Monday, February 17, 2014

Can You Say That On Television? Should You?

After three teenagers were shot and killed in the Juniata section of the city in 2012, Mayor Michael Nutter was asked for a reaction. His comments are in the video above.

Is it acceptable to air his comments without bleeping?

Legally, it is fine for print. Ethically, would you print such a comment from a prominent figure? Or does his prominence make the quote all the more powerful?

Would you post the video on the online site of a news outlet?

12 comments:

Meredith Hebert said...

Typically, it is inappropriate for this type of language to be aired due to the vulgarity, which is unsuitable for young viewers. However, Michael Nutter openly curses in broadcasted news reports all the time, so by now we can expect this kind of behavior from him; his prominence allows him to do so and strengthens the message. He is just showing his concern/outrage for the bad behavior performed by his citizens. Also, we live in Philadelphia - reputed for this kind of language/behavior; he is simply trying to connect with viewers/citizens. However, I don't think this should be posted online because that would make it too accessible - it is more powerful if it is aired simple on television - "one and done."

Geo said...

And then this happened today ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_xUyCSq4uM

- George
(the teacher who obviously has no problems with people cursing on the regular)

Coral Matos said...

It is obvious that this clip can create some controversy because of the words used. However, I do think that because of the location where the incident happened I personally understand why he would use those kind of words. Although, I can have an understanding of why the use of words were "appropriate" for the story, I do not think I would personally run it on TV because there are many people that might feel offended by his expressed words.

Fiona Carty said...

I don't think there is any issue with showing that, but in the UK it probably wouldn't get shown until after the watershed (9 o'clock). As you've said it would happily be printed and I've always wondered about the double standard of that (or if there are any?)

Danika Palmeri said...

I think that it is okay for the Mayor to say something like this because he is truly angered by the events that took place and is expressing his anger about it. I personally do not see what the big deal is about using profanity on newscasts. I think there are bigger things to worry about when it comes to delivering the news, and it's not as if people watching the news (both young and old) have not heard these words before. Profanities have become a part of the English language and I think that way too much stress is placed on keeping these words off the air.

Ja'Bryia Morrow said...

I personally have no problem with prominent figures letting a bad word or two slip, especially if it shows them truly expressing and emotional reaction. However I think the news stations tend to air these kinds of reports for two reasons, one is to show the prominent figure as a citizen sharing our outrage and feelings humanizing him or her in a way and two is for ratings. They want people to tune in and watch just to get a chance to see this figure use vulgarity. They are using the moment to their benefit while claiming to be just reporting the truth. But this also happens in print form. I think that papers would rather print astride instead of an actual curse word (which their allowed to print) because for a person who doesn't read the paper or care much about everyday news, seeing the astride it tells you that something is being censored and in reaction, you want to know what, how and why. Some censorship is used to be respectful to people who may feel offended but it can also be used as a marketing trick to draw people in. Curse words on a front page spark controversy but censorship draws eyes, readers and curiosity first.

Ryan Snowden said...

The problem with airing swear words is the fact that children may be watching. In my and many others' opinions, I would not want my children to hear the word "assholes" at a young age. I am not naive, and at some point they will hear that word and incorporate it in their vocabulary, which is not a bad thing, it is just how life is. Swears rob children of their innocence, and some parents may hear Mayor Nutter say that and want to turn off Fox29 on fear they may air something like that again.

I would air it because if the mayor is correct which he is in this situation, bleeping out his comment may make him look like an asshole (no pun intended) for no reason. If he didn't want that comment to be spread, he wouldn't have said it.

I also have no problem with Mayor Nutter saying it in general. It shows he is just like the rest of us and not a robot who can't curse or have feelings.

Taylor Smethers said...

I think it was completely okay for Mayor Nutter to say asshole during this broadcast. While that word is considered a profanity, he is using it to emphasize the seriousness of the situation. All viewers can relate to the meaning of that word, and what actions typically call for that word to be used. He is not using this profanity to insult anyone or to slander anyone in particular. It was generally used for a wake up call to this community to open their eyes and change the way they were behaving. I do not see many adolescents watching the news anyway, and if they do, chances are they have seen other programs that use worse profanities in a way that are meant to degrade or insult. Mayor Nutter cannot be seen as providing a negative influence here.

Taylor Calta said...

I think that Mayor Nutter used his choice of words to show how serious he felt about the situation. People usually do not curse (in that tone) unless they are really passionate about what they are speaking about. The word "asshole" is not the most vulgar word out there and it's not like he is preaching to the adolescents, he is more focused on the older crowd who is actually committing these crimes. He is trying to get their attention by calling them names and basically telling them to grow up. I can tell you this much, if they have a gun and are shooting at teenagers, Mayor Nutter probably had a harsher word to call them than just "assholes", but he chose wisely.

Alexandra Friedman said...

I would print the comment because it is an honest, real opinion. I think because of his prominence, he is looked at and people may think "oh wow he just said that" but that means they are under the impression that he or others aren't thinking and saying these things? This would be a ridiculous claim.

By posting this, it will bring a shock to people because generally the public doesn't see prominent figures openly using 'profanity'. If this was a more widely seen action, they wouldn't be so hypercritical of the situation.

David Kroll said...

I think that the comment, while vulgar, added a sense of seriousness from Nutter. It showed his true colors and feelings toward the "assholes," which I actually liked, showing that he is also a regular human being, not just some Mayor.

Anneliese Warnke said...

The first job of a journalist is to report the truth. These are the mayor's true feelings and words on the situation. Just because he is a public figure does not mean he is not allowed to have an opinion. Likewise, a journalist may post a video like this because of his public status. It is important for journalists to get all sides and reports on an issue and make them available to the public. It was the mayor's choice to give this kind of opinion on the issue and he should expect something like this to happen when he obviously knew he was being filmed.