Category Archives: Workplace

Two Deceitful Non-Denial Denials And An Unethically Tardy Whistleblower

Francis

TV shows like “Lie to Me” and “The Mentalist” as well as all the profiling shows like “Criminal Minds” have done a public service by schooling viewers in the tell-tale signs of non-denial denials. Nonetheless, people continue to use them, apparently because they work. Bill Cosby’s lawyers just launched a lulu, responding to the inexplicably re-booted accusations that Cosby was a serial sexual predator in the 70′s. You can’t get more non-denial than this, from lawyer John P. Schmitt on Cosby’s website:

“Over the last several weeks, decade-old, discredited allegations against Mr. Cosby have resurfaced. The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true..Mr. Cosby does not intend to dignify these allegations with any comment.”

There is no denial of the alleged rapes to be found here. Yes, the accusations are “decades old”: So what?  So are questions about whether Lizzie Borden was guilty.  The fact that the allegation are decades old means Cosby can’t be prosecuted because of the statute of limitations, but they don’t change anything about the seriousness of the accusations against the erstwhile “America’s Dad.”

Discredited? How have they been discredited? Cosby paid a settlement in one of the cases: that generally makes the allegations look credible (See: Paula Jones/Bill Clinton; Michael Jackson). Sure: “The fact that they are being repeated does not make them true,” and it also doesn’t make them false. That Cosby doesn’t intend to “dignify” the matter with further comment is strategy and posturing. It is significant that the lawyer did not say “He didn’t do it.”

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[UPDATE: Ah HA! Today that statement was taken down, with this taking its place, a joint statement from Dolores Troiani, counsel to Andrea Constand, and Schmitt:

‘The statement released by Mr. Cosby’s attorney over the weekend was not intended to refer in any way to Andrea Constand. As previously reported, differences between Mr. Cosby and Ms. Constand were resolved to the mutual satisfaction of Mr. Cosby and Ms. Constand years ago. Neither Mr. Cosby nor Ms. Constand intends to comment further on the matter.”

Translation: “Oops. That settlement with the first of Cosby’s accusers was predicated on neither party impugning or accusing the other once the money was paid, and that “discredited” comment risked getting Bill in even more hot water. Never mind!”]

                                                                                                                                  ——————-

Lawyers aren’t permitted to lie, though. Then again, they aren’t supposed to mislead the public with deceitful non-denials, either.

Then we have CNBC’s response to ex-CNBC reporter Melissa Francis, who followed Jonathan Gruber’s admissions of rigged math to get the Affordable Care Act past “stupid voters” with a relevant anecdote of her own. Francis, now a Fox Business anchor,  claims that the network “silenced” her when she questioned the merits and specifically the misleading numbers for the Affordable Care Act when it was being rammed through the legislative process. She told Fox News that she was called on the carpet by CNBC brass and told to stop, on the grounds that such criticism was “disrespectful to the President.”

A CNBC representative responded: Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Professions, Workplace

About Bill Cosby

Cosby meme

Fair enough. Wait…what????

Why is Bill Cosby’s past avocation as a Hollywood power-abuser and serial sexual predator suddenly so upsetting to Hollywood that they are recoiling from him now?

I refuse to believe that everyone in the news media, the entertainment industry and the black community didn’t know all about it, and for many years. I wrote about it in 2007, and I am not an investigative reporter.

I have to conclude that this is all because of younger people learning about this for the first time and the effect of social media. When whoever runs Cosby’s Twitter account cluelessly challenged followers to “meme me!”, what resulted was a flood of derisive–but funny!—memes referencing the rape allegations (he reportedly used hypnotic drugs), like the one above, or this one:

Cosby meme1

 

I also have to conclude that… Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Race, Workplace

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

Mayor DeBlasio’s Unethical Tardiness

White RabbitSince he was elected to succeed Michael Bloomberg as New York City’s mayor, Mayor Bill DeBlasio has earned a reputation for chronic tardiness. He is routinely 15, 30, 45 minutes or more late for appointments and public events, and has shown little resolve to deal with the problem. The most recent instance of  the mayor operating on “DeBlasio time” came yesterday, when he arrived late for a memorial event  to honor  the 260 people who died on American Airlines Flight 587 thirteen years ago. This time he was only 20 minutes late-–not bad, for him–but it meant that he was late for the scheduled moment of silence, which occurred at 9:16 AM, the exact moment the plane crashed in Queens, on November 12, 2001. According to the family member who solemnly rang a bell to signify the moment, DeBlasio’s aides asked her to stall until the mayor graced the gathered mourners with his presence. He is being roundly slammed for the episode, in the public and in the local media.

DeBlasio had excuses, as the habitually tardy always do. Sometimes the excuses are legitimate, and may be in DeBlasio’s case: it doesn’t matter. If you are always late, you forfeit  the benefit of excuses, even legitimate ones. DeBlasio said his boat to the event was delayed by fog, and that he just didn’t get rolling fast enough.  “I was just not feeling well this morning. I had a very rough night, ” he explained. “I woke up sluggish, and I should have gotten myself moving quicker … just woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep and I felt really sluggish and off-kilter this morning.”

Literally nobody seems to be sympathetic. Wrote Ann Althouse: “He’s an idiot…He thinks people will have sympathy over his struggles with a “rough night.” 260 people died in a plane crash!” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Incompetent Elected Officials, Leadership, Workplace

“The Firm” Ethics: Mitch Should Have Known What He Was Getting Into

I was just watching “The Firm” again after many years—my old friend and the terrific actor, the late Bart Whiteman, played “Dutch”—to get the ick of “Cabin Fever 3″ out of my head. (It was part of last night’s Halloween triple feature at my house.)

Pay attention, Tom...

Pay attention, Tom…

In an early scene in the film, Harvard Law student Mitch McDeere (Tom Cruise) is being courted by big law firms offering perks and cash. Then a small Memphis firm he never heard of —later, he learns that it is run by the Mob— blows him away with an offer he can’t refuse. The firms partners tell him that they wanted him so much, they bribed the clerk at Harvard’s placement office to learn what salaries the other firms had offered Mitch, then matched it plus 20% more. Tom is impressed, and flattered, and greedy, and takes the offer, even though the firm had openly revealed itself as unethical and proud of it.

He should have seen this as signature significance of a dangerously unethical culture in a profession with high ethical obligations, and walked out the door. A young lawyer with well-maintained ethics alarms would have. Who knows? Maybe this was a test the corrupt firm used to weed out ethical associates.

I always thought Mitch was just unlucky, but in the film, at least, he ended up in a bad firm because an ethics alarm wasn’t working.

 

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Misleading Legal Website Headline Of The Millenium: “Above The Law”

Here is the headline:

Wait---didn't I just hear the President say that the economic recovery was going just great? Someone tell Danielle, quick!

Wait—didn’t I just hear the President say that the economic recovery was going just great? Someone tell Danielle, quick!

“Graduate Of Elite Law School Forced To Live Off Welfare Due To Terrible State Of Job Market”

The law school is my alma mater, Georgetown Law Center; the student is a 2010 grad who subsequently passed the bar, Danielle Owens. The author of the overwrought article in Above the Law is Staci Zaretsky. Her tone made my mind flash back to “Queen for a Day.”

I don’t particularly want to poke the Lawscam hornet’s nest again, because I don’t especially enjoy having giant photos of my head placed on-line accompanied by obscenities, and I know a lot of bitter out of work lawyers with shaky interpersonal skills, huge debts, a computer and time on their hands have nothing better to do but to blame me and anyone else they can find for their plight (and yes, if I see a couple of them posting a photo like this on Facebook with the caption, “Hello, Ethics Alarms!” I am calling the police.). Nonetheless, I can’t let this pass without noting that the headline is dishonest, and Zaretsky’s commentary on Owens’ problems is exaggerated to the point of hysteria. Continue reading

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Remember The Title, “When An Apology Isn’t Enough: Carol Costello’s Ugly Partisan Bias”? An Apology Still Isn’t Enough.

"Dear Carol..."

“Dear Carol…”

As Joe Concha reports on Mediaite, the media drumbeats are growing louder in the news media jungle, calling for Carol Costello to deliver an on-air apology when she returns to the CNN morning broadcast Monday. Various media critics, including the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple (whose judgement is inherently suspect after pronouncing the smug and biased CNN anchorwoman “outstanding”), Fox’s inconsistent Howard Kurtz, and even CNN’s own Brian Stelter, have declared unacceptable Costello’s vicious, personal, plainly partisan glee while introducing a tape of Bristol Palin giving her account of what she claimed as was a physical attack on her by a larger man.  (Then there’s me.) Concha concludes,

“Throw in the growing-in-popularity hashtag (#firecarolcostello) on Twitter, a CNN Should Fire Carol Costello Facebook page, and a boatload of hypocrisy after she called for an ESPN analyst (Stephen A. Smith) to be suspended for insensitive comments he made about women’s abuse during the Ray Rice controversy, and you have an embattled anchor whose only option at this point is to ask for forgiveness on CNN (a mandatory two-week vacation afterward might not be a bad idea, either).”

As I explained at the time, Costello was wrong, and stupidly wrong, about Smith, as indeed she is wrong with remarkable frequency, and annoying even when she isn’t. Hypocrisy is only a small sliver of her problem, and no apology will cure what her gratuitous attack on Palin’s daughter reveals beyond question. She can express contrition to Bristol, but again, it doesn’t matter: her words, and the fact that she was unable to restrain herself sufficiently to avoid saying them on the air prove that she is unacceptably biased for a journalist. So great is her partisan hate that she takes glee in bodily harm being inflicted on the children of a popular conservative figure. So alien to Costello are the values of professionalism, fairness and respect for her viewers that she actually said, on the air, that her favorite part of the tape was the part where Palin said she had been called a cunt.  Continue reading

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