Ethics & morals
The Fifth Estate
Samantha Power on Influence and Idealism
How does a person navigate the change from activist outsider to influential insider? How do you balance idealism and pragmatism under pressure?
Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Samantha Power has had to navigate these questions first-hand. From a troubled childhood in Dublin to a career as a war correspondent then academic, she landed at the heart of American politics in 2005 – when her critiques of US foreign policy drew the attention of Barack Obama. She joined his team, eventually becoming a senior human rights adviser.
After an early misstep (she branded Hillary Clinton ‘a monster’, and lost her job over the incident), Power served in the White House’s National Security Council as Special Assistant to the President for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights. In 2013, she was appointed to the coveted position of US Ambassador to the United Nations.
As she reveals in her newest book, The Education of an Idealist, the intensity of her work was matched by personal struggle – trying to start a family, then raising young children; dealing with anxiety attacks and her own painful childhood. Power has been celebrated for her skill and influence, and has proudly worn the title of activist. She has also drawn sharp criticism from some quarters, particularly in her advocacy for ‘humanitarian intervention’, and her arguments for US action or inaction in Libya, Syria and Yemen.
In conversation with Sally Warhaft, Samantha Power discusses the complexity of decision-making, the tensions between activism and power, and the reconciliation of past and future.
Sally Warhaft and Samantha Power
The Fifth Estate
Sally Warhaft and Tim Costello
For decades, Tim Costello has been among Australia’s most outspoken voices on issues of social justice and global inequality. Through his work as a minister, as a lawyer and as the mayor of St Kilda council, he’s tackled pressing social issues – from gambling and homelessness to gun control.
He’s perhaps best known to most Australians, though, for his 15-year tenure as CEO of World Vision – a job which took him to conflict and disaster zones across the world, including to Darfur and to several countries affected by the Boxing Day Tsunami.
In his new memoir, A Lot with a Little, Costello reflects on his life and varied career. He reflects, too, on how his experiences have shaped his views on questions of equality, liberty, faith and community. With Sally Warhaft, he discusses the book, his ongoing work and the confronting and complex work of tackling global inequality.
How to Teach and Learn Consent
There was 'no means no'. Then 'yes means yes'. Now, we have notions of 'enthusiastic consent' and 'continued consent'. Sexual consent might seem like a simple thing to understand, but the continued prevalence of harassment and sexual assault tells us it's anything but.
Is our culture sending mixed messages? Can the tricky terrain of consent ever be reduced to a…
The Wheeler Centre
PEN Lecture: Fragile Minds
Journalism is at its second crossroads in two decades: not one of means, but of privilege. The loss of major revenues has made the press fragile, both economically and also in terms of self-reflection. At this year’s PEN Lecture, Schwartz Media editor-in-chief Erik Jensen will make the case for a serious reckoning across the profession; a re-evaluation of standards of ethics and objectivity.
‘I am asking for us to consider the impact of what we report and how we report it. I am saying the ethical bar we are clearing is not set high enough. Our code of ethics needs to be rewritten, and not by people who look like me.’
In 2019's PEN Lecture, Jensen asks how the media can change itself to keep up with a society that has already changed. Then, he joins Arnold Zable in conversation.
Presented in partnership with PEN Melbourne and PEN Sydney.
Bill Frelick: Regional Crises, Refugees and Human Rights
Bill Frelick believes the refugee crisis is a test of our common humanity. And it seems clear that as asylum-seeker crises continue to unfold across the globe – and policies against asylum-seekers continue to harden in Europe, in America and here in Australia – we are failing that test. How can we do better for displaced people?
As the director…
The Fifth Estate
Sally Warhaft and Greg Sheridan
In 1966, 88% of Australians identified as Christian in the census. By the 2016 census, the proportion had dipped to 52%. The number of Christians who attend church regularly is even lower. How has Christianity gone from being at the centre of Australian cultural and social life to something that's important to a dwindling number of Australians?
In this Fifth Estate conversation, host Sally Warhaft is joined by journalist and author Greg Sheridan, whose new book, God Is Good for You, makes a case for the achievements of Christianity. He argues that the Judeo-Christian tradition can offer a framework for tackling our increasingly complex and connected world.
Through their discussion, Warhaft and Sheridan talk morality, hope, disillusion and the changing shape of faith today.
Anything and everything in Ethics & morals from across our archives.
Towards an Accountable Media
“If journalism and the media industry in Australia are serious about rebuilding their absolutely disastrous standing, the work starts with reforming the self-regulation media ethics system.”
Johan Lidberg at New Matilda explains there are instances of media self-regulation that have worked in the public interest.
Neo-Institutional Hub & Spoke Journalism
A Columbia Journalism Review feature called ‘Confidence Game’ has taken up the case for newspapers. Dean Starkman argues that a group of intellectuals he calls the ‘Future of News’ group, or “FON consensus”, is championing a new kind of journalism based on peer-production at the expense of the traditional news media. Starkman argues that this new kind of journalism can’t ever hope to produce…
The Enthusiast reports that legendary US comic artist Robert Crumb has cancelled a scheduled appearance in Sydney later this month following a Daily Telegraph report he believes misrepresented him. The Telegraph report begins with the introduction, “A self-confessed sex pervert whose explicit comic drawings cannot be shown in Australia is to deliver a talk and hold a special exhibition at the Sydney Opera House.”
Better Off Dead
9 Why should one church decide for all of us? Death with dignity in Oregon
New News by the Centre for Advancing Journalism
LEAK! Why do people leak, and why should you?
Explore these other subjects, across our site.