Today I, Irving the giant lizard, shall write about ethics in journalism when it comes to coverage of the film industry. I will examine two recent stories that are questionable in their ethics when it comes to their reporting.
The above article is written by Lacey Donohue for Gawker. To quickly summarize what happened, Quentin Tarantino’s screenplay got leaked by an actor’s agent on accident. Nobody is a hundred percent sure what agent did it, but an agent did it. This, as you could imagine, upset Tarantino and he told the media that he would no longer be making the film.
About two weeks after the script was leaked, a lawsuit was filed by Tarantino against Gawker for copyright reasons. Gawker had provided a download link to the leaked script and encouraged readers to enjoy it. While the outcome of the lawsuit is still up in the air, we can still analyze the ethics of Gawker’s reporting.
Here are Gawker’s offenses in the Journalist Code of Ethics.
1) Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort. Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
Gawker did not give this a second thought. They gave the script to as many people who wanted it without thinking of the impact that would have on Tarantino or anybody that would have worked on that film.
I think this is a clear violation of copyright law. Gawker is profiting by distributing this script on the internet and that is the only reason they’re doing it. If there was no money to be made by distributing this script then why put it up for download with a write up that barely qualifies as news.
That is all for Quentin Tarantino.
This next story is pretty dark. Bryan Singer has directed many movies we all know: X men, X2, They Usual Suspects, Valkyrie, etc. His upcoming film, “X men – Days of Future Past”, is going to come out this summer. A little under a week ago, a man by the name of Michael Egan sued Bryan Singer for sexual assault and many other things for which he seeks damages.
Let’s analyze the ethics.
1) Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
The Variety article, written by Ted Johnson, allows people to amuse their lurid curiosity. Johnson himself writes, in his own words, many lurid instances and also puts in a sizable excerpt from Egan’s story.
2) Show Compassion for those who may be affected adversely by the news coverage.
This is something Johnson does very well. He neither condemns nor praises either the plaintiff or defendant. He shows compassion realizing that these men’s lives are in the balance at the moment.
That’s it for now.
-Irving the Giant Lizard