Internet Censorship

After reading the article, it appears that Kantian ethics could be applied to both sides of this argument. As we have now learned in this class, the basis for Kantian ethics is the categorical imperative. That imperative is that people, regardless of desire and interest, will allow for decisions to be made based on what the moral duty is.

That moral duty is what the North Central Regional Library is doing. They believe that they have a duty to their patrons that certain content shouldn’t be viewed within their walls. To them that is their moral duty being fulfilled, no matter what other people’s desires or interests are. Not to mention that people wanting to see the blocked content could go elsewhere to view that content, but that doesn’t matter to the NCRL. They are fulfilling their categorical imperative.

On the other side Kantian ethics could go against what the NCRL is doing. Another aspect of the Kantian ethic is equality. With equality under Kantian ethics, that means that any rule or law that is put into place should be universalized to be seen as ethical. If everyone can be receptive to the new rule or law, then it is an acceptable rule or law ethically. Clearly this is not the case for this instance with the NCRL. There are people out there that do not want certain content blocked and would be further disturbed if this rule were a universal one beyond this one library.

Kantian Ethics has been one of the harder perspectives to wrap my head around in this class but for once, this particular case allows for practical implementation of the Kantian ethic.

Sources:, Textbook

Week 16: Yes


Violence in Video Games

In our political correct world, violence in video games that are in any way realistic are seen as wrong. There are multiple reasons why that is the case. School shootings have been one of the crutches that the court of public opinion uses against violent video games. Instead of looking at the issue of kids with mental disabilities and issues committing these type of crimes, the media unfortunately looks at the video games kids play and somehow derive that a kid becomes violent based off of what they do in the virtual world.

For me, as someone who has played plenty of video games, I have not felt any more aggressive or violent in nature due the type of violent video games that I play. It is all fantasy. For some people, they have a fantasy to hurt and kill people, but that is not an issue of video games. That is an issue of mental health for those type of people.

Of course those people shouldn’t have those games in their possession but there is no way to police that. The rating system for games is perfect the way it is. The only true way that violent video games are affecting our culture, is how it creates a firestorm of conversation among politicians, concerned parents and school administrators.

Violence is unfortunately a part of our world, and the depictions in video games are becoming more and more realistic. These video games can teach us how bad violence can be and for a lot of video games, how bad war is and how war has effected our history as humans.

Disney Code of Ethics

After reviewing Disney’s code of ethics, there are a couple of major things that I noticed right off the bat that are not in any way similar to a journalistic code of ethics.

One way that they are different is just in the setup of the code of ethics. The Disney code of ethics is 25 pages long, which is far larger than any of the examples of journalistic codes of ethic that we have seen as a class. This means two different things to me after looking at it further. Disney is covering all their bases by not just listing the surface-level ethics that are expected but explaining in detail what those ethical norms should be. There are also examples given in each of the chapters in the code which I don’t see as much in the other codes.

In the actual content of the code, one thing stuck out to me farther than all the other items. As a journalist, taking gifts is not an acceptable practice since it presents the prospect of a conflict of interests. In the Disney code of ethics, taking gifts is acceptable to a certain degree. In the code, it perfectly lays out the conditions of when it is acceptable and when it is unacceptable to take a gift. This section even includes a flow chart to give a visual representation of the gift-receiving situation.

The Disney code of ethics has several similar core values that the journalistic codes of ethic have, and for that matter most professional codes of ethic. The differences though, do stick out and make it clear that Disney’s ultimate goals aren’t the same as a journalist.

BP Oil Spill

I believe that BP has made a lot of headway in both court of public opinion and in the physical clean up of the gulf, but there is a lot more to this story to me. Obviously hindsight is 20/20 but if the BP oil spill does not happen, then this PR campaign of being eco-friendly and trying to be the leader in that school of thought never occurs in my opinion.

The company, especially right after the incident, was incredibly visible and are still doing that today with their website and their occasional ads on television. They are very thorough on this particular page. They are not only talking about what they are doing to protect the Gulf’s environment, but they are taking an initiative to repair the economy of the Gulf, which obviously took a hit due to the spill making the fishing and tourism industry fall out. One thing that I do think heightens their communication efforts is their willingness to be transparent about the accident. There is a tab that leads to all the details about the spill.

Obviously at this point, the newsworthiness of the spill as a national story has subsided, which is why we see BP funding state-led campaigns and marketing programs and no longer doing those things on a national scale. On those two ventures BP is spending about 228 million dollars on those PR based projects. So to an effect, they have capitalized on their communication efforts because they have been able to adapt as the national picture subsides but the long term effects on the local environment and economy are still at large.

The other side of it though, is that if the company did have vested interest in the protection of the environment like it said it was right after the spill, then it would still have some sort of national presence in that effort. The webpage and their breakdown of monies spent does not have anything that would suggest a major national communications campaign, so in that regard they are not capitalizing.

BP is doing what it can, but it is all rooted in reactionary PR tactics which means their concern for it only goes as far as people look down on them for it.

Corporate Social Responsibility

Corporate social responsibility can be defined broadly. It can be anything from a company being aware of the pollution that its production factory is putting out, or it can be as simple as having an interest in the educational system in the local area. At its core though, corporate social responsibility or corporate citizenship is a plan of action that a company has toward its environment and the community.

Companies practice this in a wide variety of ways, more than the two examples I already gave. The book uses TOMS shoes as an example of a company that is heavily invested in its plan for corporate social responsibility. TOMS is not only donating money into a need, it is putting the need, which is providing shoes for children that wouldn’t already have them, at the center of the business model. So in a way, when the world’s children all have shoes, TOMS shoes business model would not work, because it is constantly working from this need that is socially responsible. That is why so many people the shoes. It is not always because they look good. It is because it makes people feel good to give back. Especially less fortunate children.

Most companies are not like TOMS though. Most companies will pair up with groups like the United Way or the Salvation Army and give money and sometimes volunteer work to be socially responsible.

In any case, this will create a positive outlook from consumers toward the company. It shows consumers that at least on the very surface level of things, the company cares more than just getting its next dollar, that it has a vested interest in the worlds problems and the needs of those around them.

I think that any good business would practice this, it should never hurt a company. The only way I could see it backfiring were if the company were taking advantage of a situation to appear socially responsible.

What is Most Important to Me

From an ethical standpoint, I could go a thousand different directions on what could be most paramount to me. One thing though, is something that all others hinge on, and that is honesty.

For people that know me, I am an honest person. Always have been. Without honesty, things like integrity and credibility are lost so whether it is being truthful in advertising or it is being truthful in the stories that I am communicating on the air of a TV or radio station, I will always remain truthful. It is amazing how a career can be destroyed when people find out you’re a liar.

Dave and Busters “Free” Claim

Restaurant chain “Dave & Busters” has been what I would call, the “grown-up Chuck-E-Cheese” for quite some time. Now they are catering to the Chuck-E-Cheese demographic. In a promotion mentioned in a 15-second commercial, Dave & Busters claims that if a child customer says “kids rule” that before 3 p.m. all gaming is free until that time. After an investigation involving by the Children’s Advertising Review Unit, CARU is recommending that the chain no longer advertise that their gaming is in fact “free.”

In the ad’s small print, it states: “Free play is only valid with the same day $20 Power Card purchase or reload. Valid only on non-redemption games, July 7- July 18, 2014. Not valid with other offers, including Half Price Games, Wednesday, Eat and Play Combo or Special events. Promotion is only valid Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday until 3PM.”

CARU notes that the fee of $20 is enough to substantiate the idea that the chain is falsely advertising a promotion. Dave & Busters did comply with the suggestion and have no longer stated the “free video games” in any of their promotions.

These ads are telling of what Dave & Busters values. They are giving a reward to their younger customers but with monetary conditions and hoops to jump through to enjoy those rewards. Due to that, not many young customers are actually going to be able to experience those rewards like the company is claiming in their ads.

It also shows what Dave & Busters thinks of itself as a company. They are a successful chain and these ads show that they believe that they are such a premium entity that their demands that must be met to meet this particular reward are such that it meets their needs as a company and fits their mission.

Now this may not affect what customers think of Dave & Busters since it was in the small print and they are no longer running that ad. Still though, those that were under the impression of receiving their reward were likely disappointed to find out that free costs $20.

Airbrushing in Advertising

In terms of whom I agree with most in the article, I definitely identify with the author, Tara Moss. The issue hinges on the word “excessive.” Touching up photos, and clearing blemishes are not an issue. I myself have had professional photos taken and have had them rendered to their best possible look. Those pictures still portrayed me in an accurate light.

If marketers are altering pictures, they should still be portraying an accurate image of a person that has used their product. Any other doctoring that is misleading would be false advertising. What is more, not only does it create a false sense of hope in a product, but also it creates a false reality for many consumers of that product.

Much like Moss said in the article: “If you buy that celebrity perfume, or use that expensive sunblock, do you really believe that you will find yourself shimmering next to that placid panther, or draped over that hunky seaman on your bazillion-dollar yacht?”

I see the perspective of Aristotle and Confucius in the viewpoint of Moss and myself. There is a moderation necessary to fall within the happy balance of optimal looking advertisements and portraying truthful images and messages to the people that could consume those products. “Moral virtue is the appropriate location between two extremes,” is what Confucius said and that is as accurate of a statement as there is. One extreme is the overly doctored images that are flat out lying to consumers. The other is a world of undoctored images and people questioning if any product works in a positive way. Businesses have to sell products and they aren’t going to sell their product short, but lying to a consumer is grossly unethical.

Food Marketing

After watching the video regarding advertising in food, I am not at all surprised. Maybe it is because I am naturally a skeptic, but what the woman was saying sounded absolutely right. I’m honestly surprised that more people don’t realize this in the normal realm of their lives.

The ethical questions that come about are pretty simple. Producers have to ask themselves, “how much can we lead people on, to buy our product, but not lie to them?” Along with that, marketers are taking advantage of consumers, and those marketers and their firms have to decide how much they want to exploit that “willful ignorance” that the speaker in the video alluded to.

If there is anyone that should be criticized, it should be those people in the media and advertising communities creating this false sense of assurance when it comes to what consumers are purchasing. Yes, they aren’t lying when they say “farm fresh,” but I don’t think a place that can be ridden with disease is anywhere close to being “fresh.”

The farmers are not producing the marketing campaign, they are producing the product, and while people want to advocate cleaner and more efficient practices at the production stage, they are putting together the most “honest” day of work there can be from the production-phase to purchase.

The media as a message-spreading vehicle is at fault by perpetuating the idea and maintaining the willful ignorance. The greatest quantity of ethical issues and the greatest issues themselves lie with those in the media that are in the business of marketing “white lies”

Brian Williams

Journalists are supposed to be the truth tellers that overcome all the lies and deceit that society propels toward the general public. So shouldn’t someone that bases their professional livelihood on being a truth teller also live their personal life as such?

Brian Williams was once one of the most respected journalists in the business. His coverage of national and global events are what made him the superstar in the industry that he was and in some ways still is today. Now though with his transgressions regarding what happened to him while covering the war in Iraq.

Immediately, the credibility of one of the most respected men in the business was gone. It didn’t take days, months, or years. It took seconds for most. As soon as someone read one of the plethora of articles, they made a judgement. Most went with Williams being a liar.

So looking at whether or not a journalist should live their personal life in the way they should and do report the news, I believe they should. Although most people don’t come into contact with famous newsmen and women, but the ones that do, if they see the same man or woman they see on TV, the credibility of that person is fortified.

In the same way that Brian Williams got into trouble, no one in the viewing public wants to hear different stories from the same person about one event. If a person lives both their professional and personal lives in the ethical nature that the journalism industry bolsters, then two different stories should never be coming from the same person regarding a single event.

I’m not sure if Brian Williams lives his life like he presents the news, but if he does, then most people are going to question not only the professionalism of the man, but question the man himself.