Tag Archives: misrepresentation

Incredible: The Trayvon Martin-George Zimmerman Ethics Train Wreck Is Still Rolling!

trains_collision

I didn’t think I’d get a post up this morning—I am rushing to get ready to travel to NYC to speak about municipal lawyer ethics—but I made the mistake of turning on CNN.

Boy, the media will never give up a fake narrative, will it? There was CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin, whom I have now down-graded to “Untrustworthy Hack,” enlightening us regarding the Detroit trial of Theodore Wafer, 55, a white man who is charged with  killing an unarmed 19-year-old Detroit African- American woman on his front porch by shooting through the door of his home. Says Toobin: “His defense is even weaker than Zimmerman’s, because…”

With that one dishonest, despicable. misleading and inflammatory word—-even— CNN’s legal analyst continued the myth that Zimmerman was wrongly acquitted of the charges against him. Toobin is lying, and knows he is lying (because you have to know you are lying for it to be a lie), because every half-educated lawyer who watched the trial knows that the prosecution didn’t prove its case, and couldn’t. Wafer’s defense can’t be even weaker than Zimmerman’s, because Zimmerman’s defense to the charge of murder was not weak in any way. All the evidence prevented supported Zimmerman’s defense, which was the doctrine of self-defense against a reasonable threat of bodily harm. (That Zimmerman caused the situation that led to the shooting did not undermine the strength of  that defense.) By suggesting that defense was weak, Toobin continues the manufactured, racially-divisive narrative that Zimmerman “stalked” Martin, that the killing was racially motivated, and that the jury was racially biased to a acquit him-every element of which is false based on the actual facts of the case. Naturally, the CNN hosts didn’t have the wit, knowledge or guts to stop Toobin.

Or fire him

21 Comments

Filed under Ethics Train Wrecks, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Race

The Progressive Clown vs. The Apoplectic Conservative Radio Host On Gaza: Jon Stewart, Funny But Irresponsible…Mark Levin, Uncivil But Right

Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” riff on the Gaza conflict was praised to the skies by anti-Israel pundits, like MSNBC’s Cenk Uyger and the Daily Beast’s Dean Obeidallah as providing some kind of much needed moral clarity. In truth it was exactly the opposite, with the Obeidallah column unintentionally showing exactly what’s wrong with Jon Stewart.

Knowing that a disturbing number of Millennials (and an even more disturbing number of ignorant, impressionable older viewers who should know better) see the comedian as a truth-teller, Stewart makes no allowances in his comic routines for that fact. He intentionally encourages the idea that he is a legitimate pundit, then retreats to the convenient bunker of “Come on! I’m a comedian! Don’t take me so seriously!” when he is called out for lazy, misleading and biased—but funny! commentary. (Stewart criticizes Democrats with approximately the frequency of a lunar eclipse, which would be just fine for a comedian who didn’t pose as an objective critic of American politics.) Continue reading

10 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Arts & Entertainment, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, History, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, War and the Military

KABOOM!! Dana Milbank’s New Record For Flagrantly Dishonest Punditry

Exploding head

I am through with Dana Milbank, and also with anyone who quotes him, relies on him, believes him or—take note, Washington Post—employs him. There must be some level of insulting, dishonest, toadying, intentionally misleading punditry that qualifies as intolerable, and Milbank’s latest column for the Washington Post—syndicated elsewhere so the maximum number of weak minds can be polluted—defined it. I’m not going to reprint a word of it for fear that it will poison the blog, or cause your head to explode like mine just did—but I can describe its thesis. Get this: Milbank decries a “crisis of the week political culture” in Washington, and blames the news media, Republicans and Congress for the shifting attention. I am suppressing a scream as I write this.

There is a “crisis of the week” political culture because the incredibly inept and incompetent President of the United States has mismanaged every conceivable aspect of the government’s policies, domestic and foreign, while maintaining incompetents and political hacks in key positions and sending the message that there will be no accountability for abject failure, and because, despite pledging unprecedented transparency, the standard operating procedure for this group of ideologically doctrinaire and skill-challenged group has been to posture, obfuscate, stall, mislead and lie until various ugly chickens come home to roost, and then to rely on the news media to accept absurd excuses, explanation and blame-shifting theories, chaos has been percolating beneath the surface in dozens of vital areas—oh yes, more bad news is coming—and the full measure of various disasters are finally becoming known.

There is a crisis of the week mentality because a new catastrophe caused by the epic incompetence of this Administration is being uncovered every week, and sometimes every day.

And Dana Milbank blames the political culture, as if it is making this stuff up.

And he expects readers to agree with him.

And a lot of them will.

Kaboom.

Continue reading

16 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Kaboom!, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, U.S. Society

The Unethical Opposition To Tennessee’s Fetal Drug Abuse Protection Law

200439961-001Tennessee is one of the most activist states that it comes to protecting children; for example, it has the among most stringent laws in the nation regarding the mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse. It also has a new law that just went into effect this month that allows officials to arrest mothers for assault who illegally use narcotics while they are pregnant if the child is born with symptoms indicating that the drug use impaired the child’s condition.

Predictable and tiresomely, the media and “war on women” scolds are attacking this is yet another incursion on the rights of women to have dominion over their own bodies. Think Progress, dishonestly, calls it a “pregnancy criminalization law.”  This is intentional misrepresentation, a TP specialty. The law doesn’t criminalize pregnancy in any way, by even the most distorted interpretation.  The knee-jerk opposition to the law highlights the problems of consistency and integrity that the women’s rights and pro-abortion forces have in all the areas relating to childbirth. Essentially, their position is that if conduct is related to child birth—or preventing it—in any way, anything they say, want or do must be accepted, and asserting otherwise, no matter what the justification, makes the government an oppressor of women. Continue reading

48 Comments

Filed under Bioethics, Childhood and children, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights

A Too Common Media Practice That Is Per Se Unethical: The Purchased “Opinion”

"But remember---we tell you what opinion to express. Deal?"

“But remember—we tell you what opinion to express. Deal?”

Lanny Davis, the attorney and Washington D.C. political consultant who became a tiresome, repetitive and shameless presence on national television during the Monica crisis, has just authored a review of sorts of Hillary Clinton’s book, “Hard Choices.” On “The Hill,” he pronounces it a genuine portrait of its author, and as accurate as it is complimentary. “No, Hillary Clinton hasn’t changed through all the years: the importance of family and friends, the “service gene” as active today as I witnessed some 45 years ago,” David writes, ” motivating her to “never quit — never stop working to make the world a better place.”

Maybe the book is wonderful, and maybe it isn’t; about that, I do not care. Davis begins with a lie: he says that the book’s sales “are strong,” when the buzz on the web, and not just among those rooting for Clinton to fall on her face, is how disappointing sales are. But Davis is paid by his clients to shade the truth; I’m not going to quibble about the deceit inherent in “strong.”

This, however, matters, and it is a long-held pet peeve of mine: Lanny Davis works for the Clintons. He has for years. If he is not currently on Hillary’s payroll, he will be, or is angling to be: pick a, b, or c. The conclusion is the same no matter which it is: he is biased; he will personally benefit from endorsing Hillary and her book, and thus his article, which purports to be an honest, objective, reliable assessment, is almost certainly nothing of the kind. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Marketing and Advertising, Professions

On Mockery, The Streisand Effect, Incompetent Lawyers And The Sleeping Yankee Fan

ESPN cameras caught Andrew Rector sleeping in his seat in the fourth inning of  the April 13 Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game. In the time-honored tradition of TV play-by-play when something funny, weird or, most especially, sexy is spied in the stands, ESPN commentators Dan Shulman and John Kruk  began making fun of him. The clip ended up on YouTube, naturally, and thus on various sports websites, followed by the various idiotic, cruel, gratuitously mean-spirited insults, usually composed by brave anonymous commenters.

This is a familiar pattern of unethical public mockery, and we have become inured to it. Though the ESPN team’s jibes were rather mild in nature, and Rector’s legitimate embarrassment quota would be far, far less than, say, that of George Costanza when this happened at the U.S. Open, let me say for the record that picking fans out of the crowd at sporting events and making fun of them, whatever they are doing, is generally a rotten thing to do. I know: it’s public, you know you might be on camera, and the fine print on the ticket stub puts you on notice. Unless, however, the conduct involved is actually newsworthy or despicable (as in instances where an adult has snatched a baseball from a child), the Golden Rule applies. Who knows why Rector was sleeping? Maybe he was up all night with a dying relative or a grievously ill child—Shulman and Kruk don’t know. And if he chooses to pay for a ticket and nap during the game—and it wasn’t exactly a scintillating game, I should add—so what? Continue reading

22 Comments

Filed under Etiquette and manners, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Sports, The Internet

The Mind Of The Unethical Advocate: 41 School Shootings Just Isn’t Enough—Let’s Pretend There Are More

Shootings

You have probably seen this map; it went viral on the internet almost immediately after it was first published on Twitter last week by  and editor at The Huffington Post. It purports to show the locales of the “1.37 deadly school shootings per week,” 74 in all,  that have occurred since the December, 2012 Sandy Hook massacre according to Everytown for Gun Safety. That is an anti-gun activist organization founded by Michael Bloomberg and Shannon Watts, and its release that “there have been at least 74 school shootings in America” since Newtown was just what the doctor ordered for the languishing gun control forces.

It’s an intentionally misleading number. Journalist Charles Johnson checked the facts, and these are not all “school shootings” in the sense that the public now understands the term and how honest journalists use it—episodes where someone brings a gun to a school and starts shooting teachers and kids. At least 33 of the “school shootings” just fit the conveniently broad definition used by Everytown for Gun Safety so as to make the strongest impression, fairness and truth be damned. They include not just Columbine and Newtown-type episodes, but also assaults, homicides, suicides, gang fights, and accidents involving guns that happened “inside a school building or on school or campus grounds.” Continue reading

7 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Education, Ethics Train Wrecks, Health and Medicine, Law & Law Enforcement, U.S. Society, Unethical Tweet

Political Correctness Files: X-Men, People Magazine And The Case Of The 6’4″ Dwarf

"Hey, look! It's Tom Selleck!"

“Hey, look! It’s Tom Selleck!”

Apparently political correctness in the media now requires affirmative misrepresentation.

The People Magazine review of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” contains this sentence:

“You’ll understand her motivation when you meet Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), a government type who creates the sentinel project, and is even more sinister than his Magnum P.I.-by-way-of-IBM looks would suggest.”

For anyone who has seen the movie, or even anyone familiar with the (excellent) actor, Peter Dinklage, I have this question: What is odd about that quote?

For it is extremely odd. Continue reading

88 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Etiquette and manners, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture

On Lawyers, Jerks, and Ethics Blog Comment Malpractice

Marilyn Ringstaff, an excellent and much-admired lawyer who has a some friends who need to learn how to write ethical blog comments...

Marilyn Ringstaff, an excellent and much-admired lawyer who has friends who need to learn how to write ethical blog comments…

In 2011, I posted this story and commenary:

Marilyn Ringstaff, a 2006 graduate of John Marshall Law School, had to pay a $250 fine as a result of a minor traffic accident she was a first year law student. She represented herself in court, challenging Abe Lincoln’s Rule that “If you represent yourself you will have a fool for a client and a jack-ass for a lawyer,” and then proved Abe correct—on both counts— when she argued on appeal that her own representation was ineffective.

Ringstaff paid the fine and sent along an obnoxious note with two smiley faces, reading, “Keep the change—put into a police/judicial education fund. I can certainly say this has been an educational experience. I am now a second-year law student and can honestly relate to what a crooked and inequitable system of ‘justice’ we have.”

Georgia’s Board to Determine Fitness of Bar Applicants took offense, and recommended that she should not be allowed to take the bar exam. It cited the note and her defense tactics, along with comments Ringstaff made during an informal board interview that “every police officer lies.”

The Georgia Supreme Court rejected the board’s conclusions, and Ringstaff’s path to a legal career is unencumbered. I agree with the opinion. Her snottiness and arrogance are hardly out of character for many in the legal profession, and at least there is a chance that she will mature, improve, and learn from this close call. More likely of course, is that a profession with more than its share of jerks just embraced another one. Continue reading

15 Comments

Filed under Character, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, The Internet

Pop Ethics Quiz! What’s Wrong With This Picture?

speeding bullet

No, you don’t have to spot the mistake, now.  That’s too easy. The single, embarrassing mistake in this ad created for Michael Bloomberg’s anti-gun group Everytown For Gun Safety is so obvious I’m pretty sure there are 5th graders who could spot it. A bullet doesn’t come out of the barrel with its casing. There would be no way to propel such a projectile. This ad couldn’t have been created or approved by anyone who ever fired a gun, saw one fired or watched a  Western, war movie or action flick.

The unethical conduct represented by the ad, however, are more numerous, though equally unforgivable:

  • It is incompetent and lazy. No one connected with the ad and its graphics bothered to do the minimum due diligence necessary to find out what a bullet coming out of a muzzle looks like, or how guns work.
  • It is untrue. Actually, anyone is faster than that bullet, which would drop harmlessly to the ground.
  • It negligently misinforms the public, passing along the ignorant misconceptions of the group and its hired artist to people who know as little as they do.

Continue reading

18 Comments

Filed under Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Marketing and Advertising, The Internet