Tag Archives: Fox news

CNN’s Selective Choice Of Targets For Selective Criticism For Selective News Coverage

Or, if you prefer, "CNN's journalism ethics show."

Or, if you prefer, “CNN’s journalism ethics show.”

On the host of CNN”s unreliable media ethics and criticism show, Reliable Sources, slammed Fox News:

STELTER: Boy, has Fox News spent a lot of time over the past two years focused on the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, and I mean a lot of time. […] But when a new Benghazi report came out on Friday, there was hardly a peep, and maybe that’s because the report, which was Republican led, it was by the    , debunks many of the myths that have run rampant on Fox News and in conservative media circles. […] So I have to wonder: will Fox will stop aggressively pushing its theories about Benghazi? Probably not. With its audience largely in the dark about the latest findings, the myths may, and perhaps will, live on.

Wheels within wheels, deceit within deceit, hypocrisy within hypocrisy. The criticism was correct and deserved, as Fox News’ own media critic (and the former unreliable host of Reliable Sources) noted as well. It also was notable for what it left out:

  • Despite being routinely ridiculed as a witch-hunting political mob, the Republicans on the Committee fought for the investigation. That it exonerated the Administration is pure moral luck: apparently CNN has forgotten Hillary’s famous shouted “what difference does it make?” The fact that there was, in the end, nothing sinister to cover up doesn’t excuse the administration for obfuscating, dragging its feet and sending Susan Rice out to lie on talk shows to avoid scrutiny, and it was that conduct that convinced many that something was rotten in Libya.
  • This result does not excuse CNN’s network for its complicity in assisting the White House’s efforts before the 2012 election to pretend there were no facts to clarify. CNN failed to cover this story sufficiently before the truth was known, and had Fox News and the Republicans not kept the inquiry alive, we would not have a definitive report for Fox to emulate the liberal- biased media by burying. Stelter’s snide comments are the height of hypocrisy.

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Filed under Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

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!”]

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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

Ethics Observations on the 2014 Mid-Term Elections

election 2014

1. After the 2006 election, in which a Republican majority in the House and Senate became a well-deserved minority, the losing Republicans, in sharp contrast to their Democratic brethren after their losses in 2000 and 2004, were remarkably frank and gracious. I wrote on November 15, 2006…

When the Democrats were rejected at the polls in 2004, they and many of their supporters in the media declared that it was proof positive that the U.S. public was stupid, ignorant, and reckless. Many claimed that the election must have been rigged; others announced that the U.S. was a lost cause and that good people should consider moving to Canada. Some actually did.

The Republicans, who were resoundingly punished at the polls for everything from corruption to arrogance to incompetence, could not present a more dramatic contrast to their Democratic counterparts. They overwhelmingly placed responsibility for their losses squarely on their own mistakes and transgressions, where it belongs. They congratulated their victorious opponents. They avoided making legal challenges or suggesting that any elections were “stolen.” Defeated Republican Senator George Allen, whose race was close enough to demand a recount, did not. And no Republicans, as far as we know, have fled the country. They will be staying around to contribute to the process of democracy, because they respect both it and its results. In short, the Republicans have demonstrated the honorable and ethical was to lose.The deportment of the losers in a democracy is every bit as important as the behavior of the winners. As the Democrats attempt to teach their rivals something about how to govern when you win, let’s hope that they learned from the GOP’s lesson in how to behave when you get throttled. Some recent Canadian immigrants might think about it as well.

Will Democrats be model losers as well?

We shall see.

2. This “concession speech” by losing Kentucky Senate candidate Allison Grimes does not bode well: Continue reading

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Three Republican Candidates: Gaffes, Disqualifications, Or Something Else?

shooting-yourself-in-the-footI felt badly about piling up three posts recently on unethical female Democrats running for office, and was inspired by the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent to do some analysis of Republican candidates who, at least according to Sargent, deserve equivalent criticism to what has been leveled at Alison Lundergan Grimes for refusing to say whether she voted for President Obama. [She did it again last night in her debate with Sen. McConnell.]

Sometimes finding Republican candidates who deserve an Ethics Alarms slap is hard, unless they say something bat wacky like, say, Richard Mourdock. If a Democrat is flagged by The Daily Beast or the Post, I can be pretty sure there was something said or done that was objectively troubling, because the mainstream media will bury anything from a Democrat that is vaguely defensible. A Republican, however, might be accused of certified insanity for a statement that offends progressive cant. Fox and many of the right wing websites, meanwhile, will ignore any Republican whose pronouncements don’t rise to “I am the Lizard Queen!” level of derangement, and will find fault with Democratic candidates on dubious grounds. Here are the GOP candidates for today’s ethics audit: Joni Ernst (U.S. Senate in Iowa); Tom Cotton (U.S. Senate in Arkansas); and Greg Abbott  (Texas Governor race): Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions

“Boobs on the Ground” Ethics

"we have met the boob, and it is me."

“We have met the boob, and it is me.”

I was going to make this an Ethics Quiz, but that dignifies Eric Bolling’s crude and disrespectful comment on Fox’s “The Five” more than it deserves. Would I accept such a sophomoric “quip” at a dinner party of close friends, at a bachelor party, in a group of women who knew me and could tell when I was intentionally tweaking them, in a setting where groans and objects thrown at my head were appropriate?  Oh, probably. I’ve made worse jokes myself, knowing how bad they were, knowing they were offensive, knowing that I had the good will of my companions and that they would take them the right way. But as a presenter in a seminar? As a panel member? In an auditorium? Over the radio? On TV? Never.

Any statement is defined to some extent by the audience it was intended for (See: Sterling, Donald) For a supposed broadcast professional to say what Bolling said about the United Arab Emirates‘s first female pilot who served as the flight leader during air strikes in Syria (“Would that be considered boobs on the ground, or no?”) can’t be excused or justified: Continue reading

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Filed under Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Professions, War and the Military

Comment of the Day: “Why Fox News’ Robin Williams Gaffe Matters”

Chris Marchener had several excellent posts today, but I am re-posting this one as the Comment of the Day for several reasons. It was in response to another commenter’s opinion that Fox News anchor Shepard Smith was not inaccurate to call Robin Williams a coward for succumbing to his suicidal urges. To the contrary, Smith was wrong, and his statement was cruel and irresponsible. Suicide arising out of mental illness runs—indeed, gallops—in my family: a great-uncle and three cousins killed themselves, and I knew the cousins and their battles with mental illness well. Sadly, much of the public is unschooled in what mental illness does and how and why it so often leads to suicide. Chris’s explanation of why Smith was exposing his ignorance may help enlighten some of the many who need enlightening. Here is his Comment of the Day on the post, “Why Fox News’ Robin Williams Gaffe Matters.”

It is quite easy to play armchair quarterback when you are not cursed with an affliction that renders you powerless to find comfort. You said “It’s borne of being unwilling to face the hard truths, make the hard changes, take the big risks needed to alter one’s own circumstances.” That perspective is fine when you are talking about behavioral sociopathy but when the chemistry in the brain is altered the individual has very little or any control over the outcome. I’ll bet that Robin Williams did more to face his demons than most anyone else would who do not also suffer from a chemical disorder of the brain. Unless you have some personal insight into his medical history a blanket claim of being a coward is unjust.

At this time, there is no prosthesis for remedying the destructive processes of mental illness other than using drugs to alter the brain chemistry. Unlike a prosthetic limb there is no guarantee that the medication will work as desired. Furthermore, as my wife and I have found out the hard way, long term use of anti-seizure and anti-depressives can have a high rate of mortality from the medications themselves.

Calling someone a coward after the fact is not merely unnecessary and hurtful it turns some people away from acknowledging the need for help. All reports show that he did seek help and did his best to confront his problems head on. Despite that he succumbed.

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Comment of the Day, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media

Why Fox News’ Robin Williams Gaffe Matters

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

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