Further Ethics Observations On The Planned Parenthood Videos

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1. The fourth in a series of surreptitiously obtained videos depicting Planned Parenthood officials discussing the sale of fetal body parts for research has been released. The Center for Medical Progress is the anti-abortion group that has created these videos: it defines itself as a “citizen journalist” project. Since these videos have been made using deception and without the safeguards of established journalism ethics by untrained and non-objective journalists, Ethics Alarms has consistently held that they are the result of unethical conduct, regardless of the motives behind them or what they show.

I am, reluctantly, reversing that verdict. The reason is the now undeniable refusal of the mainstream media and professional journalists to do their duty regarding the abortion issue in general and Planned Parenthood in particular. Despite the significance of these videos, the attack on Planned Parenthood and the fact that abortion is the most contentious and least resolved moral-ethical issue of our time, the news media, broadcast and print, have intentionally and unconscionably avoided covering the Center for Medical Progress videos and the issues they raise. The average American who does not monitor the news over the internet probably isn’t aware of the videos at all, and certainly has no sense of their content.

Journalism ethics codes state that deception and surreptitious means are only justified as investigative methods of reporting when more open and transparent reporting cannot obtain the facts. When professional journalists shrink from their duty to obtain the facts and report the truth, citizen journalists must take over, because democracy requires truth and transparency. Journalists should have made these videos. Because reporters abdicated their duties, those who picked up the dropped banner of probing investigative journalism regarding vital national issues should not be condemned. They should be praised, and by everyone, including journalists. If a fire fighter refuses to enter a burning building to rescue a child, and a citizen knocks down a door to do the job, I don’t want to see that citizen charged for the cost of the door, or criticized for acting. The videos are a public service, and necessary perspective on our society’s war against the unborn. Continue reading

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Filed under Bioethics, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, U.S. Society

On Preventing Web Mobs: The Prisoner’s Dilemma And “Tit For Tat” Reconsidered

prison

As I expected, it took all of ten minutes for my post about the web vigilante attack on Dr. Walter Palmer to bear fruit, as in tomatoes tossed at my metaphorical face. The reason, as I calculated in advance, was my decision to employ a Tit for Tat strategy in responding to what I believe is a deadly trend on the internet that requires a strong response to restrain it. A would-be commenter attempted to make my blog party to web mob efforts to do financial, personal and even physical harm to the hapless hunting dentist by publicizing various addresses and phone numbers. I published his e-mail address.

I’m not sorry.

The  issue raised by my conduct involves integrity. By giving out the e-mail address of a commenter (because the commenter unethically attempted to publicize personal contact information regarding Palmer and his family) when I state on the site that I will not do so, I both violated my own policies and engaged in conduct that this blog specifically declares unethical: Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Law & Law Enforcement, Social Media, The Internet, U.S. Society

Unethical Quote Of The Month AND Comment Of The Day: Ethics Dunce: “Cecil The Lion Killer Walter Palmer…Or Any Big Game Hunter, Really”

“Feel free to pay this murdering asshole a visit at his home at XXXXXXXXX.. Don’t forget to bring your hunting gear. Can’t make it then send some mail to him and his wife XXXXXX. She loves animal killers! His wife is one of the owners of XXXXXXXXX, a customs broker in North Dakota. His daughter is XXXXXX (Palmer) and she can be reached at her company XXXXXXXXX. He also has vacation home at XXXXXXXXX.”

—– “Is,” an attempted, but immediately banned, Ethics Alarms commenter to the post about Walter Palmer, the big game-hunting dentist who inadvertently ended up shooting a popular and well-known lion rather than a random, everyday, mount-his-head-on-the-wall lion, as if it makes any real difference at all. The X’s cover up personal information about the Palmers, as this vicious and anonymous creep attempted to use this blog to facilitate organized harassment and possibly violence.

Dr. Palmer's office front...

Dr. Palmer’s office front…

It has been pointed out, fairly and accurately, that while people like Mia Farrow are trying to get Palmer killed—she tweeted out the same information I deleted above– because he was unlucky enough to be tricked into killing a lion-icon, the media is barely covering serial videos showing the dead-eyed callousness of the Planned Parenthood officials who facilitate and encourage the abortion, for any reason, of unborn human beings.  The same sensitive, compassionate progressives who are trying to get Palmer murdered (PETA has stated that he should be hanged) are shrugging off human carnage that is exactly as legal as the activity that Walter Palmer thought he was engaging in. One old lion versus a million nascent human beings, trying to live. Thus does selective outrage approach madness. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Comment of the Day, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Social Media, The Internet, U.S. Society

Would You Pay $15 An Hour To This Employee?

I love it when a story  combines recent posts. This one evokes the issue of minimum wage hikes and people who use social media to try to rouse the ire of the web Furies while getting themselves some pop culture fame of the approximate duration—and value— of a mayfly.  If only this teen had shot a lion, it would be perfect.

17-year-old Sylva Stoel was sent home to change when she arrived to work at a J.C. Penney’s store looking like this:

Sylvia shorts

Good for the boss. That’s no way to dress for work in a retail store. But Sylva is imbued with that certitude of perfection that only spoiled and badly raised teens can model, so she quit in protest and announced her defiance to the world, tweeting a photo of her giving the finger to Penney’s…

Sylvia finger

…. with the legend,“Boss sent me home for wearing ‘too revealing’ shorts that I bought from the store I work at in the career section.”

Yes, but what career, Sylva?

Her argument, brainlessly championed by the Huffington Post, is apparently that employees should be able to wear what they sell, which will be fun for those shopping in the bathing attire section.

I’ve got news for Sylva (I also may have found her missing “i”). You know nothing about the workplace. Your idea of professional attire is pathetic. You have no skills, and setting out to webshame an employer, who generously gave you a chance to get some desperately needed experience, by quitting and flipping your boss off should, if there is any justice, make you unemployable for a good, long time.

Those who run businesses can dictate reasonable dress codes for their employees, and red hotpants are not appropriate attire for male or female workers even in hotpants stores, unless the owner decides otherwise. This twitter assault says nothing of value about dress codes or J.C. Penney, but volumes about a deluded and rude child named Sylva Stoel, whom nobody should hire again until she learns acquires humility and  manners.

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Social Media, The Internet, Unethical Tweet, Workplace

Unethical Headline Of The Month: The Hill

“Cecil the lion’s killer donated to Romney”

Yup. This really was the headline, and the story under it really had nothing more valuable to offer.

You know what? I’m willing to bet that at least one of those Planned Parenthood execs caught on video talking about crunching unborn baby skulls donated to Barack Obama’s campaign. Or have given money to Hillary’s campaign.

Or have bought Barbra Streisand CDs. Or like cheese.

What possible relevance to anything is this jerk’s political donation record from three years ago? What does this headline mean? Is Romney a lion-killer? Is the Republican Party now implicated in Cecil’s death? How is this conceivably news, since only an imbecile would see any relationship between the two acts: giving to a political campaign and shooting a beloved lion?

It is interesting, I suppose, that The Hill employs at least two imbeciles: the one who wrote this piece, and the editor who didn’t toss it in the trash.

Now if Cecil the lion had donated to Romney, THAT would have been news.

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Filed under Animals, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

Jon Stewart Betrayal Update: Concha Gets It Right

Jon-Stewart-and-BarackLast night Jon Stewart finally commented on the reports of his meetings at the White House, and by his smug demeanor and evasiveness, confirmed the assessments of Ethics Alarms and many others.  Joe Concha of Mediaite nailed it:

“Well, I mean, I don’t know if they were secret,” the 52-year-old said last night while pointing out his name (which one?) was clearly on the visitor logs. It all sounds so much like Stephanopoulos explaining that his donations to the Clinton Foundation that were also there for all the public to see… buried on his tax forms. All I know is this: If I met with the president and hosted a program which primarily focuses on politics, pretty sure I’d let my audience know at the very least that what had happened. Unless, of course, I have to carry out my PR orders in a way no White House Press Secretary or Sunday talk show appearance ever could…Why attend a meeting with the most powerful person on the planet if you can’t report back what was said? In the end, these people are there not for an interview, but for instructions. And that’s exactly why Stewart took the Acela down to DC: To come back to New York and serve as the Baghdad Bob of arguably the most influential news program—forget that it’s billed as fake—on the dial right now…No matter…Stewart will get the Letterman treatment next week when he leaves The Daily Show, and rightly so. He didn’t earn $25-$30M a year for hosting a show four days a week for nothing. His timing, delivery and intelligence is something you don’t teach or learn.

In the end, Jon Stewart will be looked back on as one of the great performers of our generation. He’s also one of the more dishonest, and about as phony as they come.”

Exactly.

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media

Kicking A Lawyer When She’s Down

Nelson

The more I read “Above the Law,” the less I like it.

The legal gossip site has now devoted two articles to an embarrassing incident involving Sarah E. Buffett,  a partner at Nelson Mullins, one of the largest firms in the country. While on a flight, Buffett downed three glasses of wine as a chaser to a prescription sleeping pill without eating dinner, and instead of falling asleep as was her evident intent, went bananas. Sitting in first class, she first began damaging her seat and then tried to smash the aircraft window with an entertainment system remote. Then she got up and began “acting in a menacing manner in front of the cockpit door.” The flight attendants weren’t able to restrain the out-of-control lawyer, so other passengers had to help get Buffett into plastic restraints. She removed those restraints twice before passengers held her down while an attendant wrapped her legs with tape.

The pilot was forced to turn around and make an emergency landing.

Buffett, who said in court that she remembers none of this, has been charged with violation of 49 U.S. Code § 46504, a crime punishable by a fine and/or possible imprisonment of up to 20 years. Her firm has suspended her from all duties, and wiped her bio from its website. She has been humiliated and her career is in jeopardy. Continue reading

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Filed under U.S. Society