Tag Archives: cowardice

Ethical Quote Of The Week: Andrew Sullivan

You are dead to me, Firefox. Tell your mama.

You are dead to me, Firefox. Tell your mama.

“Will he now be forced to walk through the streets in shame? Why not the stocks? The whole episode disgusts me – as it should disgust anyone interested in a tolerant and diverse society. If this is the gay rights movement today – hounding our opponents with a fanaticism more like the religious right than anyone else – then count me out. If we are about intimidating the free speech of others, we are no better than the anti-gay bullies who came before us”

—-Blogging pioneer and gay rights advocate Andrew Sullivan, writing yesterday about Mozilla’s craven capitulation to gay rights bullies who demanded the removal of new CEO Brendan Eich “who had the gall to express his First Amendment rights and favor Prop 8 in California by donating $1,000.”

Corporations, as the Duck Dynasty flap depressingly illustrated, tend to be spineless, irresolute and principle-free. This instance of that tendency, however, is more alarming and harmful than most. Capitulating to arrogant, self-righteous, power-hungry forces on the left or right only makes them more voracious: we will know who to thank first when boycotts abound demanding that anyone who questioned Al Gore’s climate change hysteria be sacked.

Thank you, Mozilla.

Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Quotes, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, The Internet, U.S. Society, Workplace

Ethics Diagnosis: #SueyParkisanirresponsiblepowerhungrypoliticalcorrectnessbully

Colbert gag

Suey Park has declared war on Stephen Colbert over a promotional tweet made in his name by some Comedy Central PR employee. Not that there was anything wrong with the tweet*, unless you chose to willfully misconstrue it. The line was a quote from Colbert during a comic riff on his show mocking Redskins owner Daniel Snyder’s lame effort to deflect criticism of his team’s name as being ‘racist.’ (Reminder: It isn’t—not in the context in which is being used. Tasteless? Perhaps…) Anyone who is familiar with Colbert’s schtick—it is all tongue in cheek, exaggeration, irony, sarcasm and satire—understands that the Twitter quote is mocking the idea that one can continue being “racially insensitive” as long as you set up a foundation to show sensitivity to the group you have been accused of being racially insensitive about. Here is an explanation of how Park saw an opening for some cheap social media muscle-flexing, from Slate:

“On Wednesday night Stephen Colbert made sport of Washington football team owner Dan Snyder and his plan to undercut criticism of the team name by founding an organization for the uplift of “original Americans.” Colbert ran though all the reasons why this was funny, then called back to a skit from one of the show’s first episodes, way back from the fall of 2005—a joke about the host being caught on a “live feed” playing a racist Asian stereotype (Ching Chong Ding Dong, from Guanduong), then not understanding why it was racist. Colbert would make amends with his new “Ching Chong Ding Dong Foundation for Sensitivity to Orientals or Whatever.” He’d played versions of the game since then, dressing up in a sombrero for “Hispanic heritage month.” It’s one of the Colbert character’s oldest gags—he “doesn’t see color,” so he can’t ever be blamed if he accidentally does something horribly racist.”

The rest of the story: Suey Park pounced, first telling Colbert “Fuck you” and then sending her many followers a directive to flood the twitterverse with   …. and so they did, and have. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Humor and Satire, Marketing and Advertising, Popular Culture, Race, The Internet, U.S. Society, Unethical Tweet

The Loathsome Ed Schultz

Ed-schultz-MSNBC

It is not the first time, but MSNBC’s ugliest Angry Left spokesman just completed a cycle of conduct demonstrating beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is deceptive, dishonest, cowardly, and incompetent—in short, loathsome. This is Ed Schultz, the most unethical of the stable of unethical anchors and commentators intentionally assembled by MSNBC—you could not possible get such an awful group by accident—for reasons best known to its chief, Phil Griffin. Having left-leaning views doesn’t make one loathsome by itself (no matter what Mark Levin says), but I do wonder what to make of fans of the likes of Martin Bashir, Keith Olbermann, Alec Baldwin  (all of whom became so openly loathsome that even MSNBC had to jettison them), Melissa Harris-Perry, Chris Matthews, Lawrence O’Donnell, Al Sharpton and especially Schultz. A viewer admiring an unambiguous jerk on the level of Ed Schultz because he applies his jerk-ness in support of the viewer’s favorite ideology is itself a strong indication of flawed character. In the matter of unethical pundits, it doesn’t take one to know one, but it takes one to tolerate one. If a job applicant tells me she’s never misses the Ed Show, I’m not trusting her with the combination to the safe, I’ll promise you that.

Ed’s moment of self-revelation came as a result of some nakedly partisan Obamacare cheerleading in December. Ed then crowed,

“I’m going to make a prediction tonight. It`s going to hit 5 million by March 1st. That’s right. Five million people signed up by March 1st. Get your tapes rolling at home, folks, because it’s going to be a big “I told you so.”

Well, Ed was wrong, and did not get his “big ‘I told you so.’” But because the man has the maturity of an 11-year-old and the integrity of Newt Gingrich, he couldn’t level with his audience about the fact that his prognostication didn’t pan out. When his March 1st deadline came and went, Ed got into Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine and changed the past, saying on March 12 as the sign-ups languished well short of his prediction:

“Well, I predicted five million people are going to sign up by the end of this month. We`re closing on it on that number.”

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Ethics Quote of the Week: The Detroit News

“While it may be politically expedient, rewriting a law passed by Congress simply to avoid ballot box consequences is an outrageous abuse of executive power…No law should be reshaped for the sole purpose of benefiting a single political party.”

—-The Detroit News, condemning the cynical and nakedly political decision by the Obama administration to postpone the consequences of the Affordable Care Act until after the 2014 mid-terms, to protect vulnerable Democrats from voter anger.
train-wreckSo many of Ethics Alarms’ reflexive Obama administration apologists have fled lately that I wonder if anyone will have the fortitude to take to the parapets and defend the latest turn of the Obamacare Ethics Train Wreck. Highlights from the clear-eyed Detroit News editorial: Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

Jumbo* of The Month: Hillary Clinton

Charging Elephant

“The claims by President Putin and other Russians that they had to go into Crimea and maybe further into Eastern Ukraine because they had protect the Russia minorities—that is reminiscent of claims that were made back in the 1930s when Germany under the Nazis kept talking about how they had to protect German minorities in Poland, in Czechoslovakia, and elsewhere throughout Europe. So I just want everybody to have a little historic perspective. I’m not making a comparison certainly, but I am recommending that we perhaps can learn from this tactic that has been used before.”

—-Hillary Clinton on the Crimea crisis, showing that she has learned deceit and dishonesty at Bill’s knee, or, perhaps, was really the teacher all along.

‘I’m not making a comparison: I’m just comparing them. I’m not saying Putin is like Hitler, I’m just saying he’s acting like Hitler. I’m not making a comparison; I just want to evoke the specter of Hitler’s expansion over Europe while everyone looked the other way without being accused of doing so.’

And adding “certainly” makes it all undeniable.

Some observations, in the throes of disgust: Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Character, Ethics Quotes, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, History, Jumbo, Leadership, U.S. Society

More Interview Ethics: Janet Mock Ambushes Piers Morgan

janet_mock_piers_morgan_1_16x9_1600

Piers Morgan, CNN’s imported British tabloid reporter turned Larry King replacement, invited trans author and activist Janet Mock on his show to promote her new memoir, “Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More.” As I watched the interview (because of Mock and not Morgan, who makes my skin crawl), I was struck by how far such interviews have come since David Susskind would invite transgendered individuals on his PBS show—this was classy, remember—and essentially hold them out as freaks. Morgan was respectful and supportive, though the sensationalist aspect was still there but muted: the text under Mock during her interview read “BORN A BOY,” and “was a boy until age 18,” which are, though accurately describing how most CNN viewers would understand Mock’s journey, over-simplified and counter to how Mock describes herself.

Mock seemed happy, Morgan seemed gracious. Then Mock went on Twitter and Buzzfeed to pronounce Morgan a clueless, ignorant, biased jerk.  He was, shockingly, “trying to do infotainment” Mock said. Morgan’s show is the epitome of infotainment, and everybody knows it. She criticized him for “sensationalizing” transgender people while neglecting a substantive discussion about her book. The sales of Mock’s memoir depend on its sensational aspects, again, as she and her publisher well know. Mock accused Morgan of asking the same kinds of embarrassing questions about body parts and boy friends that non-trans people are inevitably curious about. Well, of course he did…because that’s what his audience is curious about.

None of this was communicated to Morgan either before, during, or after the interview. Morgan, who is no Sam Rubin, was incensed, and struck back via Twitter, since that is the forum where Mock chose to publicly attack him. In various tweets and exchanges he called Mock cowardly, “churlish,” and shameful, and criticized her allies as well, as she successfully brought down the progressive hoards on Morgan’s head. The same week, he invited her back to on the show along with a panel so he could defend himself while assailing her conduct. You can read the transcript of that show here.

What’s going on here? Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, The Internet

Rubin-Jackson Revisited: Gibbs’ Rules #6 and The Harmful Apology

Sam Rubin is no Jethro Gibbs. Unfortunately.

Sam Rubin is no Jethro Gibbs. Unfortunately.

Samuel Jackson’s reckless and unjustified attack on KTLA entertainment reporter Sam Rubin (which, incredibly, continues to be misrepresented by most of the news media, internet and social media) is an excellent example of how relatively trivial incidents can teach important ethics lessons. One of those lessons I did not discuss in the previous post about this episode involves the phenomenon of the gratuitous or needless apology.

To briefly recap: Rubin’s celebrity guest, Samuel L. Jackson, falsely and obnoxiously accused Rubin of confusing him with another black actor, Laurence Fishburne, thus asserting that Rubin 1) thought all blacks looked alike 2) was impliedly a bigot or racist as a result, 3) was  unprepared  for the interview, and 4) was unprofessional and should lose his job. Rubin apologized twice, first during Jackson’s unprovoked rant (for Rubin had not confused him with Fishburne, and it was Jackson who was confused and unprepared for the interview), and later, to everyone else, after headlines that his “racist mistake” had justly provoked Jackson were being repeated everywhere. Rubin said:

“We start right now with the beauty and the occasional pain of live television. First and foremost, I do know who Samuel L. Jackson is. I’ve interviewed him several times over the years, but never quite like the conversation we just had. I indicated to Samuel that I’d seen him during the Super Bowl, and he thought that I had confused him with the commercial Laurence Fishburne had done for a car company. Of course a “Captain America” ad had also run during the Super Bowl, but I immediately felt so dumb, I didn’t bring that up — and he gave me the shellacking that was well deserved. I pride myself on the fact — that unlike a lot of people who do this kind of work — more often than not, I really do know what I’m talking about. But I didn’t 30 minutes ago, and I’m really embarrassed about it, and I very much apologize to Samuel L. Jackson and anyone else who was offended for what was a very amateur mistake.”

This kind of apology, a coerced, false apology for conduct that warrants no apology, regret or forgiveness at all, does not appear on the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale, because while it looks and sounds like an apology, it is something else entirely. The Apology Scale ranks the intent, sincerity, honesty and effectiveness of apologies for actual wrongdoing or harm. The coerced and false apology is wrongdoing that causes harm, and is the product of wrongdoing itself. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Workplace

A&E Does A Cracker Barrel

spine poster

The fecklessness and lack of core principles exhibited by our corporations is often breathtaking.

A&E has now, like Cracker Barrel, stuck its pusillanimous finger in the air and  decided that their “strong sense of integrity and deep commitment” to principle means that they do what whatever interest group has the most profit potential for them down the line wants them to do. Thus Phil Robertson is back on “Duck Dynasty,” and his “indefinite suspension” has been disclaimed by his employers. You can read A&E’s nauseating statement here…I considered posting it, but I don’t have the heart.

Everything I wrote previously about Cracker Barrel’s reversal on this same incident applies to A&E, but let me add this.

An organization with no core principles distinct from the profit motive is capable of anything, including outright evil. It is not worthy of trust. I would not and could not work for such an organization, and this episode makes me wonder if the entire concept of corporate ethics is a lie.

__________________________

Pointer: ablativmeatshld

Facts: Hollywood Reporter

 

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Ethics Dunce: Steve Martin (Coward, Too)

Life imitates art.

Shame on Steve Martin. He is a comedian. He tweets jokes. He tweeted a joke that was not racist in the least. (Everything that comments humorously on cultural quirks isn’t racist.) The political correctness bullies jumped on him too, because they nailed Phil Robertson and destroyed Justine Sacco. Martin, a novelist, a playwright, a TV writer, a comic and an actor, should have the integrity to stand up to this suffocating and unethical phenomenon. He has the stature to make a difference. He doesn’t have that integrity. He took the path of least resistance. He is a coward. He groveled. He apologized. The Blaze headlined that he “had to apologize,” No he didn’t. What he had to do was show some principle and strength of character when being manipulated and unfairly attacked, and he wasn’t up to the task.

By giving them what they crave, Steve Martin made the censors, bullies, cyber mobs and political correctness dictators more powerful, and hungrier still.

Without champions who will fight for free thought and expression, we will lose them. Martin and people of his intelligence and credibility have an obligation to be such champions, and he failed us all.

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Spark and Pointer: The Blaze

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Dunces, Humor and Satire, Race, Rights, The Internet

On Cracker Barrel’s Poll-Driven “Principles”

Well, they got the color right...

Well, they got the color right…

Cracker Barrel just proved that integrity and principle are alien concepts, if not to the entire corporate sector, then at least its cheesy, weaselly corner of it. Watching a company so blatantly hold its wet finger to the wind waiting to see where the “principles” with the most profitability lie is revolting, but instructive to those of us who like to believe there are such things as ethical corporations. I think we’re probably fooling ourselves. I think they are nearly all like the spineless, pusillanimous, grovelling Cracker Barrel, but just smarter about it. But then, a box of hammers could be smarter about it.

First, reacting to A&E’s craven PC punishment of Phil Robertson of cable’s Duck Dynasty clan for expressing the basic religious convictions of millions of Americans (they think homosexuality is voluntary, and a sin) in response to an GQ interviewer’s question, Cracker Barrel pulled products with Phil’s likeness, saying in a statement,

“Cracker Barrel’s mission is Pleasing People. We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people. These ideals are the core of our corporate culture…. We removed selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests while we evaluate the situation.”

I thought this was unusually weasel-worded, and I was right. The translation, in retrospect:

‘We at Cracker Barrel have no principles whatsoever. We are a blank slate; we go with the flow. There is no right or wrong for us: whatever position we feel we have to hold to get the most people to buy our products, you can count on us. If 51% of America begins worshiping Baal, hey, sacrifice a goat for in our name, because we’re all in. If the majority want to ban, hey, anything or anyone, we’re in full agreement. We aim to please, in any way that helps our bottom line.’ Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Gender and Sex, Religion and Philosophy, Rights