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The Moral Dilemma Of Advertising

Steve Scher
07/21/2011 at 9:00 a.m.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn recently lashed out at Village Voice Media and their local affiliate, the Seattle Weekly, over back–page advertisements prostituting minors. McGinn even halted all city–funded ads from running in the Weekly. The Seattle Weekly defended themselves saying they do screen their advertising and always report suspicious ads to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. We'll get the latest on this story from the mayor and Mike Seely, editor–in–chief of the Weekly.

Then we'll look at the broader questions of ethics and legality when it comes to media outlets and their advertising. Do newspapers have a moral obligation to screen ads for misleading ideas and exploitation? Is this a freedom of speech issue? From the publisher's perspective, should media companies' advocacy be reflected in their advertising policy?

Related Event

KUOW's Sara Lerner will bring you a story about child prostitution tomorrow (Friday) during "Morning Edition." The story will focus on how much child sex trafficking is happening locally and what authorities and local organizations are doing about it.


Mayor Mike McGinn is the mayor of Seattle.

Mike Seely is the editor–in–chief of the Seattle Weekly.

Michele Earl Hubbard practices media law, open government laws and general litigation with Allied Law Group in Seattle. She was named one of the Washington Super Lawyers from 2008 to 2011 by Washington Law and Politics magazine.

Jane Kirtley is the Silha professor of media ethics and law at the University of Minnesota School of Journalism and Mass Communication. She recently wrote the "Media Law Handbook" for the US State Department.

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