Media Ethics : Cases and Moral Reasoning book cover
10th Edition

Media Ethics
Cases and Moral Reasoning

ISBN 9780205897742
Published September 9, 2016 by Routledge
406 Pages

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Book Description

Media Ethics: Cases and Moral Reasoning challenges readers to think analytically about ethical situations in mass communication through original case studies and commentaries about real-life media experiences. This text provides a comprehensive introduction to the theoretical principles of ethical philosophies, facilitating ethical awareness. It introduces the Potter Box, with its four dimensions of moral analysis, to provide a framework for exploring the steps in moral reasoning and analyzing the cases. Focusing on a wide spectrum of ethical issues faced by media practitioners, the cases in this Tenth Edition include the most recent issues in journalism, broadcasting, advertising, public relations, and entertainment.

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Table of Contents


About the Authors

Introduction – Ethical Foundations and Perspectives

Part One – News

Chapter 1: Institutional Pressures

Case 1. Fox News

Case 2. Access to the Internet

Case 3. Bankruptcy at the Philadelphia Inquirer

Case 4. Paid Journalism Worldwide

Chapter 2: Truthtelling

Case 5. Obesity Epidemic

Case 6. Al Jazeera

Case 7. The Unabomber’s Manifesto

Case 8. Muhammad Cartoon Controversy

Chapter 3: Reporters and Sources

Case 9 The Wikileaks Website

Case 10. Stolen Voice Mail

Case 11. Covering the Middle East

Case 12. Korea Bans U.S. Beef: Candlelight Vigil

Case 13. Watergate and Grand Jury Information

Chapter 4: Social Justice

Case 14. Crisis in Darfur

Case 15. A Hidden America: Children of the Mountains

Case 16. Gender Media Monitoring Project

Case 17. Ten Weeks at Wounded Knee

Case 18. Peace Journalism

Chapter 5: Privacy

Case 19. Facebook and Social Media Networks

Case 20. The Controversial PATRIOT Act

Case 21. Bloggers’ Code of Ethics

Case 22. Dead Body Photo

The Heart of the Matter in News Ethics

Part Two – Advertising

Chapter 6: The Commercialization of Everyday Life

Case 23. All is not what it seems: Pondering Guerilla Marketing

Case 24. DTC Advertising: Prescription Drugs as Consumer Products?

Case 25. Cause-Related Marketing: Are you buying it?

Case 26. "Like" as Social Currency: Empowerment or Exploitation?

Chapter 7: Advertising in an Image-Based Media Culture

Case 27. Altering Images: Attaining the Unattainable?

Case 28. Stereotyping Disability

Case 29. Spectacle for Social Change: Celebration or Co-optation?

Case 30. Anti-Obesity Advertising: A Question of Images

Chapter 8: The Media are Commercial

Case 31. Media Gatekeepers

Case 32. Native Advertising: Advertising and Editorial Content

Case 33. Welcome to Madison and Vine

Case 34. Ad-Blocking: A Perfect Storm

Chapter 9: Advertising’s Professional Culture

Case 35. "…perhaps the absence of a code of ethics?"

Case 36. Branding: Making the same different, again

Case 37. Niche Markets—Niche Media

Case 38. Ethical Vision: What does it mean to serve clients well?

Case 39. The Risky Client… Yes? No?

The Heart of the Matter in Advertising Ethics


Part Three – Public Relations

Chapter 10 Public Communication

Case 40. Publicity and Justice

Case 41. The Many Friends of the Candidate

Case 42. Corporate Speech and State Laws

Case 43. ‘Better Make Room’ for Government Campaigns

Chapter 11 Telling the Truth in Organization Settings

Case 44. Private Issues and Public Apologies

Case 45. #AskSeaWorld Faces Tides of Protest

Case 46. A Healthy Drink?

Case 47. Reporting Recovery

Case 48. Posting #Truth @Twitter (Updated)

Chapter 12 Conflicting Loyalties

Case 49. Accelerating Recalls

Case 50. Representing Political Power

Case 51. Paying for Play?

Case 52. "Thank You For Smoking"

Case 53. Tragedy at the Mine

Chapter 13 The Demands of Social Responsibility

Case 54. One for One: TOMS

Case 55. Ice Buckets Challenge Fundraising

Case 56. Tackling Domestic Violence

Case 57. Brewing Racial Discourse?

The Heart of the Matter in Public Relations Ethics

Part 4 – Entertainment

Chapter 14    Violence

Case 58.  Hear It, Feel It, Do It

Case 59.  Violence-Centered

Case 60. Comics for Big Kids

Case 61.  Video Gaming Changes the Rules

Chapter 15   Profits, Wealth, and Public Trust

Case 62.  Copyrights and Cultures

Case 63.  Deep Trouble for Harry

Case 64.  Super Strip

Case 65.  Duct Tape for TV

Case 66.  TLR and Tentpoles

Case 67.  Faux Doc

Chapter 16   Media Scope and Depth

Case 68.  Reel History

Case 69. They Call It Paradise

Case 70.  Tragedy Lite

Case 71.  Training in Virtue

Chapter 17    Censorship

Case 72.  The Voice of America

Case 73.  Frontal Assault

Case 74.  South Park’s 200th

Case 75.  Rescue Us

Case 76.  Lyrics Not So Cool

The Heart of the Matter in Entertainment Ethics

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Clifford G. Christians is Research Professor of Communications, Professor of Journalism, and Professor of Media Studies Emeritus at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Mark Fackler is Professor of Communications emeritus at Calvin College, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Kathy Brittain Richardson is the president of Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania. She is the former provost and a professor of communication at Berry College, Rome, Georgia.

Peggy J. Kreshel is Associate professor of Advertising at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass communication and an affiliate faculty member of the Institute for Women's Studies at the University of Georgia.

Robert H. Woods, Jr. is Professor of Communication at Spring Arbor University in Spring Arbor, Michigan. He is executive director of the Christianity and Communication Studies Network (

Support Material

Companion Website

Please visit our companion website for additional support materials.