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Running head: CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES IN ENTERTAINMENT PAPER

Electronic and Digital Media


Brian C. Kennedy
University of Phoenix

Controversial Issues in Media

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BSCOMM 268
Mabelle Reynoso
23 May 2016

Controversial Issues in Media

Controversial Issues in Entertainment Paper


Controversies are a part of the American media experience. The one underlying question
is whether or not our morality and norms are shaped by mass media or not. Information
consumption happens at an extremely fast rate now with the introduction of Smart Phones and
Tablets. With that speed is also an appetite for sensationalism in the news.
In an election cycle such as the current Presidential campaigns, sensationalism and
controversy sell. Keeping a record of the accusations one side lodges against the other has
become the new media sport.
According to John Vivian not only do people in their contemporary lifestyles need mass
media, but the industries that have built up around media need an audience (Vivian, 2011, p. 6).
In objectivity and news bias, Glaser wrote news is based on some inherent bias: the media role
as watchdog, and a lack of responsibility for creating news by being accountable for presenting
facts but nothing else (Glaser, 1992, p. 176-177)
Objective reporting is typically relegated to the more mundane information that is
expected to be released on a routine basis. Weather reports, traffic tie ups and even human
interest holiday stories rarely cause a stir since it would be difficult for nearly anyone to see a
hidden agenda in any of it. Subjectivity can creep in though when controversial issues need to be
shared. Even many reporters struggle with remaining objective when trying to report on
controversial issues. Perhaps even objectivity can be a subjective concept.
Interviewing a person regarding a topic allows for insight directly relating to the
interviewees experience. Alternately, there is the issue of fairness and subconscious factors,

Controversial Issues in Media

which could prejudice the interviewer. When someone answers with hypothetical questions, the
results would lead to inaccurate results. When journalists use the technique of observation this
allows for an unbiased exchange, and afford a more accurate portrait of the celebrity.
Information is available to the public with the click of a mouse, or pushing the button on
a remote control. Views and societal preferences are also changing. As a result we now have
different magazines, periodicals, journals, television shows and such that have evolving roles
designed to cater to the consumer change demands. This creates appeal to specific audience
demographics.
Disadvantages exist in that the rules and expectations we have may not be accurate.
Judgments can be biased with limited scientific information to support the conclusion along with
hidden motives or agendas. Beliefs and expectations can also lead individuals to make incorrect,
invalid decisions. As humans we are fascinated with why and how people behave and, what they
do in off hours. 20/20 has becoming a leading force in the communication media where we see
weekly controversial stories investigated. Celebrities and athletes can expect to be asked tough
and difficult questions and the producers go to extreme lengths to research the assertions made
on the show.
This organization is dedicated to the existence of a free press. Journalists are to provide
information to the public in an accurate, comprehensive, timely, and understandable manner.
Additionally this should be done with excellence, and high ethical standards. The public must be
properly informed to make life decisions in their national or local communities. Journalists that
belong to this group try to excel in stories of credibility and neutrality. Many media organizations
do not pay for interviews. The media often has difficulty reaching a compromise between

Controversial Issues in Media

objectivity and bias which is factor in maintaining journalistic integrity, many instances exist
where the truth is withheld from the public with journalists becoming slaves to their sources-they
avoid bias even with sufficient knowledge and evidence to support their opinion as truth
(Borden & Tew, 2007, p. 305)
When journalists are objective news media can avoid presenting any miss understandings
in controversy interpretations. This then requires critical and reliable reports. Objective news
reporting cannot cover full contextual complexities; the main focus is to inform the public of
facts, the information should be presented with factuality and consistency.
Journalists and the media play a critical role in initiating and stimulating the public but
also face constant challenges in accessing public information; this is true particularly when there
is corruption, environmental concerns, lobbyists, human rights, and controversial relations. As a
result of enhanced security protocols, it is now becoming increasingly difficult for journalists to
protect their confidential sources; this in turn makes them quite vulnerable to legal pressures to
cease their investigations possibly revealing the information sources.
The journalists, investigative reporters and others often are not skilled at protecting the
anonymity of their journalistic sources. This is problematic considering todays vast computer
and telecommunication technology. The current Presidential campaigns are germane to this very
concept. Precautions should be taken to maintain decency and privacy where at all possible.
Domestic abuse reached the White House via former Vice President Al Gore. Gore was
accused of unwanted sexual actions or contact with a massage therapist. Interesting to note the
Oregon district attorney made the determination Mr. Gore did not commit acts of sexual
harassment appropriate for criminal prosecution (ABCNews, 2010). This was an incident

Controversial Issues in Media

reported factually and with no bias or malice toward former Vice President Gore. As a result of
an extensive investigation and research by the authorities the matter is now closed.
The public remains entranced with our celebrities including those that enjoy celebrity due
to their political aspirations. In New Jersey the sitting Governor found himself in a media circus,
which was headed toward resigning his post. Every day a milestone was reached that grew
crazier by the moment. A former aide of the governor threatened a lawsuit alleging harassment
and sexual assault. In 2003, Michael Jackson whose stellar musical career was eclipsed by
increasing avant garde and erratic behavior was arrested and charged by the police with child
molestation. Mr. Jackson was handcuffed by Santa Barbara police department, posted three
million bail and flashed his supporters a V for victory sign before driving away. That same
year the public witnessed the trials of Robert Blake, Kobe Bryant, and before them OJ Simpson.
The cases were different in facts, lawyers, witnesses and credibility quotient. Interesting to note
that Americans and others wanted to know what role exactly did celebrity status play in the
United States judicial system. All of the case played out in the press; maybe the men were
innocent- or alternatively the district attorneys office had weak cases and a celebrity axe to
grind- the public can spot either relatively easily have seen so many cases come and go.
Media has the capacity to manipulate societal norms. The powers held by the media with
regard to influence and shaping our perceptions and behaviors is significant. Too many
stereotypical and inaccurate portrayals are reflected in the media. Work is needed to reduce
social and racial inequalities and an incentive for a positive change is mandated. Snap judgments
are often made based on attitudes found in the media outlets. Stereotypes are dangerous
elements, being untrue representations of certain groups of people. Media should present the full

Controversial Issues in Media

and rich experiences in their reports. Whether through television, radio, or the movies, the
imagery should be reflective and inclusive.
Human beings have the need to communicate to others. In todays evolving marketplace,
our neighbors are global and separated by geography. With the evolvement of the world into one
that is a global entity, communication and more so, media communications has changed the way
our society views the world. Effective communication can bridge cultural or generational
barriers. Numerous ways are available to communicate effectively. Technology is trying to meet
the consumer demands. Companies and industries alike find that good business sense has
dictated the need to implement new and innovative means for developing better communication
styles to meet the evolving and growing requirements. In many industries the change can be felt.
Wal-Mart has gone global and is now tweeting. This corporation giant focused on online
communications as a means for strengthening and building relations with customers which is
ingrained in the company corporate culture (Wilson, 2008).
Most new advances in technology simply improve upon technology that is already there.
However, there are occasions, when a new technology is introduced improving the existing
technology, that also introduces something innovative and brand new into the industry. Most new
advances in technology simply improve upon technology that is already there. However, there
are occasions when a new technology is introduced that improves an existing technology, but
which also introduces something innovative and brand new into the industry. Technology
connects people with products and services or via service networks providing for new services to
be used. Today companies are required to be forward thinking with regard to research and
technology using an industry approach for implementing technical changes. Technology is

Controversial Issues in Media

constantly advancing, which forces businesses to adapt to today's information-age economy. In


todays society this is the information age when knowledge is power.
Technology pushes the curve of supply and demand. Mass media must do a better job in
communicating to the public. Instances exist where the media looks for ways to influence groups
by either presenting a direct and straightforward account of the controversy or by carefully
packaging even distorting the controversial story to achieve a defined and persuasive effect. The
news is rife with images that either enlighten or persuade a much uninformed even passive
public. Communication is an essential part of the decision making process in our society.
Concerns and viewpoints often with facts and supporting arguments, require that we listen to the
other side- or at least look for balance. The media communicates messaging using journalists
with experts and non-experts and perceptions of celebrity fairness, with some legal restraints,
and massive cries of outrage that serve to polarize a seemingly captive public.
Journalist stories contain messages that include statements, pictures, and advertisements
trying to advocate for position. Depending on the background of the audience, similar fears and
concerns, lifestyle attitudes, and language- technology can possible exacerbate rather than
resolve a controversy. When vivid imagery personalized with examples are used by the media
these items can help the audience viewer better understand the controversy. Media stories on
controversy cannot appear insensitive as that serves to alienate the public.
Objectivity in journalism and certainly in the media is a farfetched myth. Using an
interview format the viewing public should see unbiased research, balanced questioning of the
interviewee, especially if the subject is controversial. When Donald Trump chooses to address a
cureent scandalous comment or incident, he chooses the media outlet so as to shape the

Controversial Issues in Media

conversation and exercise a level of control of the interview. The interview typically airs in its
entirety. However, other media mediums do not use objectivity or non-partisanship and certainly
without the presence of facts or balance. And may edit or cut lines out of context to convey a
different feel.
Summation
Controversies are a part of the American media experience. The media will jump to any
occasion in order to exercise the most control over the outlet of information reading the
controversy. To do so gains ratings and subsequent advertisers. So long as media and money
from advertising are intertwined, so too will hype reporting and controversial spin on vogue
topics of the day be reported less objectively.

Controversial Issues in Media

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References
Borden, S.L., & Tew, C. (2007) The Role of Journalist and the Performance of Journalism:
Ethical lessons from Fake News (Seriously). Journal of Mass Media Ethics. 22.4 (2007): 30014
Glaser, T.L. (1992) Objectivity and the News Bias. Philosophical Issues in Journalism. Ed. Elliot
D. Cohen. New York. Oxford UP, 1992. 176-183
Potter, N. (2010) Al Gore Cleared in Sexual Assault Case by Portland District Attorney.
ABCNews. Retrieved on October 18, 2014 from http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/gore-affairdistrict-attorney-case-criminal-prosecution/story?id=11292348
Teen Violence and Domestic Abuse: Resources (2009). ABCNews. Retrieved on October 18,
2014 from http://abcnews.go.com/2020/rihanna-danger-teen-violence-resources/story?id=900447
Vivian, J. (2011). The Media of Mass Communication (10th Ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.