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Lecture 9

04:189:102 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Herbert J. Gans, Categorical Imperative, Egotism


Department
Communication and Informatio
Course Code
04:189:102
Professor
Thelandersson
Lecture
9

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Ethics, Media, & Journalism
What are Ethics?
How we ought to act
How to behave well
Law:
How we have to act
Obligatory behavior
Deals with how badly we have behaved
Ethical Theories
Formulations that help us think about the basis and consequences of the ethical
decisions we (and others) make
Utilitarianism
Absolutism
Relativism
Nihilism
Egoism
1. Utilitarianism (Jeremy Bentham & J.S. Mill)
Bentham: make sure any decision benefits all
Mill: a moral obligation to do what is best for the most people
Snowden
2. Absolutism
Premised on a universal law that must not be broken
Immanuel Kant’scategorical imperative - Act as you would want all other
people to act towards all other people.
3. Relativism/Situational
Everything stands on its own merits
Decide on a case by case basis
4. Nihilism
Rejects religious & moral principles
Life has no meaning, value, or purpose
Anything goes
5. Egoism
Do only what pleases you
Selfish interests come first
Aristotles Golden Mean
Find an acceptable middle ground
Most of todays debates and news coverage are set up on these terms, i.e. pro
vs. anti
Ethics and News Values
Newsworthiness
Proximity
Timeliness
Novelty & Deviance
Consequence & Usefulness
Prominent/Powerful People vs. Human Interest
Conflict
Herbert Gans’ (1970s) Enduring News Values
Ethnocentrism
Responsible Capitalism
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