Media Ethics - Summer 2015
About this class
Studies suggest that the average Canadian spends 31 hours online and 14 hours watching TV every week. Many of us also listen to the radio while driving, read the newspaper in the metro, and are bombarded with advertising everywhere we go. It is therefore hard to deny that the media plays a major role in our lives. But the media is hardly ethically neutral and it presents us with moral conundrums on a daily basis. Journalists struggle to balance the need for privacy with the public interest when reporting a story; Hollywood Blockbusters have raised questions about the place of sexism and consumerism in popular culture; and communities struggle with the issue of universalism versus particularism in an increasingly global era.
This course is designed to engage with these and other issues. Conceptually, it is organized into 4 sections: 1) An Introduction to Ethics, 2) The Media and its role in Creating Normative Values, 3) Ethics and the Media in the Global Era, 4) and The Media, Democracy, and a Just Society. Assignments include a reflection paper, program-related posts to be made on an educational networking site called newsactivist.com, and a position paper and formal debate about WikiLeaks. Students must therefore formulate their opinions as to whether or not the WikiLeaks project is morally just in advance of a classroom discussion designed to challenge their conclusions and encourage them to reformulate their ideas and/or reinforce their arguments. Content will be delivered through a combination of lectures and in-class activities, and a participation mark will be assigned.
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First off, your title is so genius. I love it. Furthermore, I want to say that I absolutely love the introduction to the article. I think it really pulled me into reading and actually being interested in the rest of the article. I think the article is very direct with the problem being discussed, which I like and I think it really well outlines the arguments about the negative impacts on society and peoples ideologies that this video. One thing I particularly love about the article and genuinely thought was very clever, was the break down of the word "assume". I'm not sure if you, the author, came up with that on your own or if it was already done by the song, but I think it was so clever. Overall I think this was a great article because of how captivating it was. I think that the sexual objectification of women is a huge problem in the media, however I find articles can usually be slightly boring to read because they all sound the same. Not to downplay the issue, just my opinion!
On the other hand, I do think that there were a couple of things that could have been improved. For example, in fourth paragraph of the article, mention the video and how both the explicit and clean videos portray woman in sexually explicit ways, I think you should have given an example of it. Also, I think the article was slightly repetitive, however I think it was done to get the point across.
Overall, really good job on the article! :)
I found this article a great read with a Very catchy title! I agree completely with what you are arguing, but I think it's also important to be fit in today's society. Obesity is on the rise and I think the mentality of being fit is not a bad one! Although I completely agree with the pressure society puts on people (and especially women) is completely unjust! Those promoting fitspo attitudes are only doing it for the benefit of society to look better; not for the actual health benefits that it should be promoting!
Overall it was really well done!
This article was so interesting to read. I have been following the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner journey and this whole time I had been thinking how good and inspiring she was to the transgender community. But, you bring up really interesting points about the transgender standards and claiming they have had "female brains" all along. I agree with you when you say that she got all dolled up for the photoshoot, showing the world that this should be how you look like when you transition. She over did it by wearing minimal clothing with tons of makeup on. From watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians, he always seemed to be the one that was the most down to earth and didn't care much about looks or money but I guess Caitlyn does. I feel like she should have just wore jeans and a t-shirt and said "hey, this is me," which would have been more realistic and shown trans people that you don't need to be all glammed up to be a women; reinforcing the women stereotype. Also, you were right to say that transgender people shouldn't claim that they have been females all along because they didn't grow up fearing what women do. That is a point that I did not think of and I think it is something that should become more aware to the transgender community to think about it. Overall, this article was very insightful and I learned a lot!
Awesome and catchy title! I really like this topic. You've made me more informed about this case! One thing that I'd like to mention is that when looking at this particular case from a Utilitarian view, as you mentioned, this song caused a lot of public outcry due to its echoes of misogyny. You could argue that since Utilitarian moral theory is rooted in consequence, that Thicke was immoral due to the fact that it caused more discontent than pleasure. Also you could mention in terms of deontology that Kant would argue that this song is immoral due to the fact that Thicke is treating women as means to an end, by degrading them etc. Another thing I would suggest also is perhaps re-reading your essay more than once in order to get rid of careless grammatical mistakes, as I've noticed fair amount of them. In terms of your feminist analysis, I agree with everything you criticized Thicke for, being blatantly anti-feministic.
Hey, I really like your analysis with different points of view about the minimum legal drinking age. You explained well how this moral dilemma can be right and wrong from a Utilitarian and theoretical perspectives and how it cannot be determined to a practical analysis due to the problem of induction. In addition, I like how you used counter arguments and explained why it is neutral in a deontology. However, I think that since John Stewart Mill argues in his "Utilitarianism, 1861" that the Utilitarianism avoids the problem of selfishness, the happiness of the young adults between the age of eighteen and nineteen should not take into account when we want to promote the greatest happiness to the greatest number. He suggests that since the human beings can feel the high pleasure, also, the internal and external put pressure on us, we would choose to do the “right” thing to promote the happiness. Thus, the self-interest does not take account into the Utilitarianism. In brief, I think that, from a teleological perspective, to put the minimum legal drinking age at eighteen is morally wrong because it will increase the potential danger on the street which increases the pain and decreases the happiness. Nevertheless, it is still from a theological perspective. I agree with you that this moral dilemma is undetermined from a practical point of view.
You make good points regarding the actual legality of the online history checks, and I agree that the companies shouldn’t be discriminating based on what they find there. However, although I agree that they shouldn’t be vetting people based on their facebook profile, it's possible to see why the companies are screening their potential and existing employees based on their online history. An employee is not just a person, existing independently of everything. They are a representative of the company with whom they’re employed. If you interacted with John Smith of the Business Company and later looked him up online, then it’s understandable that you might decide to go elsewhere if the first result to pop up is John’s “Weekend Party!!1 woo #tgif” photo album, with John holding a bottle in one hand and a blunt in the other. Doesn’t a professional have a responsibility to their employer to present a good image to the world? If you don’t have the self restraint to keep yourself from appearing online in a negative way, why would a company hire you? I doubt you would get a job if you walked into the interview wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with “I [marijuana leaf] 420!” Why should you show less professionalism online?
That’s not to say you shouldn't be hired just because you happen to do any of these things on your own time. Just don’t post it online and it won’t bite you in the ass later on. You make good points regarding the actual legality of the online history checks, and I agree that the companies shouldn't be discriminating based on what they find there.
Very well done! This article was very well written and you gave great evidence to support your arguments. You chose songs that are some of the worst offenders of misogyny which gives a reader a good example of what the current artists are using in order to “appeal” to their audience. I agree with your argument, as I being a woman and living in the 21st century can honestly say that I enjoy listening to these songs because they're catchy, it is only when one reads the lyrics that we see the amount of profanity aimed at women and when watching the video that we see how sexualized they are. In addition, how widespread these comments are in the rap community because it is seen as apart of our music culture. Although I also agree with you when you say that these women agreed to take part in these videos and got paid to be objectified I believe we need to move away from this part of our culture and build one that is more focused on women’s achievements academically rather than on how much they paid for their breast implants. Furthermore, although putting a ban on the sexualization of women in music can be seen as taking away freedom of expression i believe that rappers must be more considerate of what they say in their songs as they have a huge impact on society and the youth of today.
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