Radical libertarians (First Amendment absolutists) & Technocratic Control
First Amendment absolutists take the idea of “free press” as literal and oppose government regulation.
Technocrats do not trust the media and believes in the use of regulators to act in the public interest.
Propaganda and mass society theories are used to justify media regulation.
The Origins of Normative Theories of Media Notes:________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Libertarian theory opposes authoritarian theory, which requires all forms of communication to submit to governing elites.
If freed from authoritarian rule individuals would “naturally” follow their conscience, seek truth, engage in public debate, and create better life for themselves and others.
John Milton asserted in fair debate good and truthful arguments would always win out over lies and deceit, the self-righting principle. The self-righting principle is fundamental within social responsibility theory.
The founding fathers also subscribed to liberal thought.
Three fundamental concepts underpinning the founders’ belief in press freedom:
Attainment of truth
At the nation’s founding, the US was one of the first nations to adopt Libertarian principles lined out in the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights.
Restrictions on communication:
Regulations prohibiting false advertising, child pornography, and offensive language.
Laws have been written to restrict communication freedom so that other seemingly equally important rights might be guaranteed.
The first major test of social responsibility theory occurred during the 1950s with the rise of anti-communist sentiments at the time of the Cold War.
Joseph McCarthy successfully used propaganda techniques to draw national attention to himself and to stimulate widespread public hatred and suspicion of people whom he linked, most often inaccurately, to communism.
This illustrates how difficult it can be for journalists to adhere to social responsibility theory in crisis situations.
Once journalists began to doubt McCarthy, his popularity was so great that it was risky to oppose him.
“ Responsible bloggers should recognize that they are publishing words publicly, and therefore have certain ethical obligations to their readers, the people they write about, and society in general…Integrity it the cornerstone of credibility. Bloggers who adopt this code of principles and these standards of practice not only practice ethical publishing, but convey to their readers that they can be trusted.”
A Bloggers Code of Ethics
1. Be Honest and Fair
Bloggers should be honest and fair in gathering, reporting and interpreting information.
2. Minimize Harm
Ethical bloggers treat sources and subjects as human beings deserving of respect.
3. Be Accountable
Bloggers should admit mistake and correct them promptly.