Category Archives: The Internet

The Bill Cosby Follies: Idiotic Blog Post, Atrocious Apology, Lame Justification…Thanks, “TheWrap,” For This Lesson In First Amendment Abuse

thewrap-logo

TheWrap is a web Hollywood news and gossip site. Picture TMZ crossed with Gawker.  It published an immediate candidate for the most unethical blog post of the year, always a closely contested category, a piece of cyber-offal by an industry writer named Rich Stellar that issued a combined attack on the women coming forward to prove Bill Cosby is a serial rapist, and the media’s coverage of it. I was happily unaware of Stellar, barely aware of The Wrap and definitely unaware of this utter crap until it was flagged in a Salon piece, which was in turn flagged by one of my indispensable scouts, Fred. What unfolded before me was a horrible spectacle of a despicably and dumber than a box of rocks opinion piece that no competent editor should allow to avoid the trash, a subsequent apology of sorts from the writer that shows such an ethics deficit that he should probably have a 24-hour keeper, and, finally, his editor’s defense of her wretched editorial judgment based on the theory of the First Amendment, which she appears to think means “You have to publish any garbage any fool writes no matter how poorly conceived or reasoned, or you are unAmerican.”  But I am getting ahead of myself.

The Blog Post.

Read it all if you dare. Here’s Stellar’s money quote, which distills most of the cretinism without forcing you into Hell: Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Jumbo, Popular Culture, Professions, The Internet, Unethical Blog Post

Ethics Dunce: Ashlea Johnson And The Supporters Of Her Petition

Crack Mayor

How wrong is the Change.org petition posted by Ashlea Johnson and demanding that TMZ remove and apologize for the above headline announcing the death of Marion Barry?

1. This is an attempt to whitewashing a very soiled legacy.

2. Barry, and no one else, ruined his legacy. Next to using crack while Mayor of Washington D.C. (and being filmed in the process), Barry is best known for his immortal quote after his arrest with an old girl-friend and drug pal: “Bitch set me up!”

3. TMZ has both the freedom to publish whatever it chooses however it chooses, as long as it is true. This is true. Barry was “the Crack Mayor.” Deal with it.

4. It would have been good for all if Barry’s enablers and supporters forced him to apologize and be accountable for his various crimes, hustles and misdeeds, of which the crack was only the most spectacular. Instead, Ashlea Johnson and those like her kept electing Barry, who was unrepentant and unreformed, to office,  sending the message to District politicians that character and honesty, even good citizenship, don’t matter as much as group identification and cronyism

The TMZ headline was certainly not kind, polite or diplomatic, but rogues, miscreants and thieves do not deserve pleasant or respectful obituaries. When Bernie Madoff dies, he will be called a swindler, because he was one. When Anthony Weiner passes on, he will be noted as the “sexting Congressman,” because that was his legacy. Monica Lewinsky will be eulogized in the press as Clinton’s intern plaything, or something nastier: what else should she be remembered for? Marion Barry could have earned a headline describing him as a transformative mayor of the nation’s Capital, for he had the ability to be that and more. Barry chose to be the Crack Mayor instead.

Ashlea should have sent him a petition about forty years ago, demanding that he stop being such a jerk.

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Pointer: Mediaite

 

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Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership, The Internet

“Drunk Girl In Public”: This Trend Will Ruin Trust, Spontenaity, Kindness and Fun, and There Is Absolutely Nothing We Can About It Except Complain

I guess it all began with Allen Funt.

If Allen knew what he would be starting, he would have opened a deli.

If Allen knew what he would be starting, he would have opened a deli.

Back in the Fifties, he came up with the idea of using a hidden camera to record the reactions of innocent bystanders “in the act of being themselves.” He staged situations, sometimes Twilight Zones set-ups like a door that opened for everyone but the target, and filmed the results, first for a guest segment on TV talk shows and finally on his own, long running hit, “Candid Camera.” Funt would never have dreamed of using actors and faking the reactions, because first, he didn’t need to; second, if he was caught, it would ruin him; and third, he was an honest professional. The idea, however, has thoroughly metastasized in all directions, to “practical joke shows,” reality shows, and such monstrosities as ABC’s “What Would You Do?” and James O’Keefe. Perversions were limited as long as the shows were restricted to television, but now YouTube makes everyone a potential producer, and among the thousands trying to create a viral video, there are many, perhaps most,  who are not decent, ethical professionals like Allen Funt, but just greedy jerks who will gladly cheat, lie to and humiliate others to gain fame and fortune. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Popular Culture, Research and Scholarship, The Internet, U.S. Society

Sexism, Feminists, and The Scientist’s Shirt

Offensive shirt

The European Space Agency’s probe managed to land on a hurtling comet millions of miles away to collect scientific data, and  has begun sending images from the surface of the body, known as 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. However, Dr. Matt Taylor, one of the scientists responsible for the Rosetta probe mission found himself at the center of a feminist uprising after he appeared on television earlier this week….because of his choice of shirts.

Here’s a good view:

new-gunner-girls. shirt

Taylor, who appears to superficially fit the template of clueless scientific geniuses  presented in the hit comedy “Big Bang Theory,” appeared live wearing a garish Hawaiian-style shirt with a design made up of Heavy Metal comic book images of busty women in various states of undress, carrying guns and generally enacting the fantasies of 14-year-old boys. This somehow managed to overwhelm the astounding scientific achievement he has been part of, and angry feminists attacked:

“No no women are toooootally welcome in our community, just ask the dude in this shirt,” tweeted Atlantic journalist Rose Eveleth. Astrophysicist Katie Mack said, “I don’t care what scientists wear. But a shirt featuring women in lingerie isn’t appropriate for a broadcast if you care about women in science.”

So furious was the reaction of some feminists and others on social media and elsewhere that Taylor felt constrained to apologize, which he did during another televised update regarding the mission, saying, as he choked back tears, “I made a big mistake and I offended many people and I am very sorry about this.”

Then came the backlash from the men. Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Popular Culture, Professions, Science & Technology, The Internet, Workplace

Unethical Tweet Of The Month: Andrew Barovick

"What? Can't you take a joke?"

“What? Can’t you take a joke?”

Lawyer Andrew Barovick  resigned his leadership position with the New York City Bar Association after sending the following tweet about Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss, a Republican who had just lost the election and who happened to be black

 “In light of election loss, [Sheriff Moss is] mulling offers to be new spokes model for either Cream of Wheat or Uncle Ben’s rice.”

Oh, nice. Continue reading

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Filed under Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Professions, Race, The Internet, Unethical Tweet

Unethical Website Post Correction Of The Decade: Breitbart

EXCLUSIVE: Speaker John Boehner’s Head Falls Off, Breaking Paul Ryan’s Nose [Corrected]

Correction: Boehner’s head didn’t fall off and Paul’s nose is fine.

The above apparently illustrates the Breitbart style book policy when the conservative web site publishes a story that is 100% untrue.

Over the weekend, Breitbart published an exclusive story revealing  that President Obama’s Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch was on the legal team that defended President Clinton during the Whitewater investigation. That was a different Loretta Lynch, however. This would, with a conventional new site that knew the difference between ethics and a pangolin, mandate 1) removing the false story and 2) replacing it with a separate post explicating the error. But no. Here is how Brietbart handled it: leaving the story and the headline up in all its misrepresentation with a parenthetical “correction” added, which was explained only if you read all the way to the bottom of the story, where you would find the italicized information that everything you had just read was baloney. Such “Correction” notices usually explain that a detail was wrong or a name was misspelled. I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen one that said, in effect, “Never mind”…like this:

Bad CorrectionThis kind of keen ethical judgment is why is why I stopped reading, relying on or referring to Breibart. If a story link reveals Breitbart as the source, I ignore it. I suggest you do the same.

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Pointer, Source and Graphic: Talking Points Memo

 

 

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Filed under Journalism & Media, The Internet

Brad Paisley and Jon Stewart: The “It Was Just A Joke” Follies

Joker04Once again, we visit the ethically murky realm of jokes, near-jokes, misfired jokes, fake jokes, the ‘it was just a joke’ excuse and things the purveyor of non-jokes wish were jokes after the fact. Interestingly, by my estimation, the real and non-offending joke among our twin set today was the one delivered by a non-comedian, and the dishonest joke excuse was employed by a professional comic.

Case A: Jon Stewart

Appearing on CNN election day with Christiane Amanpour to talk about the  midterm elections, the host asked Stewart if he voted. The comic/pundit/news anchor/progressive hit man responded “no” saying, “I just moved. I don’t know even where my thing is now.” Said Ann Althouse:

“The epitome of apathy. And this is the man who shows the young folks how to think!”

She was not alone. Later, as he hosted a special live election night edition of “The Daily Show,” Stewart  apologized, saying:

“…to set the record straight, I did vote today… I was being flip, and it kind of took off, and you know what, I want to apologize. It sent a message that that I didn’t think voting was important. I shouldn’t have done that. That was stupid.”

This was flagged to me as a solid and ethical apology, and I agree, if that’s what it was.  I don’t think that is what it was, though. I think it was damage control, and a lie. Maybe Stewart voted and maybe he didn’t, but he’s a professional comic. His “flip” dismissal of voting to Amanpour didn’t read a s a joke, and she didn’t seem to take it as one. He’s one of the highest paid and popular comedians in the country, and doesn’t know how to make it clear when he’s joking? Or can’t tell when a joke misfires, and he has to backtrack so people don’t think he’s serious? I am dubious. Continue reading

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Filed under Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Race, The Internet