What are the media’s moral obligations in making society aware of extreme poverty in the world?

Do the media have a moral responsibility to report on the current status of extreme poverty in the world? Showing news videos of how children in poor countries are forced to search for food from trash heaps? Perhaps interviewing the homeless here in America and showing what daily life is like for these people? To investigate what is being done to alleviate extreme poverty and what needs to be done? Is extreme poverty a crime against humanity, and if so reporting it as such? Reporting the statistics on starvation and the physical wellbeing of those suffering from extreme poverty?

A crime committed by whom? By Fidel Castro? By Bobby Mugabe? By tribal chieftains who run criminal enterprises? By Tse Tse fly infestation? By Tigers in the Sunderbons? By the Bass Shoe Company? By whom?

Not knowing who you consider the criminal, one really can’t answer your poll. It could be considered “a crime” under some circumstances, not under others.

A crime by societies for allowing extreme poverty to exist.

Frankly, I doubt a good part of the media really wants to investigate the true causes of poverty. It has its own narrative, which fits the narrative of the left wing, and real poverty is not interesting to them. Nor are the depredations of asserted socialist governments anywhere. Middle class welfare in the U.S. is their interest du jour.

I’m not asking about the media’s current interests; I’m talking about what are the media’s moral obligations. Big difference.

By what societies, and run by whom?

If, for example, you take Zimbabwe where there is a lot of dire poverty. What can any other society do about it without invading Zimbabwe? Are you thinking we should?

And Kennedy evidently promised never to invade Cuba, so poverty there is out of reach.

Can’t invade China, where there’s plenty of poverty amidst the riches. We learned with 50,000 lives that we can’t do anything about poverty in Viet Nam.

And, of course, in Somalia, we learned that we couldn’t do anything about poverty there without a military commitment much bigger than we were willing to make.

And in the U.S. itself? The media is not interested in poverty here. It’s too busy preserving the perks of those who are already the recipients of the nation’s largesse. It doesn’t want to talk about the homeless lest people realize many or perhaps most of the truly homeless need to be in institutions. Can’t have that.

And the disabled? Well, abortion and “physician aided suicide” is being promoted to take care of that.

I do think the media should genuinely investigate poverty, but it doesn’t fit the left narrative, so they won’t.

I asked about societies obligations here: forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=813808

I’m no longer talking about that on this thread. I’m now asking what are the media’s moral obligations in reporting on extreme poverty in the world.

So society is made 100% aware, then what? After the planned global economic collapse of 2008, what was anybody going to do? And now that all the fat cats have been bailed out, and the guilty will get nothing but fines instead of jail time - give Wall Street a call. Contact the billionaires in the world.

Catholic Answers is struggling to raise money. Then contact the people who love population control. And pray for them. The culture of death wants more death.


“The media” is an amorphous, incorporeal blob of of legal entities which have only one responsibility: return shareholders a profit on their investments.

Any concept, such as media, can not be said to have a moral responsibility. The question is meaningless. People can have moral responsibilty. If it is your job to report on poverty, then you have a moral responsibility to do so. If your job is to report on a baseball game, then you have no such responsibility.

The poll question is not even the same topic. I have no idea what this thread is really about.

I would argue that “poverty” cannot be a crime against humanity, because poverty is a state. Just like “illness” cannot be a crime against humanity, or “hunger” cannot.

However, “oppression,” or “unfair labor” can be considered a crime against humanity.

I strongly disagree. The media consists of people and they have a 100% moral responsibility to report real news, not the strange behaviors of celebrities.

The media is guilty, at least as much as any of us who do not help the poor, even a little.


The purpose of the thread has to do with the media’s moral obligations towards making the public aware of the crimes against those suffering from extreme poverty in the world. It’s reporting the news as it is happening for those living in extreme poverty! It has to do with education.

Brave New World? We are there!

Good point. I would add that most people are oppressed by way of the money creation regime, but they may not see the oppression for what it is.

Well then, is oppression of those living in extreme poverty a crime against humanity? Readers are free to reword the poll question in that respect.

I recommend this:

Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

  1. The principle of subsidiarity protects people from abuses by higher-level social authority and calls on these same authorities to help individuals and intermediate groups to fulfil their duties. This principle is imperative because every person, family and intermediate group has something original to offer to the community. Experience shows that the denial of subsidiarity, or its limitation in the name of an alleged democratization or equality of all members of society, limits and sometimes even destroys the spirit of freedom and initiative.

The principle of subsidiarity is opposed to certain forms of centralization, bureaucratization, and welfare assistance and to the unjustified and excessive presence of the State in public mechanisms. “By intervening directly and depriving society of its responsibility, the Social Assistance State leads to a loss of human energies and an inordinate increase of public agencies, which are dominated more by bureaucratic ways of thinking than by concern for serving their clients, and which are accompanied by an enormous increase in spending”[400]. An absent or insufficient recognition of private initiative — in economic matters also — and the failure to recognize its public function, contribute to the undermining of the principle of subsidiarity, as monopolies do as well.

  1. Information is among the principal instruments of democratic participation. Participation without an understanding of the situation of the political community, the facts and the proposed solutions to problems is unthinkable. It is necessary to guarantee a real pluralism in this delicate area of social life, ensuring that there are many forms and instruments of information and communications. It is likewise necessary to facilitate conditions of equality in the possession and use of these instruments by means of appropriate laws. Among the obstacles that hinder the full exercise of the right to objectivity in information, special attention must be given to the phenomenon of the news media being controlled by just a few people or groups. This has dangerous effects for the entire democratic system when this phenomenon is accompanied by ever closer ties between governmental activity and the financial and information establishments.
  1. The media must be used to build up and sustain the human community in its different sectors: economic, political, cultural, educational and religious. “The information provided by the media is at the service of the common good. Society has a right to information based on truth, freedom, justice and solidarity”.

The essential question is whether the current information system is contributing to the betterment of the human person; that is, does it make people more spiritually mature, more aware of the dignity of their humanity, more responsible or more open to others, in particular to the neediest and the weakest. A further aspect of great importance is the requisite that new technologies respect legitimate cultural differences.

  1. In the world of the media the intrinsic difficulties of communications are often exacerbated by ideology, the desire for profit and political control, rivalry and conflicts between groups, and other social evils. Moral values and principles apply also to the media. “The ethical dimension relates not just to the content of communication (the message) and the process of communication (how the communicating is done) but to fundamental structural and systemic issues, often involving large questions of policy bearing upon the distribution of sophisticated technology and product (who shall be information rich and who shall be information poor?)”.

In all three areas — the message, the process and structural issues — one fundamental moral principle always applies: the human person and the human community are the end and measure of the use of the media. A second principle is complementary to the first: the good of human beings cannot be attained independently of the common good of the community to which they belong. It is necessary that citizens participate in the decision-making process concerning media policies. This participation, which is to be public, has to be genuinely representative and not skewed in favour of special interest groups when the media are a money-making venture.

So sports reporters are behaving immorally? Are you behaving immorally because you do not investigate and report poverty?

I have to say I simply cannot agree with the premise for this thread. I see it as stone tossing at a strawman. “The media” does not exist. Yes, it consists of people. So does this country. To place moral blame on theme for being part of “the media” and not blame yourself for being part of your particular society is hypocritical and inconsistent. It is always easier to attack people, and even easier to attack amorphous groups than it is to take responsibility.

We each have a moral responsibility to *help *the poor. That is the gospel. Let us not try to put something in the gospel that isn’t there.

So, where is Scripture is reporting on the poor given as a command? Where in the Catechism?

Absolutely! It is a crime that calls for justice.


Somebody, or some group of individuals, control(s) the media. Do these individuals have a moral obligation to report on extreme poverty? It sounds to me like you’re splitting hairs here.

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