Blog Post 1: Invasion of Privacy in the Media

In today’s society, we are so driven and influenced by the media that we are often the ones who feel the need to control it. The Cooper article illustrates how certain elements of the media such as emphasis on negativity, invasion of privacy, and authenticity have such an impact on how we view the violation of our social norms. One of the main sources of news and scandals now includes today’s Entertainment industry and the rise of stories surrounding celebrities. Cooper writes, “Entertainment” industries now include a far higher percentage of pornography, slasher, trash talk, rap, heavy metal, promotional, soap, gamer, shock jock, and other “flash, trash, slash for cash” professionals. Such expansion may amplify or introduce issues.” More often than not, the people in this industry who gather the information that is released to the public may go to great lengths such as a severe invasion of privacy to deliver a story.

Bruce Jenner has become a particular target in today’s media regarding his sexual orientation and gender status. At first the allegations were seen as just rumors, but further speculation has concluded that the said rumors are true. This story relates the Cooper’s main ideas of news credibility and the invasion of privacy. Not only is the media taking information from sources other than Bruce Jenner himself; they are completely overlooking the fact that this is an extremely personal subject that should not be made public unless addressed by the person. A recent article from the New York Times stated, “One thing that remains missing from any of the articles about Bruce Jenner’s possible transition? Bruce Jenner, who has yet to give a single on-the-record interview during this time and has declined repeated requests for comment for this article.”

In most of the interviews I conducted, everyone agreed that they are often hesitant to believe stories like the Bruce Jenner case when they first come out because they frequently seem over dramatic. One interviewee stated, “When I first heard about the story I thought it was very bizarre. When I saw all of the articles being published online and in magazines I started to believe that the rumors were actually true. I think this is a very personal matter and the media is making it hard for Bruce Jenner to live his life the way he wants to. I think when he is ready he will make the decision to talk about his personal choices.” Another interviewee stated, “I don’t usually believe these kinds of stories because the sources usually aren’t credible. When the only thing I see is gossip magazines portraying these celebrities in negative lights it just makes me uninterested in what they have to say. If you ask me I think it’s an invasion of privacy.” All five interviewees agreed that at first they didn’t think the story was true, but now that the story is everywhere in the media they are starting to believe it.

After listening to what people had to say and reading the Cooper article I have concluded that people are less likely to believe a story if the main person is not included as the main source. It is only until the story is broadcasted over multiple media outlets that they start to believe what people are saying.

Cooper, T. (2008). Between the Summits: What Americans think about media ethics. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 23. 15-27. DOI: 10.1080/08900520701753106

Bernstein, J. (2015, February 4). The Bruce Jenner Story Goes From Gossip to News. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Blog Post 1

According to the article by Cooper, one of Americans’ biggest concerns with the media is plummeting news credibility. With situations like the recent Brian Williams scandal, one can see why. Williams, a news anchor for NBC news, was recently caught for lying about being in a helicopter that was shot down in Iraq during the war. According to an article from the Washing Times, he now faces a 6-month suspension without pay while NBC looks into his past work to look for further discrepancies. When a famous news anchor like Brian Williams is caught in a blatant lie, it makes sense for people to become weary about what news anchors and the media will say just to get a good story. The news is supposed to be an outlet that tells the nation the facts about current events, not embellished stories.

Through my casual interviews I discovered that older people seem to have less skepticism about the media than younger people. The two older people I interviewed both felt that, although Brian Williams was definitely in the wrong, it doesn’t mean that he necessarily lied about other things, or shouldn’t be trusted in the future. The three people I interviewed that are my age feel that he should probably just be fired because he clearly isn’t trustworthy. One person pointed out that, if NBC lets Williams come back, it would probably make people lose trust in NBC as a news source in general. All three younger interviewees also expressed concerns about Williams’ prior work, and think that he has probably lied or embellished before but just hadn’t gotten caught yet.

The more situations like the Brian Williams scandal come to light, the more people are going to distrust the media. When huge news stations like NBC employ journalists and anchors that turn out to be untrustworthy, who’s to say smaller stations are telling the truth? National news stations are supposed to have the best fact checkers, and aren’t supposed to make mistakes. The fact that the news is supposed to be the most trustworthy form of media, but sometimes isn’t, also raises other issues. If people can’t trust the news, they definitely won’t trust the rest of the media that doesn’t have as big of an obligation to tell the truth. Journalism as an industry is built on truth telling and honesty, so it needs to live up to that if people are going to have trust in it.

Blog #1 – Privacy in Social Media

Social Media is a big part in our everyday lives. From Facebook to Twitter it has completely taken over the way we connect with others and also gain information. After reading Tom Coopers, Between the Summits, I focused in trying to find more about why people are so scared about privacy issues on social networks. In order gain more insight on this ethical problem, I searched through articles for more information and found a great one by Sharon Jayson. Her article Social Media Research Raises Privacy and Ethical Issues, focuses on how our personal and private information is being accessed by companies such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft.

Today the internet has so much information on us because of what we search for and what we say. Jayson says, “Just consider that mining online communication has already helped Microsoft identify women at risk of postpartum depression. It’s also allowed Facebook to study how parents and kids interact.” Having all of this technology definitely helps us in different aspects of life but does it know too much is the real question. Some might not think its a problem but there are many people out their scared that these companies are going to use their personal information against them. “Some of Facebook’s research on user behavior found that 71% of people drafted at least one post that they never posted.” said Jayson.

In order to grasp this issue I created a study which surveyed students and faculty between the ages of 20-52 and tried to make them open up about their personal opinion on social media privacy. My results showed that privacy concerns mostly depended on the age of the person. College students seemed to be less concerned about privacy issues with social media than older people 30 and above. This is because college students don’t really have their lives established yet and don’t have that much to lose. Another aspect I learned from my study was that the main privacy issues people were concerned about were personal information being leaked, photo sharing and profiles being hacked because they feel like social media is not completely private. 70% of the people surveyed said they often, if not always, watch what they post online. I can completely understand why these are concerns and I personally am scared of personal information being leaked as well.

All of these resources came to the same conclusion that proves there is a major concern with privacy in social media. The reason why there is so many problems is because there is nothing that is stopping from google or Microsoft to gain information about us. We are so dependent on the internet with connecting with others and gaining information that its impossible to be careful what we are doing. Each resource has legitimate reason and even the study that I created proved that this a major problem.


Jayson, Sharon. “Social Media Research Raises Privacy and Ethics Issues.”USA Today. Gannett, 12 Mar. 2014. Web. 22 Feb. 2015

Fareed Zakaria And Modern Media Ethics

Thomas Cooper, a professor of Media Ethics at Emerson College, is the author of Between The Summits: What Americans Think About Media Ethics, in which he analyzes public perception of the news industry, and how it has adapted over the course of recent history.

Cooper’s research found that public perception of the news industry has been declining in recent time. According to Meyer (1987, p. 182.), between 1976 to 1983, those who found a “great deal” of confidence in the press dropped from +11 to -11 over the course of those seven years. Even more recent research found that “Americans reporting ‘great’ confidence in ‘news reports on TV’ slipped from 55% in 1988 to 25% in 1993. In newspapers, those having great confidence fell from 50% to 20%. In 2006, the ASNE report Anonymous Sources: Pathways and Pitfalls found that 60% of Americans believe news organizations to be politically biased. That number is up 7% from 53% two years prior.

Research has also found that ethical issues vary depending on the medium in which content in presented. For example, polls were taken in both 1993 and 2005, asking audiences “why are TV entertainment shows worse than five years ago?” The top responses in both polls, “despite the changing show times and programming”, were “too much sex” and “too much violence”.

For television news, questions of ethical integrity have been raised over the practices of Fareed Zakaria, the host of CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS. Zakaria also writes for The Washington Post and is the editor of Newsweek International and the editor-at-large of Time. Two anonymous media watchdogs, who run under the name Our Bad Media, have accused Zakaria of serial plagiarism. The authors of Our Bad Media have found over three-dozen examples in which the CNN host has “lifted passages” for use of his books, columns, and his television show.

The majority of examples citied by Our Bad Media have been catergorized as “patch writing”—“using material generated by someone else, without attribution, but rewritten slightly so one cannot call it verbatim copying.” Two journalism experts have also reviewed the reports, Robert Dreschel, from the University of Wisconsin, and Kelly McBride, the vice president from academic programs of the Poynter Institute. Both agree that Zakaria plagiarized.

This is also not Zakaria’s first instance of plagiarism. In 2012, Zakaria was suspended by CNN and Time for plagiarizing sections of another writer’s article about gun control. In 2009, Zakaria was accused of plagiarizing sections from Atlantic magazine’s Jeffery Goldberg.

Strangely, this current case of unethical journalistic behavior has fallen on deaf ears in the industry. CNN has stood by their host, Zakaria has denied the claims, and little public outcry has come of his most recent scandal.

Five randomly selected, anonymous interviews have been conducted to give their opinion on the reports by Our Bad Media, and how it will impact Zakaria’s career. Each interviewee was asked to read the Our Bad Media report, and in a brief interview, give their opinion on the findings of the report.

Four of the five interviewees believed that what Zakaria was in fact plagiarism, and violated the code of ethics for journalists, and should be fired for his actions. One interviewee “found it appalling”, saying, “Zakaria violated the integrity of the CNN network and any other news outlet he has plagiarized on.” Another interviewee was disappointed, but not surprised, saying “We no longer live in a open news world; we live in a news oligarchy. I hope people can start to realize this and simply not tune into phony news sources like CNN. Examples such as Zakaria’s are proof enough that things need to change.” There was a single outlier to the majority, saying “It seems fairly clear that Zakaria plagiarized by public definition. Should he have been fired? That falls under legality and policy issues, which is secular from ethics.”

I think what Zakaria did was wrong and he should be fired for it. It also concerns me that CNN has not fired him. But I do believe there to be this almost seamless transition into saying “Mainstream media is biased. They are unethical. And therefore bad.” I do not believe these large news organizations to be inherently evil or have any negative desires for their reporting. I hear far too often from college students how modern media is “so unethical” and is controlled by big business. While that is rooted in some truth, it has also become a popular catch phrase only being said because everyone else is saying it. I still very much trust this idea of “mainstream media”. I trust damn near everything written under the New York Times title while Bill Keller was the executive editor (and I still do today). Just go read his conversation with Glen Greenwald and tell me that man doesn’t care about every single word printed in his newspaper. There is a tremendous amount of pride for the journalists who write for these institutions. And many of them uphold the ethical behavior we expect out of journalists. So to make a blanket statement like “I don’t trust mainstream media” is unfair to those who do their jobs well, and who do their jobs responsibly. Cooper also found that not all American’s believed the news industry to be corrupted by poor morality. While the majority of American’s do distrust mainstream media, there is still high-quality journalism being done, and is still fulfilling the necessities of the public, and keeping citizens informed of their world.


Byers, D. (2014). The wrongs of Fareed Zakaria. Retrieved September 14, 2014, from

Cooper, T. (2008). Between the Summits: What Americans Think About Media Ethics.Journal Of Mass Media Ethics23(1), 15-27. doi:10.1080/08900520701753106

Blog Post #1 Taking Stock

All of the concerns identified in the Cooper article were discussed in the mini interviews conducted. Cooper talks about the increase of sex and violence on TV, something that my grandfather talked extensively about. He feels as thought the increase of violence is unnecessary and that violence to this degree should not be used as entertainment. Recent father, Alan is now starting to notice how easy it is for children to access content that they shouldn’t have access to. Another main point identified by Cooper and the people I interviewed was advertising. Everyday we are constantly bombarded with thousands of advertisement and messages. This was one of the points my mother felt most strongly about, she does not like the amount of advertisements shown. She thinks there are far too many messages pushed upon us everyday, a point that my grandfather also agreed with. He thinks the evolution of TV has been incredible and he told me that he doesn’t understand the volume of advertisements compared to when he first started watching TV almost fifty years ago. My mom’s boyfriend disagrees; he is okay with the amount of advertising shown in media today. He says if you don’t like it, there isn’t much to do about it. Although these points were discussed during the interviews, the majority of my conversations with the interviewees were about credibility.

When asked about their news channel of choice, various outlets were named. My mother prefers CNN to other news sources, however my grandfather prefers newspapers such as the Wall Street Journal. My boss, Alan prefers watching Fox News. All solidified the notion that people watch news sources that reflect their views.

The case study used was about NBC Nightly News reporter, Brian Williams. Williams lied about being aboard a helicopter that was struck during the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. He was in fact no on board the one that was hit, he later admitted but was riding in the helicopter following the one that was struck. This information surfaced while NBC Nightly News ran a story about Sargent Major Tim Terpak who was aboard the helicopter hit in 2003. Not everyone interviewed was familiar with this situation so they needed to be briefed about it. My boss, Alan said that he generally trusts the information on the news and online sources so he was surprised by this case study. He is slowly becoming aware of the problems in credibility. Alan said that he believed Brian Williams to be a credible new source until this recent situation. My mother says that she does not trust the news anymore because of the numerous lies that have surfaced such as the Brian Williams case. Not only does she believe the stories to not be credible but she also believes that news stations tend to repeat the same stories, making her loose interest. She says she’s seen too much coverage of the Brian Williams story and not enough of other problems. My mom’s boyfriend, Norman believes that situations like the one with Brian Williams just further proves that more regulations need to be enforced in media. My boyfriend, Sam said that unfortunately he is not surprised by the Brian Williams story since it is obviously not the first time we have seen something like this happen. He talked a lot about how difficult it is to find a news source that he trusts. My grandfather stated that he used to trust the information that he was exposed to but he no longer trusts it, he does not think news sources are credible anymore, he thinks the reports and news have turned into a form of entertainment and that makes him skeptical. It seems as though every generation feels the same about the problems of credibility and validity of the news shown.



Shepard, D. (2015, February 4). NBC News anchor Brian Williams admits he was not aboard helicopter fired on in Iraq: Videos. Retrieved February 25, 2015, from

Blog Post # 1


When looking at the Tom Cooper article you get a lot of information from all different aspects of media ethics. The biggest take away for me were the polls. The most recent in 2006 didn’t show any big difference from the polls in the 90s. “Americans reveal anxiety about the truth telling, functions of the press and remain concerned about privacy, violence and much more… when asked in 1993 what the “most important quality or characteristic the new media needed to have to maintain high standards,” respondents listed ethical issues at the heart of journalistic purpose: “ truth, honesty” (61%); “accuracy, check stories, sources” (26%); “fairness, balance” (19%); and “sensitivity” (7%) (Los Angeles Times, 1993).” (Cooper, 2008) Then  “Three years later, a similar set of issues emerged, although the order of concerns had shifted (Princeton Survey Research Associates, 1997): sensationalism/hype/exaggeration/disproportion (25%), bias/slanted/liberal/one-sided reporting (23%), offer their own opinions and views/distort facts (9%), overemphasis on the negative (8%), and invade people’s personal lives/privacy (7%).” (Cooper, 2008) With 25% of the vote going to sensationalism/hype/exaggeration/disproportion, this speaks to one of the saddest stories of last year, the death of Robin Williams.

After reading an article about all the negative comments and allegations after the death of Robin Williams it was extremely unethical. There was a Fox news reporter tat said he was a “coward” for killing himself. A Uk reporter was in trouble for saying he had no sympathy for Williams. There were allegations about him drinking during shows. This was such a sensitive subject for a lot of people that the Robin Williams had passed away. All of the different characters he played in movies resonated with all ages. For these reporters to treat a death like this is unethical and wrong. There were other sources that had negative things that say about Robin Williams, which is crazy to think about.

Coming off of that is an article that is somewhat of a guide for journalist to handle the terrible event of suicide. Some of the key pointers in it are, “Don’t say committed suicide instead died by suicide; Don’t romanticize the act; Don’t jump to conclusions; Don’t go into details about the method used; Don’t call suicide “successful” or attempted suicide “unsuccessful”; Death is not a matter of success, Don’t use or repeat pejorative phrases such as “the coward’s way out” which reinforce myths and stigma.”(Smith, 2014) All of these pointers make for a more ethical article and it is more respectful. No one in the family wants to read suicide in every article, they don’t want to sugar coat it either. You have to be respectful of their wishes. With Robin being part of everyone’s life through movies, shows or comedy, as a journalist you need to keep them in mind too. A 12 year old isn’t going to understand suicide as much as a 22 year old, so you do have to watch what you say and how.

When I constructed my interviews all five interviewees agreed that it is unethical to throw out false information especially when it comes to a death. That person can’t necessarily defend themselves and we will never understand why. Suicide is a very sensitive subject and all of my interviewees cringed at the thought of it. Once I mentioned how Robin was somewhat ridiculed they couldn’t believe it. One of the interviewees said, “Wow that is very unsettling… He was Mrs. Doubtfire and Peter Pan, how could anyone be cruel to that man… Especially after his passing that’s just wrong.”  One of my interviewees somewhat understood, “Robin was starting to look bad as he got older; his life was kind of going downhill. I am not saying he had the right to commit suicide because that is just awful. A reporter should never call another person a coward though for such events. You don’t know what was going on in his life!”

Moving away from suicide, every interviewee agreed that you have to be respectful and precise as a journalist. You can’t report on something that has no proof or sources. My grandmother was one of the interviewees and she watches the news more than anything. She was seriously concerned because when she watches the news, she expects it to be credible. As an older woman once she hears something, she has to share it. So if something she heard wasn’t credible she looks like the idiot, not the news or reporter. In general, as consumers we should feel that everything we are told comes from credible sources, and we can trust them.

Cooper, T. (2008). Between the Summits: What Americans Think About Media Ethics.Journal Of Mass Media Ethics23(1), 15-27. doi:10.1080/08900520701753106

Smith, S. (2014). Say ‘died by suicide’ not ‘committed suicide, ‘Ethical reporting tips on suicide. International Media Ethic News. Retrieved from

Smith, S. (2014). Top 10 Media Ethics Issues of 2014. International Media Ethic News. Retrieved from

Blog Post #1 – Nancy Grace and Journalistic Integrity

Recently, concerns regarding media ethics have become a hot topic amongst the American public. On top of already existing media outlets like Television, Radio, and the Internet, there seems to be new, more medium specific outlets, coming out every day, each with their own set of ethical issues. According to a 2006 national poll administered by Opinion Research Group, as stated in Tom Cooper’s article, Between the Summits: What Americans Think About Media Ethics, Americans indicated the ethical issues they were most concerned about in the media. These issues included, but are not limited to, media biasness or one-sidedness, media dishonesty, inaccuracy, exaggeration, incomplete reporting, and rude/pushy/obnoxious media behavior. Additionally, more than two-fifths of the survey’s respondents indicated that they were concerned with some form of truth telling (Cooper, 2008).

Although the article discusses these issues as if they exist on separate platforms, it should be noted that multiple issues could exist within one media sphere. For example, all of the issues listed in the previous paragraph can be found within the field of Journalism alone. As a matter of fact, each of those issues can be found within just one episode of Nancy Grace’s HLN show, Nancy Grace. According to Grace’s own website, she is described as “an outspoken, tireless advocate for victims’ rights” (Grace, 2012). Additionally, according to HLN’s website, “Nancy Grace” is television’s only justice themed/interview/debate show for those interested in the breaking news of the day” (HLN, 2015). Although this may sound good in and of itself, upon closer inspection of Nancy Grace and her show, she can be seen repetitively pushing each of the previously mentioned ethical boundaries.

Arguably, the two ethical issues she encroaches on the most are the issues of media biasness/one-sidedness and rude/pushy/obnoxious media behavior. In regards to the ethical issues of media biasness/one-sidedness, Grace will always side with what or whom she determines in the victim. Additionally, she will spend the entirety of the episode presenting the story form the perspective she favors and never present the argument of the other side. In regards to the issue of rude/pushy/obnoxious media behavior, Grace is always talking over her guests that attempt to provide evidence contrary to what she believes. Additionally, she spends the majority of the “debate” segments on her show not contributing to the debate itself but belittling the guests that don’t agree with her.

To determine how others viewed Nancy Grace and her questionable ethics, I conducted five interviews of different aged people familiar with her show. Ultimately, the majority of responses were similar to my own. One interviewee stated, “It’s hard to watch really. It just makes me mad that she can get away with a lot of that stuff.” When probed further about what “that stuff” was, the interviewee explained that there have been times when Grace has been proven wrong or caught adhering to her own agenda but nothing ever comes of it. Another stated, “I usually just change the channel. My mom watches her though and I think it’s meant for that demographic.” However, one interview offered some points that were contrary to the popular opinion. This particular interviewee, a middle aged female, stated, “I know that it’s marketed to people like me and I don’t always agree with everything she says or does. But I do think that she does make some good points now and then. I guess that I’m able to look past some of the questionable things she does because I agree with some of the points she makes while doing them.”

Cooper, T. (2008). Between the Summits: What Americans think about media ethics. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 23. 15-27. DOI: 10.1080/08900520701753106

Grace, N. (2012, January 1). About – Nancy. Retrieved February 21, 2015, from

Nancy Grace. (2015, January 1). Retrieved February 21, 2015, from





Blog Post #1 – Taking Stock


With the power that comes from being the source of almost all of the public’s information on news, events, and other important topics, the media is held to high ethical standards. According to Cooper (2008), “There has been an overall increase in public concern about media practices viewed as ethically questionable” (p. 16). Information collected from the 2006 national poll found that 9% of people expressed invasion of privacy as a major concern within media ethics (Cooper, 2008, p. 18). With the ever-growing technology of today, invasion of privacy continues to be an issue. Now, advertisers are able to track what consumers are looking at online and what they may be interested in, by collecting data on what they are purchasing. This information is often collected through websites such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and more. This process is called data-mining, and the data that is collected is often used to create targeted ads, specific to each individual consumer, and may be used as pop-ups or sidebar advertisements on websites. Many people believe that this is an invasion of privacy and that advertisers should not be able to collect information and target advertisements this way.

Interviews conducted showed similar feelings towards ethical concerns involving data-mining. One participant stated, “I think it is kind of creepy, to be honest. I feel like what you’re interested in should be your own privacy. If they can look at that, than what else can they look at?” This response relates to Cooper’s (2008) study which found that the the second highest concern was privacy in the media and the internet. Another participant said, “I am not a fan of this; I don’t like it. I think it’s creepy when I go on Facebook and something I just looked up is on there. It’s a little too instant for my liking.” When asked what they thought should be done about these privacy concerns, interviewees shared similar views. “I feel like they should create policies, but I don’t think that they will. I think it logically makes more sense for the advertisers to do this, I just don’t like it,” said one participant. Another shared, “I think policies should be put in place, but I think that they [advertisers] will always find a way around it.”

Feelings about these concerns were not all negative, however. Three of the five people interviewed found data-mining to be helpful. One person stated, “no one wants to see things that they don’t want to see. They want to see things they are looking up and that they are interested in.” Another said, “I like that things pop up that I am interested in because then I can shop there and see if I like it. I like looking at companies that I didn’t know about, it expands my shopping.” One of the more interesting responses brought about a new topic to think about. He shared, “People don’t like the fact that they can do this in the first place. The fact that they are advertising something that peaks their interest doesn’t bother me, it bothers me that they have the technology that can do that in the first place.” This can represent the few that did not find this an issue in the Cooper (2008) article. This idea is also represented in an article in Forbes that stated, “Just because a company can collect all kinds of personal information on consumers, it doesn’t mean they should use it, says Bill Schmarzo, chief technology officer for EMC Global Services. Schmarzo says companies risk annoying consumers when using data collected about an individual to tailor messaging and offers” (Martin, 2014). Although data-mining can be helpful for consumers and advertisers, it can also be a breach in privacy, which is a major ethical concern not only in the media, but also in general life duties.

Cooper, T. (2008). Between the summits: What Americans think about media ethics. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 23, 15-27.

Martin, E.R. (2014). The ethics of big data. Retrieved from

Blog Post #1-Ethics in Hollywood

As today’s society gets more advanced, so does the media. And with that, the definition of what’s ethical versus what’s not is getting more and more skewed. The question of mortality and ethical concerns have come up now more than ever in the topic of media in Hollywood. For the latter half of 2014 until now there have many films raising ethical concerns in America. Clifford Christians, a media ethicist summarizes this development saying, “In our day, morality has appeared to reach the end of the line. The social fashion is to be emancipated from moral standards and to disavow moral responsibility. We are witnessing the demise of the ethical, living, in what Nietzsche called the era beyond good and evil…Popular culture gets caught up in the technological imperative, producing the visually interesting, creating programs at times of artistic wholeness, but driven by the conditions of aesthetic space rather than ethics. (2005, p. 4)” (Plaisance, 2014).

Thomas Cooper also raises the concern about today’s ethics in the media in his article Between the Summits. Through his study, he took a deeper look into what Americans think of today’s media and how there’s a rise in concern about what’s crossing the line of being ethical or not in media outlets such as television, internet, video games, film, telephone, audio, print and photography. Saying that, “There is ample evidence to suggest that Americans at large no longer trust, if they ever did trust, the American media. Despite exceptions, both public and professionals especially distrust those who control and own such technologies. Although media excess, deception, and invasion of privacy top the list of concerns, a longer list of secondary concerns, boosted by new technologies and changing context, grows rapidly” (Cooper, 2008).

In recent speculations in the media, Hollywood and this year’s highly anticipated films that have hit the big screen are raising more ethical concerns than ever before. “Moviinterview_xlge studios are already some of the most risk-averse businesses on Earth, and that’s only becoming more and more true with every year…” (VanDerWerff, 2014). Between SONY’s The Interview, which stars two of America’s favorite raunchy comedians Dave Franco and Seth Rogan and Focus Features’ Fifty Shades of Grey which brings to the big screen crude “glorified pornography”, these two films have gotten an abundance of publicity—good and bad.

Granted, the reason for The Interview to get pulled from being shown in theaters was due to SONY getting hacked prior to its premiere, “…a movie about the assassination of a foreign leader has seemed like a bad idea for any movie studio to pursue, no matter how ridiculous the context of that film. Yes, movie studios have made films mocking foreign leaders before — like the Charlie Chaplin classic The Great Dictator, which made fun of Hitler to devastating effect — but those films did not actually depict said leaders’ assassinations. Plus, turning Kim Jong Un into a buffoon could undercut the horrible things actually happening in North Korea right now”(VanDerWerff, 2014). The message behind the film was intended to be funny, but raised many moral and ethical concerns with its motives.

jamie-dornan-dakota-johnsonAs for Fifty Shades of Grey, the film has gotten much praise from the devoted readers of the trilogy of books by E.L James. But for as much admiration it’s gotten, it’s also caused much controversy on the topic of the storyline, too. “This is a troubling fantasy in American culture, where one in five women will be raped within their lifetime, according to the CDC; where nearly 40 percent of those rapes will happen to women aged 18 to 24; and where troubling evidence of casual attitudes toward rape…As images of Ana being beaten by Christian become the new normal for what’s considered erotic, they raise questions about what it means to “consent” to sex. Clearly, consent is necessary; but is it sufficient?” (Lay, 2015). The line between today’s ethical norm in movies and what the film industry was like years prior, has diminished dramatically. To get to the point where people question their everyday lives because of movies today are portraying, makes the public more uneasy and wary of today’s media.


Cooper, T. (2008). Between the summits: What Americans think about media ethics. Journal of mass media ethics, 23(1), 15-21. doi:10.1080/08900520701753106

Green, E. (2015). Consent isn’t enough: the troubling sex of Fifty Shades. Retrieved from

Plaisance, P.L. (2014). Media ethics: Key principles for responsible practice. Thousand     Oaks, California: SAGE Publication, Inc.

VanDerWerff, T. (2014). Sony won’t release The Interview Christmas Day after all. Retrieved from

Blog #1: Fears from Facebook


Anytime you create a membership on a website or social media service you give away personal information about your identity. The more you use and contribute to the site, the more owners and other users are able to gather knowledge about you. With today’s technology, it’s easy for site owners to keep surveillance over users and content. But when does this tracking cross the line of privacy?

In Cooper’s article (2008) discussing media ethics, he summarizes a list of themes that were persistent in his study. Escalating concerns about invasion of privacy was common among the people that participated. When respondents were asked to share their greatest concerns about the Internet, 34% had expressed fears involving privacy. Today privacy concerns can be linked to the many social networking sites that have large membership bases.

Facebook-Emotional-Manipulation-400x300Facebook is a social media site that allows members to join for free because of the revenue they make from selling spots for advertisements. In order for these ads to be effective, they must be tailored to the wants and interests of the users viewing them. During a week in January 2012, Facebook’s research team conducted a study that over 689,000 users unknowingly participated in (Forbes 2014). The research was done to measure how exposure to negative or positive posts affects peoples’ emotions. When the paper was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences during 2014, people including lawyers, internet activists, and politicians claimed the “emotional manipulation” was intrusive and disturbing (The Guardian 2014).

Though the research was done to make Facebook more relevant and engaging, some feared it was for boosting advertising revenues and political purposes (Forbes 2014). Facebook’s data use policy includes a section regarding research, but does their terms of service, that usually go unread, live up to the definition of informed consent? Facebook officials responded by reassuring there was no unnecessary information collected and everything was done securely to see how people respond to different types of content (Forbes 2014).

When the topic of Facebook and privacy was discussed with interviewees, the term “creepy” was collective among the respondents. People generally think the government and marketers are stalking their every move and word on social media to be used in manipulation. One college student said, “I find it freaky that I Google search shoes and the next thing I know my Facebook feed is full of DSW ads.” The comments of the participants were correlated to the information provided in Cooper’s article and the uproar of angry Facebook users after knowledge about the sneaky research.

There is not much Internet users can do to protect their information except limiting what they do and say on the web. As long as people use free networking sites, they are going to be under surveillance and used for research to be targeted by advertisers. Whether or not these actions are ethical or not, they are going to take place with the expansion of technology and growth of activity on the Internet.


Booth, R. (2014, June 29). Facebook reveals news feed experiment to control emotions. Retrieved February 20, 2015 from

Cooper, T. (2008). Between the Summits: What Americans think about media ethics. Journal of Mass Media Ethics, 23. 15-27. DOI: 10.1080/08900520701753106

Hill, K. (2014, June 28). Facebook manipulated 689,003 user’s emotions for science. Retrieved February 20, 2015 from