Superman wrestles with ethics of journalism

OPINION

Sit down. I have some shocking news. Clark Kent has quit the Daily Planet. In issue No.13, out this week, Clark confronts his boss, Morgan Edge, owner of the Daily Planet’s parent company Galaxy Broadcasting. Clark loses the plot and quits in front of the entire office staff. You have to understand, it’s not just one thing; it’s everything. Clark has been a reporter for the Daily Planet  since the 1930s. He could, as Superman, pound out copy at super speed and spend the rest of his day in seedy bars around Metropolis. Now his editor, Perry White, wants him tweeting, blogging and filing online. Clark’s main squeeze, Lois Lane, has already left the newsroom and is rumoured to be running popular blog Sizzling Seniors in Vermont and Jimmy Olsen has retired to Florida. 

Clark had his worries, but stress was building for Superman too. Last year, when the Service Agreement for the Provision of Superheroics was enacted and many compliance and governance issues arose, Superman felt like chucking in his cape. Where to begin? First came the police check. Hello. Superman had been in jail. It was a set up, of course, but explanations were needed. Other issues that almost derailed his application included alcohol abuse, travelling faster than a speeding bullet in limited speed zones and changing the weather. He’s regularly accused of causing blizzards in summer and heatwaves in winter. 

The next problem was accreditation. He met all the criteria but filled out the interview panel forms using super speed. When one panel member objected, Superman agreed to under go Professional Development Training including a Communicating with Villains: Beyond the POW! THWACK! KER-UNCH! Paradigm Workshop and a Risk Management in Meteor Redeployment Course. He also agreed to regular drug tests. With his muscles, people do ask questions.

Meanwhile, Superman’s super powers contravene every section of the Privacy Act. He didn’t have to hack phones. He could use his super hearing to eavesdrop on anyone. 

After the News of the World fiasco, super hearing became a super power non grata. He has to wear sound-deflecting earmuffs to protect the privacy of citizens. 

His X-ray vision is also problematic. He can’t just look through brick walls anymore. He has to knock on doors and ask victims, who are, say, being robbed by thugs at the time, to sign a Consent Form. Occupation Health and Safety prevents Superman working with volcanoes until he has completed a Certificate III: Volcano Training Course. Superman must also bend his knees when lifting cars, trees or mountains, cease and desist from leaping tall buildings in a single bound and wear an ‘Allergic to Kyptonite’ Medi-Tag.

Someone trademarked his super logo to market Super Beer, Super Reds underpants and Super Condoms for that MAN OF STEEL FEEL. It cost a fortune to win back the rights. Then recently some very dodgy no-frills Super Heroes turned up from China. They have very strange names too. There’s Immortal Goodlike Man, Feng Shoe No.6, Mutant Jade Peanut, Joy Ice Boy and Super Flash Bat. Somehow they have Superheroic Accreditation despite dubious online qualifications. 

Clark Kent is disillusioned with the Daily Planet being turned into an online celebrity gossip rag while Superman is snowed under by Superheroics Compliance paperwork. Modern life! It’s a bummer, isn’t it? 

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