Journalism and the morality of deception.

If you remember my post from the other month sketching my initial thoughts on this topic – well, it culminated in my first assessed essay, which I believe I’m free to share with you now that it has been submitted. You can read it here. The abstract:

Journalists aspire to always report the truth, but this can have bad consequences. Various cases raise the question of whether journalists should sometimes lie or deceive. A lie is a false expression made by someone who believes it to be false with the intention of deceiving someone. Deception is the successful execution of an intention to cause others we interact with to have false beliefs. If journalists should deceive, they may also lie, since these are morally equivalent. However, since truth and trust are essential to society and democracy, journalists should never do either. The long-term cumulative consequences of journalists lying and deceiving are worse than any apparent bad consequences of reporting the truth. Furthermore, this means that for journalists to lie or deceive is to treat people in a way they could not reasonably assent to. So the claims of Mill and Kant converge, lending support to Parfit’s thesis.

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