Whenever I’m asked what I teach and I mention mass media ethics, the reaction is almost always a cynical smirk with a comment such as, “Well, that must keep you busy.” The implication being, of course, that the media is so unethical that I can’t possibly discuss all of the publicized and controversial dilemmas that mass media professionals are accused of in sixteen weeks. The general characterization is unfair and rises to the level of a stereotype when critics, mostly political candidates and their supporters, label journalists as the “lamestream media” and a presidential candidate calls a reporter a “sleaze” and complains about libelous and dishonest stories. Nevertheless, it is difficult at times ...

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