Media Ethics And Tv Essay

4607 words - 18 pages

MEDIA ETHICS AND TVMedia Ethics addresses issues of journalistic practice from standpoints in moral philosophy. The thirteen essays deal with highly topical issues such as the Gulf War coverage, sex and scandal in politics, electranically altered newspaper photo​graphs and the more general 'tabloidisation' of the media. The contributors draw on numerous contemporary high-profile journalistic controver​sies as reference points for their analyses. Central concerns incIude objectivity in news reporting and notions such as privacy, hypocrisy, prurience and the public interest.Martin Bell, currently MP for Tatton and formerly doyen of television new s journalists, expounds his 'journalism of attachment': Kieran in contrast argues in favour of objectivity as an ethical principle in journalism. His argument upholds a traditional view of upright and im​partial reporting standards: the re is one correct account of an event, and onlyone. He discusses the coverage of the O.J. Simpson trial in the US and the very different accounts which were offered to the public depending on the race of each newspaper or TV station's readership or viewers. For Bell, however, the moral reaction of the new s reporter to the events (s)he reports on is a legitimate aspect of the report. The BBC executive who heckled a BelI speech by reciting the aphorism that journalism should hold a 'mirrar to nature' is summarily dismissed on the grounds that television as a medium is not morally neutral in the way that a mirrar is. Journalism can influence events, and therefore, argues Bell, there is a moral obligation on the part of the journalist not to be 'objective', since objectivity implies indifference. The arguments on both sides are stimulating, but a realistjobjectivist stance such as the one Kieran upholds would surely run into more critical practical difficulties than the ones acknowledged here, and would in the end result in an impoverished media industry.An example is provided by sex and scandal stories, which would make pretty dull reading as factual reports. Theyare, maintains David Archard, a form of social moralising which allows us as a society to reflect on and reinforce our values. Tabloid apologists might invoke a form of the public interest argument to assert that we should know about the private lives of the rich, famous and influentia1. But Archard invokes a very different argument concerning what the public is interested in. The British public is interested in gossip and titillation, and therefore to see tablo id journalism in high minded ethical terms risks missing a significant anthrapological point. The ritualised character of the popular British Sunday press has a symbolic aspect which may well have no moral status, except perhaps for the person whose sexual idiosyncrasies are cruelly exposed. Exposure of this sort may represent hypocritical denunciation but, as Mary Midgely argues from a somewhat different standpoint, it is possible to see...

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