The mass media as discursive network: Building on the implications of libertarian and communitarian claims for news media ethics theory

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Abstract

Media theorists have created competing normative ethical frameworks based on libertarian and communitarian philosophies, but because each approach essentially promotes different moral principles, they do not merely offer competing alternatives that essentially serve the same purpose, as some scholars have presumed. This analysis suggests that the two dominant theoretical approaches of libertarianism and communitarianism require further clarification and elaboration. The article seeks to clarify why the libertarian approach is insufficient as a basis for a news media ethic. Instead, it suggests a modified communitarian approach that advances media ethics theory by resisting a moralizing ethic, foregrounding the epistemic nature of moral philosophy as it relates to the communicative enterprise, and reconceptualizing the public sphere being served by the mass media as a population predicated on moral agency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-313
Number of pages22
JournalCommunication Theory
Volume15
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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