Media Ethics: Transparency (Chapter 5)

Terms in this set (12)

upholding transparency as a goal in our deliberations is not simply a way to argue the rightness of our decisions. It is how we demonstrate that we are ethical beings from the start

I must strive to ensure that I treat others with respect, not because I may fear them or because I might benefit from doing so, but because if I deal with others in ways that are designed to further my interests, I am effectively reducing people to means in my ends instead of treating them as ends in themselves

this reduces humans to objects or mere tools, which is a failure to properly appreciate the specialness of being human

all human beings are "ends" in themselves, and thus, of infinite moral value--not because they may be of use to me, but because they are human beings with free wills and a capacity to exercise reason. Since everyone is an "end" with absolute moral worth, I may not reduce anyone to a mere "means" to accomplish a goal or task, for doing so denies their ability to live as rational beings.

"Act so that you use humanity, as much in your own person as in the person of every other, always at the same time as an end and never merely as a means"

all beings or objects in the world fall into one of three categories:
-objects: have no value except of that of being willed or desired by someone
-things: have only a relative value, specifically, a value of means alone
-rational beings: have an absolute value, indeed, a dignity, hence they are properly "objects" of respect, or at least their humanity or personality is

Kant's categorical imperative: I commit an immoral act when my treatment of another person involves acting on a claim that I would not want to be adopted as a universal standard of behavior for everyone or as a universal law of nature
recognizing the value of transparent behavior requires an understanding that a company's relationship with its public and its customers is more than just a financial transaction. It is a relationship that is built on trust.

public relations officials are increasingly recognizing that stronger proactive work--demonstrating more transparency in how problems are dealt with--is critical in maintaining consumer trust

times of crisis pose urgent, fundamental challenges, forcing public relations professionals to perform tightrope-like roles as both organizational representatives and public counselors

avoiding potentially discomforting public disclosure can become a powerful temptation

too often, publicists spend considerable energy cultivating an appearance of credibility by downplaying or masking sources of information or their roles as advocates. If they can get their message out and maybe even win points in the court of public opinion, they say, the means justifies the ends. Who cares if it's not clear who's behind the message? Who is harmed if a message campaign seems to be coming from journalistic sources?

the fact is that anyone who takes seriously the idea that we all have certain ethical obligations should care about such examples of failures to act transparently. Such deception results in multiple types of harm--to the credibility of the client, to the message, and to the professional image of the public relations itself

because of shady PR practices, the Federal Trade Commission adopted rules in 2009 that require anyone using the web for commercial purposes to identify themselves as advertisers
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