University of Minnesota
Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law
myU OneStop

Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law home page.


Bulletin Winter/Spring 2018: Volume 23, No. 2

Download full text (pdf)

We devote the first three articles of this issue of the Silha Bulletin to the ethics of covering President Donald Trump, President Trump’s supporters, and the “alt-right.”

We examine the media ethics concerns that arise when news organizations cover a presidency that many individuals, from a variety of viewpoints, consider unconventional.

The Ethics of Covering President Donald Trump

The Ethics of Covering President Trump’s Supporters

The Ethics of Covering the “Alt-Right”

On Nov. 25, 2017, New York Times reporter Richard Fausset wrote a profile of Tony Hovater, a white nationalist and Nazi sympathizer, after violence erupted during an August 2017 march by white nationalists and other far right individuals in Charlottesville, Va., bringing the “alt-right” to the national forefront.  Continue reading.

Federal Government Targets a Leaker and

In the spring of 2018, the federal government took separate actions against a former federal special agent and (Backpage).  Continue reading.

FCC Repeals Net Neutrality, Prompts Legal and Legislative Responses

On Dec. 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to repeal the net neutrality rules put in place in 2015, which prohibited Internet Service Providers (ISPs) from blocking or “throttling” websites, or charging for higher-quality service or access to certain content. Continue reading.

Parkland Shooting Raises Ethical Questions about Covering Mass Shootings, Sparks Proliferation of Fake News and Conspiracy Theories

On Feb. 14, 2018, 17 adults and teenagers were killed and 17 more were injured after a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School (Stoneman Douglas) in Parkland, Fla., garnering significant media coverage.  Continue reading.

Undercover Video Maker James O’Keefe Continues Attacks on the News Media, Faces Setbacks in Some Legal Disputes

In October 2017, political activist James O’Keefe, who is known for publishing controversial hidden camera videos on his website, Project Veritas, targeted The New York Times in his latest operation intended to target the mass media. Continue reading.

Sinclair Broadcasting Group’s “Must-Run” Segment Raises Ethical Questions

On March 31, 2018, Deadspin, an alternative sports blog that also provides political commentary, posted a video depicting news anchors from various local broadcast television outlets repeating the same scripted lines about fake news and fair reporting.  Continue reading.

Canada Passes Federal Shield Law; Courts Deny Requests to Compel a Journalist and Internet Media Company to Disclose Sources and Information

In the final months of 2017, the Parliament of Canada, as well as a state and federal judge in the United States, supported a reporter’s privilege to protect confidential sources and information.  Continue reading.

Judge Orders Certain Files from Wetterling Investigation Be Returned to FBI, Allows Release of Remaining State Documents

In the spring of 2018, a district judge ruled on two separate motions for summary judgement regarding the release of the contested Jacob Wetterling murder investigation case files.  Continue reading.

D.C. Court Finds FBI Failed to Conduct a “Reasonable” Search of Records Regarding Media Impersonation

On Dec. 15, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press (RCFP) and the Associated Press (AP) in their Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. ยง 552, lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).  Continue reading.

Minnesota Legislature Seeks to End Use of Cameras in Courtrooms

On March 8, 2018, Minnesota Rep. Jim Knoblach (R-St. Cloud) introduced HF 3436, a bill seeking to restrict the use of cameras in Minnesota courtrooms, citing the necessity of protecting defendants, victims, and witnesses during court proceedings.  Continue reading.

Jesse Ventura Reaches Settlement in American Sniper Defamation Lawsuit

On Dec. 1, 2017, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura had reached a settlement in his defamation lawsuit against American Sniper author and former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s estate.  Continue reading.

Minnesota Legislature Introduces an “Ag-Gag” Law; Federal Appeals Courts Strike Down Two States’ Laws

During the fall and winter of 2017 and 2018, so-called “ag-gag” laws, which generally prohibit individuals from conducting undercover investigations into agricultural operations or from criticizing agricultural products, were the focus of state legislatures and federal courts.  Continue reading.

Special Report: Silha Center Interview with Panama Papers Journalist Kevin Hall

On Jan. 16, 2018, Silha Center Director and Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law Jane Kirtley and Silha Bulletin Editor Scott Memmel met with Kevin Hall, the Chief Economics Correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers, Inc., which operates 29 daily newspapers in the United States, including the Miami Herald and the Sacramento Bee.   Continue reading.

Spring Symposium Marks the 30th Anniversary of Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, Discusses History, Purpose, and Impact of Political Cartoons

Delivering the unanimous ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1988 case Hustler Magazine, Inc. v. Falwell, Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote, “Despite their sometimes caustic nature, from the early cartoon portraying George Washington as an ass down to the present day, graphic depictions and satirical cartoons have played a prominent role in public and political debate.. . . From the viewpoint of history, it is clear that our political discourse would have been considerably poorer without them.”  485 U.S. 46 (1988). Continue reading.






Continue reading.