To Catch A Predator

Overview

This past week in class, we watched a clip from the series, To Catch A Predator.  As I am not a huge television viewer, I was unfamiliar with this show until this particular class period.  Basically the show is centered on a cop pretending to be a teenager on a chat website who lures in sexual predators.  When the predator arrives at the meeting place with the “so-called teen”, they are surprised by the host of the television show, Chris Hansen, and then arrested.

Impersonating Chris

As my class assignment, I was told to give my perspective of the idea from Chris’ view point.  In my opinion, if I were Chris, I would find this series to be completely pointless.  In my opinion this show is not news worthy and is made specifically for entertainment purposes.

While I am happy to see the predators are caught, I do not believe a television series needs to be made from it.  Some may argue it brings awareness to parents of the dangers of the Internet, but let’s be real, only naive parents would ignore the dangers of the virtual world.  This series is simply mindless television and a waste of time.  Sure, it is clever to catch these predators in this way, but there is no need to broadcast it.  In my opinion the show is humiliating for all parties involved, including Chris Hansen’s.  I would not want to be a part of this program.

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The World Is A Business (Makeup Blog)

This past week in my Media Ethics class, we viewed the 1976 film, Network.  There is a scene in the film in which they talk about the makeup of the world and what is truly valuable to people.

Here he states how the world has strictly been created into a business.  A “get rich quick” sort of mentality.  And I would have to say I fully agree.  Unfortunately, the world during the making of this movie, before the making of the movie, and still to this day, has lost the true meanings behind the life we have been given and are driven mainly by success and status.

Our world is strictly business.  If you look around, people are constantly rushing from one place to the other, missing the beauty of life just to “make something” of themselves through wealth.  No time to focus on the needs of others, the beauty around us or the simplistic style of living that was intended for man kind to appreciate.

Sadly, this is the lifestyle that is encouraged.  We are forced into believing we need a good degree to be happy or to be ranked high among fellow workers.  While it is key to have good work ethic this mentality of “work/money=happiness” is twisted.  The world is losing sight of true values, and I believe this portion of the movie really revealed where the majority of people’s hearts are today.  Though I do not agree with the mentality, it is reality.

“Where Everybody Knows Your Name.” (Potter Box)

This past week, we studied the Potter Box Theory.   Created by Ralph Potter, a Harvard Theologian, the Potter Box Theory helps one make an ethical judgement through a four step process.

  1. Understand the Facts of the Case
  2. Outlining the Values
  3. Applying the Philosophical Principles
  4. Articulating the Loyalties

The case I studied was 4-B “Where Everybody Knows Your Name:Reporting and Relationships in a Small Market.”

In my opinion this case was pretty simple to come to an ethical decision.

  1. The facts: a small town in which a journalist and police officer form a relationship.
  2. The Values: Are they willing to risk their jobs to be together?  Is work or their relationship more valuable?
  3. Philosophical Principles…The Questions needed to be asked: Will there work be influenced by the other’s work?  Will the police officer leak information to the journalist?  Will she then spread information that is confidential?  Did the resigning of the Police Chief have anything to do with this couple?
  4. Loyalties:  In my opinion as a journalist, I would not find this story to be very news worthy.  It is a small town and there is a relationship formed between two influential workers, but they appear trustworthy and there has never been a reason to question either.  I would not publish this news just because I don’t find it very news worthy, but if someone wanted a story on it, it would not cause harm to anyone involved.

Both the journalist and police officer appear to have trustworthy and honest qualities.  There time in Sunnyside, Washington never raised a question as to whether or not their relationship was for work gain.  The reason they kept it on the down low was to keep from initial controversy.  Once they knew they wanted to continue a relationship they made it public and were honest the whole time.  In my opinion there is no harm done.

Extremes of the News (? # 4)

The Network

network

In the 1976 film, the Network, it is depicted how the news media likes to take things to the extreme and focus on every grotesque detail in a story.  In the film the media focuses on an individual, Howard Beale, who has lost his mind on the air.  He threatened suicide while on air and the network proceeded to make money off of him and his claims on media.

Reality

In my opinion, I believe many news stations continue to take stories and focus on them for long periods of time only to boost their ratings.  That is all twenty-four hour news is.  For example, take the Sandy Hook Shooting.  Yes, the shooting was horrific and news worthy, but to focus on it for days, weeks, and months in some cases is too extreme.  There were hurting families and stress through America as they continuously broadcast the story.  In my opinion, cover the story, and then let it go.  Don’t use someone else’s heartache for success.

Case Study Investigation

Capturing a Story, Paying a Price

In 2001, Steve Morgan (British Journalist) and Spanish videographer Jorge Torres, traveled with Greenpeace members to capture their protest of a missile test near Vandenberg Air Force Base.

Greenpeace is an environmental organization who does not stay away from confrontation when it comes to the physical harm of animals.  When Morgan and the petitioners went out, they were arrested by the FBI because of “misdemeanors.”   

Morgan was not going to be a part of the petition, just to capture the event.  It is his job.  Is it appropriate that he was arrested and held in jail for six days?

He was arrested for “trespassing, disobeying orders of a federal officer, and conspiracy.”  But he was just doing a job.  He was not engaging in the petition.

In my opinion, I can see why he was arrested.  He was with the crowd.  But once he clarifies the situation, I feel he should have been released.  This is up for debate.  As a journalist, would I take on an opportunity that could potentially put me in prison?  Not sure I would.

Test Of Ethical Advertisements

TARES Test

Just coming off of the Super Bowl, there has been much controversy as to whether or not certain advertisements were appropriate or harmful to the general viewer.  While some may not agree with this method, there is something known as the TARES Test which helps to determine the “ethical worthiness of the message” in the advertisement.

Here are the questions the company must ask when following the TARES structure:

  • Are the Ad claims truthful?
  • Is the claim and Authentic one?
  • Does the ad treat the receiver with Respect?
  • Is there Equity between the sender and the receiver?
  • Is the ad socially responsible?

Example

The advertisement which I choose to focus on was the Coca-Cola “America The Beautiful” Super Bowl Ad which has been the center of debate since the game.

Will It Pass the Test

  1. Truthful: I believe this advertisement is truthful in supporting Coca-Colas over arching goal: Uniting.  For years Coke has created commercials which symbolize a union between different individuals, and this commercial is no exception.
  2. Authentic: The advertisement is certainly authentic.  It shows how America is a huge melting pot, yet Coke wants to be a part of every culture.  The singing of “America the Beautiful” in different languages also shows unity in a unique way.
  3. Respect: Some would argue their is a lack of respect in the ad to viewers because it shows a gay couple.  In my opinion the commercial is not vividly promoting this life-style.  But I think Coke is trying to show a respect and appreciation for all individuals.
  4. Equity: Equity is certainly being exhibited in this preview.  It is being fair by showing all cultures in America and praising them.  While some people may view this offensively, they shouldn’t because this is the America we live in today.  We should embrace the diversity.
  5. Socially Responsible: This product is able to be purchased by all, all over the world.  The ad will make money, but it is also taking into account the interest of viewers.  It is promoting unity which I think is essential and a truthful concept needed to be grasped.

Concluding Opinion

This advertisement passes the TARES test with soaring colors.  Sure, there is some debate, but overall it should not be viewed as an offensive commercial and those who view it as such need a wake up call.

A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

Falling Man

For those of you who may not recall, the above photo was take on 9/11/2001, at the falling of the World Trade Centers in New York.  This “unknown” man was photographed by Richard Drew.  He choose to jump to his death as opposed to being engulfed in the flames of the Twin Towers.

girls

This photo also centers on two individuals falling from a burning building, yet this photo has a different story behind it.  In 1977, Stanley Forman happened to be in the right place at the right time in order to capture this photo and later win the Pulitzer Prize for it.

This photo was captured when a young god-mother and her god child were standing on the outside of their burning apartment building.  The fire fighter went to rescue them on his ladder, and right before, the fire escape collapsed, cause the two girls to fall to the ground.  The 19 year old fell to her death, breaking the fall of the toddler.

Similarities

Other than falling, fires, and death, what is the similarity between these two photographs?  The answer to that question:

Ethics

Both of these photos are extremely gruesome and tell a story of death with no words needed.  Many would question whether posting photos such as these two is an ethical move on the part of a journalist.

There are a lot of questions being asked:

  1. Is it necessary to show these images to the public?
  2. Does it just cause more grief for the family members?
  3. Is it strictly based on getting attention/money?
  4. What are the motives behind the journalist?
  5. Is it professional to post these photos?

The viewer can not answer these photos.  Only the journalist/photographer truly can.  If they truly believe it will better the public, or show a stronger message behind the story, than it is their right to publish the photo.  While the two above are a challenge to look at, they tell the story in a much deeper light than just words.  The photo also captures a readers attention and helps them grasp a better understanding of the heart wrenching story.