Blame Narratives and the News: An Ethical Analysis


Communication and Journalism

Date of this version


Document Type



blame, ethics, journalistic standards, narrative, news practices


Prompted by the claim that media help fuel a culture of blame in Western societies, this monograph investigates narratives of blame in U.S. journalism. The monograph begins with a theoretical exploration aimed at developing a justifiable model of blame for the news media. It then moves to an empirical exploration of blame narratives in the top U.S. news stories from 2010. Finally, the monograph puts the normative model up against the descriptive narratives and offers an ethical assessment of news media practices as they relate to blame. Based on that assessment, the monograph offers enhancements to the normative model, which are intended to more usefully guide future practices.

Published in

Journalism & Communication Monographs

Citation/Other Information

Wyatt, W. (September 2012). Blame narratives and the news: An ethical analysis. Journalism & Communication Monographs 14.3. 153-208.