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Week 8 - Virginia Held.docx

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Department
Philosophy
Course
Philosophy 2730F/G
Professor
Ryan Robb
Semester
Fall

Description
Virginia Held 11/28/2012 10:53:00 AM Held – What We Should Demand of Television News in respect of Political Violence  Held‟s article does not explicitly invoke the role of the news media as a fourth branch of government o She largely assumes that everyone in society has a moral duty to reduce instances of political violence o This duty that is particularly significant in the context of media, since the media contributes to shaping public opinion  Says that media will fail to fulfill their moral duty based on the negative influence of the profit motive  The Point: o The television news media should help to decrease political violence by presenting better coverage of the arguments for and against the views of political rebels o To the extent that this goal is undermined by the „profit- motive‟, the profit-motive needs to be abandoned  The Strategy: o Part I: Establish meaning of relevant terms, as a means of identifying the relevant questions that need to be answered to support the point o Part II: What should the media do about general violence and political violence in particular?  Present competing arguments and emphasize non- violent solutions o Part III: What should society do about the television news media?  Restrict the profit-motive o Part IV: The optimistic possibility of modern mass media, as contrasted against the negative reality  I. Definition of terms: o Violence – “the predictable (intentional), coercive and sudden infliction of injury upon or damage harming persons” (p. 187)  This is a descriptive, not normative, definition – it describes what violence is, without suggesting that violence is either right or wrong o An Advocate of Non-Violence – one that maintains that non- violent solutions to disputes are preferable to violent solutions, only when non-violent solutions are a plausible option o Political Violence – any violence committed in an attempt to achieve political gains  Held does not offer a definition of „political gains‟, but as a placeholder for clarity:  Political Gains – the result of an action that successfully frustrates opponents, or gains the support of proponents, with respect to a specific party‟s bid to gain or maintain political power/influence  Political Power/Influence (also not explicitly in Held) – the power to control or influence the nature or character of a particular political system o Political System – the systematic way in which the nature of acceptable or appropriate human interaction is organized in a specific polity o A Polity: An organized society (OED), organization o According to these definitions, when an act of political violence occurs it is distinct based on the end purpose or goal of the act being to influence the nature of the political system of a particular organization  Terrorism – a sub-set of political violence  Can be defined as a more precise form of political violence based on how it seeks to bring about political gains, by creating fear usually by targeting innocent civilians  Acts of political violence/terrorism could be justifiable in some circumstances, when violence is the only means of protecting important individual rights  Acts of political violence are committed by governments – when a protestor is killed to create fear amongst a crowd of protestors  Non-government groups/individuals also commit acts of political violence  Government violence that are not „political‟ – when the government uses violence legitimately to prevent a crime  There are also many instances of non-government individual violence that is not political, like when an act of violence is committed for personal gain o Good definitions to show what the media should do when confronted with these issues, and these definitions should be consistent with the following 1996 exemplars of political violence:  The L.A. Riots  The W
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