Final Post

Can’t believe we’re down to our last post for media ethics….

The ethical theory that seemed most useful and applicable for use by mass media consumers was liberation. This topic was a little more complicated for me to understand but somehow I got through it. The first thing we had to write about was our view on media’s role/responsibility in the question of social justice. The first thing I had to do was define social justice to help me better understand the reading. “Social justice is a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society. This is measured by the explicit and tacit term for the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity, and social privileges.” Media and social justice go hand and hand. Growing up, I’ve known how social media has become more of an impact to society and people’s daily lives. If I could get the statistics on how often people tend to their social media, I bet it would be a big surprise to me. People abuse social media so often, it frustrates me on a daily basis. Taken from ona18.journalist.org, “Journalism is a critical part of social justice movements: it uncovers and disseminate needed information, uplifts the work of people who are making transformative change, and shapes public dialogue.”

As I included in my post on this topic from last week, I included a great article that backs up my ideas of media and social justice. 

According to an article by Farah Jamil, she talks about some of the many responsibilities media plays a role in our society. Jamil says, “the truth is that — the media can also become a victim while fulfilling its responsibilities”. As a senior journalist was questioned in the article she was asked about the social responsibility of media, and responded, “this is a very complex question because to some extent the media is doing what it needs to do but then there are major issues and positive issues that are not being addressed for some very obvious reasons.” Like I said before, social media is misused everyday. 

A media example of this is a journalist reporting on an LGBTQ member and their family becoming more accepting of them and their sexuality. Another example of ethical “liberation” in journalism is, a journalist reporting about the US Women’s Soccer team reporting about them fighting for equal pay. Taken from an article written by cbsnews.com, captain Carli Lloyd says, “We feel like we’re treated like second-class citizens because they don’t care as much about us as they do the men.” The article also states that, “The team is made up of the best female soccer players from around the country and for 25 years they’ve ruled the world.” It’s crazy to me to see the countless amounts of articles, journalism, and media that went out after they won this past world cup. An example of the dilemma that I want to point out is that all of the negative articles about the US Women’s team being unfair and ‘crazy’ to try and fight for their liberation through social media. If anyone wants to dig deeper, they can go and search up US Women’s soccer team and that’ll probably be the first thing that pops up. People continue to use social media in the wrong ways, however social media is set in place to play an important role in our society but it just isn’t being used correctly.

Media ethics as a consumer, for me, means that the source that I am retrieving my media from is being transparent about any bias that it may possess. This is one of the most important aspects of scientific research, and I think that in today’s political climate it should be even more important in media. For media sources to be seen as reliable, they should disclose any influence they may have as to inform their consumers on the full depth of the story being reports and make them aware of how the information may be twisted. 

As a media maker, I attempt to make my media as unbiased as possible. While I have no disclosed my biases, if I had a large following I would. I would disclose my overall opinion before discussing things. The point of my media is to facilitate a discussion. No one enjoys being deceived, and in my opinion deception is one of the fastest routes to shutting down effective communication. This is why I try to be transparent in all of the media I create.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/60-minutes-women-soccer-team-usa-gender-discrimination-equal-pay-2019-07-10/

Media Ethics for Liberation

This weeks reading and discussion I found to be a bit more challenging for me to follow. After reading over everything a few times, I still can’t know for sure if I completely understand it. Follow along to see what I took away from this week’s discussion on media ethics for liberation. 

The first thing I did was googled the definition of social justice and I found, “Social justice is a concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society. This is measured by the explicit and tacit terms for the distribution of wealth, opportunities for personal activity, and social privileges”. Really being able to understand a clear definition of social justice helped me break down the first question.

What are my views on media’s roles/responsibilities in the question of social justice? I think the first idea of this is to understand that the media and social justice affect each other. I’ve known for many years that social media plays a huge role on the effects of any society. I believe that the media has important roles and responsibilities in question of social justice, however it continues to be misused everyday. According to an article by Farah Jamil, she talks about some of the many responsibilities media plays a role in our society. Jamil says, “the truth is that — the media can also become a victim while fulfilling its responsibilities”. As a senior journalist was questioned in the article she was asked about the social responsibility of media, and responded, “this is a very complex question because to some extent the media is doing what it needs to do but then there are major issues and positive issues that are not being addressed for some very obvious reasons.” So like I said, I believe that social media plays a huge role on social justice but society can’t figure how to use it correctly and for the right reasons.

Dussel’s ideas focus on the people who’ve been ‘excluded’ or ‘left out’ of ethical traditions and refers to them as the others, “the oppressed”. I liked the three ethical principles Dussel used to guide human actions. As he summed up liberation people as, “one who operates in an ethical-critical manner should (is ethically obligated to) act to liberate the victim, as part of the same community to which the victim belongs”. I really liked how professor Pike broke it down for media makers and consumers as, “change the world by changing the story — through narratives of new ‘norms’ and ‘actions’ that involve making life more full and equal for those in need of fullness and equality”. I also really like what he said in the last paragraph of his article. “An ethics thereby becomes the last resort of humanity, which is in danger of becoming extinct as a result of its own actions”. This quote is so real and true to me, in my opinion. I agree with what he’s saying.

One of the examples that come to mind when thinking about ethical “liberation” journalism is, a journalist reporting on an LGBTQ teen’s and their situation. Upon reading the story, the teen’s community and family becoming more accepting of them and their sexuality.

Aristotle Redux

In the crash course ‘Aristotle & Virtue Theory’, it defines virtue theory as “an ethical theory that emphasized an individual’s character rather than following a set of rules.” Aristotle argues that “having virtue just means doing the right thing, at the right time, in the right way, in the right amount, toward the right people.” Something I really liked about this crash course is when it talked about how, “the satisfaction of knowing you’ve accomplished a lot, and that you’ve pushed yourself to be the very best person you could be.” The crash course described this as Eudaimonia or ‘a life well lived’.
In the movie, “Deadline USA 1952”, Ed Hutcheson is the main character and the dedicated editor of ’The Day’. He’s overwhelmed with frustration when he finds out that the news paper is going to be sold. His frustration grows even more when he discovers that the buyer is a paper which he regards as a lower standard of journalism. He has always believed in his paper and the quality of news reported by it. He confronted the owner’s wife of the paper and said, “this paper will fight for progress in reform. We’ll never be satisfied merely with printing the news. We’ll never be afraid to attack wrong whether by predatory wealth or predatory poverty.” As they wrote those words in their very first paper. When one of his reporters were attacked by the thugs of a local mobster he was investigating, Hutcheson makes it his mission to use the paper to incriminate the mobster. Despite other concerns going on in his life, Hutcheson fights to report what he believes his readers deserve to know. He is uninterested in reporting news that only sells papers and places a priority on the quality of reporting being done. This shows his dedication and integrity to the paper, as well as his readers, and to journalism as a whole. His love for journalism went beyond just his pride in delivering top tier information to his readers, as he found immense pride and joy in his work. This sentiment is shown when he says, “You want to be a reporter, here’s some advice about this racket. Don’t ever change your mind, it may not be the oldest profession but it’s the best.”

DIY Code of Ethics

The first topic on social concerns that I wanted to talk about is ‘Mental Health and Suicide”. Like Ona Ethics said, “suicides and mental health offer a range of ethical issues for journalists.” I believe suicides to be a very touchy subject that journalist may have to tiptoe around. I believe that situations like suicides do not need to be overly detailed. As well as graphic images. If I find it important enough for the public, I would consider adding more detailed information if needed. I made sure to check off in my Ona Ethics that, “we will include the method used in a suicide when it is important for audience understanding but not specific details (e.g., nothing that a victim shot himself but not covering the type of weapon).”

The second topic I wanted to talk about was ‘Naming Suspects’. This section talked about how, “if a person has been accused of a crime, charged, tried or convicted, there are often searchable records of that occurrence.” With that being said, I think it’s important to include a lot of information on these situations. If people have the ability to look up information about arrested criminals, why shouldn’t we include names and details about the accuser? I think juveniles have different terms due to there age and lack of knowledge then older people. I checked off that “we will not name juvenile suspects in criminal cases unless they are charged with serious violent crimes, such as armed robbery, aggravated assault, attempted homicide or homicide.” With that being said, I have different feelings about exposing juveniles unless they are participating in crime to a certain extent.

Live from Baghdad

The crash course video on contractarianism talks about the idea that, “there is no morality until we make it up”. The video defined contractarianism as, “right acts are those that do not violate the free, rational agreements that we’ve made”. 

“Hobbes proposed, anytime you get a group of free, self-interested, rational individuals living together, morality will just emerge”. 

As for morality, it’s determined by groups of contractors. Which means, whatever they agree to, goes. If something changes, as a group they can modify the contract.

In the movie “Live from Baghdad” shows an unsigned contract between the minister of information Naji Al Hadithi and CNN reporter Robert Wiener. After receiving the four-wire equipment to directly phone call there CNN facility in Atlanta, Hadithi finds out and allows him to use it because the government trusts he’ll use it correctly. That is when there agreement began and contractarianism is shown. At 67:32 Hadithi says, “you deceived us …we trust you to use it responsibly”. After the time expired for the Iraqi government to withdraw from Kuwait, military action was taken and the war began. According to imdb.com, around 3 a.m., on January 17th, the bombing of Baghdad began and the CNN reporters began to report. “CNN became the only news organization to broadcast first-hand live reports” (imdb.com). Going back to the contract, Hadithi and Wiener became friends throughout the movie, giving CNN the upper hand. After a few hours of horrific fire and shootings, Hadithi orders Wiener to shut the equipment off after further review. Hadithi says, “stop your reporting immediately, you can record your stories, but we must review it first.” At the very end of the movie as Hadithi and Wiener look around at all of the destruction done Wiener says, “I kept your word even fair, I can’t ask for more than that for a friend”. Hadithi replied, “and you got your story”. This is where I get clarification about the contract between the two of them.

Looking at News Through Five Fault Lines

News Story: “Amber Guyger, Ex-Officer Who Killed Man In His Apartment, Given 10 Years In Prison”, by Bobby Allyn

https://www.npr.org/2019/10/02/766454839/amber-guyger-ex-officer-who-killed-man-in-his-apartment-given-10-years-in-prison

Source #1: Amber Guyger

Race: 6 – White

Gender: 2 – Female

Class: 00 – can’t determine

Generation: 2 – (19-34)

Geography: 1 – neighborhood

Source #2: Judge Tammy Kemp

Race: 1 – Black

Gender: 2 – Female

Class: 00 – can’t determine

Generation: 00 – can’t determine

Geography: 00 – can’t determine

Source #3: Botham Jean

Race: 1 – Black

Gender: 1 – Male

Class: 00 – can’t determine

Generation: 2 – (19-34)

Geography: 1 – urban (Caribbean island of St. Lucia

Source #4: Brandt Jean

Race: 1 – Black

Gender: 1 – Male

Class: 00 – can’t determine

Generation: 2 – (19-34)

Geography: 1 – urban

Source #5: Bertrum Jean

Race: 1 – Black

Gender: 1 – Male

Class: 00 – can’t determine

Generation: 00 – can’t determine

Geography: 1 – urban

Source #6: Allison Jean

Race: 1 – Black

Gender: 2 – Female

Class: 00 – can’t determine

Generation: 00 – can’t determine

Geography: 1 – urban

Source #7: Allisa Findley

Race: 1 – Black

Gender: 2 – Female

Class: 00 – can’t determine

Generation: 00 – can’t determine

Geography: 1 – urban

Source #8: Syeda Hasan

Race: 00 – can’t determine

Gender: 2 – Female

Class: 00 – can’t determine

Generation: 00 – can’t determine

Geography: 00 – can’t determine

News Values: What makes the story or image newsworthy and why?

  • One of the biggest reasons to me is simply interest by viewers/readers. Another reason is importance and significance to a community. If something like this happened in my community, I would be all over this story. I would try to get all the details about it and find out as much as I could.

Constraints: What constraints do you think affected the reporting and presentation of this coverage?

  • One of the constraints that I think came up in this story was the idea that it was a white police officer and a black innocent victim. The idea of her mistaking it for her own apartment may have brought much more controversy. The story itself must’ve been hard to deliver for a lot of reporters and the ability not to show any bias had to have been challenging. 

Accuracy: Would the coverage more accurately reflect the whole community if more Fault Lines dimensions were represented?

  • Yes, I think more Fault Line dimensions would cover the whole community more accurately. I struggled to find a handful of these fault lines which made it a little harder to picture what was going on in the story.

Opportunities: What kind of follow-up reporting could be done to add Fault Lines dimensions that would help readers better understand the relevance of the news to their lives and communities?

  • For this story specifically it could have used follow-up information on the victim and suspect. There was a little detail here and there but I still struggled to put the relevance together due to the lack of information. As Professor Pike said in the instructions, “every news story reflects a few Fault Lines but rarely will you find a story that includes all five — race, class, gender, geography and generation”. If these stories can better display these Fault Lines, it will have more relevance to readers/viewers.

Utilitarianism & Zeta

In the first discussion we watched, “Utilitarianism” on PBS’s Crash Course in Philosophy. Utilitarianism was founded by two philosophers by the names of Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill. They defined Utilitarianism as, “a moral theory that focuses on the results, or consequences, of our actions, and treats intentions as irrelevant”. These philosophers agreed that, “actions should be measured in terms of happiness, or pleasure, that they produce and work to avoid pain”. The example talked about in the discussion had to do with picking a restaurant that you knew everyone would be okay with even though you really wanted to go somewhere else. “You’ve chosen the action that would produce the most overall happiness for the group, even though it produced less happiness for you than other alternatives would have”.

The two forms of Utilitarianism were ‘Act Utilitarianism’ and ‘Rule Utilitarianism’. Act Utilitarianism being, “in any given situation, you should choose the action that produces the greatest good for the greatest number”. Rule Utilitarianism being, “a version of the theory that says we ought to live by rules that, in general, are likely to lead to the greatest good for the greatest number”.

In the movie “Reportero”, is about a story of a veteran reporter and his colleagues at an independent newsweekly Zeta in Tijuana, Mexico. Zeta was a news form created by journalist to allow them to share everything and anything that they see. Some people said it was too explicit while others said it allows them to be given information they can’t find anywhere else. Zeta printed there newspapers in the United States where they then imported them back to Mexico to be sold. One guy said, “they explain everything in so much detail”. 

Both the crash course and the movie connect dots on utilitarianism. A big example that I pulled away from the movie was when their leader Blancornelas was murdered. Instead of mourning and letting it soak it, they came up with a plan to investigate because the Zeta paper had to go out the next morning. They were focusing on the results, and finished the paper 1am that morning. “You would see people in the office, crying as they typed. Because our leader was fighting for his life.” This tied back to Utilitarianism for me because, “Zeta helped bring freedom of expression to Baja California. We started practicing our freedom before others.” They suffered through the pain and did it anyways because they feel people deserve to learn the information they publish. As I talked about before this is, ‘act utilitarianism’. Where in any given situation, you should choose the action that produces the greatest good for the greatest number.

Kant & Categorical Imperatives

In the philosophy crash course about Kant and Categorical Imperatives, talks about the ethics of humanity’s moral code not exactly coming from a supernatural force. Instead, a German philosopher Immanuel Kant, “thought religion and morality were a terrible pairing, and if anything, the two should be kept apart.”

“In order to determine what’s right, you have to use reason and a sense of consideration to other people” -Kant

In the crash course it talked about ‘hypothetical imperatives’. Which were described to be choices we make contingent to our desires instead of moral choice. “Commands you should follow if you want something”. It also talked about ‘categorical imperatives’ to be, “commands you must follow, regardless of your desires.” Better referred to as our moral obligations. More importantly, Kant viewed morality in terms of categorical imperatives and says that, “you don’t need religion to determine what the law is, because what’s right and wrong is totally knowable just by using your intellect.”

In the “2004 documentary about Al Jazeera and the start of the Iraq War in 2003”, it focuses on Al Jazeera, an Arab based news channel that delivered news that conflicted with US interest during the war in Iraq. The way that the news is presented by this news channel brought up questions of morality by people from the United States. Throughout the documentary, Americans who questioned Al Jazeera’s morality are shown to be hypocritical when it is demonstrated that US news stations commit similar moral violations. The categorical imperatives crash course, Control Room documentary and Jon Stewart’s interview all raise questions about human morality. Much like beauty, morality is in the eye of the beholder. The quote below is said by a man who appears to be a US politician as he gives his thoughts on Al Jazeera’s morality:

“We know that al Jazeera has a pattern of playing propaganda over and over and over again. What they do is when there’s a bomb goes down they grab some children and some women and pretend that the bomb hit the women and the children and it seems to me that its up to all to try to tell the truth to say what we know to say what we don’t know and recognize that we’re dealing with people that are perfectly willing to lie to the world to attempt to further their case…”

His opinions are bias as the bombings he is referring to are committed by American forces and any negative press coverage of the results of those bombings demonstrates the human cost of the war started by the Americans.

Code of Ethics

The first scenario I chose to talk about is ‘Accuracy’. I find this topic really important when it comes to journalism and mass media. When I read/watch news, the first question that always comes into my mind is, “How accurate is that”. As I was reading more about the ‘accuracy’ of the news I found an intersting article called, “fake news and the spread of misinformation” by Denise-Marie Ordway. Ordway says in her article, “But fabricated stories posing as serious journalism are not likely to go away as they have become a means for some writers to make money and potentially influence public opinion.” I believe that fake news will always be around because it continues to keep readers reading and viewers viewing. Here is the link if anyone wants more information on her article: https://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/internet/fake-news-conspiracy-theories-journalism-research/ Going back to the Online News Accociation platform, they also talked about reporting unverified information. They stated that, “We’re a news organization, they say, not simply a clipping service for what’s buzzing on the Internet.” This would be important to my personal oranization because I do not believe in giving false information and spreading information that isn’t true. What do you guys think about sharing inaccuracy through your organization?

“We must strive to report facts accurately or we will lose our credibilty”

– Online News Association

The second scenario I was to talk about is, “Bomb and other threats”. I first wanted to share this photo I found from https://www.atf.gov/resource-center/infographics/bomb-threats-across-united-states.

This scenario should be taken very seriously, especially when it comes to sharing information to the general public. As the photo above shows the number of bomb threats is very high, it has a high chance of taking place at schools. I made sure to check off on my ONAethics that my organization “will consult with local officials to determine whether a bomb threat is credible before we publish a story, but we will reserve the right to publish regardless of what officials say.” I believe that not all bomb threats should be reported to the population as quickly as possible. If the bomb threat turns out to be completely harmful, I do not think it should be stressed to the public. However, the adults/children involved in setting up a false bomb threat should have major consequences. What do you guys think about sharing fake bomb threats through your organization?

“A threat must cause some kind of public disruption — evacuation of an airport terminal, etc. — before these journalists would cover it.”

– Online News Association

Natural Law & the “Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords.”

In the PBS digital studios crash course video about Natural Law Theory talks about the different ideas and beliefs behind it. Thomas Aquinas’ was a philosophical christian monk from the 13th century that had one of the most influential theories of Natural Law. “Aquinas’ theorized that God made us pre-loaded with the tools we need to know what’s good.” Aquinas’ had the idea that God wanted people to want things. He argued that “God created the world according to natural laws, predictable, goal-driven systems whereby life is sustained, and everything functions smoothly. And as part of this natural order, God made certain things that were good for his various creatures.” This leads into the idea of the Basic Goods which consist of 7 of them. Here is a picture of those Basic Goods as shown in the crash course.

The crash course brought up a great point about how the Natural Law Theory arises many questions. The questions talked about, I found very interesting. The question was, “if God created us to seek the good, and if we’re built with the ability to recognize and seek it, then why do people violate the natural law all the time?!” Aquinas’ answered that it was out of ignorance and emotion. 

In the documentary, “The Black Press Soldiers Without Swords” tells a story of the men and women of the Black press that provided a voice through their contributions in the African American newspapers. The narrator in the film calls it, “with a pen as their weapon, they were Soldiers Without Swords.” Before I dive more into the film I want to include study.com’s definition of the Natural Law Theory, “The term ‘natural law’ is derived from the belief that human morality comes from nature. Everything in nature has a purpose, including humans. Our purpose, according to natural law theorists, is to live a good, happy life. Therefore, actions that work against that purpose — that is, actions that would prevent a fellow human from living a good, happy life — are considered ‘unnatural’, or ‘immoral’. The narrator in the film states that, “African Americans were routinely vilified on the pages of the mainstream press and had no way to respond.” How is that natural? Through this, three blacks gathered together to use media and journalism as there ‘weapon’ to speak up for themselves. Christopher Reed said he would rank the press as, “one of the major forces in producing one of the major miracles of that century—these newspapers informed people,elevated morale, build a sense of racial consciousness.” An African American journalist by the name of Ida B. Wells spoke up for American Americans. Her paper was attacked by a lynch mob and chased from Memphis. Vernon Jarrett says, “they actually destroyed this woman’s press and intended to destroy her body, take her life to the extent that she walked the streets with a pistol under her blouse or apron or, according to legend, two pistols on occasion.” How immoral does that sound? That goes completely against the Natural Law Theory.

Going back to the crash course on the Natural Law Theory it talked about how, “we see what we should do, but emotion overpowers our reason, and we fail to do the things we know we should.” The documentary has tons of examples of Natural Law in action.

https://study.com/academy/lesson/natural-law-theory-definition-ethics-examples.html

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