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Sarah Palin called out by Slate, but is Facebook editing really unethical? August 5, 2010

Posted by rmshepard in Uncategorized.
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On August 3, 2010, Slate‘s John Dickerson wrote a somewhat critical piece about Sarah Palin’s Facebook editing. Dickerson was skeptical about the nature of the comments featured on Palin’s site, and noted: “They almost seem genuine, but as they ask questions, it becomes clear they have been carefully selected. Each question to the candidate features the same sentiment: You’re pretty wonderful, aren’t you?” After having an assistant create a program to track comments before they were deleted, Dickerson found that expunged comments could be divided into several categories relating to meanness, the presence of racism or ethnic slurs, disagreement with Palin, criticism of her children, too much religious imagery, presence of conspiracy theory, and too much praise of Palin.

Dickerson’s position was immediately attacked by others in the media, though. Phil Bronstein of the San Francisco Chronicle, for instance, simply suggested, “Palin’s Facebook deletions seem like sound judgment to me, including a ban on meanness from either side.” In short, Dickerson’s criticism might be much ado about nothing.

For more on the use of Facebook by politicians, see the following video:

Discussion Questions:

1.  Is the editing of Facebook comments for the purpose of public relations really unethical? Was Palin’s editing fair?

2.  Are there times that the editing might be unethical?

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