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Ethics & Good Behavior – Things CNN Might Not Have

*inhales deeply* do you smell that… ahhhh… negativity… my old friend… 

Justin Smith
October 4 at 10:19pm ·
You want to know what you won’t hear on CNN about the focus group from tonight’s debate?
After the debate, they asked all of us in the focus group if we were decided on a candidate. Out of 28 panel members, 5 said they were decided on Clinton, 2 said they were decided on Trump, and 12 said they were going to vote 3rd party. But once they saw the response, they reshot the segment and replaced “3rd party” with “still undecided”. You’ll noticed on the live feed, I refused to raise my hand.
(The below portion has been added to my origional post 13 hours later to clear up some confusion. I want to make sure this story is told correctly because it is important)
What happened was they asked us for the first time if any of us were now decided after having watched the debate. 5 said that they would vote for Clinton. 2 said that they would vote for Trump, and 12 said that they would vote 3rd party.
They then said they were going to reshoot it, execept this time they changed “3rd party” to “undecided”. Some of us asked about the third party option, and they ignored us. They then said they were going to shoot it again, and still asked for “undecided” voteres and left out “3rd party”. A lot fo the members voted “undecided” becuase it was the only option other then Trump or Clinton.
If you watch the one they aired live (when they asked us a 4th time, again leaving out the 3rd party option) you’ll notice that I refused to vote for any of the options. I just wish the other 11 had done the same and not changed their vote because of the options given us.
CNN then reported that the majority of us were undecided. That was not the case when they asked how many of us where going to vote 3rd party.

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I can’t really fact check this, seeing as it’s a personal story… I would contact CNN, but I do not believe they would give me any kind of honest answer… if they even replied at all.

Instead, let’s just work off the assumption that Justin’s story is true from his perspective and mostly true from all other perspectives… which is frankly reasonable to assume.

CNN, when not given the answers they apparently wanted… changed how they asked the question so as to force the situation into giving them the answers they want. Or at least that’s how it appears.

If that were true, it’d be pretty unethical wouldn’t it?

It’d be a very Orwellian move… an attempt to erase Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Jill Stein (Green Party) from the American public’s mind, a way to prevent third-party candidates from ever getting air time, a memory hole moment.

But is that what happened?

I’m not sure. While I feel it’s fair to say popular media is extremely uninterested in giving any presidential candidates that are not Republican or Democrat any kind of coverage… I don’t think the crew shooting this segment at CNN were actively preventing any kind of third-party coverage. From the sound of it, they simply shot a bunch of footage and went with what sounded best to them.

I would think that if we were to find some malicious behavior… it wouldn’t be with the film crew itself but with the higher-ups who made the decisions that led to the third-party segment being cut.

But who knows… Not me!


Media Ethics Score: ??? out of 10  (mysterious ethics)

LOL… Ethics – What Are They And Why Do They Matter

They don’t. I’m lying. Your entire life is a lie. And someday… we will all die and burn in a fiery hell.

Just kidding!

But the ‘your entire life is a lie‘ part would be true if fewer people engaged in ethical behavior. Everybody would be lying their asses off, to a vastly greater extent than they are now, so as to achieve some personal gain.

Think how Romulan society is portrayed in Star Trek, with everybody engaged in plots on plots and nobody truly trusting each other… and compare that with Vulcan society… where trust is inherent because of the assumption that Vulcans are bound together by their ethics.

1. moral principles that govern a person’s or group’s behavior.

Ethics is simply an attempt by humanity to behave well in a consistent and well-reasoned manner.

When CNN (if they truly were malicious) behaves badly… it can create a slippery slope where everybody begins to behave like Romulans… when really we all want to be Vulcans.

That’s the issue.


Ethical Business and Media (Let’s Do This Quickly)

It pays to be ethical. Especially when you’re in the media business.


Because the media business is public facing (there’s a high level of interaction between consumer and business) and a lot of what they do can be seen by their readers.

So when (or if) CNN behaves badly and (possibly) denies third-party presidential candidates coverage… a million and one people like myself see it, talk about it, and can end up destroying their business by giving people a reason to distrust everything the media company has to say.

Now, people do forgive a lot of shit behavior. But if you choose to be unethical in your business, a day will come when it’s simply too much to continue dealing with. And since people are the media’s business… that means the business is over.

The business of media is based on trust. Ethics is what makes trusting easier.



Update (10/8/2016) – Did Some Leg Work 

Smith’s Facebook post has caused a bit of a stir online, with accusations that CNN is censoring third party supporters to favor a narrative in which the only opinions worth considering are from voters who support Trump, Clinton, or have not yet decided between the two. The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald weighed in on Twitter this morning, offering his opinion that “If this account is accurate, it comes pretty close to actual fraud.”

Though he has a “Evan McMullin for President” poster as his Facebook profile cover page, Smith tells Reason he is an undecided voter, it’s just that he hasn’t decided which third party candidate he will vote for. He calls himself a constitutional conservative and insists he will absolutely not vote for Trump and Clinton. For a while, he had considered voting for Constitution Party candidate Darrell Castle, but he’s not on the ballot in Virginia, so Smith is now on the fence between voting for McMullin or Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

Smith says CNN producers told the focus group they would be taping certain questions as segments that might be used by CNN shows the next morning—a common TV news practice. Smith added that each of the questions they had been asked as a group had been taped twice. As a former cable TV news producer myself, I can attest that shooting more “packages” than you’re likely to need is standard operating procedure. It’s entirely possible that there was no nefarious intent on the part of CNN behind the creation of a taped package which included third party as a voting option.

But the fact is, when the cameras went live, Brown didn’t give the group the option of choosing a “third party.” Live TV viewers were left with the impression that the majority of the focus group was undecided between Trump, Clinton, and no one else.

“I was shocked that they would purposely not put it out there that people were supporting a third party,” Smith told Reason, adding, “Intentionally covering that up…I can’t imagine what their narrative is.”

CNN did not respond to requests for comment.



Another case of questionable media ethics going unsolved for lack of evidence!

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