Do ethical implications increase with the amount of influence you have? Many years ago, a prominent major network news anchor was found to have knowingly utilized unsubstantiated documents that alleged misconduct of a presidential candidate. This type of behavior has generated debate over the ethical requirements for journalists and the media. These types of incidents can destroy the credibility of journalists.
The media likes to create”hype” so that you watch their programs. With the expansion of news media sources growing over the last 30 years from a choice of three news programs to watch (pre-cable) and one or two newsprint choices, to a virtue of over 10 news stations, the internet and many radio programs journalists want to draw your attention to them. We can go back in time and look at many different media cases whereby the media hyped up the cases to make you watch them. We can remember such incidents like The O.J. Simpson trial, the Ramsey Case, and many others alike.
Using the Ethical Theories we can define how much influence these types of journalists have over the “People.” Virtue ethics focuses in individual’s characteristics such as our journalists. These characteristics are honesty, friendliness, charity, and fairness. Virtue ethics must do three things, define a concept of virtue, offer a list of the virtues and offer some justification of that list. Not only does the law provide a code of ethics for journalists but organizations such as the Society of Professional Journalists provides and defines these ethics to be sure that our Freedom of Speech is not taken advantage of. The code of Ethics of Journalists is “Seek Truth”, “Minimize Harm”, “Act Independently”, and “Be Accountable.”
We can also look at the intent of the journalist involved in the through the theory of Kantianism. Kantianism is the Theory that looks at the intent of the person’s actions and not the result of the actions. What was the goodwill of this journalist?
Although we can use the words Ethical and Morally almost interchangeable, when it comes to ethics in the law there are two schools of thought. The thought is that the law and ethics govern two different realms, being private and public life. The law is an enforceable rule that applies to everyone, whereas ethics is a matter of personal opinion. However, ethics can also be applies to public life. The other view is that the law embodies the ethics of business and can be enacted by legislators into laws and enforced by judges.
Society of Professional Journalists, 1996 – 2006, “Code of Ethics”, retrieved on August 20, 2006 from http://www.spj.org/ethicscode.asp
Boatright, John R, 2007, “Ethics and the Conduct of Business, Fifth Edition” Pearson Education, Inc. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, 07458
CTU Online Course Materials, PHL210-0603-B-04, Retrieved on August 20, 2006, from https://campus.ctuonline.edu/MainFrame.aspx?ContentFrame=/Default.aspx