You should know by now that about a hundred actresses have had their nude photographs hacked from private accounts and posted for the world to drool over. As is often the case in such incidents, the ethical instincts, or lack thereof, of various individuals have been exposed in the wake of the event:
Ethics Dunce: Perez Hilton.
No surprise here: Hilton, a web gossip columnist and a different species of hack than the ones at issue, showed himself to have dead ethics alarms. After eagerly posting the uncensored photos of Victoria Justice and Jennifer Lawrence on his celebrity gossip blog, Hilton was condemned far and wide on social media, so he first proved he didn’t get it by keeping up the photos but censoring the women’s naughty bits, and then taking them down entirely, explaining that “At work we often have to make quick decisions. I made a really bad one today and then made it worse. I feel awful and am truly sorry.” Continue reading
Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Heroes, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Quotes, The Internet
“We don’t have a strategy yet.”
—President Barack Obama, responding to a question regarding the military response to ISIS in Iraq and Stria.
But hey, there’s no rush!
I don’t enjoy beating dead horses, I don’t like using Ethics Alarms to pile on, and I try not to say I told you so. However, if you were looking for a statement that constitutes signature significance of this man’s complete lack of fitness to serve as a leader of anything more complicated or important than a Rotary Chapter, this is it. Let’s see:
- It is an admission of inattention to duty.
- It is a confession of incompetence.
- Coming on the heels of studied disengagement via fundraisers and golfing, it is proof of neglect.
- In the context of Obama’s reported focus on illegal immigration and climate change, it demonstrates warped priorities
- It is frightening, and
- Even if true, this is an irresponsible thing to say in public if you want to be taken seriously as Commander-in-Chief and as a world leader.
It is depressing to read the comments of desperate Democratic Obama enablers on various websites. One said, “You don’t reveal to your enemy that you have a strategy!” No, you utter fool, you don’t reveal to your enemy what your strategy is. (Obama has done this too, in Iraq and Afghanistan.) If you believe world leaders benefit by acting as if they just walked off the street with no clue what they are doing, perhaps Obama’s next brilliant ploy should be to appear wearing a propeller beanie and speak like stroke victim. That should really fool ‘em!
Finance blogger Jeffrey Carter explains why the answer is so alarming and ominous (though, I have to say, it shouldn’t be surprising): Continue reading
Oh, Fox, Fox, Fox….
As the tragic news of Robin William’s suicide spread across the media, Fox News made an utter ass of itself by using a fake “Mrs. Doubtfire” video featuring someone dressed like the Williams character to back Greta Van Susteren’s phone interview of Larry King about the comic’s career. The footage was labeled as coming from 20th Century Fox, and then the network moved on to clips from “Mork and Mindy.”
It was a just a mistake, but I think it was a mistake of significance:
1. The “Mrs. Doubtfire” spoof video was found by some lazy and inept lower level Fox staff member, but obviously passed review by a director, an editor, and others. Nobody who had any idea who Robin Williams was or the slightest familiarity with his work could have been involved in this. It tells us that Fox News is sloppy and unprofessional, and should cause legitimate concerns about their news gathering process, fact-checking, and trustworthiness. (I know, I know…) Continue reading
Anyone who understands President Obama’s behavior the last few months is invited to step forward, and anyone who has a benign explanation for it need to step in front of him. It is so bizarre and unprecedented that amateurs and professionals alike are offering psychological diagnoses. Has any American leader ever responded to failure, adversity and crisis with this kind of a disgraceful combination of defiance, bitterness, and detachment? I can’t think of any.
It is said that during the darkest days of Watergate, President Nixon sank into depression. Franklin Pierce coped with the stress of watching the Union unravel over slavery by staying smashed as much as possible. Woodrow Wilson’s battles with Congress probably helped provoke the stroke that incapacitated him. None of these are really comparable to the current President sinking to gratuitous campaign mode, calling Republicans derogatory names and impugning their motives and humanity, while openly alternating between obsessive fundraising and vacationing the rest of the time as the world is desperate for American leadership.
Say what you will about Bill Clinton, and I often do, but the man never capitulated, gave up, or stopped battling no matter how much (legitimate) fire he was under during the Monica scandal and his impeachment. At very least, one would think Barack Obama would see the need, as past Presidents have, to model virtues like diligence, responsibility, fortitude, courage, and perseverance for the nation, especially the young.
Nope. Continue reading
Chris Cilizza’s latest of several attempts to relieve President Obama of responsibility for his spectacularly incompetent and disastrous presidency is too full of falsities, fallacies, rationalizations and illogical assertions to let pass, as I would dearly love to. Duty calls, however, so here we go. I’m not going to comment on the quoted “terrific” Ron Brownstein piece, which is not essential. Cilizza is in bold, my comments are not….
“Being president is the most powerful job in the world. At which you will almost certainly fail.”
- First, I must ask, fail at what? Fail at solving problems? Fail at being popular? Fail by leaving the country in worse shape than when the President took office? Fail at leadership, at management, at foreign policy, at vision? Fail at handling crises? Fail by not dealing with long-term problems? By not bothering to define the central concept of his thesis, Cilizza just betrays his ignorance and laziness. If he won’t define his terms, he can’t be challenged.
- Let me give Mr. Cilizza, who is really, absurdly arguing that succeeding as President is harder now than it has ever been, a brief history lesson focusing on how difficult this job has proved to be for others. George Washington, numero uno, had by far the most difficult job, being President of an unstable, new, confused nation with no precedents for his office, all while being second guessed by some of the most brilliant minds the nation ever produced, who were fighting among themselves to steer the country’s culture and government in radically different directions. He did a superb job, because Washington was a natural leader, perfectly suited for his grand moment in history. The next three Presidents were not, and had a terrible time of it (Jefferson’s reputation was saved by having the Louisiana Territory fall into his lap, but he was no leader, and call me a stickler, but any time a foreign power burns down the White House, I’m calling that President–James Madison—a flop), but James Monroe got the job down, beginning with having Cabinet members–like Daniel Webster–who were smarter than he was and properly delegating and managing them. The job defeated John Quincy Adams, but the next natural leader, gutsy, crazy Andrew Jackson, managed to keep the nation from dissolving over regional differences, and solved potentially disastrous financial problems, in part because he was able to project strong leadership. Being a killer will do that….
“Expect this to play out in thumbsucker columns on whether America is ‘ungovernable.'”
-—Professor Glenn Reynolds, the conservative “Instapundit,” in 2009 commenting on a blog post by Ed Morrissey about growing evidence of President Obama’s deficits in leadership skills and management competence.
I mean, who can do this? It’s impos—oh. Right.
Sure enough, here comes a the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, with an offensive, unethical and false column in the Washington Post titled “It’s virtually impossible to be a successful modern president.”
This is a continuation of the six year strategy of the White House and Democrats to argue the ethical value of accountability out of existence. After all, if a job is impossible, you can’t be blamed for failing at it.
If there is any analyst ill-prepared to make such an analysis, it is a journalist, who in most cases, and definitely in the case of Cilliza, have never led or managed anything. Leadership and management challenges always look overwhelming when an amateur is overwhelmed by them.
I have to rush off to a seminar, so I will let you all dissect Cillizza’s pitiable excuses for the President, and return to the topic when I get back.
It’s time to launch a new dubious honor here at Ethics Alarms: The Donald Sterling Award Award.
The DSAA gets its name from the embarrassing “Man of the Year” award that the San Diego NAACP was preparing to bestow on Donald Sterling shortly before his racially offensive comments to his mistress were recorded and leaked to the news media. Sterling had already engaged in conduct that seemed to make NAACP recognition both unlikely and ill-advised, so his award, which the organization retracted, is the perfect model to emulate for future organizations determined to undermine their values and objectives by choosing inappropriate honorees.
And the first nomination for the The Donald Sterling Award Award is The American Bar Association, for its decision to give its 2014 Robert J. Kutak Award to New England Law/ Boston dean John F. O’Brien. The award is given annually “to an individual who has contributed significantly toward increased cooperation among legal education, the practicing bar, and the judiciary.”
Well, maybe O’Brien technically deserves that award, but then Sterling had given a lot of money to local projects benefiting African-American kids in San Diego, too. The problem is that O’Brien could serve as the poster boy for the ugly underbelly of legal education and its disconnect to the current economics of the legal profession. In 2013, he gave his school unwanted publicity when it was revealed that he earned a salary of $867,000, among the very highest law dean salaries in the country, while low-ranked New England Law/ Boston charged $40,904 for yearly tuition. Before considering lowering his own compensation, he started cutting faculty positions, until he finally relented and took a pay cut to a paltry $650,000 a year. I know, it’s less than three Hillary Clinton speeches. But the going rate for deans at the top law schools has been estimated to be “only” $450,000, and O’Brien runs a school that is the opposite of “top.” Continue reading