Monday, February 06, 2006

Absence of Malice ethics

There are so many ethical issues in this movie. Here's my quick list.

* Rosen left files on his desk hoping Megan would read them. This made it so she would find the information, but it wasn't coming from his mouth. She also read the files on his desk without any permission.

* Megan and the people at the paper didn't really try to reach Michael to find out more information about the story. Megan called him once, and then said he couldn't be reached. This led to a story that wasn't balanced. The people at the paper were looking for scandal, and were determined to find it.

* Should Megan have told Michael who her source was? Did he have a right to know who's accusing him?

* Megan recorded her lunch with Michael without telling him. This is illegal in many places.

* Megan's interview with Teresa presented multiple ethical issues. Should she have turned in the tape of the interview. Should she have printed information that Teresa told her not to print? Megan said she had to discuss it with her editor, but she could have kept that information to herself.

The list could probably go on for a long time. One of the biggest issues for me was the attitude o people working at the newspaper. They said they were just trying to publish truth. The editor said, "A lot of news is bad news for somebody." In reality, it seemed as if they were actually just looking for scandal and for something exciting to print. If they were looking for truth, they would have put forth more of an effort to make the original story more balanced. It seemed as if they would do anything as long as it wasn't against the law.

1 comment:

Aggie Blue said...

Bea writes:

"Megan and the people at the paper didn't really try to reach Michael to find out more information about the story. Megan called him once, and then said he couldn't be reached. This led to a story that wasn't balanced. The people at the paper were looking for scandal, and were determined to find it."

It's clear from the scene with the paper's lawyer that they were considered only with meeting the malice test of libel law, not the ethics of what they were doing.

As you observed, "It seemed as if they would do anything as long as it wasn't against the law."

Bingo.