Monday, December 14, 2009

Chloe's dilemma

My ethical dilemma for the blog is:

In the early 1970s Les Kinsolving, the religion writer for The Examiner, wrote several articles about Peoples Temple (a cult in San Francisco led by Jim Jones who later took his people to South America and made his followers drink Kool-Aide laced with cyanide resulting in the death of 900 people) prior to the mass suicide he had written several articles that went unpublished. The Examiner was censoring due to government restraints and threats from the temple. Was it ethical for The Examiner to censor in order to protect themselves rather than the people who eventually died in the cult?

Check out the published and un-published reports from Kinsolving -

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Lauren said...

According to The Universal Journalist, a guide to reporting, “A newspaper’s role is to find out fresh information on matter of public interest and to relay it as quickly and as accurately as possible to readers in an honest and balanced way.” I do think that the examiner had ethical obligations to publish these stories due to the fact that they are important to the public. Maybe if people knew they could have found ways to prevent the Jonestown Massacre.

The examiners ethics decided not to publish the stories, and clearly their loyalties were not to their readers.

Kevin Na said...

It was unethical for them to censor the articles of their religion writer. Duty to the public is probably the most important service that the press provides, and they failed in that regard. If the Jonestown cult sued them or anything, that would have generated the publicity the paper needed to inform people about this dangerous cult, and I assume the public response would be helped them in the long run.

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