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What would you do?

You are a reporter...you have political info that is true, but will kill people.

  • report it...the truth must come out.

    Votes: 8 36.4%
  • do not report it...the consequences are not woth it.

    Votes: 14 63.6%

  • Total voters
    22

cnredd

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Is it better to reveal the truth, even though the consequences may cause harm to others?

Or is it better to conceal the truth to prevent said harm?
 

cnredd

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I actually wanted to have the poll set up like this...

You have inside info...For the sake of argument, let's say the info is accurate.

These next four things are known to be facts...

If you put out this info in your media outlet...
a)Your ratings and subscriptions will go up.
b)You will get name recognition.
c)You will get a pay raise.
d)it benefits your political party.
e)15 people will die.

What would you do?


This poll wouldn't give me the space to include all of it.
 

ShamMol

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The American public has the right to know. So, therefore, I would release the information. What other countries do with it is not your problem, you are following the journalistic code.
 

cnredd

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ShamMol wrote...

The American public has the right to know.
Actually, that is just a catch phrase...

If they had a RIGHT to know, then I couldn't have put out this poll.

The reporter would be OBLIGATED to report it under under law...But that is not the case...Having a RIGHT TO KNOW is journalistic code; not legal code.

That's why the thread starts with "What would you do?"

According to you, it would start with "You have no choice".
 

beautymrgn

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"political info" meaning...what?
 

cnredd

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beautymrgn said:
"political info" meaning...what?
Good question!

I was thinking about how I should clarify that...

Of course, when I said that "America has a right to know" is just a catch-phrase, there are many exceptions...Things obtained from the Freedom of Info Act, politicians salaries, their tax info, how a politician voted on a certain bill...etc.

We will go with the implication that it has nothing to with that.

Also, go with the implication that the info is not regarding anything illigal or pertaining to policy.

Let's say that this info will make whatever party you are affiliated with look better. It will have no effect on the other party(I don't want any negative connotations here). But keep in mind...People WILL die...guarenteed.

I hope that clears thing up...
 

ShamMol

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I have used the Freedom of Information Act three times, how many times have you used it?

The American public has the RIGHT to know. Just as they did with 9-11, they have the right to know here. It is our country and most of this stuff shouldn't be classified, and if it is that isn't a problem either because the 9-11 comission had to deal with that stuff too and did a damn good job of maintaining that balance. It is a catchphrase, but it is also a truth.

In my opinion, they have no choice in whether or not to report factual information. That is the journalistic code and you would be in breach of it if you did not disclose what you knew to the public. There is a difference, because you will likely bring this up, because they don't have to reveal their sources and thus there are a few technicalities like that.
 

Trismegistus

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Journalistic integrity is the gold standard to which we would all like to see our media aspire.

There are, however, times when the media can be quite irresponsible in the way things are covered. Filming special forces hitting the beach during an important clandestine operation and releasing it is not what I would call responsible reporting. Poor judgement seems to abound these days.
 

cnredd

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ShamMol,

First I write...

Things obtained from the Freedom of Info Act, politicians salaries, their tax info, how a politician voted on a certain bill...etc.

We will go with the implication that it has nothing to with that.


And then you write...

The American public has the RIGHT to know. Just as they did with 9-11, they have the right to know here.

Here? They have a right to know info in a hypothectical debate poll?

I never said what the info WAS...what if it was "John Kerry picks his nose"?

I don't think America has a RIGHT to know that.(although America WANTING to know scares me.)

I took the Freedom of Info Act and related stuff OUT...I'm allowed...It's my poll. Don't put it back in because you feel like it.

Earlier I said I was trying to avoid negative connotations...I was referring to the info; I don't think I can now say the same for all of the commentors...
 

cnredd

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This "right-to-know" crap is really annoying...It's what the paparazzi uses when they put the telescopic lens on the camera and aims it at a celebrity from 500 feet away in the bushes.

Example...Did America have a RIGHT to know what was going on in the Michael Jackson trial? YES

Did America have a RIGHT to know what Michael Jackson was wearing in court? NO
 

punkyg0608

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It all depends. How many people would have to die? What kind of report is it? This poll is way too broad. But if it was 15 people and it would only benefit me or my company then I would never report it. Americans do not have a right-to-know. If you reported something that would kill people you would probably feel so guilty about their deaths that you wouldn't even enjoy the raise or promotion. Also, you need to factor in the idea of whether or not you are also saving lives by reporting the information. If it saves 1000 but kills 15 then it would be worth reporting.
 

cnredd

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punkyg0608 said:
It all depends. How many people would have to die? What kind of report is it? This poll is way too broad. But if it was 15 people and it would only benefit me or my company then I would never report it. Americans do not have a right-to-know. If you reported something that would kill people you would probably feel so guilty about their deaths that you wouldn't even enjoy the raise or promotion. Also, you need to factor in the idea of whether or not you are also saving lives by reporting the information. If it saves 1000 but kills 15 then it would be worth reporting.
The poll was MEANT to be broad...The second you say, "it depends", that's the second the discussion has ended...

That means that you are trying to JUSTIFY the death of 15 people...You are saying, "are those deaths worth it?"...Putting in the fact that it might save 1000 lives would change the question...You're inputting your own "ifs"....You should only go by the information given.

Trying to rearrange the question to a point where you WOULD report it nullifys the actual question...Only answer according to the information given.
 

Stherngntlmn

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There are many times where it is better off for the sake for the country, that the public not know things. Especially things that could directly... or indirectly affect national security or the taking of lives. Then there are other times where the information is personal to a private citizen.

Those who campeign for public office are well aware before they throw their hat into the ring that their life is going to be an open book. Those who make controvercial statements to national media without physical evidence should expect their credibility to be tested if they want their word relied on.

Freedom of Information is a touchy issue that I don't have a detailed firm opinion on, but if releasing the information would take the lives of americans or americans soldiers... then those that release it should be at the very least punished with prison time.
 

cnredd

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Stherngntlmn said:
There are many times where it is better off for the sake for the country, that the public not know things. Especially things that could directly... or indirectly affect national security or the taking of lives.
You DON'T know how true that is...Here's my analogy.

Currently, there are no defenses for a Stealth Fighter...Let's say another country is working on it and is 20 years away.

It was tested under secrecy in that Roswell area that everyone likes to think that we're holding aliens.

IF someone was taking pictures and making them public pertaining to the Stealth before it was even completed, said country might already HAVE a defense for it, nullify all of those years of testing, not to mention the costs.

By hangin around that area and trying to get "inside info", they may be jeopardizing something the government is working on right now.
 

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Wow, I love the "right to know" phrase. The blanket statement that Americans have a right to know everything. If that is true, I'd like a list of all of your SSN's, birthdays, addresses, phone numbers, brassiere and jock sizes, and the date of your last confession. I have a "right to know". We did not have a right to know about Michael Jackson, unless you personally know him or would have the opportunity to meet him. It was a media frenzy to sell more papers. If he was moving into your neighborhood, then maybe, you'd have a right to know. The publics desire to be in everyone else's business is crap. It is the reason reality TV is taking the country by storm. People need to pay attention to their OWN lives, their OWN problems and stop dredging up mistakes made by politicians, pastors, priests, and school teachers from 20 or 30 or 40 years ago. Clinton smoked pot (but didn't inhale) a long time ago. My question is WHO REALLY CARES? Bush did cocaine as a young adult. Uhm, Who cares. How about what is his take on foreign policy? How about sticking to the matters that they are getting elected for? There's a concept.
As for military matters. The public does NOT have a right to know any more about those matters than the fact that they involve the country. As in we are going to send troops here. We are going to go to war here. That is the extent. They don't need to know how many, they don't need to know where they are, they don't need to know what they are doing there. That information is vital to a strike force. If you tell your enemy you are there, you run the risk of losing lives. Reporters (like Geraldo) that think that it is their right to do whatever and tell whatever they want to the American Public should be shot. And had it been MY unit that moron was showing on CNN where they were, I would have shot him. Endangering the lives of soldiers is inexcusable. It makes no difference on your political stance on the reason that we are in combat with a country, you do NOT endanger the lives of your countrymen. Anyhow. The American public does not need to know everything that goes on around them. The only thing it is useful for is selling media.
 

LaMidRighter

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Datamonkee said:
Wow, I love the "right to know" phrase. The blanket statement that Americans have a right to know everything. If that is true, I'd like a list of all of your SSN's, birthdays, addresses, phone numbers, brassiere and jock sizes, and the date of your last confession. I have a "right to know". We did not have a right to know about Michael Jackson, unless you personally know him or would have the opportunity to meet him. It was a media frenzy to sell more papers. If he was moving into your neighborhood, then maybe, you'd have a right to know. The publics desire to be in everyone else's business is crap. It is the reason reality TV is taking the country by storm. People need to pay attention to their OWN lives, their OWN problems and stop dredging up mistakes made by politicians, pastors, priests, and school teachers from 20 or 30 or 40 years ago. Clinton smoked pot (but didn't inhale) a long time ago. My question is WHO REALLY CARES? Bush did cocaine as a young adult. Uhm, Who cares. How about what is his take on foreign policy? How about sticking to the matters that they are getting elected for? There's a concept.
As for military matters. The public does NOT have a right to know any more about those matters than the fact that they involve the country. As in we are going to send troops here. We are going to go to war here. That is the extent. They don't need to know how many, they don't need to know where they are, they don't need to know what they are doing there. That information is vital to a strike force. If you tell your enemy you are there, you run the risk of losing lives. Reporters (like Geraldo) that think that it is their right to do whatever and tell whatever they want to the American Public should be shot. And had it been MY unit that moron was showing on CNN where they were, I would have shot him. Endangering the lives of soldiers is inexcusable. It makes no difference on your political stance on the reason that we are in combat with a country, you do NOT endanger the lives of your countrymen. Anyhow. The American public does not need to know everything that goes on around them. The only thing it is useful for is selling media.
I couldn't have said that better myself. Great post.
I am a broadcasting major, we study journalistic theory as well as production techniques and ethics. There is no "right to know" it would be better stated as "right to publish" in other words, much happens in places even as small as city blocks that the general public has no clue about because it may have been a small event that won't improve ratings, such as car accidents and the like; I have personally seen the aftermath of many wrecks in my own city that made me wonder if the driver survived and what happened, but it did not make the news, honestly, it wasn't my right to know the info regarding these things even though my curiosity was peaked. Responsible reporting would include many criteria such as:
1) reputations of the innocent or charged should not be destroyed.
2) in the lack of direct evidence, the fact that things aren't final should be stated.(alleged criminal behavior for example)
3) it should not lead to compromises of public security or harm at any cost.
4) the reporting MUST be accurate and honest, all mistakes must be corrected in a very timely manner.
long post short, the public only hears the message that the media chooses to send and the public does not have a need or right to know many of the stories that do not make it (even some of the ones that do).
 

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LaMidRighter said:
I couldn't have said that better myself. Great post.
I am a broadcasting major, we study journalistic theory as well as production techniques and ethics. There is no "right to know" it would be better stated as "right to publish" in other words, much happens in places even as small as city blocks that the general public has no clue about because it may have been a small event that won't improve ratings, such as car accidents and the like; I have personally seen the aftermath of many wrecks in my own city that made me wonder if the driver survived and what happened, but it did not make the news, honestly, it wasn't my right to know the info regarding these things even though my curiosity was peaked. Responsible reporting would include many criteria such as:
1) reputations of the innocent or charged should not be destroyed.
2) in the lack of direct evidence, the fact that things aren't final should be stated.(alleged criminal behavior for example)
3) it should not lead to compromises of public security or harm at any cost.
4) the reporting MUST be accurate and honest, all mistakes must be corrected in a very timely manner.
long post short, the public only hears the message that the media chooses to send and the public does not have a need or right to know many of the stories that do not make it (even some of the ones that do).
Look at Richard Jewell.. He became the prime suspect in the Centennial Park Bombing, and for 12 weeks, the man couldn't blow his nose without a camera in his face. The media was SO hungry for a suspect in this case, they latched on to the first person questioned by the FBI.. and in essence his life became an open book for the world to see.

First labeled a hero, then a devil in a span of what, a week. Last time I checked, being questioned by the FBI makes no one guilty, and yet in the press, he was convicted of a crime before the FBI made a yea or nay decision to charges being filed.

The press has become, in my view, nothing more than a tabloid on most issues. They use conjecture, speculation, and tout them as fact. Do I care that Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are getting married? ummm unless I am invited to the wedding, which I'm not, then no.

" The top story of the day... Michael Jackson checks himself into a hospital again complaining of lower back pain." Your point? When Michael Jackson's admission or release from a hospital can trump the war in Iraq... have we, as a society, become that shallow? Or do we latch on to these cases as a way of trying to pretend the horror of the world outside of our shores doesn't exist?
 

cnredd

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debate_junkie said:
First labeled a hero, then a devil in a span of what, a week. Last time I checked, being questioned by the FBI makes no one guilty, and yet in the press, he was convicted of a crime before the FBI made a yea or nay decision to charges being filed.
Reminds me of that Rove guy...convicted in the court of public opinion before the investigation is ever over.

The absolute WORST was when I heard a reporter say that this country was "totally RIVETED" by the Peterson murder trial....uhhhhh, yea...They could've stopped 100% of the reporting on this right in the middle of the trial and this country wouldn't even flinch.
 

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I believe it also highly depends upon how important or revealing the political information is, a small unnecasary fact is not worth lives , but a Great truth, that was hidden away from the people, would require revealing, for normally if its a truth of that neccesity, more lives will be lost if its not told, than if its told.
 

cnredd

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The Truth-Bringer said:
I believe it also highly depends upon how important or revealing the political information is, a small unnecasary fact is not worth lives , but a Great truth, that was hidden away from the people, would require revealing, for normally if its a truth of that neccesity, more lives will be lost if its not told, than if its told.
Look at posts #7 & #14 again....
 

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I voted based on the initial question... then reading down, seeing how you rephrased it... I'd change my vote. I do think truth is usually the best route, IF the truth is important. I have been in journalism, though never a serious reporter thank God. I'd say, if it were me, I'd tell those in question that the story was going to break... give 'em a chance.
 

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It's an unfair question. How many people? What kind of information do they have? How big is the lie? What are the consequences of telling the truth? What are the consequences of perpetuating the lie?

I need more information in order to answer the question.
 
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