Tag Archives: misrepresentation

Your Ethics Alarms Cognitive Dissonance Guide To The Planned Parenthood Shooter Spin Game


Robert Dear

Cognitive DissonanceTo the left is a simplified version of Leon Festinger’s Cognitive Dissonance Scale. Most of the people and institutions who use the scale to mislead and manipulate public opinion neither know this diagram nor have heard of Dr. Festinger, but it is what they are employing in the daily wars to win ideological political converts by distorting the significance of current events.

Robert Dear’s as yet unexplained shooting rampage within a Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility has immediately created an opportunity for cognitive dissonance manipulation. Festinger’s research showed that our minds will always try to resolve dissonance when something with a high, or positive score—say, “Free Speech,” appears to be closely associated with something else that is low on the scale, such as “hateful speech.” How the dissonance is resolved will depend on the scores of the two dissonant objects or beliefs.

If you want the public to decide that something it approves of is less worthy of approval, attaching it to something the public believes is reprehensible will do the job by creating cognitive dissonance and pulling the well-regarded object down the scale. If you want the public to move its opinion of a person, organization or concept from negative territory into positive, identifying someone or something the public regards far more negatively who opposes the person, organization or concept will tend to move the object of the negative entity’s opposition upward on the scale. In these situations, the mind seeks distance from the reviled entity. I hate broccoli; I learn that Donald Trump hates broccoli; I don’t want to have anything in common with Donald Trump. Pass the broccoli, please.

The latter is the process repeatedly applied by the protesters of police shootings when African Americans are the victims. The public correctly opposes abuse of power and wrongful violence by law enforcement officials; it is far below the mid-point on the scale. It also a opposes criminal activity and resisting legitimate law enforcement. With rare exceptions, every black victim of a questionable police shooting was engaging in or had engaged in criminal activity, and had resisted arrest. These have been criminals, but because the alleged misconduct of the police is far lower on the scale than the criminal activity involved, the criminal victims are propelled by cognitive dissonance into the scale’s positive territory. (The media assists the process by publicizing the most benign images of the victims they can find. The most frequently used photo of Laquan McDonald, who was executed by a Chicago cop, shows him in his high school graduation gown, for example. The cop didn’t shoot a criminal who refused to stop when ordered to, he shot a smiling young man with a bright future. The police officer is thus a monster; the victim a martyr and a hero.)

Now let’s look at the current use of cognitive dissonance in the wake of the shooting by Robert Dear. Continue reading


Filed under Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights

New York Fashion Blogger Brittny Pierre—-Fick!

Brittny, spelled F-I-C-K...

Brittny, spelled F-I-C-K…

Ethics Dunces are a dime a dozen, but ficks, thankfully, are rare. Ficks, regular readers here know, are warped people who not only engage in unethical conduct, but who take pride in it, publicize it, and show no shame or remorse.

Meet New York fashion blogger Brittny Pierre, who just wrote a piece for the feminist blog XOJane titled “I Was a Dinner Whore.” Actually, that title dishonestly enhances the ethical nature of what she did, which was to regularly pretend to be interested in men and date them for the sole purpose of having them pay for her meals. In contrast, men who pay for prostitutes have been candidly informed what they are getting.

In the article, Brittny (nice spelling, there, Britt–is there any goofy  spelling of Brittany we haven’t seen yet? Brytnnyy maybe? ) relates her experiences earlier in her career when she was short of funds, comely of face and figure, and willing to use random men as marks. She met her victims on the dating site OKCupid or Craigslist, and after some on-line exchanges  to screen out serial killers and convince the gullible fools that she was interested in them and not just a steak,  successfully managed to get a free  dinner at least three times a week with different men. “I just had to go full throttle and just see who was willing to take me out,” Pierre writes. “A meal is a meal!”

The Femifick also posted her own ad on CraigsList, carefully crafting her message to use men’s egos to entrap them by saying that she was searching for her own Ryan Gosling. In the article, she reveals such charming details as her practice of punishing meal tickets who didn’t measure up to her standards of conduct by ordering the most expensive meal on the menu. How dare they disappoint her while she was exploiting them?

Yechh. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex

“Kill The Messenger” And The CIA Crack Story Ethics Train Wreck

I finally saw the 2014 docudrama “Kill the Messenger,” which completed—I hope—the passenger list for a 30-year-old Ethics Train Wreck.

The film purports to be the true story of Gary Webb, the San Jose Mercury News reporter who wrote the sensational “Dark Alliance” series of investigative reports in 1996. The series attributed the inner city crack cocaine explosion in part to Nicaraguan anti-government Contra rebels in  the 1980s funding their efforts by drug smuggling and sales, all with the knowledge and assistance of the  CIA. The agency, the series claimed, was acting to support the Contras despite Congress rejecting the Reagan administration’s request for aid. Like most Hollywood accounts of anything, the film distorts and misrepresents facts to make a better story. Unfortunately, Webb’s story is made more dramatic by making him out to be a tragic hero and victim of a sinister alliance between the mainstream media and the U.S. Government. That’s not exactly true, fair or accurate, and in this matter, affirmatively harmful.

The fastest way to survey this particular Ethics Train Wreck is to list the distinguished passengers, more or less in order of boarding: Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement

Fairness To Ben Carson: There Is Nothing Wrong With Considering A Presidential Candidates’ Religion And Its Influences

It's true: if you don't think an Amish man should be President, you're violating the Constitution. Or something. Wait...What was the question again?

It’s true: if you don’t think an Amish man should be President, you’re violating the Constitution. Or something. Wait…What was the question again?

As with Donald Trump, I am once again faced with having to defend a Presidential candidate who should not be running and should have fewer supporters than Ted Nugent has functioning brain cells. For the second time in two days the victim is dead-eyed, hubris-infected, “I’m not a politician so I am allowed to be a lousy speaker and campaigner” Ben Carson, the candidate for those who are so disgusted with a President with no executive experience that they want a new President with no government experience or executive experience.

The gleeful news media freak-out spurred by the doctor’s silly generalities about the qualifications of Muslims for the U.S. Presidency was already embarrassing and intellectually dishonest (hence yesterday’s post) before the latest nonsense. The current narrative is that Dr. Carson doesn’t understand the Constitution. No fewer than three columns this morning in the Washington Post alone carried that message, and all quoted the same passage: Article VI’s directive that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office.”

Dr. Carson didn’t say that there should be a religious test for the Constitution. It is critics like Pulitzer Prize winning columnist Eugene Robinson, not Carson, who apparently don’t understand the Constitution. See, Eugene, Dana Milbank, Michael Gerson, Ted Cruz, The Nation, Whoopie Goldberg, Rachel Maddow, and too many others to name, the Constitution doesn’t tell citizens, including citizens you don’t like to see running for President, that they can’t use a religious test for any office, it says that the government can’t.

Did you miss that part?

I don’t know how! Continue reading


Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Religion and Philosophy, Rights

Unethical Quote of the Week: Donald Trump’s 2nd Amendment Position Paper


“The Second Amendment to our Constitution is clear. The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon. Period.”

—The first sentence of “Protecting Our Second Amendment Rights Will Make America Great Again ...Donald J. Trump on the Right to Keep and Bear Arms,” released today.

You can debate the various policy ideas in this typically simplistic approach to a complicated problem; that’s not my purpose. My purpose is to point out that a position paper on the Second Amendment that begins by misstating that amendment while saying the amendment is “clear” cannot and should not be taken seriously. Nor should its author.

Is he stupid, and not know that it is ludicrous to state what is not the text of the amendment with the emphatic “Period” ? Is he ignorant, and unaware of the wording of actual amendment that he proceeds to say “is America’s first freedom”? Or is he lying, using a false version of the Second Amendment to mislead his many followers who either haven’t read the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, or can’t read at all?

The Second Amendment may be many things, but clear is one thing nobody with any knowledge of the subject believes it is. It is not clear. It is, by far, the least clear of all the amendments, and that is why it is still controversial after centuries. The fake Second Amendment that Trump’s position paper uses is clear; too bad that’s not the real one. If the Second Amendment read “The right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed upon,” it would be clear, and opponents of gun ownership wouldn’t have any argument except to insist that we repeal  it.  The real Amendment, however, reads,

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

That could mean the same thing, or it might not. It would seem it was intended to mean something else, otherwise why wasn’t it worded as in the Trump version? The seas of ink that have been spilled over the interpretation of that strangely constructed sentence could flood Texas, and educated, thoughtful people who are honest, erudite and not simpleminded (unlike Trump) have written provocatively on the subject, often disagreeing, as in.. Continue reading


Filed under Character, Citizenship, Education, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, History, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

Tales of The Corrupted: David Ignatius’s Hillary E-mail Scandal Whitewash, PART TWO….And, As Usual, The Sequel Is A Horrible Disappointment

David Ignatius: Liar, undisclosed Clinton operative, disgrace. Your move, Washington Post.

David Ignatius: Liar, undisclosed Clinton operative, disgrace. Your move, Washington Post.

This, it turns out, is even worse than I thought. Ignatius, whom I once respected, is more corrupted than I thought. The mainstream news media’s shameless and unethical enabling of Hillary Clinton’s lies and misconduct is worse than I thought, and I already thought it was bad.

In this post, I highlighted an op-ed column by Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, which used classic rationalizations to argue that Clinton’s conduct wasn’t a “scandal’ because 1) it wasn’t a crime; 2) if it was a crime, it was unlikely to be prosecuted; 3) everybody does it, and 4) the public is used to such misconduct, so it can’t be a scandal.

One of Ignatius’s sources, extensively quoted, was, in his words, “Jeffrey Smith, a former CIA general counsel who’s now a partner at Arnold & Porter, where he often represents defendants suspected of misusing classified information.”

What I didn’t know, and Ignatius’s readers didn’t know, but Clinton knows, and Smith knows and Ignatius definitely knew but intentionally didn’t disclose to his readers, was that Jeffrey Smith… Continue reading


Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

Legally Competent, Ethically Bankrupt: The Zealous, Despicable Monique Pressley, Esq.


Bill Cosby’s lawyer Monique Pressley decided to become a hybrid attorney-publicity agent yesterday, and in doing so provided an impromptu seminar on why people hate lawyers, and often should. She was carefully spinning and dissembling on behalf of her client without breaching the ethics rules against lying, parsing words and phrases with skill and deftness, all in the service of a serial sexual abuser and perhaps the greatest hypocrite pop culture has ever produced.


Also, Yeeccch!

The impetus for her media spin tour, for that is all it was, is the New York magazine issue that features the stories of 35 of Cosby’s accusers. First Pressley told CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield that the women were comparable to a lynch mob: Continue reading


Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions