Ethical Guidebook

A discussion of the difference between our personal values and our public ethics, how mature citizens can support both, and why our love for public ethics must trump our love for personal and group values when they conflict in the public space. Ethics offers a guidebook for evaluating public issues and finding multilateral solutions to endless cycles of values centric conflicts and unilateral violence.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Covering Ethics in the News

The news media has largely degenerated into covering 'values', which basically means find folks with different self-interests and let them make their pitches. This conveniently excuses the media from doing actual fact finding and independent reporting and analysis. What's missing these days is media coverage of the ethics of the issues.

Full and independent coverage of the public ethics of an issue, is not the same as bringing in two different values-based viewpoint proponents to butt heads. That kind of discussion rarely rises to the level of asking ethical questions about the actual issues, instead it quite predictably degrades into making the proponents and their relative character the issue. What a schoolyard excuse for news reporting!

Instead, the news media can and should be fully and independently reporting on the public ethics of major issues, regardless of whether they can round up two values-based proponents. The public ethics are the facts according to disinterested parties, the options related to fairness and non-unilateral means of resolution (with or without force), the long term sustainability of possible resolutions, and the relevant human rights of affected majorities and minorities. Shows like 60 minutes used to introduce a bit of this kind of reporting, it should be half the news segment in regular news hours on every major issue. All that is required of the news media is to ask, how does this issue relate to facts and fairness, as well as who might 'win' or 'lose'.