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Panel explores ethical issues of 2016 presidential election

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A Community-Faculty-Student Forum, “Ethical Issues In The 2016 Presidential Election,” brought differing viewpoints to the JFK Student Lounge Thursday night.

The event was held to shed light on the ethical issues occurring during the 2016 Presidential Election and trends throughout history.

Dr. Michael McKale, Director of the Ethics Institute moderated the forum, which began with Professor of Political Science Joseph Melusky, whose focus was “Ethical Issues and Political Campaigning.”

Melusky’s discussion began with YouTube videos highlighting trends between political campaign ads throughout history.

After speaking of the media’s viewpoint of the candidates and the power of the media to smear reputations, Melusky urged, “All I ask of you is to vote. The stakes are too high for you to stay home.”

Associate Professor of Communications Patrick Farabaugh continued with “Ethical Issues & the Power of the Media in the 2016 Election,” where he explored the allegations of media bias.

While he agrees there is media basis, mentioning “we are all subjective, we are human beings,” Farabaugh claimed “journalism financial bias is also important.

“I would argue the bigger issue is the incentive of the mass media to be motivated, not to serve in the fourth estate, but to make money,” said Farabaugh.

According to Farabaugh, this financial bias has led to less coverage than deserved for several important topics such as refugees, U.S. violence, education, environment, economy and energy.

Associate Professor of History and Environmental Studies Denise Holladay Damico focused on “Going Low: A long tradition in U.S. Presidential Politics.”

Damico gave examples of the media “going low” throughout presidential elections through political advertisements and political cartoons.

Instead of calling for an end to “going low,” Damico said, “I want to suggest, that maybe this is what is going to happen in a democracy. America is a nation of compromise.”

T.O.R. Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Rev. Peter Lyons’ spoke on “St. Francis, Pope Francis and the 2016 Election. ”

Lyons focused on three areas, poverty, peacemaking and the environment, and compared Pope Francis to Trump and Clinton within these areas.

It appeared as if Lyons’ was attempting to inform students on the candidates’ stance in these areas.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy Kyle Thomsen finished the panel discussion on “Ethical Issues of Immigration.”

Thomson claimed that this election “is primarily focused on undocumented immigration and refugees (primarily undocumented).”

He explained the importance of moving beyond rhetoric to confront actual problems.

Overall, the discussion highlighted very important ethical issues occurring in this election season.

As Farabaugh said, “We can’t be content simply watching the candidates bicker back and forth. We have a role to remain informed.”

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