Recent Commentaries

Featured image for “The Frequent Flyer”
The Frequent Flyer
One of the things I enjoyed most in teaching ethics to an enthusiastic and dedicated group of New Hampshire students is reading the many personal stories from their papers that demonstrate a variety of ethical values. Every morning, Barry Hutchins* would leave the town of Mason to drive a little more than an hour – frequently through snow – to get...
Read More
January 30, 2012
Featured image for “The Social Network”
The Social Network
The level of thought demonstrated in many of the papers written for the New Hampshire Technical Institute’s Contemporary Ethical Issues class co-taught by myself and Stephen Ambra was quite refreshing to see. One assignment was to compare and contrast 1950’s news media (i.e. Good Night and Good Luck) with that of today’s social media as observed in the feature film The Social Network....
Read More
January 27, 2012
Featured image for “Television and Responsibility”
Television and Responsibility
Following a screening and discussion of the film Good Night and Good Luck, which documents news journalist Edward R. Murrow’s fight with Senate demagogue Joseph McCarthy, some students in Stephen Ambra’s Contemporary Ethical Issues class – a class I was invited to participate in – were asked to read a copy of Murrow’s famous “wires and lights” speech and examine if his words remain...
Read More
January 26, 2012
Featured image for ““Students Wrangle with Guns””
“Students Wrangle with Guns”
That was the front page headline on the Concord (New Hampshire) Monitor, Tuesday, January 17. One day earlier, Professor Stephen Ambra and I screened the film Good Night and Good Luck about the journalistic stand news icon Edward R. Murrow took against Senator Joseph McCarthy’s 1950s “Red” scare tactics. The film was part of ourContemporary Ethical Issues class at the New Hampshire Technical...
Read More
January 25, 2012
Featured image for “Extremely Loud; Incredibly Close”
Extremely Loud; Incredibly Close
The fireworks from last Thursday’s Republican debate in South Carolina did not start with a candidate, but came, instead, from CNN moderator John King. KING: As you know, your ex-wife gave an interview to ABC News and another interview with The Washington Post… In it, she says that you came to her in 1999, at a time when you were...
Read More
January 23, 2012
Featured image for “Rights v. Responsibilities”
Rights v. Responsibilities
Why is it okay for network television to broadcast expletives in the Steven Spielberg movie, Saving Private Ryan, but wrong to broadcast expletives from Cher at an awards show broadcast? Why is it okay for the FCC to object to nudity in an episode of NYPD Blue, but not in airing nudity from another Spielberg classic, Schindler’s List? These are just some...
Read More
January 13, 2012
Featured image for “The Gauntlet”
The Gauntlet
    Not long after I awoke yesterday, primary day in New Hampshire, I was warned of “the gauntlet.” “Mitt, Mitt, MITT!!” That’s the well-intended, coffee’d-up crowd standing in front of polling stations throughout the state. Their goal is to plead, petition and cajole you, the ever-proud “Live Free, or Die” citizens of the Granite State, to cast your vote...
Read More
January 11, 2012
Featured image for “Roberts Redux”
Roberts Redux
It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one pointing out the lack of a clearly defined ethical code followed by justices on the Supreme Court. “Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.,” the NEW YORK TIMES writes in an editorial (Judicial Ethics and the Supreme Court, Jan. 5) “skirted the heart of the problem: the justices are the only American...
Read More
January 9, 2012
Featured image for “Apology and Forgiveness”
Apology and Forgiveness
“Self-righteousness has killed more people than smoking.” – John McCarthy, British Journalist During the course of a recent talk on ethics I spoke about the need to forgive; to forgive those who have not only hurt our feelings but even those who have stolen or cheated.  During the Q&A, someone asked if that forgiveness should extend to the corporate CEOs at...
Read More
January 6, 2012
Featured image for “Supreme Impartiality”
Supreme Impartiality
A few years ago, I was called for jury duty. After being selected as a finalist, the judge explained that the case we would be deciding had to do with spousal abuse. He asked if we, as potential jurors, had anything in our personal lives that might cause us not to be impartial in this case, to speak up. I...
Read More
January 4, 2012