"Undoubtedly, much of great benefit to civilization is contributed by the various components of the mass media. On the other hand, it is also readily apparent that much of what is transmitted in various forms to the homes of millions of families around the world is destructive...I appeal again to the leaders of the media industry to advise producers to safeguard the common good, to uphold the truth, to protect individual human dignity and promote respect for the needs of the family." -- Pope Benedict XVI, (Reuters, March 9, 2007)
Does this mean the Pope wants more censorship or less sensationalism?
The phrase "the common good" leaves a lot to interpretation. I'm sure FOX News thinks what they are doing is for the common good, but their obvious conservative slant suggests that they have more of an agenda on spin doctoring and biased journalism.
I didn't intend this to be an article about ethics, but that's apparently where its going.
According to an article at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, The common good is a two thousand year ago idea, found in the writings of such philosophers as Plato, Aristotle, and Cicero. The Catholic church, which has a long history of trying to define and promote the common good, defines it as "the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment." However the Catholic Church also has a long, heavy-handed history of telling people how they should live their lives.
Whenever someone starts talking about "the common good" my inner skeptic sits up and takes notice. To live in a society where people are allowed to be free to live their lives however they want sounds really nice.
But how's that working out for ya so far?