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Media Ethics

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Title: Media Ethics


1
Media Ethics
  • Chapter 15

2
Media Companies
Government
hareholders
Other Countries
Audience
Society
3
The family is not going to make a statement
until this is resolved, said Michael Willard of
Underhill, a friend of Richard Phillips and his
wife Andrea. Andrea is doing well under the
circumstances, but she would just like her
privacy, Willard said. He asked the gathering
of news media camped outside the familys home to
clear out as soon as possible. On the scene
Thursday were six satellite trucks, a dozen or so
cameras and about 30 reporters and photographers.
Shes just overwhelmed, Willard said of
Andrea Phillips. Shes just worried about her
husband. She just needs her privacy.
April 2009 Somali Pirates hold Vermont captain
hostage
4
Ethical Standards
  • Ethics
  • Guideline or moral rules about how professional
    communicators should behave
  • Self-regulation
  • Industry codes, particles, and standards
  • Ethical issues include
  • Accuracy in reporting
  • Privacy for media subjects
  • Fairness in presenting all sides
  • Confidentiality of sources
  • Reporting suicides, outing homosexuals
  • Depiction of sex and violence
  • Perpetuation of stereotypes
  • Responsibility for bread and circuses

Natalee Holloway
5
Broadcast Ethics
  • Don Imus was fired in April 2007 for calling the
    Rutgers Womens Basketball Team nappy-headed
    hos.
  • Was this appropriate? Or what he was hired to do?

  • What about the financial loss to radio stations
    carrying the show? What about CBS shareholders?
  • What about the marketplace of ideas? And Free
    Speech?

6
Sensation in the Magazine World
  • Bonnie Fuller
  • Sexed up Cosmopolitan
  • Sexy cover
  • Reworked Young Miss into YM Young and Modern
  • How far should a magazine go using sex to draw an
    audience
  • People featured in magazine are not real
  • Quotes are Sexed up
  • People dont have the same expectation about
    Cosmos use of quotes and facts
  • What standards apply to a magazine like Cosmo?

7
Sensation in the Magazine World
  • How much celebrity news is really news?

8
Sensation in the Magazine World
  • 1982 National Geographic cover modified to move
    pyramids closer together.

9
Sensation in the Magazine World
  • 1989 TV Guide spliced the head of Winfrey onto
    the body of actress Ann-Margret, taken from a
    1979 publicity shot. The composite was created
    without permission of Winfrey or Ann-Margret, and
    was detected by Ann-Margret's fashion designer,
    who recognized the dress.

10
Retouching
  • Newsweek 2005 Composite photo of Martha
    Stewarts head on a models body.
  • Newsweek disclosed the source of the cover image
    on Page 3 with the lines "Cover Photo
    illustration by Michael Elins ... head shot by
    Marc Bryan-Brown."

11
Retouching
  • April 2005 This digital composite of actors Brad
    Pitt and Angelina Jolie, rumored to have a
    romantic relationship, appeared on the cover of
    Star Magazine. The picture of Pitt was taken in
    Anguilla, a Caribbean island, in January 2005.
    The picture of Jolie was taken in Virginia some
    time in 2004.
  • On page 8 is a disclaimer noting the image is a
    "composite of two photographs." This composite
    was purchased from Big Pictures, a London-based
    photography agency, for 500,000.

12
Alison Jackson
  • Famous for taking photos of fake celebrities, in
    2006 New York magazine even featured one of her
    fake photos on the cover.

13
Retouching
  • 2005 USA Today gives Condaleezza Rice scary
    eyes.
  • After receiving complaints from readers, this
    photograph was removed from USA Today's website,
    and the following Editor's note appeared
    alongside a "properly adjusted copy" Photos
    published online are routinely cropped for size
    and adjusted for brightness and sharpness to
    optimize their appearance. In this case, after
    sharpening the photo for clarity, the editor
    brightened a portion of Rice's face, giving her
    eyes an unnatural appearance. This resulted in a
    distortion of the original not in keeping with
    our editorial standards.

Original
14
Retouching
  • 2006 CBS News slims Katie Couric

Original
15
Retouching
  • 2006 Marie Claire shows a composite photo of
    ABCs Elizabeth Vargas nursing.
  • A spokesperson for the magazine called Vargas "a
    great journalist," and added that "We do not
    believe anyone seriously thought she would nurse
    and report the news at the same time!"

16
Sensation in the Magazine World
  • 2000 University of Wisconsin alters a picture
    for its catalog to suggest diversity.

17
Retouching
  • 2000 The White House releases a publicity photo
    which has been doctored to suggest a larger
    audience for the President. They eventually
    apologize and send the original to news outlets.

18
Sensation in the Magazine World
  • June 1994 Time and Newsweek both use the same
    picture for their covers, but Time darkens
    theirs.

19
Sensation in the Magazine World
  • March 2007 Time makes Ronald Reagan cry.
  • Time issued a statement saying it regularly runs
    what it calls "conceptual covers." They said
    "This week's cover image is clearly credited on
    the table of contents page, naming both the
    photographer of the Reagan photo and the
    illustrator of the tear."

20
Retouching
  • 2003 LA Times correspondent Brian Walski
    combines two war photos to add drama.

21
Retouching
  • 2003 Reuters photographer Adnan Hadjj adds
    smoke to photo of burning Beirut.

22
Morals Ethics
  • Morals System of values. Defines right and
    wrong, good and bad.
  • Ethics Practical application of morals.
  • Sources
  • Religion All religions present a set of moral
    laws (e.g. Ten Commandments), predicated on
    Divine Law knowledge passed down from Divinity
    to men.
  • Science Evolutionary psychology suggests that
    moral rules are innate, created by millions of
    human interactions over the course of evolution.
    Offshoot of Game Theory.
  • Politics Political systems also have implied
    moral rules (e.g. privacy, social responsibility,
    free speech)
  • Industry Each media business also has rules,
    designed to preserve market viability (e.g.
    truthfulness, entertainment, etc.)

23
The Golden Rule
  • "Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge
    against the children of thy people, but thou
    shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" Torah
    Leviticus 1918
  • "When an alien lives with you in your land,
    do not mistreat him. The alien living with you
    must be treated as one of your native-born. Love
    him as yourself, for you were aliens in Egypt.
    Torah Leviticus 1933-34
  • "Do unto others as you would have them do
    unto you." Jesus (c. 5 BCE33 CE) in the
    Gospels, Matthew 712, Luke 631, Luke 1027
  • "None of you truly believes until he loves
    for his brother what he loves for himself."
    Muhammad (c. 571 632 CE) in a Hadith.
  • "This is the sum of duty do naught unto
    others what you would not have them do unto you."
    Mahabharata (51517) (c. 500 BCE)
  • "What you do not wish upon yourself, extend
    not to others." Confucius (ca. 551479 BCE)
  • "What is hateful to you, do not to your
    fellow man." Hillel (ca. 50 BCE-10 CE)

24
Ethics
  • Aristotles Golden Mean
  • Between two extremes
  • Moderation and balance
  • Kants Categorical Imperative
  • What you wish to be a universal law
  • Situation ethics
  • Rules can be broken if the overall purpose is
    good
  • Mills Principle of Utility
  • Seek the greatest good for the greatest number

25
Rules of Behavior
Laws Morals Ethics Best choices Rules of thumb
, utilitarian rules, epigenetic rules

Laws
Ethics
Morals
Rules of thumb
26
Potters Box
  • A process approach for thinking through ethical
    problems
  • Harvard Divinity professor Ralph Potter
  • Definition
  • Clarify the facts of the issue
  • Values
  • Identify the choices and the ethical issues
    underlying each
  • Principles
  • Look for general principles that underlie the
    options
  • Link options with overarching principles
  • Start thinking about your own vales
  • Loyalties
  • Clarify your main loyalties
  • Being true to your own values

27
Plame Affair
  • Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr. (born August 22, 1950)
    is the former Chief of Staff and assistant for
    National Security Affairs to U.S. Vice President
    Dick Cheney and presidential advisor. In 2003 and
    2004, intense speculation about Libby centered on
    the possibility that he may have been the
    administration official who "outed" Valerie
    Plame, a CIA covert operative whose identity was
    classified.

Scooter Libby
Valerie Plame Wilson
28
Plame Affair
  • In July of 2005, Time magazine reporter Matthew
    Cooper revealed that Libby and Karl Rove were the
    first to disclose Wilson's wife had 'offered up'
    Wilson's name on the mission to Niger and that
    she was a CIA officer without mentioning her
    name. The American Prospect magazine revealed in
    August 2005 that Libby had testified that he met
    with Judith Miller on July 8, 2003 and discussed
    Wilson's wife with her at that time. It was later
    learned Miller's notes indicated the name "Flame"
    rather than Plame.
  • Miller was jailed on 7 July 2005 for contempt of
    court after refusing to testify to the grand jury
    about this meeting despite a signed blanket
    waiver from Libby allowing journalists to discuss
    their conversations.

Judith Miller
29
Plame Affair
  • Libby, 55, is charged with perjury and
    obstruction of justice for lying to the FBI and a
    federal grand jury about how he learned about CIA
    operative Valerie Plame and what he subsequently
    told reporters about her.
  • Conservative columnist Robert Novak named her in
    a column July 14, 2003, eight days after Plame's
    husband, former U.S. Ambassador Joseph Wilson,
    alleged in an opinion piece in The New York Times
    that the Bush administration had twisted prewar
    intelligence on Iraq to justify going to war.
  • In April, 2006 the New York Times claimed that it
    was President Bush who ordered the leak to Miller.

Robert Novak
30
Issues
  • As a reporter for the campus paper, a student
    tells you that a professor gave him a better
    grade in exchange for sex. The student wants to
    remain anonymous, because he is embarrassed about
    what he did. He says others students also
    exchanged sex for grades.
  • Do you
  • Print the story?
  • Name the professor?
  • Name the student?

31
Issues
  • As a respected and influential student blogger,
    you are approached by Dr. Pepper to promote its
    new Raging Cow drink. They want you to rave
    about how wonderful it is, (even if you dont
    like it.) They wont pay you, but they will give
    you lots of free stuff to keep or give away, and
    even fly you to Dallas in an all-expenses paid
    trip. You just cant disclose that you are
    working for them.
  • Do you
  • Push the drink?
  • Disclose your link to the campaign?

32
Issues
  • Virginia Tech shootings
  • When does press coverage cross the line of
    intrusion?
  • How useful is the question How do you feel?

33
Issues
  • Virginia Tech shootings
  • NBC received a videotape and leters from the
    killer, Cho Seung-Hui.
  • They aired parts of it, as did other news
    outlets, and then, a day later, announced they
    would limit the amount of it they would show.
  • a) Does this sort of thing just turn villains
    into icons?
  • b) Does the publics right to know about the case
    supersede a)?
  • c) If b) is true, should news outlets self-censor
    like this?

34
Issues
  • Virginia Tech shootings NBC statement 4/19/2007
  • Upon receiving the materials from Cho Seung-Hui,
    NBC News took careful consideration in
    determining how the information should be
    distributed.  We did not rush the material onto
    air, but instead consulted with local
    authorities, who have since publicly acknowledged
    our appropriate handling of the matter. 
    Beginning this morning, we have limited our usage
    of the video across NBC News, including MSNBC, to
    no more than 10 percent of our airtime. 
  • Our Standards and Policies chief reviewed all
    material before it was released. One of our most
    experienced correspondents, Pete Williams,
    handled the reporting. We believe it provides
    some answers to the critical question, "why did
    this man carry out these awful murders?" The
    decision to run this video was reached by
    virtually every news organization in the world,
    as evidenced by coverage on television, on Web
    sites and in newspapers. We have covered this
    story and our unique role in it with extreme
    sensitivity, underscored by our devoted efforts
    to remember and honor the victims and heroes of
    this tragic incident. We are committed to nothing
    less.

35
Issues
  • Virginia Tech shootings is this tabloid news?
  • How do you balance what the audience needs to
    know, vs. what they want to know?

36
Issues
  • In March 2003, on the eve of the Iraq war, a
    directive arrived from the Pentagon at U.S.
    military bases. "There will be no arrival
    ceremonies for, or media coverage of, deceased
    military personnel returning to or departing from
    Ramstein Germany airbase or Dover Del. base,
    to include interim stops," the Defense Department
    said, referring to the major ports for the
    returning remains.
  • President Obama and the Pentagon rescinded this
    policy in 2009.

37
Issues
  • Duke Lacrosse players accused of rape
  • Were they tried in the press before being tried
    in court?
  • Rape victims names are usually kept secret but
    what about the accused?

38
Ethical Issues
  • Complications of freedom of speech
  • Ethics of using indecent language
  • First Amendment was written to protect political
    and religious speech
  • Standards of what is acceptable vary between
    communities
  • Accurate Information
  • Fabrication of stories is not ethical
  • Boston Globe columnist, Patricia Smith fabricated
    characters and quotes
  • Fairness and responsibility
  • Include issues of fairness favoritism,
    partisanship, corruption and bribery

39
Additional Ethical Issues
  • Source attribution
  • Politicians use leaks as trial balloons
  • Ken Starrs staff was accused of leaking sealed
    grand jury testimony
  • Sensationalism
  • Boston Phoenix published a photo of Wall Street
    Journal reporter Daniel Pearls severed head
  • Some consider sensationalism a matter of taste
  • Junkets, freebies, and expenses
  • Junket is a free trip given to reporters in hopes
    of generating a favorable story
  • Freebies
  • Free tickets to sporting events or free lunch
  • Paying the expenses of reporters

40
More Ethical Issues
  • Commercialism
  • Pressure to increase rating or circulation
  • NBCs Dateline staged the explosion of a GM
    pickup truck
  • Vertical integration interferers with news
    coverage
  • Press releases and journalism
  • Press release and video news releases are very
    often useful information
  • Ethical issue
  • News is being reported by an advocacy group
  • Promoting a commercial or political interest
  • Privacy
  • Reporters show little concern for the privacy of
    those they cover
  • Content of mail and telephone conversations are
    legally protected

41
Payola and Plugola
  • Payola
  • Recoding companies and independent promoters pay
    DJs to play new recordings
  • Prominent in the 1950s
  • Repapering today
  • Plugola
  • Paying someone to mention or plug something on
    the air
  • If a DJ receives a free pizza and mentions the
    pizza shop on the air, is it unethical?

42
Codes of Ethics
  • Growing out of fears of the power of the media
  • Hutchins Commission issued a code of social
    responsibility
  • Accuracy
  • Truthful account of the days events
  • Forum for comment and criticism
  • Representative picture of groups in society
  • Presentation of goals and values of society
  • Broad coverage of society
  • Society of Professional Journalisms Code of
    Ethics
  • Current version adopted in 1996
  • Following the code would prevent mistakes
  • NBCs Dateline staged the explosion of a GM
    pickup truck
  • The code states that misleading re-enactments or
    staged news events should be avoided

43
Newspaper Ombudsman
  • Ombudsman is an experienced reporter or editor
  • Saves as an internal critic
  • Spokesperson for the publics interest
  • Organizations of newspaper Ombudsmen list duties
    of an ombudsman
  • Represent the readers
  • Alert the newspaper to public complaints
  • Serve as in-house critic
  • Write columns about newspaper policy
  • Defend the newspaper publicly when warranted
  • Fewer than 40 American newspapers have ombudsman

44
Key Ethical Issues
  • Crisis in business ethics
  • Shift in values of large corporations
  • Maximize the value of the companies stock
  • Top executives are paid through stock options
  • Recoding phony profits and hiding losses
  • Corporate ethics
  • Corporate responsibility model
  • Give back to the community
  • Ethical entertainment
  • Should filmmakers take responsibility for the
    social effect of their movies?
  • Filmmakers and entertainment executes deny
    responsibly
  • Individuals are not as vulnerable as might be
    supposed
  • Individuals must take responsibility for the
    decision of what they watch

45
Public Relations Ethics
  • Poster, Thank you for Smoking

46
Public Relations Ethics
  • Criticism of public relations
  • Public relations restrict economic competition
  • Marvin Olasky - 1967
  • In the 1930s many of the people who worked in
    public relations were press agents
  • Hollywood star Rita Hayworth wins best-dressed
    contest in 1939
  • There was no contest, it was a publicity stunt
  • No amount of public relations can save a company
    that acts in a way to harm people
  • Public Relations Society of America (PRSA)
  • Established first Code of Professional Standards
    in 1954
  • Revised in 2000

47
Advertising Ethics
  • Emerson Foote resigned as chairman of
    McCann-Erickson
  • Protest over cigarette advertising
  • Cigarette advertising aimed at children
  • More children could recognize Joe Camel than
    other cartoon characters
  • Cigarette companies need to replace customers who
    die from using their product
  • Tobacco advertisers have become more responsible

  • Pulled cigarette advertising from magazines with
    young readers
  • Outdoor billboards advertising has bee banned
  • Product placement
  • Reeses Pieces sales increased after E.T.
  • Prizes on television game shows

48
Direct Marketing Ethics
  • Database marketing
  • Develop database from supermarket discount cards
    and other sources of personal information
  • Computer personalized ads
  • Greeting cards
  • E-mail reminder for dates to send cards
  • Place based advertising
  • Specialized television programming in public
    places
  • airports, doctors offices, schools, supermarkets

  • Channel One in schools
  • Direct marketing guidelines
  • Anonymous data collection cannot be linked with
    personally identifiable data without consent
  • People can ask to be put on do not call list
  • Government does not regulate puffery
  • New and improved, best in the world

49
Consumer Ethics
  • Internet service providers enforce a set of rules
    for users
  • Acceptable use policy
  • No harassment
  • Sending of spam, abusive e-mail, sexual
    harassment
  • No misrepresentations
  • Middle aged men posing as teenagers in chat
    rooms
  • No hacking
  • Braking into systems
  • No lawbreaking
  • Drug dealing, child pornography, and other
    illegal acts
  • Corporate and university users have no right of
    privacy
  • Employers and universities own the network
  • Copying material from the Web
  • It is illegal

50
Media Consumer Ethics
  • Plagiarism
  • Downloading term papers from the Internet
  • Violation of honor code
  • Professors can find where the papers were stolen
    from
  • Intellectual property and ethics
  • Legal to record programs from cable or broadcast
  • Illegal to make copies and sell them
  • Some countries are permitting illegal copying
  • Research ethics
  • All surveys are not legitimate
  • End with a sales pitch
  • Experimental manipulation must not be harmful
  • Use of human subjects guidelines

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