David P. Amelotti

Simply, A Work In Progress!

Moment Eternally Captured: Photo of News

The below link will take you to a Fox News story in which Fox accidently used a photo of a lesbian couple for an article promoting traditional marriage. Whoops! While searching the internet for photography utilized by the news that may question social standards, a thought passed by suggesting why not find a photo inappropriately used and how it affected how the story would be read.

http://www.happyplace.com/21200/fox-news-uses-photo-of-lesbian-couple-in-article-on-importance-of-heterosexual-marriage

Should this moment be made public?

The photo is of a lesbian couple at their wedding enjoying themselves as they celebrate the beginning of their life together. There is no problem at all with making this moment public. However, there is an issue if you are the editor or writer of the article as they were attempting to promote traditional marriage and in 2013, traditional marriage is defined as between a man and a woman. The use of this particular photo may be viewed as transcending norms or an editing fail.

Will being photographed send the subjects into further trauma?

This is quite possible if the readers are conservative, or just anticipating a wholesome article on marriage and its confines of the present 21st century.

Am I at the least obtrusive distance possible?

To be honest, it seems like the couple in the photo wanted their love and affection for each other to be captured as a keepsake. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind others seeing their happiness

Am I acting with compassion and sensitivity?

Again, the purpose of the photo was to capture the moment for the couple, not to be incorrectly placed in an article promoting the message that is counterproductive to their union.

Chapter 7 Case 7-D

1. Should Deep Cough have been allowed to remain off the record?

It is necessary to state that this opinion comes from one who does not have a background in the legality of the situation. As far as allowing the individual to remain off the record, I am unsure how that is even possible. The individual was quoted at a time prior to the suit and when the individual was in communication with Philip Morris, this Deep Cough had agreed to go on the record with his or her comments.

2. What standards of evidence should journalists doing investigative work demand from their sources and documents?

It seems a factor that allowed for the conflict was a lack of credibility whether that be the research efforts of Philips or his sources that did not appropriately inform him of the process of making cigarettes.

3. How should other news organizations that covered the libel suit have reported it?

This may seem foolish but there really only seems to be a low number of ways this suit could have been covered. Maybe one could have done investigation in the creation of the product. One option would be to evaluate the legal aspects of the case and evaluate the vast amount of money involved.  Personally, a great story would be to examine either the decline of credibility of ABC News because what would be better than networks having a free pass to slaughter their opposition.

Citizen McCaw Part 2

Chapter 4: “Getting the Story”

A television reporter endures insults to make sure Wendy McCaw’s views are included in her report. Eventually, her persistence pays off. How does her persistence result in a better story?

What is most fascinating about this television reporter is that her persistence, her respect of the craft of journalism is exactly what McCaw was forcing out of her paper. She had inherited loyal employees who were dedicated to the uncovering of news and distributing that material in an efficient manner to the general public.

It was McCaw and her lawyer being filmed and while being interviewed by the television reporter. It may be a fair statement that the reporter was in fact being professional, simply trying to pry a solid quote to be later used. Instead of sharing that understanding which one may think would only be natural of an individual affiliated with a newspaper, the lawyer immediately lashed out. You are representing someone and you lash out at a reporter while you are being filmed, how at all could that not come back to hurt you in the future? He was crude; he was blunt and stubborn however this female reporter remained poised and persistent in that she needed a quote.

Ultimately, she would receive a quote that she could later use. This was worthwhile as this allowed for a better news story and maybe allowed for some greater insight into the intensity of the situation. She maintained a sense of professionalism that enabled her to gather the needed information in order for her to return, and develop a story that would more appropriately inform her followers. To take the verbal beating in which she did by McCaw’s lawyer is a prime example of the sacrifice and difficulty being a journalist truly is. Not all stories will be simple to cover and not every elegant quote will come following from the mouths of individuals with ease.

Citizen McCaw 1

The central topic of discussion for this post will be the words of Jerry Roberts’s comment that journalists “are in the truth business.”

That seems to be common sense to the average person who understands journalism as the reporting of newsworthy information to the general public. Unfortunately, when ownership/management enforces a certain method of how to report on news, conflict is only expected.

A question of concern is how that view (the words of Jerry Roberts’s comment that journalists “are in the truth business.”) can conflict with the business of making a profit or the publisher’s other interests?

Although there are a myriad of situations presented that displayed Wendy McCaw’s poor decision making presented in the documentary, one particular scenario caught my attention involving Rob Lowe. Lowe, a friend of McCaw, was attempting to have a larger house approved in the Santa Barbara area by pleading his case to the Zoning Commission. Interestingly enough, this made the News-Press which sent McCaw into a holy terror. One may find it admirable to protect one’s friends but it is simply unethical to manipulate the distribution of news information to the public when a matter occurs that does make a significant impact in the local community.

As far as making a profit, it may be a fair assumption that profit as the end result was the only thing in vision for McCaw as the quality of the paper declined, and the dedication of staff also experienced a toll. When reflecting over the footage shown in class, it is fair for one to question of McCaw herself ever questioned if she had an obligation to the public. Were their standards which she was subject to follow with so much power? Her brand was the daily product and at this point, it seems as if she was willing to sacrifice her public image for satisfaction and financial extravagance.

Political Relevance: Case Study 6-A

The below list of 4 criteria are standards set forth in the class text to aid individuals in the evaluation of political speeches, placing emphasis on relevant information.

 

1. Is the information useful – does it provide citizens with the kind of information that helps individual and collective decision making?

2. Is the information sufficient – is there enough of it and is there enough depth to allow people to make informed choices?

3. Is the information trustworthy?

4. Who is the “audience” – the political “we” on which the ancient Greeks placed so much emphasis?

 

Chapter 6 Case 6-A will be evaluated. It was appropriately titled “Cable news: 24/7 Political Speech or Something Else?”

The case study discusses the conflict between China and CNN following the blunt commentary of CNN commentator, Jack Cafferty. For an individual who is in the public eye, has influence over millions of viewers, providing quotes such as, “…I think our relationship with China has certainly changed. I think they’re basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they’ve been for the last 50 years,” (161)  is idiotic. When playing the game of global politics, one has to be held accountable for what they state whether in a professional setting or not as life for an individual such as Cafferty is one vast show.

If we use the list of 4 standards made available above and critic the case study with those criteria in mind, clearly what Cafferty stated was not truly relevant despite creating a global conflict.

“They’re holding hundreds o f billions of dollars worth of our paper. We are also running hundreds of billions of dollars worth of trade deficits with them as we continue to import their junk with the lead paint on them and the poisoned pet food and export, you know, jobs to places where you can pay workers a dollar a month to turn out the stuff that we’re buying from Wal-Mart.” (161)

With that statement in mind, this allows an individual to make a decision regarding number 1 however, this summarization provided highlights a few number of reported instances. Is that fair? I’m not sure I have an answer for that.

Is the information sufficient? Well that ties into the previous idea that his statement regards past events but no secondary information is provided. The extent of damage, the loss of lives, how many other items were located that had tainted substances on their surfaces; that information as not made available but judgment in the mind of some can be rightfully passed.

As far as can the information be trusted, it can be under the mindset of realizing it has bias due to CNN and the mentality they have in presenting news to their target audience. One may also recognize the frustration and mild hate attached to the commentary which suggests that an emotional stance may be tempering with the legitimacy of facts.

Lastly, the audience involved is the target audience, not the general public. CNN focuses on their target demographic, not supplying the world with a vast amount of news information. They strive for dollars.

Politcal Ad – Kerry Not Athletic Enough to Possess White House in 2004

One of the more intriguing political bloodbaths of the past 100 years may be the Bush/Kerry duel of 2004 – A wholesome native of Massachusetts against the baseball loving, oil rigging Texan. The controversy may be a result of the fierce, intellectual debates, the remnants which can be found on youtube.com. Maybe because it was a clash of two veterans who had proudly served our country were contesting for a chance to further extend their contributions of leadership. If we are being more honest with ourselves, it may because at this time we understand how the Bush 2.0 played out and find ourselves having regrets over what seemed to be nothing shy of an eight year hangover.

The point to all of this rambling is to evaluate the political ads of the time and examine their effectiveness in attaining and retaining the attention of the voting public. One ad in particular that captivated millions, especially conservatives, was an ad produced by the Bush campaign directed at John Kerry.

Kerry at the time was trying to establish himself as not only a veteran who proudly served his nation but as an individual who loved all aspects of life, especially a healthy lifestyle. Footage of Kerry was circulated that revealed the presidential candidate windsurfing. He was laugh and smiling as he presented materials that suggested he enjoyed life to the fullest; he was a thrill seeker.

The Bush campaign saw this clip and took advantage of the opportunity to utilize subliminal messaging in communicating the indecisiveness Kerry displayed in regards to the Ira            q War. The term, “flip-flopper” was used predominately and it was a complete fail for Kerry and his crew.

What is the most fascinating aspect of this ad and many more like it is how the material, the footage of John Kerry was manipulated in a manner to convince the public that he was not a legitimate candidate for the presidency. That is what it seems to come down to, manipulation. Materials or information is uncovered and used out of context to give one party an advantage over another.

What is more alarming is how individuals base their political stances on these commercials. During the heat of the campaign race, it is intimidating turning on the television knowing there will be 10 minutes of programming and almost as much in “he said, she said” political degrading. Instead of placing efforts on showing opposition in a negative light, how about a candidate present their agenda in a clearly organized and well-articulated manner? I know, I’ll continue to dream.

If I could have voted, I would have chosen Bush over Kerry. Not because of this ad, for other, personal reasons that aren’t relevant to this conversation. However, your first time reading this blog you probably thought I had a donkey strung up to a tree in my backyard. No harm in a few jokes, besides, Bush was the best thing for Leno and Letterman. Jay still tries to sneak an oldie in once in a while.

To Catch a Preditor

To whom reads this,

As a father of a 15-year-old boy, and as an individual who grew up in a tech-savvy era, I have always had my concerns about my son and his safety online. I am aware that a website that consistently shows up on his screen is teenchat.com, a site for teens to converse on – he told me the learned of the site through friends of his at school.

Growing up, I was never one to partake in these kinds of online dialogues but I want to believe my son has been raised well enough to make the right decisions. Recently, I caught a clip of a show long gone, To Catch a Predator and it made me wonder. I still do not doubt the standards my son holds himself to but online, everyone is vulnerable.

Privacy is such a rarity in today’s society where everyone is connected through social media, being constantly informed by the latest tweet or blog post. As humans, we are naturally curious, even in the perfect world I believe we would still have a natural curiosity to learn about the secret lives of our neighbors. We should have privacy and I believe it can be achieved if we hold ourselves accountable. There is a structure that has been provided to allow individuals to partake in the social communication without sacrificing all of their personal information. It is when technology is abused, when individuals regress on our social moral standard that other’s reputations are damaged.

I never found the show to be journalism when I first watched it as a youth and now that my son is surfing the internet on a daily basis, I still don’t find this show any more informative. He may be in the demographic of those children taken advantage of but the show made the issue over dramatic; the greater concerns were involving the ratings and not so much directing attention towards the issue and finding a solution. Lights, cameras, and a host that used mediocre humor to belittle the victim makes the whole situation seem more of a joke. This show is an extreme. A situation that seems to cross the line of realistic and people naturally gravitate towards that. What if real life was worse? What if the situation escalated past the point where it was resolved? Television provides an outlet where we can explore those questions and guess where the alternate ending is located.

If 2.3 million people tuning in each evening is bringing awareness about the topic of cyber abuse, then that is good. The process of desensitizing the viewing audience however, is counterproductive.  At the end of the day, I believe it is the responsibility of the parent to do my job, to guide and nurture my son and to help establish a firm foundation of knowledge and awareness.

A Father.

The Hidden Life – Questions 3 and 4

3.When referring to the allegation that Mayor Jim West was pursuing underage boys online, why do you think editor Steven Smith differentiated between a legitimate news story and one that is not legitimate when he said, “If he’s [Mayor Jim West] engaged in this activity … we need to know that. If he’s not — there’s no story” ?

It is possible that Steven Smith differentiated the difference between a legitimate news story and one that was not as to protect all those involved. As journalists, they have an obligation to respect the reputations of those involved. It would destroy the credibility of a town paper to release such a major story and then have it proven wrong.

The mayor was an individual known for being conservative, anti-gay and was involved in the community with the Boy Scouts of America. If the leader of the community was that ingrained in the town, in close contact and having access to so many outlets to meet vulnerable youth – the public needed to be aware.
4.How did reporter Bill Morlin justify the use of a concealed identity on Gay.com as part of The Spokesman-Review‘s and the FBI’s “sting operation”? Why didn’t Morlin himself create the assumed identity to engage Mayor West online?

Reporter Bill Morlin justified the use of a concealed identity on Gay.com as a method to find the truth. This decision to move forward and uncover the truth surrounding the potential behavior of the Mayor as it was articulated that the purpose was not to bait but simply to see if the Mayor would pursue a young man.
This story developed from one that would have been assumed to focus on the mayor pursuing young men into a story that was about the abuse of public office.

Personally, it seems like Morlin was motivated to find that the Mayor was actually partaking in crude behavior. This only causes some to question Morlin’s intent. When discussing with the Mayor of his online activity, Morlin was fierce and simply destroyed that Mayor as a man.

The accusations the mayor faced were inappropriate and should be penalized. Gay.com was used as a safe haven for the gay community but if used with the intent of pursuing children, those individuals should be subject to the law.

Case 4-a: Evaluation with Potter Box

The Potter Box as indicated on page 100 of the class text has four steps. They are (1) understanding the facts, (2) outlining the values inherent in the decision, (3) applying relevant philosophical principles and (4) articulating a loyalty.

 

Case 4-A will be evaluated by using the Potter Box.

 

Understanding the facts:

Twitter is a growing form of social media that can be instrumental when used appropriately however, just as dangerous if used by an individual with a lack of control of his or her emotions.

 

In January 2009, David Schlesinger, Editor-in-Chief at Reuters, published a blog.

 

Outlining the values inherent in the decision:

The crucial ethical situation is whether or not Schlesinger did wrong in releasing the information. In the case study, when asked if he would fire an employee for tweeting information before the company, Schlesinger said no and went on to encourage this. However, to develop your fan base, establish credibility, and set firmly an image with the public one cannot allow their employees to provide information before the corporate juggernaut makes the public aware. If it was an individual from outside the company, than Schlesinger would have had no one to blame but himself or his people for leaking the information.

 

Applying relevant philosophical principles:

The main concern in this case study is whether or not information posted on social media is truly private in regards to the individual who makes the post, tweet, etc. There are some with the mentality that it is SOCIAL MEDIA and therefore what you post have the potential to reach millions. If that is the party one agrees with, post at your own risk.

 

A second party and it would be fairly safe to say this is the mentality of Schlesinger and other influential businesses and corporations is that social media allows one to have their own account to present their own presence in the social media world. You can choose who your friend on Facebook is, that freedom doesn’t exist on Twitter where anyone who is savvy enough to use the search option can find an individual of prominence.

 

Although people want to be engaged with a mass populous, there comes a time when one wishes they could regress, go back to a time when they weren’t vulnerable on such a large, public stage.

 

Articulating a loyalty:

Loyalty in this case study is directed at a few various parties. First, in the case of Schlesinger, he has an obligation to himself, the public, and his business.

 

The overarching loyalty is the provider of the information and their relationship to the public. The loyalty is a factor when providing the information in a factual manner.

Network’s Corporate Ownership and Overexposure in Today’s Society

Compare the television landscape of today with the landscape depicted in Network. In particular, how has the average television viewer’s (if there is such a thing) news gathering methods and sources changed?

In an article provided by Professor Oldham, it was indicated that CBS, ABC, and NBC average from 5.5-7 million viewers during the evening news time slot. Those numbers aren’t very impressive if one considers 108 million individuals tuned in for the 2013 Super Bowl. However, these lower numbers are understandable if compared to the time period that the movie, Network, is based out of because at that time there are only a handful of stations competing for viewership. With the emergence of cable tv, AT&T Uverse, and other unique services, individuals can have channels in the 5000s.

If there is one element of the article that I find that stands out the most in comparison with Network is the ownership of the stations. As stated in the article “ABC is owned by The Walt Disney Co. CBS is owned by CBS Corp. CW is a joint venture of Warner Bros. Entertainment and CBS Corp. Fox and My Network TV are units of News Corp. NBC and Telemundo are owned by General Electric Co. ION Television is owned by ION Media Networks. TeleFutura is a division of Univision. Azteca America is a wholly owned subsidiary of TV Azteca S.A. de C.V.”

All of the television networks today are owned by large global corporations. No longer do we see a home grown corporation in full control of their programming, causing havoc in the lives of employees.

Disney has their hands in almost every market and the same can be said of Warner Bros. Entertainment. The world, through advancement in cellular devices, the internet and television, the world has become a far smaller place. All of these corporations are vast empires looking only to make a profit and the competitive edge may not be present as it was 50 years ago.

4. In Network, programming the news is taken to the extreme. To what degree do you feel the news is programmed in reality? Support your answer with details and examples.

In the movie, Network, extremes are taken as they take a man considered to be mentally ill and they thrust him in front of a live audience and cameras and portray him as a modern prophet.

Do news networks take the extremes today?

I have one example that suggests that those in affiliated with the news have no emotions or if they do, there is a switch turned to the off position when covering their assignments. Take the Sandy Hook shooting: a story that swept the nation, in fact students from the school performed at the most recent Super Bowl.

How did the news originally cover the situation?

Let us focus on CNN who after arriving at the school, describing the location, they began pulling children and interviewed them. They put children under the age of 10, who were crying, confused, and scared on TV to depict what had happened. That is pretty sick if you think about it. Ratings would indicate that such an emotional interview would be a great attribute in taking down competition as well as establishing a dark shroud over the viewership. To inflict fear on the viewers and to instill in their minds that their network, CNN has all the answers is an objective they strive on a daily basis.

Many media outlets in the United States struggle to move on. Months we hear about one shooting which will last until the next which causes for studies to be published and experts on morning talk shows discussing the psychology of a mind that has the audacity to take the lives of children.

Some may see this mentality as insensitive to the situation however others have a mindset that we should not over expose our vulnerability.

This nation will reflect the tragedy of 9/11 until the earth crumbles but even in the roughly 12 years since, the country has transitioned into mourning into remembering which allows for a rebuilding process. The Freedom Tower is being built taller than the original Twin Towers, a symbol of this nation’s strength to rebuild to greater levels that dreamt imaginable.

However, a sense of patriotism that one may embrace when seeing the new building being constructed combats the media outlets as every year during the week, “Remembering 9/11” all the same clips are shown, we begin to recognize faces in the crowds running away. I think the constant redistribution of the same material, having the same discussions, which are what causes us to go numb with emotions. We become accustomed to seeing the pain – we become casual when discussing a terrorist attack that killed over 3000 innocent people. One may read that last sentence, but how much did that shock you? The writing might not be compelling but the vast overexposure by some media outlets has reduced the true detriment of the event.