Ethics and Entertainment

Essays on Media Culture and Media Morality


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About the Book

As modern media shift from the distribution of information to its creation, a fresh inquiry into the ethics of media is needed. This collection of 19 essays provides useful perspectives for both producers and consumers of entertainment. Topics include the creation of celebrity, the effects of entertainment on children, the hybridization of entertainment and news, author and intellectual property rights, and the role of human dignity in modern media, among many others.

Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Howard Good is a professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, where he teaches media ethics.

Sandra L. Borden is a professor of communication at Western Michigan University. She co-directs the Center for the Study of Ethics in Society.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Howard Good and Sandra L. Borden

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 327
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2010
pISBN: 978-0-7864-3909-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction      1


1. The Ethics of Speaking Out
  Wendy N. Wyatt and Kristie Bunton      9

2. “I’m Sorry, Oh, So Sorry”: Celebrity Apologies and Public Ethics
  Nikki Usher and Janel S. Schuh      23

3. Quasars: Silent Celebrities, Ethical Implications
  Kyle F. Reinson      41


4. “Sportainment” Meets High School Sports
  Marie Hardin and Thomas F. Corrigan      57

5. The Diaper Demographic: Viewing Very Young Children as an Economically Viable Market
  Erin L. Ryan and Keisha L. Hoerrner      70

6. Superbad: A Twisted and Touching Ethical Mess of a Movie
  Joseph C. Harry      86


7. Tall Tales: Exploring the Ethics of Storytelling in the Age of Infotainment
  Cynthia M. King and Deni Elliott      101

8. This Time It’s Personal: The Ethics of 9/11 Docudrama
  Steve Lipkin      120

9. Bread and Circuits: Politics in an Entertainment Culture
  Mike Dillon      135

10. The Common Morality of Interviewers: Evaluating Moral Guidelines of Non-Journalists
  David Charlton      150

11. Cops and Reality TV: Public Service or Public Menace?
  Jack Breslin      163


12. Documentary Tradition and the Ethics of Michael Moore’s SiCKO
  Sandra L. Borden      177

13. “Just a Cartoonist”: The Virtuous Journalism of Joe Sacco
  Howard Good      195

14. Whose Tube Is It Anyway?
  John Chapin      212

15. Enlightenment Ethics in DIY Culture
  Bill Reader      226


16. Fictionalized Torture: Jack Bauer’s War on Terrorism
  K. Maja Krakowiak      245

17. Hillbilly Stereotypes and Humor: Entertaining Ourselves at the Expense of the Other
  Elizabeth K. Hansen and Angela F. Cooke-Jackson      263

18. Epistemic Freedom, Science Fiction, and Ethical Deliberation
  Trin Turner and Joshua D. Upson      281

19. Weight Watching: The Ethics of Commodifying Appearance for Profit
  Berrin A. Beasley      297

About the Contributors      311

Index      315

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Recommended”—Choice
  • “Any book that begins with a quote from the Dixie Chicks is one that I likely will want to read and one that my students are not going to hate me for requiring them to buy. Howard Good and Sandra Borden do an excellent job of bringing together a range of scholars to address the multifaceted nature of entertainment industry ethics…an imminently readable and well-edited book”—Journal of Mass Media Ethics.