The Media and Its Responsibilities SOC 120 June 6, 2011 The Media and Its Responsibilities The media is known for getting the most recent news out to the people of the general public. Sometimes the information the media delivers is questioned by the people. They wonder why the news media would announce certain information for the whole world to know. In this research paper you will learn what kind of information the media delivers, how this information can affect people, and how they can prevent certain events from happening by policing what sort of information they release and distribute for the world to know.
News is everywhere. The first distribution of news was through newspapers. They date back to centuries and centuries ago. Newspapers distributed in the United States go back to as early as 1690 (Barber, 2011). There has been much advancement in our technology on how the news has been delivered over the years. You can get information through newspapers, magazines, television, radio, and internet. You can even sign up on websites to get emails and text message alerts sent to your cellular device when there is breaking news.
Anyone can find what they are looking for by the click of a button. Watching the news can be very informative by keeping you updated on what is going on around the world or in your local area. The yahoo. com homepage has new current events listed daily. While you are in your car driving, you can listen while being updated with the news. Radio stations also update you on what is going on throughout the day. The first amendment of the United States Constitution expresses Freedom of Press.
It states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” (U. S. Constitution, 1787). Freedom of Press gives the news media the right to publish any information without suffering any consequences. The news media does have certain responsibilities that they need to fulfill in order to keep the public satisfied.
The responsibilities of the media are to report stories that affect the public. The media feels that the people of the society have the right to be informed about what is going on, in the world, at the present time. How far is too far when it comes to certain information that is being broadcasted for everyone to hear and know about? There is news broadcasting stations put in place to keep the public informed on current daily events. News stations try to compete with one another on who is first to report a news breaking story.
They glamorize the fact that they were the first on the scene or that the story that they are reporting on is an exclusive. The news media delivers important information but sometimes it can be too informative. There are sometimes too many unnecessary facts given that are irrelevant. The information that the media delivers is sometimes information that the whole world should not necessarily know about. For example, it was learned that California’s former governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child from a different woman, while he was married to his legitimate wife.
The media showed pictures of the woman whom Arnold had the affair with. This sort of issue can present a problem for the child whom is involved. If the child has friends that know what his mother looks like, they now know that he is the child of Arnold Schwarzenegger. If the family was trying to keep the child’s name a secret because they did not want him to be targeted by the news, the media ruined that chance by releasing a photo of the child’s mother. This sort of thing could lead to teasing by other children at school and many other things.
The child can also be subjected to the harassment of the paparazzi. It seems that the news media is more concerned with reporting the actual story than how it affects the victims involved. The information that the media delivers can affect the victims of the story in many different ways. I do not think that the media realizes that by what they are saying can destroy people’s lives. Have you ever watched the news and thought to yourself, “Wow! That person seems extremely ignorant for being a victim of such a scam? By releasing certain information about a person the story is about or showing faces or photos, the person can go on and suffer from humiliation, depression, and even bullying. Even the family of the persons involved in a story can be affected. I recently came across a story through the news about a local United States Marine that was involved in a ridiculous scam. There is a yard sale website that people post items for sale on. It is somewhat like Craigslist but mainly for the military base. This Marine was selling his guitar, on this yard sale website, to a woman and she ended up scamming him.
They both agreed on a place to meet and when they got there she conned him into going to the bank and depositing a check that was endorsed by her, into his bank account. The check ended up being an insufficient funds check and he was left with no money for the guitar that he had just sold to her. The Marine ended up reporting her to the police and there is an investigation that is taking place. In this case, the Marine is mainly at fault for agreeing to have a stranger’s check deposited into his bank account. The Marine was interviewed on television and he was ridiculed by fellow marines for being exposed in such a fraudulent scenario.
The news media could have suggested that his face be shadowed so he would not be a target of humiliation. The Craigslist killer case is an example of how a life can be ruined by news delivered through the media. The Craigslist killer was engaged to be married and his fiancee found out through the news on the television about the crimes that he was accused of committing. In this case, it is not only shocking but as well as embarrassing for the fiancee because she had no idea that her soon-to-be-husband was committing these crimes behind her back.
Family and friends knew that she was engaged to the suspect committing the murders and after the news makes it public that her fiance was indeed the Craigslist killer, she would suffer from humiliation and embarrassment. Since she was the fiancee of the Craigslist killer, her name will forever be linked to this case on the internet. Certain events can be prevented by monitoring what is being broadcasted rather than jumping into a report so suddenly. I think that the news media has to be careful on what they are reporting because they have a duty to the public to be discriminative on certain subjects.
Names are the most common thing that is not withheld from the media. The media usually only withholds names if the person is a minor. Another example of certain information that needs to be withheld from the public is the whereabouts of important government officials. The media is always reporting on where the President of the United States will be making an appearance. If someone wanted to potentially harm the President, they would just have to listen to the news to know his exact whereabouts and know when he would be in a particular place.
The President does indeed have very heavy security but so did presidents of the past that were assassinated. The news media does influence politics significantly (Entman, 1990). The entire world does not need to know where the leader of our country is going to be at. In The Media and Political Violence, Virginia Held states that she believes that the media should contribute to decreasing political violence through better coverage of arguments for and against political dissidents’ views (Held, 1997). Celebrities are also a huge target of the media.
Some have even been known to become famous just through having pictures taken of them. What and how celebrities are involved in always seem to make headline news. If they lose too much weight or gain too much weight they will be on a magazine cover. If they have too much alcohol to drink at a bar one night, you can bet that they will be the talk of the news the very next day. People are paid to take pictures of celebrities so they can be in magazines. Some celebrities even face humiliation about the pictures that are sometimes taken of them.
Princess Diana’s death is an example of how far the media will go just to get a picture. Her death was partially due to the result of the news media wanting to photograph her while she was being escorted in a vehicle. It was said that the media trailed behind her vehicle, driving at very high speeds. Out of four people in the vehicle, there was only one person that survived. Princess Diana’s driver was speeding while the media continued to follow them in pursuit. According to the Introduction to Ethics and Social Responsibility, the classical theory of utilitarianism believes that there is an obvious solution that is fair. It argues that, given a set of choices, the act we should choose is that which produces the best results for the greatest number affected by that choice” (Mosser, 2010). The media should not be so quick to report on a story without considering how what they are reporting on, might affect the people whom are involved. They should do what is best for the greatest number of people involved in the stories that they report on. By focusing on the classical theory of utilitarianism the media can resolve this problem.
As stated in Introduction to Ethics and Social Responsibility, “relativism is the idea that one’s beliefs and values are understood in terms of one’s society, culture, or even one’s own individual values” (Mosser, 2010). Relativism is when you agree to disagree in an argument. A relativism approach would argue with the utilitarianism theory about the media by saying that the media has the right to fulfill their certain responsibilities. They would agree that the media has responsibilities that need to be completed in order to keep the public informed, regardless of who it affects.
The police department also plays a huge role in what detailed information is being released to the news media during crime investigations. Their job is to protect the people of the society. The media and police should both work together to learn better ways on how to deliver the news while still being sympathetic to the victims involved. In most cases, there are facts that the police should not even release to the media. Information that is released by police could result into being more of a problem. For example, if there is a case where the person involved got seriously injured or killed by someone else.
It could anger a close friend or family member and they could go to extreme measures in retaliation to pursue or look for the other person involved. I personally believe that the media should look into what they are reporting and how what they are reporting on can affect the people involved. I agree that the news media is a great way for the society to be informed about events but there are certain details that do need to be withheld in order to protect the individuals that are involved in the story. I do feel that the media jumps way too fast into reporting an event without really being onsiderate of the people involved. They want to be the first one to get the job done. I believe that we would not know much about what is going on in the world without the media. I do believe that they do carry out a good job by keeping the public updated on events. I understand that it is their job to inform the public about news but I do think that there needs to be limits and boundaries set so that all involved are protected. The media believes that their responsibilities are to get information out for the public to know.
They want the people of the public to be informed about what is going on so they provide the public with every bit of detail in scenarios they report about. It is their responsibility to provide the public with important topics that affect us. Sometimes the information that the media presents about people can attach itself to a person for their whole life. The media needs to take certain precautions about the unnecessary details that they present or announce to the general public. References Barber, P. (2011). A Brief History of Newspapers. Retrieved from http://www. historicpages. om/nprhist. htm Entman, R. (1990). Democracy Without Citizens: Media and the Decay of American Politics Retrieved from http://site. ebrary. com/lib/ashford/docDetail. action? docID=10142065;amp;p00=media’s%20responsibilities Held, V. (1997). The Journal of Ethics Vol. 1, Number 2. Retrieved from http://www. jstor. org/stable/25115544 Mosser, K. (2010). Introduction to ethics and social responsibility. San Diego, Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Retrieved from https://content. ashford. edu Walenta, C. (1995-2011). U. S. Constitution Online. Retrieved from http://www. usconstitution. net/const. html
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