Post #18 Violence in the Media

Loren Coleman has written a commentary on school shootings and their publication in the media. He asserts that they should not be so widely reported because of the effects they cause on other kids. Many of the statements he claims are true, but I would maintain the more important factor is how heavily it weighs on the families and those affected by the incidents themselves.

Recently in the news a man killed a dog violently by throwing it against a wall multiple times until it died. http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/ellisville-man-gets–year-sentence-in-dog-killing/article_26acb9c8-141d-51d3-a68b-5a5140cd968a.html

This kind of thing is sick and should be punished, yes, however, this man got a ton of publicity for his actions which may have been his intent in the first place. His name shouldn’t even by a byline in the footnote of an excerpt, however, it is plastered on the front page of stltoday. This is exactly what Coleman was talking about. The idea may have never even crossed someone’s mind, but now that someone else did it, and was made famous for it, may make it a more attractive idea.

I feel as though there should be a portion dedicated to the reporting of this and they should be one liners with no back so. “Man serves 8 years for killing dog.” No details. No notoriety. Simple as that. What this does is allow people to know what is going on and forces them to do the research themselves, keeping the information from being widespread and allowing those who don’t wish to hear about the violence everyday to stay away. More often than not, the top news is about death or violence rather than the good things that are happening all around us. If the news was comprised of good future outlook and betterment of society, don’t you think that people would be more influenced to be happy? Just a thought.

Post #17 Ethical Codes

I chose Scenario #5 at http://www.pbs.org/newshour/media/media_ethics/quiz.php.

In this scenario, you are a reporter who is asked to report on a company your father works at. Read the scenario for further information.

I chose to completely separate myself from the situation because I would be biased no matter what the article was about. I cannot have a connection and be expected to stay removed emotionally from the entire ordeal considering my father was a part of the company that had a financial implosion.

Ethically, I believe a reporter’s job is one job: report. It’s a sad society we live in that causes journalists to to be biased according to monetary bribes or forceful influence from others. I would be a terrible reporter because I would never create an opinion and I would reveal all of my sources. I would also not choose to report on something I know would cause me to speak on my morals. That just simply isn’t reporting in my eyes.

This scenario tests your desire to report according to how you feel the situation is, not how it truly is and the mere facts of the case. The moment a family member is included in the situation, it would be impossible for most people to completely remove themselves from the situation and should not be able to according to their moral obligations if they truly are a good and ethical person.

That being said, I believe that all reporters should be held to a higher standard of journalism. Too may high rated and high paid journalist report on whatever they want to and spin it however they want. There are many situations in which the reporters even influenced a court hearing because of the spin they put on a story. This is a sad existence and should not be allowed to persist.

Post #16 Theories of Moral Development

As Psychologists and Philosophers, one of the questions they face are how humans develop moral thought processes, what determines what people believe, and at what age certain thoughts begin to exist. Many people have questioned this, however there are few theories that stand out which I will discuss.

The Piagetian Theory – This theory separates the cognitive development of a child into 4 stages. Birth to 2, 2 to 7, 7 to 11, and 11/12+. Essentially, this theory builds from stage to stage. Nothing is changing, merely adopting and becoming more fleshed out.

The Kohlberg Theory – This theory is much more simple and groups the ages into 3 larger categories. I can accept this pretty easily. The three parts are Preconventional(Birth to 9), Conventional(9 to 20), and Postconventional(20+). Essentially, the first two stages are based on what others think about you and the final stage is based on what you believe personally.

Gilligan Stages – This theory modifies the Kohlberg theory by reducing the generalization even further. Gilligan doesn’t even mention ages and simply defines each stage into goals. She also focuses on how women develop morally, maintaining that they were in no way inferior to men.

 

Each of these theories have some solid truths inherent in them and no single one is more correct than another. I am most willing to accept the Kohlberg theory as a good balance between specificity and generalization as far as ages go. Piaget’s theory is too focused to accept the many different ways children can develop according to the outward influences. Gilligan is in her own sector of sorts because she was focused more on women and didn’t really develop her own theory, rather fleshed out and added to the other theories that were around.

All in all, I think it is incredibly hard to generalize development of moral decision making for children because there is a stark difference in how the child is brought up that affects the morals. The cognitive process is a little more tried and true according to the science of development, but morals are much more based on environment than anything else.

Post #15 A hidden Life.

Frontline’s “A Hidden Life” http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/hiddenlife/view/

Answers to the questions located on Professor Oldham’s blog.

1. To have privacy is to be free from intrusion or to have another party outside oneself be involved in a single person’s affairs. In office, I would agree that no public official should have any privacy where matters that would openly affect the masses are concerned.

2. News media’s job should simply be to report what is happening. No matter how hard it is, they should remain true and unbiased.

3. He believed that if the Mayor were actually exempt from these allegations, the story is not legitimate because the question of legality is removed from the equation.

4. Bill was restricted from doing so by his employer’s code of ethics, and he justified it by claiming that they were simply ensuring the safety of possible victims.

5. Sting operations are to be only conducted by officials with credentials to back up their ability to “sting.” I believe it is annoying and unethical for a company to sting their own employees just to make sure the job is being done right, however, in present times, it seems somewhat necessary.

6. Money.

7. Yes, absolutely. He never actually did anything wrong. What he was doing in the simplest form was not endangering to any of the general public and he was open and honest when finally confronted about it.

8.

#The Spokesman-Review – Money Money Money catching headline.

#Mayor West – The life I had to have in order to make sure that everyone continued to live their hidden lives peacefully.

#the citizens of Spokane, Wash. – The life the mayor kept from us. Not sure if it did us a favor or hurt us ultimately. Maybe neither.

9. The people who wrote it benefited from the publicity. Mayor West was hurt. He was openly humiliated and wrongly accused.

I don’t think the outcome was worth it. The man did a lot and was a strong figurehead for his city. No matter what he did in his private life, he still managed to put his city first and foremost. Being a kind man who wanted the best for everyone, putting an article out to essentially take him down was just poor taste and mean spirited.

Post #13 Chapter 7 Case ‘Deep Cough’

Philip Morris reveals a dirty secret that the tobacco companies have been hiding. Now, immediately you may want to scowl at him, yet you have to commend him for having the gusto to stick his neck out there and actually point a finger at the tobacco companies. If you want to find money, look at oil companies and look at tobacco companies.

So what does money matter? When you have unlimited resources, court cases usually go in your favor pretty quickly. Morris, being a single handed man didn’t have much of a leg to stand on except the truth. ABC eventually copped out on him even though they aired his discoveries on their network. Any privacy he had in his life became compromised by the tobacco companies after he began to reveal the secrets they had been hiding.

He found out(and proved) that the companies had been adding nicotine into their products. Not only that, but they started by removing it from the product and then adding it back in larger and more potent quantities. This shocking fact lead Morris to make a full report on this, eventually turning into a documentary of sorts. Despite the $350,000 cap, the companies ended up suing Morris for $1 Billion in libel fees. This was obviously a ridiculous amount for there is no way a documentary could have caused the companies that much of a deficit in damages. Not only that, but the FDA was just coming out shortly afterwards with a statement supporting the addictive factors of nicotine.

When you find out something so big about any influential organization or company, you’re almost doomed to face some sort of lawsuit which Morris understood, yet he still felt it necessary to bring the truth to the people which he did with his head held high. Not only was he bombarded with slander and invasion of privacy, but he was also the target for the companies afterwards, yet he still managed to get out with ABC simply paying for the court fees of the tobacco companies.

Post #12 Citizen McCaw Truth?

Reporters are in the truth business. I believe most reporters step into the arena of media innocently with their primary focus on gathering the news and reporting it swiftly and accurately. That being said, it doesn’t take long for a reporter to be corrupted or come against a greater influence.

McCaw bought herself a newspaper. Why? Because she could, I suppose. Or maybe it was so that she could influence it however she wanted to.  When you think about this, it truly is a great idea. If you could say what you wanted the media to say about you and the world around you, you could control a lot of outcomes. Some would argue that the one who owns the paper doesn’t really decide what goes into it. Think again..

The editor handles the heavy duty part of choosing which articles go in the pages and which ones do not. However, the owner of the paper could just, oh I don’t know, fire the editor if he/she does not follow the will of the money holder. So these reporters are forced to go and do articles on other things, still reporting the correct facts of course, but on piddly and useless news.

So what happens when real news comes up? The reporters go out and collect real, truthful information, however it is contradictory to what McCaw thinks and the conflict arises. The reporters WANT to put in what is accurate, yet the editor says no or goes and changes it before release.

In this kind of struggle, the ultimate goal was always to bring the truth to the public, but the truth is hard to spread when you have someone behind you telling you what it is instead of letting you collect it yourself. Ultimately, the reporters found themselves in a bit of a rough patch because they couldn’t write what they knew to be true and sacrificed their own livelihood in order to stand for what was true.

Post #11 Targeting the Electorate

One of the methods of appropriating advertisement is targeting though use of big data. The very first thing you must recognize when using big data is that it is much harder to use because of the scope. Big data can easily be misconstrued and the outliers, medians, standard deviations and so on can be represented in pretty much any way you want to support your case.

Take, for example, the stats of a baseball game. When you zoom in on one game and look at the stats of the players during that game, you will only get a small understanding of a bigger picture. Just as one game isn’t representative of a whole season, the whole season isn’t representative of one game.

So when you are targeting a specific group of people(one game) you can’t use the big data(full season) to further your cause. It allows too much of an avenue for blemishing the facts. It allows a company or organization to look at the whole picture and say that an average consumer falls under that category. Be that as it may, it is unfair for that kind of stereotype to be given under those circumstances.

On the flip side, big data can be used in good ways, especially in elections. Big data is all that is used to decide presidential elections as far as the vote of the people goes. Congress, however, is a more focused group and does not take the big data into consideration even though their votes hold far more weight.

Big data is just like it sounds; Big. Therefore, it is hard to handle when there is too much to understand. If you can’t comprehend the statistics being fed to you, you are likely to either denounce it completely or accept it without looking into it further.

Big data is a big responsibility.

Post #10 Political Ad

I chose this ad because of the outrageous amount of mud slinging portrayed.

According to p. 149 in the book, there are few things to keep in mind when evaluating the political ads. I will walk through the steps while applying it to this ad in particular.

Transparency – Does the audience know who is speaking?
In this case, no. Oftentimes, the candidate whom is being represented in the ad will only approve the ad rather than speak in it for legal purposes. Thus, in my mind, discrediting the ad.

Pluralism – Does the media environment provide and opportunity for diverse points of view?
How can it? There is clearly one side to this ad. It represents Bill Nelson = Good, Mack =Bad.

Verisimilitude – Do the sources of the messages take responsibility for the truth claims they make?
There isn’t a single source quoted throughout the entirety of the ad to give credit towards the implications made in the ad.

Practice – Does the message encourage modeling, rehearsing, preparing and learning for civic engagement?
This sentence doesn’t even mean anything. Of course not. It’s just putting down the opposing side.

I have a very shallow view of political ads and I run them through a very critical eye. Most ads are not so focused on the candidate themselves, rather the opposing candidate and what they are doing wrong. This is not good advertising and is not beneficial to society.

Post #9 – Potterbox Case 4-C

The Potter Box is a simple four step model involved in ethical decision making. Developed by Harvard theologian Ralph Potter, it gives a very easy test to help determine whether something is ethical or not. I will outline this case using the model

Step 1: Understanding the facts.

David Sutherland made a documentary of a small farming family in Nebraska. He chose to be completely removed from the situation–purely a third person view without getting emotionally connected to family at all. The family struggled.. a LOT, yet Sutherland did not get involved. The documentary was a huge success in the end.

Step 2: Outlining the values inherent in the decision.

Sutherland’s primary value lies with his passion for good film making where documentaries are concerned. They are meant to be completely objective, which he managed to do by excluding the use of a narrator. He also recognizes the value of good ol’ American living.

Step 3: Application of philosophical principles.

I feel as though this step cannot adequately be covered in a simple summary of a case study. How are we to apply Hume’s fork or Aristotle’s golden mean in a few paragraphs? Maybe I could shorten the categorical imperative to a phrase or two?

I feel the easiest way to tackle this step would be to take a look using The Moral PremisePopularized by Lajos Egri in his book The Art of Dramatic Writing, The Moral Premise is oftentimes used in writing screenplays and dramatic visual entertainment. Whatever a central character follows a specific pattern based on his or her moral premise. Whenever evaluating someone in a story, you always have to ask why. Why did the character act this way or that way? Fleshing this out helps you understand their Moral Premise.

I maintain this documentary did so well because of the very obvious Moral Premise present throughout the whole film. Sutherland did a good job making it very obvious.

Step 4: Articulation of Loyalties.

Sutherland had a commitment to objectivity in his documentary. Mr. Buschkoetter had a loyalty to providing for his family, as did his wife. Both held true to the end, aiding to the success of the filming.

So in the end, did Sutherland make the right choice filming this family without helping in any way? According to the potter box, it looks as though for a good documentary, he absolutely made the right choice, but when it comes to helping the family without letting them worry or suffer.. he may have had to compromise some of his moral self in order to let it happen with full objectivity.

Post #8 To Catch a Predator

I was given the #3 which is to write as Chris Hansen, the host of “To Catch a Predator.”

As the host of To Catch a Predator, it is my job to catch the predators red-handed, in the middle of an attempt to commit the crime. It may seem like fun walking in and capturing these criminals in the act, maybe even humorous at times, however there are so many others out there that continue to get away with this disgusting act.

Maybe you think it is unethical to “trap” these men and women like this, but we are making an attempt to protect the innocent and expose those who are continually searching to find underage partners. We always have the police on hand to capture these felons in the midst of their actions, ensuring that they will not be able to continue these acts.

After producing the copies of the conversations, these guys usually have a look come over them, knowing that they have been found out. Others fight until the end, arguing that they are not at fault. Knowing that these men are at fault still lets me sleep at night.