When it comes to communicating through the media, the medium is one that’s steadily expanded from standpoint of technology. From the newspaper and publications to telegraph to telephone to motion pictures to radio to television to the Internet and beyond, the opportunity to deliver messages and news has greatly evolved.
Editing and manipulating content, the ethical challenges
The first ever images were primitive with little chance of enhancement, a far cry from 21st Century technology that allows for drastic changes to be made.
With many of these tools, the opportunity to alter images, voices or the truth exists. While it sounds somewhat ominous, that’s not always such a bad thing because of the need to offer succinct comments that best represent what was said or done. Time constraints generally force such conventions.
Still, in all such cases, the ethical challenges that may spring forth at some point will be offered to just about anyone willing to edit content of any sort. They may choose to neatly edit comments or assorted video to provide a crisp presentation that informs or entertains. Or choose to do quit the opposite in order to mock, criticize, or take down someone: we’re facing media editing.
The decision on which way to go can make a choice that’s much more difficult. How they choose to move ahead can have serious ramifications depending on the level of influence someone may have on the media landscape.
Media editing: The Transformation of Vocal Power
Voice editing can completely change the context of a recorded comment by deftly editing certain words out. That would mean that someone’s endorsement is presented instead as a denunciation of his or her intended remarks, with this falsehood often finding its way into the morass of political advertising that comes about every year.
Sometimes who is making such remarks isn’t as important as what’s being said. That individual may be unknown to the general public, which means that few will likely pay attention to the comments. If remarks have no video component, the opportunity to manipulate a person’s voice is available to someone with the mindset to adapt the comments in the appropriate fashion.
The basis for editing this voice can possess certain legitimacy, such as the comments is difficult to hear or a person of a different gender is needed, with none available. Software that allows for a more forceful presentation from this anonymous person or can actually change the gender of the person speaking can solve the issue.
Media editing: When a Photo isn’t a Photo
Picture editing obviously requires a visual aspect for it to serve its purpose. However, that purpose can veer wildly from eliminating minor flaws in an otherwise perfect photo to outright fraud in what’s being represented. This would simply be image manipulation.
Vanity can serve as the driving force because the individual in the photograph doesn’t believe it’s an accurate depiction of them. More practical purposes can also help place an individual in a certain locale that would otherwise be costly to reach.
Looking at picture editing through a more negative prism, this conceivably is something that governments and law enforcement entities can take advantage of to discredit opposition voices.
Evidence that purports to show those voices in possession of weapons or otherwise compromising items can unfairly silence them. It is due to the fact that such information can be manufactured, with the victim often having little recourse in rebutting such claims or juries being ill-equipped to tell the difference.
Conspiracy theorists have often pointed to a photo of accused assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, where shadows and the position of his head seem to be off. The problem with such charges is that little actual evidence has been presented to impeach the evidence.
Media editing: Twisting Tales Through Video
Finally, video editing can tell a completely different story from the actual truth. In fictional movies and television programs, this process is invaluable because of its ability to present a narrative without human error or other flaws.
However, in news or otherwise truth-based tales, such editing eats away at the credibility of the presenter. In one odd case, an independent filmmaker used personal You Tube videos of a family’s various vacation trips and managed to fashion a one-hour fictional storyline.
This real-life family is accused in the fictional story of having committed fraud, with some additional footage shot to bridge story gaps. Oddly, the family in question hasn’t filed litigation to stop the showing of the film.
Any one of these editing options can perform good deeds or create the framework for heartache. The choice that’s made often depends on the DNA of the editor and their outlook toward society.