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Real-World Media Ethics, 2nd Edition by Philippe Perebinossoff

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4Controversy and Ethics

On How Some Difficult Topics Might Be Handled




A producer, writer, actor, or director may decide to tackle controversial material for a wide variety of reasons. Some of these reasons might be to address a timely issue, to find a good story, to undertake a challenging part, to scare audiences, to get ratings or to be a box office winner, to be true to one’s personal convictions, or simply to make some noise and garner some attention.

Before analyzing the ethical issues associated with controversy, let’s consider what constitutes controversy. One man’s controversy may be another’s pabulum. Would the public find the material controversial? Would advertisers? After all, advertisers are a generally conservative group, ...

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