We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website. By continuing to use our website, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Find out more

Ethics for Public Communication

Clifford Christians, John Ferre, and Mark Fackler

Publication Date - November 2011

ISBN: 9780195374544

320 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $84.99

A communitarian approach to media ethics


Focusing on one historic episode per chapter, Ethics for Public Communication is divided into three parts, each dedicated to one of the three major functions of the media within democratic societies: news, persuasion, and entertainment. Authors Clifford Christians, Mark Fackler, and John Ferré, three trusted scholars in the field, discuss media ethics from a communicative perspective, setting the book apart from other texts in the market that simply combine journalism with libertarian theory. Classic media ethics cases, like the publication of Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring, are covered in tandem with such contemporary cases as the creation of Al-Jazeera English and the controversy surrounding Ice-T's protest song, "Cop Killer."


- A new "communitarian" approach to ethics that breaks from other texts in the discipline
- A focus on classic and current cases that are culturally relevant today
- A thorough and comprehensive grounding in the theory of media ethics
- Longer and more universal case studies than those included in other texts, in order to provide more real-life, ethical dilemmas

About the Author(s)

Clifford Christians is Research Professor Emeritus of Communications, Professor Emeritus of Media Studies, and Professor Emeritus of Journalism at the University of Illinois.

John Ferre is Professor of Communication at the University of Louisville.

Mark Fackler is Professor of Communication at Calvin College.


"This book is both accessible and deep. Through the artful use of both historic and contemporary case studies, students can explore sophisticated ethical thinking that places community and our obligation to it at the center of a professional universe. The authors demonstrate that whether the issues focus on news, strategic communication or entertainment, community is an essential ethical touchstone for developing professional excellence." --Lee Wilkins, University of Missouri; Editor, Journal of Mass Media Ethics

"I'm pleased with this new book because of its singular emphasis on communitarianism and the ways in which communitarian philosophy can and should influence media ethics decisions. The book offers a clear and distinct way of thinking about the individual versus the community and consequences for media ethics." --Jan Leach, Kent State University

"In this highly inspiring masterpiece, communitarian ethics taps into our inner humanity like never before. The authors provide powerful tools for visionary action to the educators, media professionals, and change agents of the world."--Haydar Badawi Sadig, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia; author, "Peace Communication in Sudan: Toward Infusing a New Islamic Perspective."

Table of Contents


    INTRODUCTION: Communitarian Ethics


    1. Edward R. Murrow and Public Information
    2. Al-Jazeera English
    3. Drudgereport.com and Civil Society
    4. Surveillance after September 11
    5. WLBT and Hearing the Public


    6. Supersize Me and Marketing Fat
    7. Rachel Carson's The Silent Spring
    8. Stormfront and the Ethics of Hate
    9. Edward Bernays and Public Relations as the Engineering of Consent
    10. United Negro College Fund and the Advertising Council


    11. Deep Throat and the Ethics of Mediated Sex
    12. Russell Means: Oglala Sioux Activist
    13. Norman Lear's Comedic Commentary
    14. Reading the Romance and Popular Art
    15. Art, Rage, Violence, Protest

    EPILOGUE: Three Underlinings

Related Title

Interpersonal Divide in the Age of the Machine

Interpersonal Divide in the Age of the Machine

Second Edition

Michael J. Bugeja