Media Ethics Goes to the Movies

By Ehrlich, Matthew C. | Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, Summer 2003 | Go to article overview

Media Ethics Goes to the Movies


Ehrlich, Matthew C., Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly


* Media Ethics Goes to the Movies. Howard Good and Michael J. Dillon. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002. 208 pp. $64.95 hbk.

Films, TV shows, novels, and other popular culture artifacts can be powerful tools in helping students to think critically about the media. In this book, Howard Good and Michael J. Dillon use movies as case studies in media ethics. Good is coordinator of the journalism program at the State University of New York at New Paltz and the author of several other books about journalism movies; Dillon is professor of communications at Duquesne University.

The book draws upon many of the usual suspects in the films it analyzes along with a few that on the surface have little to do with the media. The purpose is to illustrate primary approaches to doing ethics as well as central ethical dilemmas that media practitioners, especially journalists, face. Thus 1951's Ace in the Hole (a.k.a. The Big Carnival) is used at the start to introduce Aristotle's Golden Mean, Kant's Categorical Imperative, Mill's Utilitarianism, and Rawls's Veil of Ignorance. Deadline, USA (1952) becomes a study in social responsibility theory. The Paper (1994) employs the Potter Box while All the President's Men (1976) analyzes means versus ends (in this case, whether deception is justified in uncovering malfeasance at the highest levels of government).

At the same time, 12 Angry Men (1957) uses a jury's deliberations to show how prejudice and misperception can confound Enlightenment ideals of rationality and truth: an important lesson for prospective journalists. Eight Men Out (1988) draws a parallel between baseball and journalism in considering competing loyalties to the "team" or organization, to owners, and to the public. The Rock (1996) is a case study in entertainment violence. Other movies covered in individual chapters include Under Fire (1983), True Crime (1999), and Network (1976).

Each chapter concludes with a set of questions for students, and, especially for teaching purposes, those questions are the book's greatest strength. Ace in the Hole launches a discussion about reporters becoming part of the stories they cover, Deadline, USA raises concerns about the separation between the news and business sides of media organizations, and Under Fire considers how American journalists cover the rest of the world. Network poses particularly provocative questions: "Which do you feel poses a greater threat to freedom of expression in the United States, the government or the corporate media?

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Media Ethics Goes to the Movies
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.