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Week 8 - Neil Levy.docx

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Western University
Philosophy 2730F/G
Ryan Robb

Neil Levy 11/27/2012 11:43:00 AM Lecture 8 Review  McLuhan o Provided a definition of „media‟ intended to challenge the „common sense‟ understanding that media is simply a tool we use to communicate o He argued that this common sense understanding is flawed because as a tool, the media is much more significant; it expresses human nature  Chomsky o Provided a „functional definition‟ of the media, what the media is by describing what the media does o His view is that the media serves the interest of the wealthy elite by manufacturing the consent of the governed to maintain the status quo – the media convinces us all that we should be happy with the world as it is o To see that that‟s the role of the media, we need to consider the actions of the media in light of the five filters that constitute the propaganda model o Chomsky‟s account of what the media does is contrary to the widely held view that the media serves as an independent, neutral, and critical branch of government  His account, like McLuhan‟s, can be thought of as a challenge to widely held beliefs  Mayer o Specific criticisms of two authors whose positions are extremely similar to Chomsky‟s o He argues that the data cited by these authors has not been sufficient to establish that the media protects the interests of the wealthy elite  Anderson o Argued that the problem was not the data, but the standards being used to evaluate the data o The way in which the modern mass media undermines the critical thinking skills of citizens is only troubling in a democratic society if we believe that the role of citizens is to deliberate (think) o If we decide to change our democratic principles and emphasize participation instead of deliberation, our understanding of democracy will better reflect the effects of the modern mass media o Anderson‟s article inspires the transition to the articles we‟ve considered over the past three weeks; what ethical principles should we be using to evaluate the media exactly?  Souder o Argued that suitable ethical principles for evaluating the media can be found in Adam Smith‟s free-market economic theory adjusted to suit the circumstances of the current mass media o He then combined this with the emphasis on empathy that can be found in Smith‟s lesser known moral theory  Meyers o Argued that ethical principles that can effectively be relied upon to evaluate the media, principles that are sensitive to the complexity of moral life, can be found in WD Ross‟s deontological pluralism  Buckley o Instead of arguing for specific principles to evaluate the actions of the media, Michael Buckley tries to show how John Rawls‟s social contract device can be used to choose those principles o He shows how the device works by using it to choose principles to make decisions about how to distribute access to the broadcast spectrum  His application suggests a free-market regulated by a concern for diversity is preferable to a distribution based on the free market alone  Mary Lyn Stoll o Instead of relying on a single ethical principle, uses a number of distinct (and often incompatible) ethical theories to analyze two case studies o What Stoll‟s analysis shows is that we can use multiple ethical principles to engage in analyses and, if when we do so we get matching results from each analysis, we‟ll have good reason to believe we‟ve identified the appropriate solution o She shows that a Kantian, Utilitarian, and Social Contract (John Rawls) analysis all yield the same results: media outlets in a democratic society all have an imperfect moral obligation to represent diverse political views, an obligation that supersedes generating profits  Meyers o Argue for the need to develop principles owing to the changes in journalism prompted by the rise of the internet  Now that everyone can post information to a global audience, any and all posted information is being called „journalism‟ o Standards of professionalism need to be widely adopted among the journalist community, standards that articulate what counts as good evidence and satisfy journalists‟ historical goal of making a positive contribution to society  Levy and Held articles are on the principles that should be used to guide journalists in their activities o They‟re not concerned with articulating the principles themselves but are instead concerned with the application of those principles  Levy – the question he tries to answer is how far journalists need to go when gathering information to fulfill their role as a cr
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