Michael Bugeja

Michael Bugeja

Michael Bugeja is the author of "Living Media Ethics" (Routledge/Taylor & Francis) and "Interpersonal Divide in the Age of the Machine" (Oxford Univ. Press). He is a regular contributor to Iowa Capital Dispatch and is writing a series of columns on the topic of "Living Ethics." Views expressed here are his own.


The remedy for conflicts of interest is transparency

By: - September 6, 2022

We often hear the phrase “conflict of interest” pertaining to government officials violating their oath to serve the public interest. According to the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics, the most common conflicts involve officeholders voting on land use matters that impact their own holdings. “Other examples include voting to grant a benefit to a company […]


It’s our job — and yours — to protect the public interest

By: - August 1, 2022

Journalists, politicians and educators have a duty to inform, instruct and serve the people — not themselves or special interests. The public interest concerns the general welfare of society meriting recognition and protection. Journalists inform the public so that people are aware of anything that threatens their welfare. Educators enlighten citizens so that they can […]


Our first president left us lessons on civility and humility

By: - July 3, 2022

When George Washington was 6 years old, he received a hatchet as a gift and immediately tested it on his father’s cherry tree. His father saw the damaged tree and asked his son if he had done the deed. The boy confessed with his most famous maxim: “I cannot tell a lie.” The story itself […]


How to disarm manipulation and gaslighting, personally and politically

By: - May 30, 2022

We all know that domestic violence is a common occurrence in Iowa and elsewhere, but statistics are sobering, with one in every four women having experienced it in their lifetimes. Some 1.3 million women are victims of such violence each year. Women aged 20-24 are at greatest risk. Tactics of abusers involve manipulation and gaslighting. […]


Annoyed: How to keep everyday irritations from wrecking your day

By: - May 7, 2022

We live, work and learn in an increasingly aggravating environment. Robocalls rank among the top petty annoyances. We may overlook one or two, but several in a day can trigger ire. Americans receive close to 4 billion robocalls per month, on track for 47 billion robocalls by the end of the year. The content of […]


Guerilla theater, stunts and pranks make a mark on politics

By: - April 10, 2022

In 1967, activists Abbie Hoffman and Jerry Rubin staged one of the greatest political pranks of all time when they entered the New York Stock Exchange and threw dollar bills to the traders on the floor. Free money, seemingly from the heavens, sparked reactions. Some rushed for the bills. while others waved or shook their […]


Philosophy provides tools to deal with polarization

By: - March 6, 2022

For more than two years now, the news has focused on vaccines, masks and mandates, often couched in political rhetoric resulting in polarization. The COVID pandemic has divided friends, families and colleagues at the same time it has amplified the frail condition and nature of being human. We need to set aside politics, at least […]


Everyday temptations bedevil us in personal and political life

By: - February 6, 2022

Temptation happens in the gut, not in the brain, eliciting a jumble of magnetic emotions, luring and repelling us simultaneously. It can be as innocent as reaching for a piece of chocolate cake, hesitating, and then pushing away from the table. Or as guilty as embezzlement, reaching into a cash drawer, hesitating, and then stashing […]


Debate about use of “Dr.” disrespects expertise, fuels distrust of science

By: - December 26, 2021

Jill Biden, educator and first lady, and I share the same nickname with students: “Dr. B.” We both have terminal degrees, hers an Ed.D. in educational leadership from the University of Delaware and I, a Ph.D. in English from Oklahoma State University. I’m called “Dr. B” because my students have a difficult time pronouncing my […]


Political sectarianism fuels vaccine resistance

By: - November 28, 2021

Emotional intelligence is the ability to fathom our feelings so as to reduce stress, enhance reasoning and perceive emotions in ourselves and others so as to enhance awareness and mental well-being. The ability to process emotions has many benefits. We can interact prudently and mindfully with others, communicating effectively, overcoming challenges and defusing conflict. The […]


Hoaxes and scams take an emotional toll

By: - November 6, 2021

Countless people have lost millions of dollars to online hoaxes and scams, but the biggest collective loss concerns trust. Losing trust hurts us more than money ever could. Internet deceptions afflict everyone, from a child awaiting a pet to a pensioner awaiting a Social Security check. Let’s deal with pets first, as these scams have […]


How can we keep our composure when everyone is so angry?

By: - October 2, 2021

Everyone seems angry, cheated, entitled, resentful, deprived — new American norms afflicting every walk of life — from viral Karens and road-raging Kens to berserker travelers and conspiratorial lawmakers. What has happened to Americans in the past decade? Many blame fake news. Others, social media. And some say we’re responding psychologically to real depredation and […]