The Media in Evil Circumstances

Authored by: Robert S. Fortner

The Handbook of Mass Media Ethics

Print publication date:  July  2008
Online publication date:  September  2008

Print ISBN: 9780805861914
eBook ISBN: 9780203893043
Adobe ISBN: 9781135594602


 Download Chapter



Although the question of what constitutes “evil” has engaged philosophers for more than 2000 years, the issue of how media should behave, or what their role is, in circumstances that we might all agree are evil, is much more recent. Arguably the concern is less than seventy-five years old, arising initially when the Nazis came to power in Germany and began to use propaganda to prepare the population for war and the Holocaust. Some might argue that the concern should be extended backward further, perhaps to the war-mongering of William Randolph Hearst near the end of the 19th century, or the exposés of the muckrakers in the early 20th century. Others might suggest the use of photography by Jacob Riis as a medium to expose the depredations of New York’s slums or even Matthew Brady’s photography of the carnage of the American Civil War. But the most sustained scholarly concern with the role of media in circumstances where people have been slaughtered—whether by serial killers, rapist-murderers, terrorists, or rebel movements, in wars or through state-sponsored genocide and ethnic cleansing—has occurred since the end of the Second World War, and especially in the last two decades.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.