In a society that is driven by many forms of media it is clear that the public has many concerns and feelings about media ethics. In an article discussing the publics feelings about media ethics the concerns consisted of deception, invasion of privacy, advertising saturation and excessive violence (Cooper 2008). One of the biggest concerns highlighted by Cooper stated that 19% of the people questioned had a concern of media bias or one-sidedness (Cooper 2008).
When interviewing people the article’s findings were accurate in terms of their feelings of media ethics as well. One student in particular said, “As a Communications student I know that the news and many sources are bias. I feel like I try my best to never fully believe every source until I learn different aspects of a story.” This response coincides with data from Cooper’s article when it discusses that 60% of news organizations are politically biased (Cooper 2008). Based off of the article and the interview conducted it is accurate to understand that the public views the media as biased and untrustworthy.
For example, within the case study chosen, journalist Stephen Glass revealed that as many as half of his articles were fabricated or made up in some way. He wrote groundbreaking articles for both The New York Times and The New Republic. When discussing this article with the interviewee’s they each had similar responses and feelings. In regards to Glass’s actions one answered, “This is why I rarely trust articles or the news.” Another stated, “After hearing about this story I think Glass is a perfect example of how one person can ruin the reputations of others. I think journalism is great and can be really honest but things like fabrication make it hard for people to trust many stories.”
These quotes also relate to the findings within Cooper’s article that one of the biggest concerns was plummeting news credibility. The data states that journalistic credibility and trust in the media were at first incrementally and later substantially eroded (Cooper 2008). Therefore, stating that the public’s opinion of news credibility has only decreased as time has gone by. Within the case study of Stephen Glass the article depicts “Every name, every company, virtually every single solitary detail—except Glass’s own byline—had been a product of the young man’s imagination” (Bissinger 1998).
Ultimately, it is mind-blowing to think that the people we hold responsible to deliver truthful news stories lack the honesty and integrity to do so. Just as Cooper’s article describes the lack of trust in journalists, the findings suggest that there are escalating concerns such as the erosion of press credibility. The accumulation of responses within the interviews also support the overall feeling that the public has little trust in news outlets and do not necessarily trust those in charge of those responsibilities. In response to the case study and media ethics overall one person stated, “I feel that the only way we can trust our media outlets is if we challenge them and create a balanced system.” Overall, it seems very evident that people perceive media ethics to be something that should be utilized highly within different fields of communications and the media. However, it is imperative that the public begins to trust the media outlets and the decisions that are being made throughout articles and the way they conduct their research.
Bissinger, B. (1998, September 1). Shattered Glass. Retrieved February 24, 2015, from http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/1998/09/bissinger199809
Cooper, T. (2008). Between the Summits: What Americans Think About Media Ethics. Journal Of Mass Media Ethics, 23(1), 15-27. doi:10.1080/08900520701753106
Rosin, H. (2014, November 1). Hello, My Name Is Stephen Glass, and I’m Sorry. Retrieved February 24, 2015, from http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120145/stephen-glass-new-republic-scandal-still-haunts-his-law-career