A Test of Free Speech: Applying the Ethics of Care to Coverage of Snyder V. Phelps

Journal of Media Ethics, 1-15.  https://doi.org/10.1080/23736992.2022.2057995 

Leslie Klein (Grady PhD. student) and Johnson, B. G. (2022). “A Test of Free Speech: Applying the Ethics of Care to Coverage of Snyder V. Phelps. “ Journal of Media Ethics, 1-15.  https://doi.org/10.1080/23736992.2022.2057995

Abstract: U.S. journalists must walk a fine line when reporting on hate speech. Journalists have a vested interest in standing up for the First Amendment, which gives them the freedom to do their work. However, the legal protection that people who spew hateful rhetoric enjoy vastly outweighs any protections upon which the victims can rely. As such, dealing with hate speech in the United States is an inherently ethical issue. Applying the ethics of care to their reporting would allow journalists a clear framework with which to counter hate speech. This study examines if and how journalists used the ethics of care framework when covering the Snyder v. Phelps Supreme Court case through analysis of articles published in U.S. newspapers. Using these articles as a representative sample for the national coverage of the case, the study finds that journalists failed to consider the human impact of their reporting.

Leslie Klein 

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