Tag Archives: lies

FactChecker Ethics: I Know This Is A Bit Late, But If Glenn Kessler Is Going To Give Out “Pinocchios,” He Needs To Learn What a Lie Is

Time to revisit the classics, Glenn...

Time to revisit the classics, Glenn…

Newspaper “fact-checking” is a mostly unethical and misleading exercise in which media partisans use the format to call positions they differ with ideologically and politically “lies.”  PolitiFact is well established as the worst and most biased of these features; Annenberg’s Factcheck.org is easily the best (but still shows its leftward bias), and somewhere in between is Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post’s “Factchecker.” Today’s installment of his periodic column shows that after many years at his job, he still doesn’t know what a lie is. Amazing.

This is not, or should not be, necessarily for a factchecker, as long as he sticks to checking facts, and not characterizing why the facts don’t jibe with a particular public figure’s public statements. PolitiFact’s specialty is making questionable interpretations of statistics and events, declaring them the revealed truth, and attacking anyone,  usually a Republican, who has come to a different conclusion. To his credit, Kessler doesn’t do that very often. He is typically fair and objective in his research and presentation of facts. But the Post’s Factchecker uses the device of one to four little Pinocchio heads to indicate the seriousness of a factual misstatement, and as he should know, Pinocchio’s nose grew long when he lied. Even one Pinocchio indicates that Kessler believes he has proven that someone lied.

It seems a little late for Kessler to be mistaking opinions that he disagrees with, analyses of facts that reach different conclusions than he would, and obvious mistakes as lies. Kessler, who is should be in the business of checking facts but has chosen a gimmick that makes him conclude by accusing others of lying, is ethically obligated to know what a lie is: an intentional misstatement of fact that is designed and intended to deceive. He either doesn’t know that, which means he’s incompetent, or he does and misrepresents mistakes and opinions as lies, which means that he’s the liar. Whichever it is, this is ethically unacceptable for a “factchecker.” Continue reading

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Here’s The Thing, Booking.Com: If You Think Your Customers Appreciate Gratuitous Smuttiness, I Don’t Want To Be One Of Them

Booking_com_Logo The manners of society appear to be heading south at an accelerating rate, with our up and coming generations being increasingly sent the message from the culture, celebrities and even elected officials, that manners and civility in public conduct and speech is for snobs, nerds, dorks, and goons. It’s cool to be vulgar! I admit, I’m in at least two of those three categories, so I really don’t get it. Ethics dictates that one communicates with respect for anyone within hearing distance, and unless ugly words serve a material purpose, using them is not the mark of a good citizen, a good neighbor, or a trustworthy human being. Nor is spouting vulgarity witty, and unless you are 11, and employing obvious code words that sound like curses, epithets and obscenities isn’t especially funny either, since we pretty much exhausted the possibilities at summer camp. I have no idea why anyone would want to recast the culture as a place where professionals curse like sailors and the words “fuck” and “cocksucker” are as likely to issue from a debutante’s lips as those of a hip hop artist, but that seems to be the objective now. President Obama, the Fish Head, signaled his approval by repeatedly using the word “bucket” in a televised event when he obviously meant “fuck it.” First President ever to use fuck on TV! Yes, Obama continues to burnish his legacy. Small wonder that CNN’s John Berman thought his audience wanted to see him snigger over a colleague’s “big stones,” a testicle joke that always has them LOL-ing in the 7th grade. Making sure that there is nowhere for the civil and well-mannered to hide, all the other TV stations happily accept money from advertisers using code words for “ass” (Verizon), alluding to sexual intercourse (Reese’s), and evoking the word “shit” (K-Mart and DraftKings). Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Jumbo, Marketing and Advertising, U.S. Society

Unethical Clinton Quote Of The Week: Hillary Clinton

“I have said repeatedly: I want those emails out. Nobody has a bigger interest in getting them released than I do…[A]nything that [the State Department] might do to expedite that process, I heartily support.”

—Hillary Clinton, lying her head off and, as usual, assuming nobody will notice,but, to be fair, being funnier than usual.

I’m sorry…is there a typo in that headline? Is my description overly arch? There answers are “no” and “yes, but I can’t stand much more of this.”

I think we are at the point where Clinton’s campaign has become a national ethics, integrity and intelligence test for the media, pundits, your friends and family members, and especially for Clinton supporters. For the Clintons, it’s a matter of how gutsy they can get in saying ridiculous things they know are ridiculous and expecting everyone to shrug it off…except those bad conservatives, Republicans and Clinton haters, of course. You can recognize them by the fact that they don’t shrug those statements off with a smile and a “That’s our Bill!” or “Don’t talk to my brain about the election, I’m voting with my vagina!”

The tipping point for me came a long time ago, but for anyone late to the party and capable of fair thought, it should at least have occurred when Bill Clinton justified his continued acceptance of obscene speaking fees (from likely corporate supplicants for U.S. favors and bounty after his wife becomes President) by saying “I gotta pay the bills!” This is just rubbing the public’s face in Clinton’s shamelessness, greed and corruption, and expecting everyone to like it.

Do you like it? If so, I’m disgusted with you.

The quote above by Hillary was just as outrageous; it just wasn’t quite as funny. (I’m saying that analytically: I am no longer capable of laughing at this kind of stuff from either Bill or Hillary, and I find my friends’ willingness to tolerate it tragic and diminishing.) To appreciate just how outrageous, you have to understand that it comes in the wake of the State Department announcing that it would take at least until January of 2016 to release the official emails that Hillary Clinton had to hand over because she used her own personal email server while Secretary of State in violation of government policies, including her own agency’s. (These weren’t all the e-mails, you’ll recall. She decided which she wanted the nation to see, and destroyed many thousands of them that she didn’t want to be seen, just in time to stop them from being subpoenaed.)

As State explained  in excruciating  detail, the process will take a long time because (other than the fact that the current leadership of the State Department doesn’t especially want those e-mails released either) “the Department received the 55,000 pages in paper form. The documents were provided in twelve bankers’ boxes (approximately 24” x 15” x 10 ¼” in size) with labels placed on the outside of the boxes that corresponded approximately to the time frame of the documents within a given box.”

Tech Dirt, which is not a political site and certainly not an ideological one, is falling all over itself guffawing about this and Clinton’s response to it:

“You know what would have expedited the release? First, using the State Department’s own email system while you were Secretary of State, so this wouldn’t have even been an issue. And, second, when all of this became an issue handing over the emails in electronic form, rather than in printed form in a bunch of boxes. [T] he way that Clinton has handled this whole thing is really ridiculous. Who the hell thinks it’s a good idea to print out 55,000 pages of records that were original electronic unless you’re trying to hide stuff and make life difficult for those going through it?…”

Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Science & Technology

Cover-up: Successful

Somebody tell Rep. Gowdy that his committee's investigation is futile. The news media and the public just don't mind being lied to any more.

Somebody tell Rep. Gowdy that his committee’s investigation is futile. The news media and the public just don’t mind being lied to any more.

From USA Today:

One day after the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded the assault had been planned 10 days earlier by an al-Qaeda affiliate, according to documents released Monday by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch. “The attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman,” said a preliminary intelligence report by the Defense Intelligence Agency, obtained through a lawsuit following a Freedom of Information Act request.

Wait…I thought that Hillary Clinton, State, President Obama and Susan Rice were all laboring under the misconception that the attack was spontaneous and prompted by a YouTube video, and the claims that the Obama Administration was stalling the revelations of what they already knew so Mitt Romney couldn’t challenge Obama’s carefully manufactured narrative that he had terrorism on the run were just partisan sour grapes. That’s been the spin the liberal press has been accepting from the White House for over two years.

What’s going on here? Well, the “narrative” carefully shifted away from the most transparent administration in history lying to the American public to excessive Republican claims that the outpost wasn’t given proper security, wasn’t rescued when it could have been, was the product of criminal incompetence. As soon as those accusations failed, Democrats and the news media promptly adopted the official Obama line: Benghazi was a “nothingburger,” in the contemptuous words of Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank. It was a manufactured scandal of no substance designed to discredit Hillary Clinton.

But no evidence proved that Obama, Clinton and Rice weren’t lying about the attacks being spontaneous and not organized terrorism, and all the evidence has demonstrated the contrary, with this latest piece of the puzzle simply filling in some of the blanks. Of course, the latest story wasn’t even covered by most of the mainstream media; I was shocked to see it in USA Today. Judicial Watch is a conservative organization, you see. To be fair, it’s a whack job conservative organization. That means it could legitimately discover cold fusion and the news media wouldn’t pay attention.

Maybe it isn’t news. After all, the Obama cover-up worked. As Harry Reid said, after admitting his part in the organized effort to make sure that the 2012 Presidential elections was based as much on smears, lies and slight of hand as real issues, “Romney lost, didn’t he?” Hillary’s famous dismissal of the issue in the Benghazi hearings was on the mark: “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Continue reading

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Obama Administration Ethics Train Wreck Update: The James Clapper Perjury Follies

NSA head James Clapper testifying, forgetting, speaking in code, misleading or lying. Something. Whatever.

NSA head James Clapper testifying, forgetting, speaking in code, misleading or lying. Something. Whatever.

The Obama Administration not only lies, but encourages and rewards lying. This is an inescapable conclusion. The saga of James Clapper’s perjury before Congress is a perfect, and depressing example.

At a March 2013 Senate hearing, Senator Ron Wyden, prompted by the leaks of classified information through Edward Snowdon, asked head of the NSA James Clapper, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

“No, sir,” Clapper replied. “Not wittingly.”

That means, by any assessment, “If we do, it’s not intentional.” That was a lie. Clapper knew it was false. Wyden later said that he had sent his question to Clapper’s office a day before the hearing, and after the hearing had given Clapper’s office a chance to correct the misstatement after the hearing, but it did not. In June, the nation learned that the agency was routinely collecting data on the phone calls of millions of Americans. (This was the program just declared illegal by a federal court.)

NOTE: The original post erroneously attributed the decision to the Supreme Court. It hasn’t heard the case yet. That was a bad and careless mistake, and I apologize for it. Nothing like not checking your own links, Jack.

The government, including Clapper, has now attempted a dizzying array of rationalizations, excuses and obfuscations to avoid the unavoidable conclusion that Clapper lied to Congress while under oath, that he should be prosecuted, or at very least be fired by that leader of the Most Transparent Administration in History That Somehow Manages To Lie every Time A Mouth Open, Barack Obama. Even by the standards of this sorry administration, it’s an ugly journey into the cold heart of an untrustworthy government. Continue reading

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Atrocious People, Part II: Harry Reid Thinks Pandering To Political Correctness Is More Important Than Upholding Honesty And Integrity

This is Harry Reid, but I just can't stand looking at the man any more, so I put a bag over his head....

This is Harry Reid, but I just can’t stand looking at the man any more, so I put a bag over his head….

[It’s Atrocious People Day at Ethics Alarms, and no Atrocious People Day would be complete without Harry Reid.]

“I find it stunning that the National Football League is more concerned about how much air is in a football than with a racist franchise name that denigrates Native Americans across the country,” Senator Harry Reid said on the floor of the Senate.

Well, of course he does! After all, Harry thinks that cheating is great, if it works! He justified falsely accusing Mitt Romney of not paying taxes, confident in the laziness and gullibility of the American voter. “Why, he’s the Senate Majority Leader, Mildred! He wouldn’t lie to us!” And, as Harry pointed out, it worked—Romney lost, so Harry did the right thing. No wonder Reid doesn’t see why the NFL would care about Tom Brady pressuring low-level employees so they would help him cheat by secretly make the footballs easier for him to throw in a play-off game—after all, it worked! He won! Brady lied about it? So what? Reid approves of that, too. The statement above is a typical Reid lie: the NFL showed that it was concerned about cheating, lying, sportsmanship and integrity, not “the air in a football.”

But for the lawful owner of a business to be able to keep its 80 year old name that an entire city has cheered, worn on jerseys and caps, and made part of its culture, even though professional political correctness profiteers claimed to be grievously offended by the name because they wanted to be? That, to Harry Reid, is outrageous.*

What isn’t outrageous to Harry—just fair-minded, ethical Americans who understand such concepts as why it is wrong for the government to chill individual rights and the dangers of abuse of power by elected official—-is a U.S. Senator using his high office to attack and harass private citizens who are doing noting illegal, and only doing wrong according to Harry Reid’s Bizarro World values. Continue reading

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Comment of the Day: “Unethical Quote Of The Week: Bill Clinton”

cartoon

Rich (in CT) delivered a masterpiece yesterday, and a remarkably bold one: I have never seen anyone, pundit, logician, jurist or linguist, attempt to plum the machinations of Bill Clinton’s deceitful arts when he is in top form. Yet astoundingly Rich dissected yesterday’s classic Unethical Quote of the Week from Bubba professing, well, something regarding the Clintons’ various maneuvers  through the devise of the Clinton Foundation, and all I can do is radiate awe.

For the record, that quote was, “There is no doubt in my mind that we have never done anything knowingly inappropriate in terms of taking money to influence any kind of American government policy. That just hasn’t happened.” 

Here is Rich (in CT)’s Comment of the Day, my early favorite for COTD of the Year (but I am biased: the Clintons’ flagrant and joyous celebration of their ethics vacuum fascinates me almost as much as the fact that so many otherwise intelligent people don’t recognize it, though it is as obvious, and almost as long-standing, as the Grand Canyon), on the post, Unethical Quote of the Week : Bill Clinton:

Let’s try a flow chart!

>> “There is no doubt in my mind that”:
>>>> “we have never done”:
>>>>>> “anything knowingly inappropriate”:
>>>>>>>> “in terms of taking money”:
>>>>>>>>>> “to influence”:
>>>>>>>>>>>> “any kind of American government policy”.
>>>>>>>>>>>>>> “That just hasn’t happened”.

Parsing the logic: Continue reading

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