Sunday, April 30, 2006
I think that everything we do has repercussions that go far beyond what we can anticipate or imagine, and the consequences of our actions and others’ tangle and weave themselves into webs where outcomes are no longer traceable. If consequence is all that matters, well, then we’ll never figure out what to do or who has done what.
So we focus on motive. We don’t know what our actions will lead to, so we try to do the very best thing we can, and hope that a good motive will at least set us on the right course. That a positive beginning will have a positive end; that kindness will elicit kindness, and justice will elicit justice, and respect will elicit respect.
That said, I do think that if the consequences of your actions seem to be pretty consistently negative, you should probably reconsider whatever it is that you’re doing. Evaluating consequences, although a bad way to make decisions, is a good way to, well, evaluate. Double check yourself, if you will.
So what’s more important? History or the individual? My conscience requires me to take the side of the individual. I think it’s wrong to show pictures of people who are about to die; they were alive when the picture was taken, alive and living their final, very personal, moments. It doesn’t matter that there were witnesses at the scene who actually watched what the photographer captured; these final moments were still personal to the subjects, and a witness is a lot different than a picture. Since they were alive when the pictures were taken, they are entitled to full privacy protection. And as for both pictures being taken on public streets, well, bad things can happen to you in public- but your death is still your own business. Plus, it’s illegal to show random people in the street’s faces on tv if they haven’t signed something... It just seems disrespectful and crass for these photographs to made public.
And I don’t think the argument that the photos brought about about reform or truly captured a historic event are good enough; violation of privacy for a truly altruistic purpose is still violation. I agree with Kant- that people should never be a means to an end, even if the end is noble.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
The consequences of an action can be the same whether or not the decision was ethical. For example, in the Eugene Register-Guard case we read about, Godbold said that he put the picture in there without really thinking. He knew it would cause a stir and that was about it.
He said that when people called in and asked why they placed the photos he said he didn't have an answer. Now if Godbold had actually thought about it and come up with a solid ethical justification for the placement, perhaps the readers would not have been as upset.
The picture would have caused emotional responses whether or not Godbold had strong reasoning for his decision. I think readers would have handled it better, though, knowing that he at least had a good reason for it.
Friday, April 28, 2006
There seems to be two extremes in this case. Those that agree with the defense and are calling the questionable character of alleged victim into question. She is a black stripper claiming that two rich white college men raped her. She is after money, attention or whatnot. Why should she be trusted? These men already were apparantly popular atheletes that had women at their finger tips. Why rape her?
The other side seems to be that people are deeply upset and already comdemning the men accused. It seems that people are sick of the average rich college student and what they get away with. Assuming these men did in fact commit the crime. They have no consequences for their actions. They can have keggers on the front lawn, have casual sex, urinate and throw up in public places, and even (allegedly) rape strippers and have little to no consequence. People have had enough and they want these boys punished - harshly.
I lean myself more towards the latter opinion. I am a little sick of rich college living in a way that would get another person arrested. Public drunkedness is not cute when someone does it and it is certainly not cute when a pomped up, spoiled college brat is doing it. I'm not saying these men did it and I must admit that the victim comes from a lifestyle that seems less than trustworthy. But so, it seems, do the lacross players.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Also, advertising wasn’t paying the bills. At the time of it’s suspension, Ms. Magazine was losing money. If accepting advertising isn’t financially sound, then a business like Ms. Magazine can’t ethically be required to do it.
Magazines are different from Newspapers. They aren’t and shouldn’t be required to be objective; they target specific audiences and promote their own agendas. Magazines are essentially businesses and therefore shouldn’t be required to accept advertising they feel is bad for their business.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity
you must travel where the Indian in
a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night
and the simple breath that
kept him alive.
Before you know kindness as the deepest
you must know sorrow as the other
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.
Then it is only kindness that
makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to
mail letters and purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Greenwald's blog bio says he spent the past 10 years as a litigator in NYC specializing in First Amendment challenges (including some of the highest-profile free speech cases over the past few years), civil rights cases, and corporate and security fraud matters.
Here's John Dean's blurb for the book:
"Glenn Greenwald has assembled a devastating bill of particulars against the Bush and Cheney administration's insistence on operating outside the rule of law. He has gathered solid information and marshaled a litany of abuses of power that make Richard Nixon's imperial presidency look timid. All thinking Americans must answer How Would A Patriot Act? this coming election, and those who ignore what Greenwald has to say act at our collective peril."
-- John W. Dean, former Nixon White House Counsel and
author of Conservatives Without Conscience
One of the most horrifying aspects for me was the fact that many Nazi leaders really thought they were doing the right thing by exterminating Jews. Rudolf Hoess, the commander at Auschwitz, said he believed he was doing the right thing by executing women and children. In his memoirs, he gave specific examples of watching women and children enter the gas chambers. Hoess was responsible for millions of deaths. He never showed any remorse for this, and he wrote in his memoirs that his only regret was that he didn't spend enough time with his family. Looking at the lives and testimonies of Nazi leaders, it appears that ethics didn't exist in the country.
Schindler showed, however, that personal responsibility still existed. He risked his life to give life to others. In a world of men who loved to kill, he gave everything he had to keep people alive. In the end, he gave the credit to the people who had suffered the most, and he blamed himself for not trying to save one more person.
Ethics shouldn't disappear when times are hard. People shouldn't forget about personal responsibility when risks appear. A truly ethical person will be willing to give up everything to defend certain values. Schindler exemplified this in the Nazi state.
Here's the story: a hot new author, only 19 years old and a Harvard sophomore, is in hot water.
A Harvard University sophomore with a highly publicized first novel acknowledged Monday that she had borrowed material, accidentally, from another author's work and promised to change her book for future editions.
Kaavya Viswanathan's "How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life," published in March by Little, Brown and Company, was the first of a two-book deal reportedly worth six figures. But on Sunday, the Harvard Crimson cited seven passages in Viswanathan's book that closely resemble the style and language of the novels of Megan McCafferty.
"When I was in high school, I read and loved two wonderful novels by Megan McCafferty, 'Sloppy Firsts' and 'Second Helpings,' which spoke to me in a way few other books did. Recently, I was very surprised and upset to learn that there are similarities between some passages in my novel ... and passages in these books," Viswanathan, 19, said in a statement issued by her publisher.
"While the central stories of my book and hers are completely different, I wasn't aware of how much I may have internalized Ms. McCafferty's words. I am a huge fan of her work and can honestly say that any phrasing similarities between her works and mine were completely unintentional and unconscious. My publisher and I plan to revise my novel for future printings to eliminate any inappropriate similarities.
"I sincerely apologize to Megan McCafferty and to any who feel they have been misled by these unintentional errors on my part."
The book had a first printing of 100,000 copies.
Viswanathan, who was 17 when she signed her contract with Little, Brown, is the youngest author signed by the publisher in decades. DreamWorks has already acquired the movie rights to her first book.
Monday, April 24, 2006
With regards to the registry, I'm not exactly sure of my feelings. Yes, the public information is just being kept public and easily accessible, but I don't necessarily think that all offenders should be on the registry for their entire lives. If a man is on the list for sexually engaging with a 15-year-old girl, he deserves to be publicly acknowledged as an offender. However, like the case of one man, if the girl later becomes his wife and has children with him, I do think there should be a way for him to be removed off of the list. It's all a matter of situation. In another case, let's say armed rape, the offender should stay on that list forever, no matter how much jail time served.
I know we all love Pak, myself especially, but I have wondered what that girl thinks if she sees on TV, with hundreds of supporting fans, the man who held a knife to her and raped her.
I have my one answer. In the United States people have religious freedom. It is illegal to kill someone just because he or she is a Jew. However, it was legal for Germans to murder thousands of Jews in WWII. Schindler was thrown in jail for just kissing one. That is how deep the hate ran.
But I thought about how the law may have changed but ethical choices did not. Schindler still did what was right to him even though it was illegal. He worked within the system to save lives. I thought it was interesting how one person still followed his values even though an entire nation did not. Just because of one man’s (Hitler) values an entire population of people was almost eliminated.
I think this movie just goes to exemplify Bok’s discussion about needing common values and ethics for society to survive. Add the continued massacres of people all over the world…the Holocaust…Cambodia…Africa…the Middle East. All over the world people are still killing each other. I think that we need to start working toward a solution instead of adding to the death. Bok is right to say that eventually peace will result with no one left to live it.
I think that values and ethics can be a foundation for peace…one day if we start.
I say this because I want to know if my neighbor rapes young women. I want to know because I would drastically alter my actions concerning that neighbor. I want to know if someone who lives along the route my cousins walk home from school is a convicted child molester. I want to know if my little brother’s best friend’s uncle likes to have sex with unwilling little boys. I want to know because I want to protect myself and the people that I love, and it is a fact that most of those who have committed a sexual crime will commit another.
I noticed that almost everyone else’s blog mentions sex with a minor. Are we forgetting why that’s against the law? It’s wrong for an older man or women to exploit someone younger than them, even if the person being exploited is 17. Yes, there are cases when convictions are a little ridiculous, but I think that people with cases like the 17 and 18 year old having sex, getting in a fight, and then getting legal about it can explain themselves to their neighbors and employers and not have it be an issue. It sucks, yes. It’s unfair, yes. But I think it’s worth it if it means that dangerous sexual offenders will be listed online as well as the innocuous.
If we’re so worried about our privacy and personal freedoms, then lets start freaking out about taxes, identity theft, and Utah State selling my information, rather than worrying about the privacy of child molesters.
As for how well I think the Western media covers Eastern cultures, I have to say that it probably varies from publication to publication. I think that local papers do a pretty crappy job, for the most part, of covering Eastern cultures, because their reader base isn’t really interested in what’s going on in Singapore right now. Although we live in a technological, globalized world, America is still a lot more isolated than Australia or most of Europe, and the average American just isn’t very interested in Eastern culture because he feels like it doesn’t affect him. Other publications, particularly those pertaining to business and investment, have a lot of coverage of Eastern culture. The Wall Street Journal, for example, has a significant number of articles on the East, because Asia is an industrial powerhouse, and its readers are interested. So I guess I would have to give The Wall Street Journal an “A” and The Standard Examiner a “D” for their coverage of Eastern Culture.
Friday, April 21, 2006
Many states -- including Utah -- list hard-core predators alongside people who may pose no risk to the public. There's a map at the NPR site that shows states' policies.
Murders Put Focus on Sex-Offender Registry Policies
All Things Considered, April 21, 2006 · Nobody knows why Stephen Marshall killed two men who were on the sex-offender registry in Maine. Immediately after, he took his own life.
One of the men Marshall killed, Joseph Gray, was on the registry for raping a child. The other, William Elliott, was listed because he'd slept with his girlfriend before she turned 16.
These deaths and others raise troubling questions about the public sex-offender registries which every state has. And they highlight the fact that many states list hard-core predators alongside people who may pose little risk to the community.
When Mark Perk read about the men murdered in Maine, he thought the same fate might have befallen him. "They put my name and address on there," Perk says. "Anyone can find me. Yeah, it scared us."
Perk is on Illinois' sex-offender registry for having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl. She's now his wife and the mother of their two children. Perk says he knows he broke the law -- but he says he's no child molester. He's just treated like one.
"My wife and I get pulled over constantly because our license is registered to a sex offender," he says.
Perk says he has received telephone calls from people calling him a child molester and threatening his life. "People pull by the house all the time, staring in the windows," he says.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
If you would like to see the ad I am talking about you can click here and search for: Do Volkswagen crash ads go too far?
Wednesday, April 19, 2006
It sounds like the publication claims to have been trying to promote inter-faith unity with the cartoon of Muhammad in Dante’s hell with a humorous caption. The editor of the monthly publication has issued an apology.
Cesare Cavalleri, the editor is also a member of Opus Dei, a conservative (Catholic) organization. Another interesting article is found on the Opus Dei website:
While not claiming responsibility for the cartoon or the publication, Opus Dei has also extended their apology while making comments about the offences they feel from entertainment media concerning "The Davinci Code" book and movie.
It is interesting to see that this organization (religion based) chooses to offer apologies, and offerings of peace rather than to take the stand that the Danish and other European newspapers took on last year’s Muslim cartoons. You can see that the differences between the two organizations and the audiences they serve.
I just got some new insights into the mind set of Schindler. I am a German Studies minor and this morning I read a poem by Guenter Eich. He is one of many post WWII writers that were part of "Die Gruppe Siebenundvierzig" or "the group 47." They, as a group, tried to write in such a way to redeem the German language after the Nazi's and the war had 'ruined' it. Hitler had used the language and power against the people.
In the movie Schindler says to Stern that Stern will get special treatment. Stern doesn't want it and for good reason. The Nazi party would often say that the Jews were getting "die Besonderbehanglung" or special treatment. It was kind of inside joke you could say. When Jews were getting 'the special treatment' they were really being tortured or executed.
Hitler was a very influential man. He spoke with very flowery language coupled with intense emotion. There is no doubt in my mind that the name Adolf Hitler could have been revered as one of the greatest leaders of all time instead of denounced as an evil dictator. He brought a country on its knees to an economic and military status that even many Germans believed impossible.
I think Germans were so grateful for what Hitler and the Nazi's had given them that they wanted to believe in them. When Hitler started scapegoating and warmongering no one said anything because they trusted him. He even later on referred to the Jews as receiving this so-called 'special treatment.'
I have been to the Dachau concentration camp. It lies just outside the town of Dachau itself. After the camp was liberated allied forces forced citizens of Dachau township to march up to the camp to witness the carnage and in fact clean up the mess left behind. The citizens claimed to have no idea. Many vomited, fainted or suffered major psychological strain. They claimed that all they were told was that the Jews lived there. They were told no specifics and certainly nothing terrible.
This all goes back to what I gathered about Schindler's mind set and that of Germans in general. All the wealth and power that Schindler had was from the Nazi party. How many of us would be like Schindler and 'bite the hand that feeds us?'
It is the responsibility of citizens to question every policy and every policymaker. Oscar Schindler questioned and he saved lives.
I dont' know whether any of you care about any of this but its something that hit me like a bolt of lightening so I just thought I'd put it out there.
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Monday, April 17, 2006
Note that you have to promise not to use information you find there to harass the offenders or their families and friends, and there's a reminder that such harassment is against the law.
To search it, type in your zip code.
First off I would like to say that I wholeheartedly do not agree with sex offenses but I do feel that it is a violation of that persons privacy to be plastered all over the internet or whatnot.
Back to the point. This co worker found a member of the bank that is a known sex offender. She immediatly started saying she always knew he was 'creepy' etc. Did she really or is she filling in what she felt with what she now knows.
I think it is kind of like the Scarlett Letter. Does everyone have to posted on the internet with sins or crimes committed. Where do we draw the line?
I also disagree with the statement the 'girl claims rape.' The majority of the people I saw on the site were offending against minors. Whether the girl 'claimed' it or not is irrelevant. The individual is still a danger to children in the area.
Basically I think the public should be informed but not about every offender. I think repeat offenders should be listed for sure and beyond that I just don't know.
I really wish we lived in a world where was no sexual assault but unfortunatly we don't. I don't agree with the assaults but I do still think it is a violation of their rights to post what they've done for everyone to see.
Wow that was long and somewhat repetative. Sorry.
Sunday, April 16, 2006
I have to say that I am in favor of anything to keep track of sex offenders. I think they should have to put signs in their yards warning everyone that can see that there is a sex offender in their neighborhood.
This new idea of having your children tracked is great! use the info. out there to keep them safe and away from these perps.
I know that there is a law that is trying to use the death penalty on sex offenders that have been convicted of rape on two accounts for 12yr. olds and younger.
I don't think these people (sex off.) are sick because that would mean that they could have a cure or get some help for their illness, but they can't. sex offenders will perp on your kids and grand kids. they are too tollerated in this society. they need harsher punishment and consequences for their actions.
I believe that they give up their rights as soon as they invade or rape-molest someone.
One newscast showed a civil rights attorney who says it is legal (since they are using legal information), but is invasive. I can see where there could be some privacy issues.
A close neighbor to a registered sex offender or someone who has moved into a residence that an offender has moved out of could be ostracized or even victimized by vigilante types who are over protective.
Here are some counterpoints to the comments that have been posted so far:
Even though we all have heard stories of people who are on the registry that should not be, don’t you suppose that the vast majority of those on the registry belong there? They have committed serious crimes and statistically will become repeat offenders. Our society has dictated that part of their punishment is a loss of privacy. That is a harsh punishment, but those are harsh crimes. Is it in the best good of the most people – remember Utilitarianism?
As for the guy whose underage ex-girlfriend turned him in – remember, she was underage and isn’t it a crime to have sexual relations with an underage person? It’s still a crime even if they think they are consenting. And conviction of a crime must be met with justice and punishment.
Let’s carry things one step further. Rather than gps cell phones that tell you where your children are, maybe we should force the sex offenders to wear radio anklets (like prisoners). Since they don’t always stay in their homes (they have jobs, go shopping, etc). Punishment too harsh? Unnecessary? Do we not care that our kids could be in close contact with them?
Friday, April 14, 2006
His article today had to do with the question of whether the Iraqi people are better off since we showed up. My understanding of Bok’s Common Values is that Hussein showed disregard for minimum common values with his human rights violations. The West has liberated them from Hussein, helped establish a new government and helping to rebuild the country. We do all of this with as much respect for the Iraqis, their religion, etc. as we can. But still, how many of our Western maximalist values are we forcing onto them? Is it all a good thing? Jensen thinks so. I think so. Does that make it perfectly right just because we think so? After all we are only evaluating the situation from the viewpoint of our own maximalist values.
There is much gray area between true common values and maximalist values. Yes, it is hard to draw that line between them.
A closing comment comes from Hagar the Horrible. If this link does not work, do a search for Hagar’s cartoon of April 6, 2006:
Hagar the Horrible
There are beginning to be some follow up stories as well.
It seems that a couple scammed the media and the public by claiming to have given birth to sextuplet babies in order to get donations. It appears to me that these people have some serious mental problems as well, but that is not the issue here.
The AP journalist acted in good faith to the story’s subjects, the media, and the public by reporting the story, but he was scammed as well. Verification of the story was his problem. In these days of privacy rights it is difficult to just call up the hospital and get information, but still, six babies is quite a litter and you would think that there would be some public knowledge about it.
Note that the editor of The Examiner, the newspaper that originated the story is considering a "front-page column to readers to address the issue." There will be "a review of his reporter’s verification practices."
I'm sure we all have similar stories to this one, but I have a friend who arranged to meet a girl he was chatting with on the Internet. Admittedly, I'm not sure what she had claimed her age to be, but let's continue. It ended up being a set-up, and now my acquaintance will have to have his face on the registry, as well, despite his seemingly upstanding character. Which brings up another point, is it fair to place the faces of those who have done practically nothing to the faces of those who have done, well, something?
Perhaps it will be different when I'm a parent, but for now the system just seems a little unfair. What do you all think?
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Newsweek-'United 93':Is U.S. ready for a 9/11 film?
A very controversial subject in the the news lately, "United 93" is the first feature film about 911 to hit theatres. My roommates and I just recently went to see the movie "Inside Man" this past weekend, and "United 93" was one of the previews. I had actually never heard anything about this movie before this past weekend. I had eerie/mixed feelings about the preview while watching it and couldn't stop thinking about what people directly involved with the attack must be feeling. I do not know anyone personally involved with 911 and felt horrified that people were going to make money from such a disgusting act of violence. But then wait..what about the movie we are about to watch in class this next week, "Schindler's List". So then I thought well, it is way too soon to revisit 911. I did a little research and come to find out before filming "United 93" they (producers..film makers etc.) got permission from the victim's families who were killed in flight United 93. This made me feel a little better about the movie and now I am considering watching it when it comes out. If the families of the victims are ready that must say something.
What does everyone else think? Are we ready for this film to come out?
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
I'm not all that in favor of having registered sex offenders made public for anyone to see. I would be much more in favor of sex offenders having to be registered in some sort of database. A database for employers, or anyone with a certain need-to-know, may look.
For example, a child rapist isn't going to be a concern to me, a single white adult male with no children under my care. If John Doe, two houses down, is a convicted child rapist, that's not going to matter to me. I have no need to know. However, if good ol' Johnny is trying to get a job at the local elementary school, then the school might want to do a background check on him.
Having sex offenders register with a public data base, I think, is not fair. I would like to see it be much more on a need-to-know basis.
As for the "They didn't put the whole story" claim, I wouldn't mind it if suspects/criminals had the opportunity to write up 'their side of the story' to be attached to the rest of the file. If the database had not only the initial charges, but what they were found guilty of, in addition to 'their side of the story', then anyone researching that individual would have more information on which to formulate an opinion and make a decision.
I had the USU police called on me once for an accusation which I do, and always will, claim was false. When the police spoke with me there was very little, if any, 'So what's your side of the story?’ They were very much "This is what we've been told about you, so this is what we're telling you to do." Some of the information which had been reported to them, as I saw it on the official report, was questionable as to its accuracy. The following week I inquired as to what I may do if I feel that there was information of questionable accuracy in the accusation. I was told that I could file a 'my side of the story', which I assume would then have been attached to my report. I think this would be a good option for sex offenders.
Bottom line: There should be some reform made in the way the state handles the information concerning sex offenders.
My friend's brother is a good example of this, and his situation is not the first that I have seen. He met this lovely 19 year old girl on the internet. One day they decided to meet up, and do "stuff." A month later he gets a phone call from the police department telling him that they have some information about his car that was recently vandalized. He went in to meet up with the police and was arrested on felony rape charges. They used a car vandalism that had happened months prior as an excuse to get him to the jail. which I find lame.
Come to find out, this girl was 14. She had gotten pregnant, and told her family that she had been raped. Now what's even better, three other guys had "raped" her at different times throughout the month, and all had met her online, thinking she was 19. All four were prosecuted and sent to prison. His charges had been reduced to a misdemeanor. When he was released from prison, he had his picture taken, and was put on the website.
But alas, the charges on the website said something along the lines of Felony rape of a child. So the guy calls in, and the lady said that they don't put the final charges on the website, only the initial charges. Which pretty much tells me that they put the worse charges possible online, to show how bad these terrible people are.
It's a sham. No other criminals are registered and tormented. There were a group of kids in my high school who terrorized dozens of other students. They were arrested on many occasions, why weren't they on some sort of registry? I understand that rape is a very tramatic thing, but it isn't the only crime that can ruin a person's life and make them always look behind their back.
I feel this system is not in place for the good of society, rather in place as a mouthpiece for a small group to wave power in front of another group. On it's current premise, this system is highly unethical in my opinion.
First, the site doesn't give us the whole story. I've heard people talk about this problem before, and they have mentioned that a big problem is that it makes some people look like horrible people when they are not. An example that i have often heard is when an 18-year-old is dating a 17-year-old and they break up. The 17-year-old gets mad, reports the 18-year-old, and suddenly, they have a criminal record as a sex offender. Now, I know this is not the case with a lot of the people on the database, but it isn't really fair to those few people who really do have situations like this.
The second is that it prevents these people from moving on with their lives. It haunts them in their jobs, relationships, and even where they make their homes. Society doesn't really give them a chance to be "rehabilitated" and rejoin the community. I think this is unfair to some of the people, like the ones I mentioned above. At the same time though, there are a lot of people who deserve to be haunted forver by the things they've done. So this is an idea that is also kind of up in the air for me.
Overall, I think the sex offender database is a good idea with good intentions, but like all good ideas and intentions, there are always going to be some problems.
Monday, April 10, 2006
Newspapers are looking to BlogBurst to provide expert blog commentary on travel, women's issues, technology, food, entertainment and local stories, areas where publishers may not have dedicated staff...
Sunday, April 09, 2006
The segment that caught my attention had to do with (supposedly) the first-ever police chase caught on video by a news helicopter. After a long chase, the car was disabled and the video showed a policeman approaching the car. Gun shots were fired by the driver and then one by the officer, killing the driver. The video was rushed onto the next newscast. The only thing apparent to the news viewers was that the officer approached the car and fired his gun. This caused an immediate public response about police impropriety. It was not apparent that the driver fired first without very carefully zooming in and reviewing it in slow motion.
What are the ethical responsibilities of airing this video without knowing or showing all of the details? I suppose that the TV news thought that they acted in the best interest of the public, but the news was hurried and not complete.
On the other hand, close examination of the video helped to clear the officer of any wrongdoing.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
The story continues in the media: Shortly after Hayes quit, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, creators of South Park, had their first guest appearance on The David Letterman Show. To me this was an obvious PR event. Not much was said about Hayes. Stone and Parker told Letterman that they are just good kids who learned to make a lot of money with "really bad animation and fart jokes."
Rumor is that a re-run of the Scientology episode was canceled due to Tom Cruise’s (another Scientologist) influence on the network. South Park fans boycotting Cruise’s movies….. it goes on and on.
I am interested in the ethics of entertainment as part of mass media. What are the ethical codes of entertainment – or are there any? I realize that much of the issue between Hayes and Parker/Stone is more of a moral issue than ethics. Hayes quit because he was personally offended by the show. I believe he is displaying a double standard because Scientologists is not the only religion or group that South Park has offended.
Is there some ethical principle that allows Parker and Stone to offend people with humor? Does this not cause harm? Our culture is used to just blowing off offensive material in the media because of our belief in freedom of speech. Other cultures will not tolerate offence – just publish a few cartoons poking fun at the Muslim religion.
Personally, I am offended by South Park and numerous other television shows. That is why I avoid them. Ethical or not, the most basic moral principals do not allow me to engage them.
Question: Is a magazine ethically required to be an open forum for all advertisers who have the ability to pay?
On the other hand, there are magazines like Time, whose agenda is more along the lines of reporting on important issues in today's world. Then there is a magazine called The National Review, which is a very conservative publication. It's agenda is very much conservative politics.
And then there are different breeds of advertisements; some want you to buy something, while others don't. For example, take the anti-smoking commercials which we've all seen. They aren't trying to persuade me to buy something or give them money.
So my point is this: I believe that magazines reserve the right to refuse certain or all advertisements. Magazines and Advertisers only coexist symbiotically when their agendas allow them to.
Monday, April 03, 2006
I believe that taking risks as a journalist is a matter to be decided by the journalist only. He or she must decide if loyalty to their employer or loyalty to discovering and reporting information will justify taking risks. It is not unlike the soldiers themselves – they have decided to take risks for their own reasons.
Should the journalist ask others to take risks as well? I think that it is appropriate to ask, but the person needs to know the risks – if for no other reason than that one can be open to a lawsuit if he is reckless in his requests of others.
Taking risks also needs to be weighed against the potential good. As in investing ones money or talents, higher risks often result in higher rewards.
One way advertising has been described is: The science of arresting the human intelligence long enough to get money from it. The marketing people spend millions of dollars researching colors, shapes, designs, and symbols that affect our preferences, with the goal that we will feel warm and trusting and then ultimately....we will BUY! One way to get the public's attention is to use slogans. They can be quirky, simplistic, romantic and emotional. They catch our attention.
The Tourism Council of Utah has decided that more people need to visit (or move to) our wonderful state to drop some money here so the state needs a catchy new slogan to draw the masses. (We the taxpayers are pitching in to the tune of 18 million dollars for this marketing makeover!!!!) Here are some slogans that Utah has previously tried. 1. Utah, The Friendly State 2. Ski Utah 3. The Greatest Snow on Earth 4. A Pretty, Great State 5.Utah! Where Ideas Connect....This is our current slogan. Who knew? Yeah..we need a new one. On April 5th, 2006 our new state slogan will be announced. Here are some ideas that were overlooked. 1.Gateway to Idaho 2. Don't Judge Us by Colorado City 3. We put the "FUN" in Fundamentalist 4.Liquor Laws like a Bible-Belt State, Minus the Humidity 5. Gosh, Utah's a Heckuva Nice Place! Watch for television spots and magazine advertisements .....Coming Soon!
Each profession define the news differently too. To thePublic Relations professional, the lack of breaking news is newsworthy....when things are flowing along smoothly. For the journalist the big stories lie in the areas where there is a change in the status quo....when things go wrong or at least differently than they normally do.
I heard Condoleeza Rice on Meet the Press two Sundays ago. The interviewer asked her about the horrific bombings that occurred that particular week in Bagdhad. She admitted that these incidents were terrible.....but could they shift the conversation to the many good things that were taking place in the other 15 provinces of that area?? I give about a B- for a grade to the Western Media. They surely show us all the tragedy. I would be interested to learn more from a different angle. From all walks of life living in Iraq and their day to day existence. What is it like? Many support the U. S. troops being in their midst helping them to gain the freedoms that they deserve.....obviously others do not!
Sunday, April 02, 2006
Tom voiced his opinions in an artical after a 17yr. old got off death row after raping and stabbing a pregnant woman leaving her to die in front of three children. The reason the 17yr old got off death row was a decison made by the US Supreme Court's 4-5 that banned execution for murderers who were under 18 when they committed their crimes.
After this artical was printed the Alabana's Judicial Inquiry Commision filed complaints against Parker. They charged him with violating Alabama's judicial ethics standards when he publicly criticized his eight supreme court colleagues on their earlier dissions not to execute under 18yr. they also say that it breeds comtempt for the law.
I would like to see what they define as their ethical standards.