Tag Archives: honesty

Deflategate Ethics Verdict: Prove It, Then Ban Bill Belichick

FOOTBALL

It looks as if New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick cheated…again. If the NFL cared about such mundane matters as integrity, fairness, honesty and ethics, it would take the kind of appropriate action any other organization is obligated to take when the evidence shows that a high-performing member of the organization is a rotten apple: throw him out, or at least discipline him and his team severely.

Will the NFL do this to the most successful play-off head coach in its history?

Don’t make me laugh. Continue reading

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The Destructive, Useful, Unethical Presumption of Bigotry, Part 2: The Oscar “Snub”

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For the second time in nearly two decades, and for the first time since 1998, the Oscars will be awarded to only white acting nominees. This, then, if you listen to the caterwauling race-baiters, is because Hollywood is racist. The Academy’s voters just hid it well since 1998, that’s all. Does that make any sense to you?

There are few more infuriating and transparently illogical examples of an unfair slapping down of the race card than looking for bigotry in the notoriously arbitrary, bias-soaked, essentially meaningless choices for “best” in the various Academy Award movie-making categories. Yet the race card sharks were up to the task.  Naturally, the authority on the subject was Al Sharpton, he whose own performance quality on his MSNBC TV show is so amateurish that it would be shut out in any community theater awards.

“In the time of Staten Island and Ferguson, to have one of the most shutout Oscar nights in recent memory is something that is incongruous,” Sharpton told The Daily News. Wait, what??? Incongruous is the assertion that the nominations for film-making excellence should be influenced in any way by how many blacks are killed resisting arrest. Anyone who finds that to be a logical argument for why more black actors should have been nominated for Oscars is useless to any rational discussion of the issue. I want a show of hands. Continue reading

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The Sixth Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Worst of Ethics 2014 (Part 3)

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2014 Conflicts of Interest of the Year

  • Conflicted Elected Official: Philadelphia State Senator LeAnna Washington. This is always an entertaining category. Washington was convicted of using her tax-payer financed staff to organize a yearly campaign fundraiser around her birthday party. When one staffer complained that this was illegal, she reportedly replied, according to his grand jury testimony:

“I am the fucking senator, I do what the fuck I want, and ain’t nobody going to change me. I have been doing it like this for 17 years. So stop trying to change me.”

  • Conflicted Journalist: CNN sent Jay Carney, fresh off his assignment as President Obama’s official spokesman, defender and spinmeister, to cover his ex-boss’s speech.
  • Conflicted  “Non-partisan” Watchdog: CREW. The Center For Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and its chief, Melanie Sloan, finally came clean (after falsely claiming non-profit status as a non-partisan organization for years) by making David Brock, head of the openly partisan, foaming-at-the-mouth anti-Republican media watchdog Media Matters its Chairman of the Board, essentially merging the two groups.
  • Appearance of Impropriety Award: Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La), Republican Whip. It is not certain yet whether Scalise knowingly spoke to a group of white supremacists in 20o2, inadvertently spoke to the group, or just spoke to another group meeting in the same venue before the David Duke-affiliated group of racists started comparing sheets. It isn’t even clear that Scalise knows, but everyone should agree that it looks awful no matter how you categorize it, making the fiasco a classic appearance of impropriety situation. If the Republicans were smart, they would dump him.

Unethical Attire of the Year

Offensive shirt

This.

Unethical Political Candidate of the Year

Wisconsin Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mary Burke, whose campaign materials were largely plagiarized from the materials other candidates.

Ethically Clueless Voters of the Year

New York’s 11th Congressional District, which contains Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn. These alert and ethical citizens sent back to Washington thuggish and crooked Rep. Michael Grimm (R), then facing a 20-count indictment by federal authorities for fraud, federal tax evasion, and perjury, having earlier distinguished himself by threatening to kill a reporter and being recorded doing so.

  Unethical Advertising of the Year

Lawyer Division:

Public Service Announcement Division:

TV Program Division:

The Discovery Channel’s campaign for “Eaten Alive!” which did not, in fact, feature anyone being “eaten alive,” or at all.

Private Sector Product Division:

Halos. Or perhaps this is the Child Abuse Division:

Political Campaign Division:

Wendy Davis, Democratic candidate for Texas Governor, offered an ad attacking her wheelchair- bound opponent that 1) appealed to bias against the disabled 2) misrepresented the duties of a state attorney general 3) misrepresented the facts of the cases the ad referred to and  4)  deceived the public regarding the ethical duties of lawyers, which Davis, a lawyer, presumably understands. Continue reading

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Ethics Dunce: Phylicia Rashad

COSBY-AND-RASHAD

Phylicia Rashad, the African American actress best known for playing “Claire Huxtable,” Bill Cosby’s wife on his legendary sitcom, was resolute about not be dragged into the crisis facing her on-screen hubby, as woman after women has come out with allegations that she was raped, sexually assaulted or drugged by funny, ol’ Bill. She should have stayed that way. Unfortunately, she allowed a Hollywood celebrity reporter to pull some quotes out of her, and now she has a crisis of her own. Now we know she values loyalty, group identification, show business protocol and her own financial interests over decency, fairness, honesty, justice, compassion, respect for women, and truth.

Or, I suppose, she might be an idiot.

Rashad’s take on Cosby’s problems was also odd, as it focused very little on the man being accused of such heinous acts. She didn’t say, or at least such remarks weren’t reported, that he was a wonderful human being, or that she could not imagine the man she worked so closely with all these years doing what so many alleged victims claim. She said that she “loves” him. In show business, this is like the host of a TV talk show saying a guest is a close personal friend: it is routine, and means nothing.  Rashad’s defense of Cosby consisted of dismissing his victims’ stories as baseless, and this:

“What you’re seeing is the destruction of a legacy. And I think it’s orchestrated. I don’t know why or who’s doing it, but it’s the legacy. And it’s a legacy that is so important to the culture….Someone is determined to keep Bill Cosby off TV. And it’s worked. All his contracts have been cancelled…This show represented America to the outside world. This was the American family. And now you’re seeing it being destroyed. Why?”

Why. Huh. That’s a head scratcher isn’t it? Yes, why would the entertainment value of family situation comedy about a wise, loving father , the wife whom he adores and his brood of adorable, normal, kids, including three, and ultimately four, teenage girls be diminished in the least by overwhelming evidence that the actor playing said father is a sick, ruthless, sexual predator and the King of Hypocrites? Continue reading

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Ethics Quote Of The Month: Washington Post Film Critic Ann Hornaday on “Selma”

selma-movie

“How to reconcile facts and feelings, art and fealty to the truth? When filmmakers recall with pride about the deep reporting and research they’ve done for their projects, then they deserve to be held accountable for their projects. For fact-based films, accuracy becomes a formal element, along with acting, design and cinematography. It’s up to each viewer to identify the threshold where artistic license compromises the integrity of the entire endeavor. Cinema has more responsibility in this regard precisely because of its heightened realism, its ability to burrow into our collective consciousness and memory, where the myth has a tendency to overpower settled fact. But viewers have responsibilities, too. If accuracy has become a formal element of historical dramas, then the ensuing fact-checks have become just as integral a part of how we view them. That means it’s incumbent on audiences to engage in a mode of spectatorship that, rather than decide who’s right, can listen to and respect expert critiques, and still open themselves up to a piece of filmed entertainment that speaks to less literal, more universal truths.”

—–Ann Hornaday, Washington Post film critic, on the controversy regarding the counter-factual treatment of President Lydon Johnson in the new film, “Selma.”

The question of whether film makers have an ethical obligation to fairly represent history, and particularly individual historical figures, in their movies has been a topic visited frequently at Ethics Alarms, and I’m not going to re-hash conclusions that have been thoroughly discussed before, such as

…here, regarding the casting of “The Impossible” with a gleamingly light-skinned central family and the changing of the real life heroine from Spanish to British

…here,  discussing complaints that a fictional event was not portrayed accurately in “Noah”

…here, exploring the many falsehoods, some quite despicable, in James Cameron’s “Titanic”

…here, regarding unfair criticism of “Argo”

and here, discussing “Lincoln” screenwriter, playwright Tony Kushner’s inexcusable choice to represent a real life former Congressman voting against the Thirteenth Amendment abolishing slavery when in fact he voted for it.

The conclusion of that last one sums up the lessons of the rest, I think. Kushner’s defense against criticism of the collateral damage his invented facts wreaked was to argue that they were legitimate tactics in the pursuit of drama and “greater truths.” He then compared smearing the reputation of a Congressman, to the detriment of his descendants, to misrepresenting the kinds of socks Lincoln wore. (Kushner can be a brilliant writer, but his ideological utilitarianism is repellant.) I wrote:
Continue reading

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Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month: Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY)

jailedI have to get the ridiculous Congressman Grimm on the record so he’s eligible for the “Worst of Ethics 2014″  awards coming up in just a week or so.

You’ll remember the charming Rep. Grimm from this post, when he threatened to kill a reporter for asking him a question.

Now, after winning re-election in November (Staten Island and South Brooklyn, hang your head) despite being indicted on 20 criminal counts mail fraud and perjury, he has pleaded guilty to felony tax evasion and will be sentenced in June. He could spend from 24 to 30 months in prison.

So far, Grimm has indicated that he will not resign, which is where the “incompetent” comes in: he’s nuts. The nation can’t have convicted felons making its laws, or even sitting in the halls of Congress. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called for Grimm to be thrown out; for once she’s right. It is likely that republican leadership will move against him quickly if he continues to be stubborn.

The House’s code of conduct could force him to abstain from congressional activities. There is a House rule that states that a member who has been convicted of a crime “for which a sentence of two or more years’ imprisonment may be imposed should refrain from participation” in committees and from “voting on any question at a meeting of the House,” until the member is “reelected to the House after the date of such conviction.”

The man has embarrassed himself, his office, his district, his constituency, anyone who voted for him, his party, his state and his nation and its system of government. Of course he has to resign.

I must say, though, if Grimm believes the same bozos who elected him in November won’t abandon him just because he’s wearing an orange jumpsuit while running, you can hardly blame him.

UPDATE: Grimm will resign.

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Sources: NPR, Washington Post

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MOST Ethical Column, Post Or Essay About The Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck: The New Republic’s John Judis

stand-out-from-the-crowd

I can’t bring myself to declare a liberal senior editor of a progressive magazine an Ethics Hero simply for writing an objective analysis of the Darren Wilson grand jury decision because the vast majority of his ideological brethren are refusing to demonstrate similar integrity and disgracing themselves. Nevertheless, John Judis’s essay titled “The Ferguson Decision Was Not a ‘Miscarriage of Justice.’ Liberals Need to Accept That.” is a relief and a pleasure to read in its matter-of-fact recognition of reality.  He is an analyst with impeccable hard left credentials: his curriculum vitae suggests that he is a socialist. He does not, however, believe in twisting the truth and misleading the public to further a political agenda. There is hope.

Here are some highlights:

  • “The physical evidence ruled out that Wilson had shot Brown in the back while running away, as Brown’s companion Dorian Johnson initially had claimed. And it was not conclusive one way or the other on whether Brown had, after he turned around to face Wilson, tried to surrender. In all, the forensic evidence did not prove Wilson innocent of killing Brown when he was trying to surrender, but it also did not give the grand Jury “probable cause” to indict him on that basis. Other evidence may surface, but from what the grand jury learned, I think it did the right thing, and that it’s also unlikelygiven this evidencethat the federal government, which must meet an even higher evidentiary standard, will choose to indict Wilson….”
  • “By suggesting that the grand jury did the right thing, I am not exonerating the Ferguson police department, or other police departments. Many police departments are more likely to arrest without good cause or shoot without sufficient provocation a young black male than anyone of another sex or race or ethnic group. If Wilson himself had been better trained, he would not have killed Brown….there are a host of reforms that need to be made to police departments as well as changes in the law. And it is worth holding demonstrations to demand these. But I am suggesting that liberals are wrong to characterize the grand jury decision as a “grave miscarriage of justice” or to demand, as Moveon.org has done, that the federal government “arrest and prosecute Officer Darren Wilson.” These kind of charges and petitions only serve to exacerbate racial tensions and to cloud the underlying issues….”

Someone should get him meetings with the members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the St. Louis Rams. Maybe he could explain why continuing their “hands up” demonstrations makes them look foolish. I don’t agree with some of his conclusions, particularly his belief that Robert McCulloch should have recused himself in favor of a Special Prosecutor, which would have ensured a miscarriage of justice with a repeat of the George Zimmerman show trial. Compared to virtually all other commentary from left-leaning commentators, however, Judis is clear-eyed, candid and fair….and correct.

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Pointer: Newsbusters

Source: The New Republic

 

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