"Ends vs. Means: The Ethics of Undercover Journalism" - Emily Esfahani Smith - The Blaze

"Ends vs. Means: The Ethics of Undercover Journalism" - Emily Esfahani Smith - The Blaze

by: Emily Esfahani Smith | publication date: March 9, 2011 | Publication: The Blaze |

". . .Is it ever permissible to lie to get the truth? This is a perennial question of moral philosophy and religious thought, but one that also bites into the very core of undercover journalism–an issue that’s been in the news lately, with the work of the controversial, conservative filmmaker James O’Keefe and pro-life activist Lila Rose making national waves. You may recall that Lila Rose, right, sent undercover agents to a Planned Parenthood clinic in New Jersey. The agents, posing as a pimp and prostitute couple, taped their interaction with a Planned Parenthood rep who eagerly gave the couple advice about procuring contraceptives and STD tests for underage sex slaves. O’Keefe, below, has been responsible for many undercover ambushes. The most famous one confirmed that certain members of ACORN were legally-challenged. The most recent one exposed that certain executives at NPR are mentally-challenged (which, of course, is not a crime). These undercover videos beg an important question: can you misrepresent yourself in pursuit of some higher aim? Does the greater good ever allow you to lie? . . ."

In the context of the O'Keefe and Lila Rose undercover work, Smith analyzes the ethics of undercover journalism in the recent past and present.

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