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Ethical Implications

Scenario:

A prominent major network news anchor was recently found to have knowingly utilized unsubstantiated documents that alleged misconduct of a presidential candidate.

This has generated debate over the ethical requirements for journalists and the media.

Talk show commentators have reached a consensus that this incident may have destroyed the high level of credibility this journalist achieved in his distinguished career.

A major issue in this debate is the objectivity in reporting the facts versus the media using its position as a political platform to promote political or personal beliefs.

Keep in mind that the media is among the most powerful agents of socialization. The impact of implicit learning the audience takes from watching a film, television program, listening to the radio, or reading a book or magazine is enormous.

TASK:

1. Referring to the scenario, do ethical implications increase with the amount of influence you have? Utilizing your course materials, phase resources, library, and the Internet, explain your answer using two theories.

The two theories I started researching are Utilitarianism and Deontology but I must not have a clear understanding of how to use them in the assignment. Can you please help me get started? Please include references. Thank you.

Solution Preview

Interesting application assignment. Your question is this:

1. Referring to the scenario, do ethical implications increase with the amount of influence you have? Utilizing your course materials, phase resources, library, and the Internet, explain your answer using two theories. The two theories I started researching are Utilitarianism and Deontology, but I must not have a clear understanding of how to use them in the assignment. Can you please help? Any references used please include.

One approach is to look at the main tenets of the two ethical theories that you have chosen: Utilitarianism and Deontology, and then apply the principles of the two ethical theories to the presented scenario. This is the approach this response takes.

Briefly, ethical theories are applied in decision-making as a methodology or an approach to evaluating acts and moral choice. Deontological theory e.g., Kantian consists of a set of moral rules in which moral choice is evaluated. Utilitarianism, uses the principle 'the greatest happiness or good for the greatest number' as its underlying principle to evaluate moral choices (http://www.philodialogue.com/10.html). Ethical implications are indeed important in all business dealing, but one could certainly argue that it increases with the amount of influence you have, mainly because it has the potential to hurt more people and do more harm. However, honesty and integrity are important to all business dealings and decisions.

Let's take a closer look at the two ethical theories as they apply to your scenario.

Utilitarianism

Utilitarianism (e.g, John Stuart Mill and Jeremy Bentham) is a version of Consequentialism. The latter states that one should judge an action morally by its consequences, that one should do whatever maximizes the good. An action is right if its consequences if its contribution are no worse than its alternatives' consequences. Thus an action may be right even if its consequences are very poor, so long as the alternatives are worse. What is the good? Following consequential theory, for utilitarianism also, the good is associated with welfare. What is welfare?

· Mental state of happiness?
· Satisfaction of actual preferences?
· Satisfaction of rational and informed preferences? http://philosophy2.ucsd.edu/~callende/index_files/Phil%20148/148%20web%20page_files/Different%20Moral%20Theories.doc

E.g. Utilitarianism in journalism e..g, means justify the end - consequences:
l Publishing secret grand jury proceedings
l Investigative reporting

Problems:
l Disadvantages
l Short term benefits
l Unintended consequences (http://journalism.utexas.edu/asne/presentations/ethics.ppt).

Applied to ...

Solution Summary

Referring to the scenario and using ethical theories, this solution discusses if ethical implications increase with the amount of influence you have. It describes the Utilitarianism and Deontology ethical approaches as they relate to the scenario.

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