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Ethics in the Media

Erik Sofranko

Posted on July 9, 2020 23:47

2 users

A relatively recent example of an ethical issue in the mainstream media occurred when Fox News host Laura Ingraham got into an online battle with a teenager.

This example of an ethics issue in journalism occurred in March of 2018, and it involved Fox News anchor Laura Ingraham and Parkland school shooting survivor David Hogg. After learning that Hogg had been rejected by four colleges he had applied to, Ingraham used her large social media influence and tweeted the information for her many followers to see.

She wrote, “David Hogg rejected by four colleges to which he applied and whines about it.”  This occurred just a month after the deadliest school shooting in United States history in which Hogg was a traumatized survivor. In the weeks leading up to this tweet by Ingraham, she was outspoken about her political disagreements with Hogg on the issue of gun control after the Parkland school shooting.

First of all, the fact that Hogg was rejected by several colleges is not a newsworthy event. This is the reality for many teenagers across the country as they try to get into the college of their dreams, which does not always happen. Because there is no inherent news value to Ingraham’s tweet, she was capitalizing on Hogg’s college rejections as a way to make him seem less credible as a gun control activist.

For someone with as large of a platform as Ingraham, it is disappointing to see that she chose to allow her personal discontent with Hogg and her differing political beliefs to influence her behavior to the point that she publicly highlighted Hogg’s misfortune. Even though Ingraham is not considered to be a hard news journalist, it is still her responsibility to act ethically as one of the faces of the most-watched cable news network.

As a prominent figure in mass media, Ingraham failed to display the ethical values that are presented in the textbook. The main ethical value that she ignored was dignity, which attempts to allow the subject of a story to maintain their sense of self-respect by giving full value to the person as a human being. This should always be the case, regardless of any political disagreements.

Ingraham also seemed to lack sympathy for Hogg as a survivor of a terrible mass shooting, which is unacceptable for any media figure. While a journalist’s main role is to report the truth, it is also their responsibility to maintain a sense of human decency when talking about others, even those in which they disagree politically. Ingraham may not consider herself to be a journalist, but she is still a powerful media influencer.

It is up to mainstream media figures like Ingraham with a platform that reaches millions of people every day to set an example of how to act ethically during a time of political disagreement.

Erik Sofranko

Posted on July 9, 2020 23:47

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Source: NBC

David Hogg took on Fox News' Laura Ingraham and succeeded in getting advertisers to jump ship

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