CBS was founded by Arthur Judson in 1927. Unable to find work, Judson created his own network which combined with another to finally be signed on as the Columbia Broadcasting System in 1929, after being bought out by William S. Paley. Programming was free to the large audiences and by 1970 they were airing infamous shows such as M*A*S*H, 60 Minutes and All in the Family. The company developed itself to gain the interests of all generations of the country.
|CBS Company Logo|
|Leslie Moonves, Former CEO of CBS|
Individualists would view CBS as unethical. An individualist’s perspective states that business should maximize profits for a company, but do so within the law. The publicity of the Leslie Moonves scandal created a poor image of the company, and the way the company handled the allegations created potential long term damage of viewers. The actions of the company to not fire Moonves, but rather let him resign from his position, created criticism from Americans. This is considered ethically
|News Clip of the Resignation of Moonves|
UTILITARIANISMA Utilitarian perspective would also evaluate the Moonves case as ethically wrong. A utilitarian belief states that business actions should aim to maximize the happiness in the long run for all
|CBS Newscasters Discussing the Moonves Settlement|
A Kantian theorist would be concerned with the process CBS took in handling the case of Moonves. They would look into the way the company took action in their own hands, and made a statement declaring their full corporation with the investigation. It is considering the actions of the company, and if they are using rational decision making in the process. The company did not cause the victims harm, it was an individual in the company that did this. When the case became public, CBS tried to do everything in their power to inform viewers that they would corporate, and they also did not lie to protect their employee. They were acting with honesty and acknowledgment of the allegations. This case also passes the Categorical Imperative test of the Formulation of Humanity. This test states that it is wrong to use someone to get what you want; CBS did not use anyone as a mere means, and therefore, it is morally acceptable. CBS was acting ethical under Kantianism because they spoke out and informed their viewers of the any information, and their stance on the case.
There are four main virtues that are followed under virtue theory: Honesty, temperance, courage and justice. The company was being honest with the corporation when discussing the case through the media. They showed temperance with their control to handle the allegations with no blame to the victims. They showed courage as they continued to air their program, and not let the loss of viewers scare them. Finally, the company is showing justice as they are not putting the blame on one individual or another. They are keeping everything fair until it is all settled.
CBS did not violate any virtues necessary to judge one’s character. They aimed to comfort the public with their response of the issue and their cooperation with the scandal. They did not lie to the public, and they acted in good character when they gave their response with honesty. They are trying to regain the trust of their viewers and they continue to show that they are aiming to act ethical under virtue theory.
These facts and analyses are based on an original research paper by Emily Sajdak, "Leslie Moonves: CEO's and Sex Scandals"
About CBS Corporation. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cbscorporation.com/about-cbs/
Farrow, R. (2018, September 10). Leslie Moonves Steps Down from CBS, After Six Women Raise New Assault and Harassment Claims. Retrieved from https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/as-leslie-moonves-negotiates-his-exit-from-cbs-women-raise-new-assault-and-harassment-claims
Folkenflik, D. (2018, July 28). Report Details Sexual Harassment Allegations Against CBS CEO Les Moonves. Retrieved from https://www.npr.org/2018/07/28/633376943/report-details-sexual-harassment-allegations-against-cbs-ceo-les-moonves
Hagey, K., & Flint, J. (2018, September 11). CBS's Handling of Les Moonves Accusations Hampered by Battle for Control. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/cbss-handling-of-les-moonves-accusations-hampered-by-battle-for-control-1536624692
Introduction – CBS Corporation. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.cbscorporation.com/diversity/about-us/introduction/
Keveney, B. (2018, September 10). CBS CEO Les Moonves becomes most powerful media exec to resign in wake of #MeToo. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2018/09/09/cbs-ceo-leslie-moonves-hit-new-sexual-misconduct-allegations/1249724002/
McDermott, M. (2018, October 02). Illeana Douglas: Les Moonves called my sexual assault 'a lot of fun'. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2018/10/02/illeana-douglas-les-moonves-called-my-assault-lot-fun/1498309002/
Salazar, Heather. The Business Ethics Case Manual. n.d.