Code of Ethics - Society of Professional Journalists
Their beliefs may or may not be portrayed in a positive way, but their efforts to apply their beliefs to such social issues as premarital and extramarital sex, homosexuality, abortion, and euthanasia are considered bizarre and dangerous. Another media tendency plays into this trend: It loves to expose hypocrites. This means targeting public figures who uphold moral standards.
The only way to be safe in the current environment is to be Larry Flynt, who is guilty of every offense but hypocrisy, a swine who makes no effort to lift his snout from the muck toward something higher. Moreover, there is a general trend toward sentimentality and compassion in the media. Feelings are constantly elevated over reason, compassion and good intentions over sterner virtues like duty and honor. Sportscasters cut their coverage of athletic events short in order to spend more air time on the personal trials and tribulations of the contenders.