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Kirsti Ortego Freeman Case 1-2871

Kirsti Ortego Freeman Case 1-2871

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Published by: Kirsti Ortego on Dec 04, 2012
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Kirsti OrtegoProfessor FreemanMC 4090 Case 2-DJanuary 31, 2012WIS-TV Senior Reporter from Columbia, South Carolina Heather Hoopesreceived a call about a news worthy videotape. Directions were given to her that thetape could not be mailed or dropped off. The tape needed to be picked up from the
source’s home. With these distinct orders, the source also asked to remain
anonymous. Hoopes agreed, but still felt uncertain about retrieving the tape alone.
Hoopes brought her husband, Jim Matthews the local DEA head, to the caller’s home.Hoopes and Matthews are not aware of the tape’s footage when they go to receive it.
After reviewing the tape, she realizes it is a conversation between a murder suspect 
and his defense attorney. In an effort to protect the arrested man’s rights, she only
shows the video and cuts the audio. After all of this occurs, the FBI began toinvestigate and attempt 
to get the name of the video’s confidential source. This
cannot be obtained because Hoopes and the WIS-TV team are protected by the first Amendment. The FBI found a loophole, through her husband Matthews who waswith her upon the retrieval of the tape. FBI officials subpoenaed Matthews in efforts
that he will reveal the source’s identity. They were able to do this since the First Amendment did not protect him. Matthew’s lawyer
, along with the WIS-TV legalteam,
filed motions with the United State’s Distric
t Court asking that he not testifyagainst his will. Added to these motions were written pleas to Attorney General
 
Janet Reno, FBI director Louis Freeh and Justice Department official BenevaWeintraub. These motions and letters did not help, Matthews was to testify in court.Ultimately, he had to admit the source. The source lied on the stand and receivedseveral months in jail. The deputy was also ordered to pay two hundred and fiftydollars for filming the conversation.Various principles and values were present in this case and they areintertwined by ancient theories. The ones that stand out to me the most are honesty,credibility and integrity. Honesty was shown of Hoopes since it is her job to showthe news. As a reporter, it is her duty to report the truth for the better of hercommunity. This value relates to the Utility principle of John Stuart Mill. This theorystates that consequences of an ethical decision should be taken into account. Withthis being said, harming one person causes less damage than harming a largergroup. What Hoopes has done has put the arrested man in jeopardy, but it lets thetruth be known to the community. The next value shown is credibility. She kept herpromise to the source that she would keep him disclosed. This showed hercredibility to the profession of journalism and her relationship with sources.Credibility is very much in line with the Pluralistic Theory of Value by philosopherWilliam David Ross. Ross stated that there is often more than one ethical principlecompeting for the top spot in an ethical decision making process. With this theorycome many duties. The most prominent duties shown here are fidelity andgratitude. For fidelity, Hoopes made a promise to keep the source anonymous andshe did so through the entire legal process. As for gratitude, she was expressing herthanks to the caller for his video. He could have never let this become public, but for
 
the good of the people he did. The final value is integrity, and it is shown in twoways. She protects the
arrested man’s rights by withholding the audio from the tape.She also is honoring the source’s rights of the First Amendment. Aristotle’s Golden
Mean is closely aligned with this principle
. Aristotle’s
Golden Mean states that happiness is the ultimate human good and came through setting high standards.With these setting of high standards came the exercising of them, which was called
“practical reasoning”. Aristotle believed that individuals who exercised practical
reasoning made them virtuous. I believe Hoopes was being virtuous, according to
Aristotle’s stan
dards, because she was practicing his highest value of citizenship.
She not only was looking out for the arrested man’s rights but the disclosed source
as well.The ethical issues questioned in this case study are not limited to just one.The first question that must be asked is, was it ethical to retrieve the tape? Thisquestion must take into account the fact she brought her husband and that the callerwanted to be anonymous. The next is, was it ethical to even show the tape? Externalfactors like who will see this aired must be considered. Was it ethical of Hoopes tonot reveal the source? This takes into question honesty and credibility of thereporter. Finally, was it ethical of the justice system
to demand for the source’sidentity? As far is reporter’s go, they are protected by the first amendment and so
should the sources.In analyzing this case, you must weight the competing principles and values.This means the other side of the values found in the case. As stated previously,Hoopes showed the value of honesty. Even though it is her duty to report the news,

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