Motive really is an interesting factor in any ethical decision. It describes the core of a person's ethical standpoint and the character of that individual. In seperating the motive from the act or decision, we really lose ethics altogether. Acts cannot really be judged when taken out of context. If a person was to shoot another in self defense, yet the motive was left out of the picture, they would solely be a murderer. If a man steals food for his family, but the motive is left out, he is a thief, but with the motive in place it brings a whole new light to the situation. On the reverse side, if a man donates a million dollars to charity solely for a tax break, is he really being charitable? It looks great with no motive in place, but the wrong motive changes the context of the situation profoundly.
As far as the media goes, motive is really one of the important factors any journalist should include in any ethical decision. Is the person being used as the means or the end? Should I print a story about Teresa's abortion to save the reputation of another? Which is the greater good? Where do my loyalties lie? Where should they lie? I believe that motive is almost as important an ethical factor than the act itself.