Everyday Ethics

americanidol.jpgI’m the type of American Idol viewer who tunes in for a few songs, maybe follows one or two contestants until they’re voted off, and usually misses out on all the good controversy. So I can’t say that I’m the die-hard fan who screams foul if my pick doesn’t win, or laments that it’s the teeny boppers who are voting for the cutest contestant.

However, I am a big fan of fair play. The New York Times covered a story about AT&T’s possible influence over this season’s American Idol win. According to both the company and reports from attendees, AT&T representatives appeared at two fan parties for Kris Allen, this year’s winner.  

Not only did they attend the parties, they brought with them “demo”
phones, in order to demonstrate block texting, a mechanism in which to
send 10 or more texts with a single push to a button. And they let
attendees at these parties use the phones for free. No such
representatives were present at Adam Lambert’s fan parties.

While angry Lambert fans are claiming as many as 38 million votes came
out of Arkansas, no official numbers have been released by AT&T or
American Idol. Personally, I find that number highly unlikely and
borderline ridiculous.

I suppose the ethical question here, however, is whether or not there
should be a American Idol coup, given that the one question seemingly
not in dispute is whether AT&T employees provided a number of fans
with the means to “cheat”.  (From what I can tell, question is whether
this was a plan devised by AT&T, a corporate sponsor, to bias the
results or if it was merely a few wayward employees.) Should the entire
competition be thrown out? Have a do-over between Allen and Lambert?

Or should everyone (mainly Lambert fans) take a deep breath and come to
their senses? A handful of representatives at two fan parties could try
their very hardest and still not have a discernible impact on the
millions of votes cast that night.  So my gut tells me that ethical or
not, fair play or no fair play, Lambert fans should stop hoping for
that coup and come to terms with an Allen-led term of office.

What do you think? Is my admittedly indifferent attitude regarding American Idol leading my gut astray?

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