Tag Archives: Fox news

Abdication Of Duty: Now Fox News Is Reporting Miracles

Halleluiah!!

Halleluiah!!

Anyone who follows news coverage from an objective perspective has to be grateful for Fox News, as unattractive an object of admiration as it is. The mainstream media partisan and political bias is palpable, and materially damaging to democracy, so Fox’s looking glass perspective does a great deal to relieve the imbalance by reporting legitimate stories that the other networks unconscionably bury. To CNN, a missing Malaysian airplane justifies scanty coverage of dangerous U.S. foreign policy fiascos, growing evidence of criminal political activity by the IRS, and California state senators under indictment. To CBS, a smoking gun memo showing the White House deliberately misleading the public and the press in the wake of the Benghazi violence isn’t worthy of reporting. Fox remedies these and more, every day. For the remedy to be effective, credible and respectable, however, the network has to avoid justifying its ideological critics’ attacks by behaving like a clown act. That shouldn’t be so hard, really. It only requires hewing to professional journalism standards. For Fox News, however, this is often hard, and sometimes, like this morning, too hard.

Fox and Friends decided to report a minor news event in Saugus, Massachusetts as a miracle. I’m sure this pleased Fox’s demographic of god-fearing Christians, but it is juvenile, unprofessional, silly and incompetent journalism, and proselytizing to boot.  After this, there is no reason not to expect that the next time Jesus’s face is said to appear on a tortilla, Fox will break into its programming with a BREAKING NEWS!! alert. This is supposed to be a morning news show, not the “Hour of Power” or the “700 Club.” Continue reading

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Filed under Journalism & Media, Religion and Philosophy

Ethics Dunce: Howard Kurtz…One Way Or The Other

Radner as "Baba Wawa." Walters, oddly, never felt the need to respond...

Radner as “Baba Wawa.” Walters, oddly, never felt the need to respond…

Maybe the ethics component in the title is gilding the lily in this case. Fox’s Kurtz, in attacking what he perceives as the unfairness of Stephen Colbert’s barbs, certainly misunderstands the ethics of Colbert’s craft, but what he primarily proves is that he’s a dunce…what kind of dunce, it’s difficult to tell. Is he the kind of dunce who can’t take a joke? Or is he the kind of  dunce who doesn’t realize he should leave the gags to professionals?

The former media ethics watchdog for the Washington Post, CNN and the Daily Beast, now playing that role for Fox News (all oxymoron jokes gratefully accepted), says that he has finally had his fill of being mocked by Colbert, the Comedy Central satirist whose gimmick is playing a conservative fool in order to ridicule real ones.

“It’s about time someone took on Stephen Colbert,” Kurtz wrote in what is either  serious piece on Fox News Insider, or a criminally inept attempt at ironic humor. “This guy—a fake anchor if ever there was one—has been maligning hard-working journalists for too long. Journalists like me. In an effort to get a few cheap laughs, this Comedy Central clown took my work out of context and, worse, engaged in selective editing. It was nothing less than a deliberate attempt to mislead viewers.”

Uh, Howie? Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Dunces, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media

Ethics Dunces: Conservative Supporters Of Self-Appointed Censor Mom, Judy Cox

Judy Cox, saving America one T-shirt at a time...

Judy Cox, Wacko, saving America one T-shirt at a time…

Conservatives just can’t help themselves, it seems.

They can’t avoid undermining their historically vital role in counterbalancing the process of societal entropy and the degrading of individual liberty by central state control, by periodically making themselves and their philosophy look so hypocritical and ridiculous that their power to persuade is crippled. One traditional way conservatives ensure that they will be reviled and mocked by anyone under the age of 50, even when the are right, is their addiction to celebrating censorious wackos who seem to have been only recently unfrozen from the glaciers that have imprisoned them since around 1954.

This afternoon I watched with my jaw agape as a panel of “experts” on Fox cheered the ridiculous actions of Judy Cox, who was horrified to see T-shirts sale for in a Utah college town store  that sported the images of winsome women in scanty attire—you know, like one can see on television every hour of every day, but more dignified.  Judy, who was concerned for the sensibilities of her 18 year-old son (also known as “an adult”) and those like him whose morals will be permanently warped by such images, promptly had a cow:

“Cox said she complained about the window display to a store manager and was told the T-shirts couldn’t be taken down without approval from the corporate office. She then bought all 19 T-shirts in stock, for a total of $567. She says she plans to return them later, toward the end of the chain store’s 60-day return period. The shirts cost about $28 each on the website for PacSun, which sells beach clothes for teenagers and young adults.“These shirts clearly cross a boundary that is continually being pushed on our children in images on the Internet, television and when our families shop in the mall,” Cox said in an email to The Associated Press.”

That’s not all: Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Popular Culture, Religion and Philosophy, U.S. Society

Unethical Website Of The Month: The California Republican Assembly’s CoveringHealthCareCA.com

Fake Obamacare site

“Unethical Website of the Month” doesn’t really do justice to CoveringHealthCareCA.com, and that’s even with the acknowledgement that this is the same Ethics Alarms category where the racist site Chimpmania is filed. CoveringHealthCareCA.com is an intentional effort to sabotage the Affordable Care Act in California, the one place where the “signature achievement” of the Obama administration didn’t completely collapse out of the starting gate. For Republican lawmakers to be doing this is beneath contempt, indefensible in every way, and the ethical equivalent of treason. The people who publish Chimpmania are hateful, vicious bigots, but they are marginal citizens and human beings. All societies have scum, and in the 21st Century, some of that scum will have racist websites. That is inevitable. It should not be inevitable for public servants to try to undermine their own government’s laws, health care system, and citizens for political gain.

CoveringHealthCare.com is a false flag website, launched by Republicans in the California Assembly to deceive Californians into believing it is an official Obamacare website, when it is, in truth, an anti-Obamacare website. Its address is similar—CoveringHealthCareCA.com vs. CoveredCa.com, the real site—and its design evokes the actual Obamacare sites. Its apparent purpose is to help citizens navigate the new health insurance system, except that once you begin clicking and reading, it slowly dawns–how slowly will vary— that this is something else, a collection of attacks and talking points against the Affordable Care Act. Continue reading

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Filed under Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, The Internet, Unethical Websites

New York’s Stop And Frisk Ethics Train Wreck

Free speech, Brown University style.

Free speech, Brown University style.

On the CBS Tom Selleck drama “Blue Bloods,” fictional New York police commissioner Ryan (Selleck) must deal with a court-mandated monitor to prevent police abuse of the city’s stop-and-frisk tactics. The show might as well just sketch out its season following parallel developments in the real stop-and-frisk drama in the city, which has already taken some strange twists and turns and is bound to take others. It is now officially an Ethics Train Wreck, involving questionable ethical conduct by police, the city government, a former mayor, Fox News, a judge, college students, and an Ivy League college: Continue reading

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Filed under Citizenship, Education, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Race, U.S. Society

Comment of the Day: “Lessons of The Colorado ‘Trans Bathroom Harassment’ Hoax

Australian Ethics Alarms reader Zoe Brain is the site’s resident expert on transgender issues, having professional and personal experience in the field, and she pointed me to this story, which is disturbing and revealing. I know she will continue to help clarify the issues and events involved in the ongoing comment thread, but I wanted to highlight this comment, which also provides an update, as the Comment of the Day on the post, Lessons of The Colorado “Trans Bathroom Harassment” Hoax.Here’s Zoe Brain:

“A few comments –

“1) Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), Fox News and others have neither retracted the story nor removed it, despite being informed that it’s false in both substance and in several technical areas. For example, this trans girl transitioned two years ago, she is not “a boy who sometimes dresses like a girl”.

“2) On the other hand, the San Jose Christian Examiner, after initially and uncritically reporting what the CBN had said (they considered it a completely reliable source) and with additional rather pungent commentary, subsequently fact-checked and retracted with apologies. They left the story up as a badge of dishonour, but prefaced it with words that did indeed amount to “WE MISLED YOU, WE WERE UNPROFESSIONAL, AND WE BEG YOUR FORGIVENESS.”. I therefore nominate them for an Ethics Hero award – section “What to do when you screw up by the numbers”.

“3) Regarding timing – Continue reading

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Filed under Comment of the Day, Education, Ethics Heroes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, U.S. Society

The Thugs, The Talk Show Host, And The Obamacare Operator: An Ethics Drama

Sean and Earline

Sean and Earline

Here is what happened.

Conservative radio talk show host Sean Hannity called the Affordable Care Act 800 “Hotline” to determine what information was being disseminated there. After all, the news media, without calling the line, was misinforming the public about what awaited them: CNN Headline News’s cheery morning host Robin Meade, for example, said, “They don’t have to use the website to enroll, right? Now they can do it over the phone?” Wrong.

He called, and this transpired, as described by Mediaite (you can also hear the call at the link):

“After President Obama gave out the phone number for the official Obamacare registration hotline Monday morning, radio host Sean Hannity called in to speak with a human representative… Eventually, he made his way to a help line with a female operator named “Earline Davis.” Hannity proceeded to ask Earline questions about the difficulties experienced on HealthCare.gov, prompting her to explain that many people have called to vent their frustrations and that all she can tell them is that the site will likely experience difficulties for the next 42 hours. The radio host also asked the woman the particulars of her job: When did she begin working on Obamacare calls, how long she trained for answering calls, and whether her bosses have told her what to say when asked about the “glitchy” website. Hannity even managed to convince the woman to read the “script” aloud on the radio:

“Thanks for your interest in the health insurance marketplace. We are having a lot of visitors trying to use our website right now. This is causing some glitches for some people trying to create an account or log in. Keep trying and thanks for your patience. You might have better success during off-peak hours like later at night or early in the morning. We’ll continue working to improve the site so you can get covered.”

“And that’s the whole thing? So you went through a whole week of training so you can do that?” Hannity asked before attempting to cut her off, perhaps sensing the sensitivities involved with such a question. He then asked her questions for which she clearly had no answers: “Did you know how much the government spent on that website?” “Isn’t that crazy?” “Did you know the president promised the average family was going to save $2,500 dollars, and the average increase is $7,500 a year?” Hannity complimented for the operator for being so polite and kind, but also asked her questions that could possibly put her job on the line: “Have you ever gotten anyone who really likes it yet?” he asked at another point. “Um, not really,” she admitted, sending the radio host into a fit of laughter.

The conversation later switched to small talk about her residence in Panama City, Fla. , the weather in Florida versus New York, her non-registered voting status, and her lack of knowledge about Fox News or any major right-wing talk radio hosts.”

She was fired.

Hannity then had Davis on his radio and Fox TV shows, where she said she was fired for talking to the news media, though she had never been told that she was prohibited from doings so.  Hannity announced that he would pay her salary for the year and also help her find another job.

Now some ethics questions and answers about the incident: Continue reading

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Filed under Character

Lessons of The Colorado “Trans Bathroom Harassment” Hoax

“It’s a liberal world gone mad at one Colorado high school, where the rights of one transgender student have trumped the rights of other students forced to share a bathroom. The transgender student, a male who identifies himself as a female, has sexually harassed female students in the girl’s bathroom at Florence High School, Pacific Justice Institute reported.Not only have parents’ complaints gone nowhere, but the female students have also been threatened with dismissal from athletic teams and hate crimes charges if the complaints don’t stop, according to the institute, a nonprofit religious-rights organization that was alerted by concerned parents.”

 

"Jane Doe": Victim

“Jane Doe”: Victim

This was the story breathlessly reported in various forms this month by conservative media sources, including Fox News. Apparently the sole source for the claim that “a male who identifies himself as a female, has sexually harassed female students in the girl’s bathroom” is the statement that this “allegedly occurred” in a letter to the school sent by the aggressively anti-transgender, ultra-conservative advocacy group, The Pacific Justice Institute.  The PJI has prominently opposed California’s transgender bathroom law, and it seem clear that it viewed this story as a means to an end.

In a case of the conservative media playing the old game of “Telephone,” the PJI letter suggesting that such harassment may have happened was morphed into media reports that it had happened, as Fox, the Examiner, The Blaze and others adopted the story published by the online version of British tabloid, The Daily Mail, as fact. It wasn’t fact, and the Daily Mail has quietly pulled its original story. What appears to have happened is that some virulently anti-trans parents who were livid that the school permitted a boy who self-identified as female to use the female rest rooms contacted the PJI with unsubstantiated and apparently fictional claims, in order to focus hostile attention on the school. Interviewed about the incident, the school’s superintendent flatly denied that any incidents of the kind hinted at by the PJI and reported in the media actually occurred, and to this day, no evidence has been presented that they did occur, no specifics, names, quotes or facts whatsoever, just vague allegations. One student in the school provided this perspective: Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, U.S. Society

Note To Conservatives: If You Keep Making Ridiculous Complaints, Don’t Complain When People Can’t Tell When You’re Joking

Hey! Get that foot off of your own desk! Who do you think you are, President of the...oh. Right."

Hey! Get that foot off of your own desk! Who do you think you are, President of the…oh. Right.”

RECONSIDERED:  I have been persuaded by the comment thread that followed this post that my initial position regarding Andy Levy’s objections to Stephen Colbert’s use of his critique from “Red-Eye” was mistaken: Colbert was indeed unfair to Levy, and it was unfair as well for me to hold Levy accountable for some of his conservative colleagues’ serious versions of the argument he properly labelled as absurd. Read the comments of James Flood and Ampersand below for the rebuttal that carried the day. As always, I am grateful for the passionate and well-argued perception of Ethics Alarms readers.

If you need more proof of how toxic and infantile the partisan wars are these days, you need search no farther than the manufactured controversy over President Obama’s disrespectful treatment of his own desk. When I first started seeing posts on major websites complaining about the photo of the President putting his foot on his desk in the Oval Office, I decided the controversy was too idiotic to waste time with. But, as is their tendency and their talent, conservatives escalated this one with exquisite gall, and now I have to take note.

This month, and not for the first time, conservatives had the vapors over President Obama being overly casual in his own office and “disrespecting” a desk that was sent to President Garfield by Queen Victoria. (It sure didn’t do him any good) There is only one description of this preposterous complaint that does it justice, and that would be “utter bullshit.” Continue reading

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

A Labor Day Message For Fox: Fire Tucker Carlson

tuckered out

“Fox and Friends” represents the professional nadir of the Fox News broadcasting day, which is a little like being the worst Italian restaurant in Kuala Lampur. Nonetheless, even that misbegotten mutation of The Today Show should maintain some minimum standards, meaning that there needs to be some unprofessional conduct up with which it will not put—like, say, a host falling asleep on the air.

Yes, that’s what conservative, forever young, over-committed and sleep-deprived Tucker Carlson did on Saturday, and if Fox News wants to send the message that it actually believes in those bedrock conservative principles it blathers on about, like the work ethic, responsibility and respect, it needs to fire him, no excuses accepted. He should have been fired already. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Journalism & Media, Professions, Workplace