Category Archives: The Internet

Ethical Quote Of The Month: PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler

pbs-logo-in-black

“One would have to lean way over backwards to give her the benefit of the doubt that she was simply shedding light on the administration’s view of portions of Netanyahu’s arguments. But to personalize it by saying, “Take that, Bibi” is, in my book, inexcusable for an experienced journalist who is the co-anchor of a nightly news program watched by millions of people over the course of any week.”

—PBS Ombudsman Michael Getler, giving no quarter and making no rationalizations to slam PBS news host Gwen Ifill for her” “Take that, Bibi” taunt via Twitter.

Bravo.

Note that he also is saying that Ifill’s defense is a lie. As indeed it was. Later, as you can read, he makes it clear that he believes that Ifill is too experienced to make the mistake she claims she made. She made a different mistake: letting her bias rule her judgment and professionalism.

What do you know, a real, honest ombudsman who doesn’t view his job as spinning for his bosses!

I wonder why the New York Times can’t find one.

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Quotes, Journalism & Media, Professions, Social Media

Unethical Tweet Of The Month: PBS’S Gwen Ifill

gwen ifill tweetThis was, of course, in reaction to yesterday’s developments that indicate sufficient Democratic support for President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal.

Ifill defends her tweet: of course she does. She has been a brazen cheerleader for the President since he was campaigning in 2008, and made it very clear that she sees nothing wrong with that, even when she was the moderator for the 2008 Vice-Presidential debate while her book about the inspiring achievement of Obama’s ascent to the Presidency—he hadn’t been elected yet, remember—was awaiting publication. PBS proved its bias (as if further proof were necessary) by shrugging off a blindingly clear conflict of interest and appearance of impropriety on her part then, and it will doubtlessly do so now. Ifill is defiantly pro-Obama. The tweet, however, is worse than that.

An American journalist taunting  the leader of an important American ally is unprofessional and, in this case especially despicable. Isreal’s legitimate concern about the Iran agreement is that under the best of circumstances, the scenario that the advocates for the deal admit, Iran will gain the resources to vastly enhance its support of terror in the Middle East, much of which will be focused on harming citizens of the nation that Iran has openly vowed to destroy. Take that, Bibi! Jews are going to die! Nyaa nyaa! Under the worst case scenario, the treaty makes it easier for Iran to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. How dare a nation’s leader express concern about his nation’s security and survival? Yeah, let’s make fun of him as the U.S. all but ensures a nuclear Iran 15 years from now.

Curt Schilling has been suspended by ESPN for making a legitimate historical observation that didn’t affect or relate to his job as a baseball analyst at all. Ifill’s tweet insults a world leader, displays gross partisanship, undermines PBS’s official pose as an objective news source and shows not merely terrible judgment, but the arrogance and shamelessness  that those who view themselves as immune from consequences eventually embrace.

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Filed under Around the World, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Professions, Social Media, Unethical Tweet

Ethics Dunce: Washington Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III And Any Other Celebrity Who Has Somebody Other Than The Celebrity Send Out Social Media Messages In His Or HerName

RGIII

I’m really sick of the “an intern did it” or ” a low level employee did it” explanation when a social media tweet, re-tweet, “like” or message goes wrong and causes an uproar that causes trouble for a celebrity or politician. It’s your name, the person sending the message is your employee and agent who you have authorized to communicate in your name. For the purposes of social media, they are you. Take your medicine, be accountable, own what “you” say online, or get off social media. It’s really as simple as that.

Robert Griffin III is the central figure of a pro football drama that many of those outside of Washington, D.C. or, better yet, those who recognize that pro football is ethics rot put in colorful uniforms to maim minds and and make money every Sunday for more than half the year. Once an NFL rookie of the year, a blooming super-star black quarterback in a majority black city, and the lord of all he surveyed, RGIII, as he is almost exclusively called locally, has fallen far, brought low by bad coaching, injuries, and his own hubris. His one great advantage has been the Skins’ owner’s infatuation with him, as Croesus-like Daniel Snyder runs his franchise like Fantasy league team, and also into the ground.

So how does “RGIII,” a.k.a. the anonymous kid who sends out his tweets and other messages when the star is busy doing what young millionaires do, decide is a great is a great way to show his loyalty to his patron and the man who pays his salary? “He” likes a post from an angry fan that features the hashtag, #inpeachdansnyder.

RGIII, recognizing that this was an especially bad time to tick off his guardian billionaire (he had just been benched by the Redskins’ coach), sent out his own, genuine, reallyreallyreally what he thinks post blaming his intern:

@rgiii I just wanted to set the record straight on this one. I did not “like” that IG post ridiculing our team. I have not been social media active consistently for awhile now and am ultra-focused on working to get back on the field and trying to help this team. One of our interns who helps with Instagram liked the post. As soon as I was made aware of it, it was immediately unliked. That is not how I feel and I appreciate your understanding.
#HTTR

No, actually “you” did like that post, Mr. Star. And if you have “not been social media active,” stop paying someone you obviously don’t supervise to keep you socially media active.

I’m glad they benched you.

(At least Donald Trump makes his own offensive tweets.)

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Dunces, Workplace, Sports, The Internet, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee

Ethics Quiz: The Duchess of York’s Website And The Duke of Plazatoro

The category is Celebrity Ethics, Royal Ethics or Marketing Ethics, depending on your point of view. Unfortunately for ethical clarity, how you answer today’s Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz may depend on which category you choose.

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, is embarrassing the Royal Family again, only this time it isn’t by throwing snowballs at photographers or by not being as demure and lovely as the late Princess Diana. This time, the self-exiled and divorced Fergie is trading on her title to make a living as an internet huckster. She has a website that peddles a juicer for weight loss and “The Perfecter Ultra”:

The Perfecter Ultra Heated Styling Brush combines innovative ionic technology with pure black tourmaline heating plates for ultimate convenience in achieving salon quality hairstyles at home. Create silky straight styles or beautiful bouncing curls, reduce frizzies or add volume to thinning hair, the Perfecter Ultra is the remarkable styling tool that does it all.

The Duchess has also been appearing on QVC, the cable shopping network where shopping addicts, lonely recluses and easy marks hang out. Among the Royals, with whom she is already on the outs, this is considered…unseemly. Concludes Tom Sykes at the Daily Beast:

“Her website majors in its attempts to cast her shill as public service, saying, “One of my missions in life now is to help people fight their weight challenges so they can live longer, healthier and happier lives. Take it from me: you can do it!”  But the truth is, Fergie is selling her title, and getting paid a no-doubt healthy fee for her promotional activities.”

There’s little doubt that “selling her title” is a fair description.

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

As Duchess of York, does Sarah Ferguson have an ethical obligation to behave like the symbol of the British Commonwealth that she and the rest of the Royal Family is, or can she ethically use her title as she chooses, including to sell junk on the internet?

Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Family, History, Humor and Satire, Literature, Marketing and Advertising, The Internet

Translation: “OK, Lying And Denying Responsibility Haven’t Worked; Let’s Try Lying And Accepting SOME Responsibility.”

Said Candidate Hillary Clinton at a campaign stop in Iowa:

“I know people have raised questions about my email use as secretary of state, and I understand why. I get it. (1) So here’s what I want the American people to know: My use of personal email was allowed by the State Department. (2) It clearly wasn’t the best choice. (3) I should’ve used two emails: one personal, one for work. I take responsibility for that decision, and I want to be as transparent as possible, which is why I turned over 55,000 pages (4), why I’ve turned over my server (5), why I’ve agreed to — in fact, been asking to — and have finally gotten a date to testify before a congressional committee in October. (6) I’m confident that this process will prove that I never sent, nor received, any email that was marked classified. (7).

Notes: Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Science & Technology, The Internet

Ethics Mystery: What Was So Wrong With Curt Schilling’s Muslim Tweet?

schilling-tweet

ESPN pulled former baseball pitching star Curt Schilling from its Little League broadcast team yesterday after becoming aware of his tweet above, saying in a statement:

“Curt’s tweet was completely unacceptable, and in no way represents our company’s perspective. We made that point very strongly to Curt and have removed him from his current Little League assignment pending further consideration.”

Schilling then tweeted this apology: “I understand and accept my suspension. 100% my fault. Bad choices have bad consequences and this was a bad decision in every way on my part.” This appears to be a #1 on the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale...“An apology motivated by the realization that one’s past conduct was unjust, unfair, and wrong, constituting an unequivocal admission of wrongdoing as well as regret, remorse and contrition, as part of a sincere effort to make amends and seek forgiveness.” 

If I had delivered it, however, it might have been a #7: “A forced or compelled version of 1-4, in which the individual (or organization) apologizing may not sincerely believe that an apology is appropriate, but chooses to show the victim or victims of the act inspiring it that the individual responsible is humbling himself and being forced to admit wrongdoing by the society, the culture, legal authority, or an organization or group that the individual’s actions reflect upon or represent.”

What was it exactly that Schilling’s tweet showed, implied, suggested or stated that was” completely unacceptable,  in no way represent ESPN’s  perspective, and that justified his employer’s action? Curt Schilling is an inquisitive, politically active and opinionated man, and has always annoyed sportswriters because 1) he’s openly conservative 2) he’s a devout Christian, and isn’t shy about talking about it, 3) he can write and speak coherently and was capable, while playing, of challenging their criticism, and 4) he’s a lot smarter than most of them. I am assuming in this inquiry that nothing in Schilling’s contract or agreement with ESPN restricted his right to express non-sports opinions on his own time.

Here are some possibilities: Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Social Media, Unethical Tweet, War and the Military, Workplace

More E-Mail Deception From State: Does Anybody Care? Well, I Do. And You?

Another day, another Hillary advisor, another scandal...

Another day, another Hillary advisor, another scandal…

The private server of Hillary Clinton isn’t the only intrigue going on the should make us wonder just how corrupt our leaders and aspiring leaders are. There has been a new development involving another set of emails that should cause public outrage and alarm…if the news media had the integrity to report on it.

In 2012, Gawker filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request asking the State Department to produce e-mails related to Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philippe Reines (now a top Hillary Clinton adviser) and his contacts with  thirty-three listed media outlets. Reines was involved in an intemperate email exchange with Gawker journalist Michael Hastings in which he told Hastings to “fuck off;” naturally Gawker, being Gawker, wanted to dig up dirt on him.

[It’s a side issue, but any high ranking government official  that tells any journalist to “fuck off” should be forced to apologize and be punished or sacked.  This just one more example of the Obama Administration’s aversion to accountability and management competence.]

The U.S. State Department officially stated in 2013 that there were no such emails, reporting that “After a thorough search . . . no records responsive to your request were located.”

Last week, after a federal judge demanded a“court-ordered status report,” Justice Department lawyers, reporting on behalf of the State Department, announced that the previous statement was a teeny bit off. The State Department had found of “5.5 gigabytes of data containing 81,159 emails of varying length” sent or received by Reines, of which about 17,855, or 22%, were relevant to the initial FOIA request.

Wait…what?? Continue reading

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