Saturday, May 07, 2005


"Recent research by Wilkins and Renita Coleman of Louisiana State University may provide some vindication for members of a profession that's taken a beating in recent years with high-profile blunders. Wilkins and Coleman surveyed journalists for the first time using a decades-old model for assessing one's morals, a test given to more than 30,000 people representing numerous professions. According to the researchers, journalists are significantly more ethical than the average adult - eclipsed only by seminarians, doctors and medical students. "We did not really think that journalists would come out as high as they did," said Coleman.

Wilkins and Coleman traveled to newsrooms across the country for two years interviewing a sampling of 249 journalists. Using a version of the Defining Issues Test, developed in the 1970s at the University of Minnesota, the professors offered participants six ethical dilemmas, each followed by a dozen questions that seek to determine what motivated a journalist's decision..... "What we're measuring is an ability to work out what ought to be done when you're in a dilemma," said Mickey Bebeau, executive director of the Center for the Study of Ethical Development at the University of Minnesota.

The findings conflict with public perception of journalists. A Gallup poll of 1,015 people taken in November showed that only 23 percent of the public rated the ethical standards of TV reporters as high or very high. For newspaper reporters, it was 21 percent."

The above bit of nonsense depends on you not knowing exactly what their test of moral development does. It is a test deriving from the work of Kohlberg -- who observed stages in the moral reasoning of children as they grow up. His "higher" stages, however, are not observable in normal child development. They are simply Kohlberg's (Leftist) opinion of what a "higher" morality is. All that the research above really showed, then, was that on moral questions, journalists think like Leftists -- which is no surprise at all! It is the public opinion of journalists that was right, not this bit of deceptive "research".

Modgil, S. & Modgil, C. (1985) (Eds.) Lawrence Kohlberg: Consensus and controversy Lewes, E. Sussex: Falmer.


No comments: