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    Trump and Kepcher Scenario

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    On Donald Trump's personal blog, "Carolyn,"4 about Carolyn Kepcher, Donald Trump's former apprentice on his Apprentice show, Trump wrote that Ms. Kepcher was terminated because "she loved her fame and she loved her celebrity on The Apprentice and it was affecting her work. She wasn't doing her job like she used to or was capable of doing." Mr. Trump told Ms. Kepcher, "in the nicest way possible, ... Get a new job." He did not say "you're fired." He replaced Ms. Kepcher with his daughter, Ivanka Trump.
    Was it ethical of Trump to broadcast this type of information to the general public? Compare the information found in each week's Peoplemagazine, or Us Weekly. Is there a difference?
    Does it matter that the sources in those publications are journalists and here it is the original decision maker publicizing the basis of the decision?
    Does it matter that Ms. Kepcher voluntarily sought a position in the public eye?
    If so, what personal information would then be acceptable for Mr. Trump to share about Ms. Kepcher and what information would you consider too personal to be shared?
    Where should we, as a society, draw our legal and ethical lines? For instance, what about the extensive media coverage of speculation about Michael Jackson's reputed drug use immediately after his death?
    Any ethical issues there?
    Is it the same as the Trump situation? If not, why?

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    Solution Preview

    It is my belief that social media makes it increasingly easy to share too much information on a public platform. Blogging only unleashes a level of unethical behavior with the sense of seclusion in which people freely express what's on their mind without self-censoring or self-editing themselves.

    A journalist is hired to share exclusive information with the public because there are certain regulations journalists must abide by before disclosing information. For instance, they can't defame or slander anyone's character. If the journalist is uncertain of the authenticity of a claim they must use the term "alleged" to indicate that the information received from external sources may or may not be credible. In this case they have to differentiate truth from gossip. The difference between a journalist perspective and Trump's perspective of the termination event is the fact that Trump has superior¬¬ knowledge of the incident because he was able to observe Kepcher's work performance and was able to render a comparative assessment of her performance before and after celebrity status. A journalist would only have information that is often provided from external sources who's information must be verified before disclosed.

    Kepcher's initial objective to seek a position in the public eye alludes to the fact that she desired celebrity status from the beginning. Trump could have opted not to hire Kepcher in that capacity as a result of not sacrificing high-quality performance. This would have resulted in Trump finding a suitable candidate, other than Kepcher, who has the capacity to handle such success.

    During ...

    Solution Summary

    This problem solution evaluates the scenario of Trump's termination of Carolyn Kepcher and the media coverage surrounding Michael Jackson's death.