Tag Archives: trust

Update: Fox News’ Self-Destructive O’Reilly Denial

You can't yell you're way out of this one, Bill..no, wait. Maybe you can.

You can’t yell you’re way out of this one, Bill..no, wait. Maybe you can.

And here’s another one. Questions are being raised about reporter Bill O’Reilly’s accounts of being “bombarded” during the LA riots.

This process resembles sexual harassment. One way you can tell the falsely accused from the genuine miscreants  is that one accuser opens the floodgates when there is substance to the complaint. Very few sexual harassers aren’t serial by nature–think Bill Cosby. Heck, think Joe Biden.  The O’Reilly debacle is following the script of the Brian Williams drama almost exactly, except that NBC finally acted responsibly, though not until it had tried the old “let’s see if this will just blow over” ploy.

So how many reports of O’Reilly hyping facts and enhancing his bravery and boldness will have to surface before Fox News stops covering for him and acts like a legitimate news organization? ( For those who have forgotten, such a news organization values trust and integrity, rather than emulates President Obama’s insistence that the I.R.S was as clean as the driven snow. ( It was and is not, and the news media’s partisan decision to bury the scandal rather than investigate it will haunt it for a long, long time.)

The network seems intent on destroying any credibility there was to the claim that it was dedicated to truth rather than bias, and qualified to expose the distortions of the liberal-biased mainstream media. Forced to deal with a  parallel incident to NBC’s Williams crisis, Fox has chosen profit over professionalism (Bill’s ratings while playing victim have been boffo!) and is botching a brilliant opportunity to prove its critics wrong.

Instead, Fox is proving critics correct. Eventually, all but the shameless will begin to feel like they are getting the news from charlatans, and seek enlightenment elsewhere. NBC was late to choose integrity; Fox News may be too late.

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions

Unethical Quote of the Week: Fox News

weasels

“Bill O’Reilly has already addressed several claims leveled against him. This is nothing more than an orchestrated campaign by far left advocates Mother Jones and Media Matters. Responding to the unproven accusation du jour has become an exercise in futility. Fox News maintains its staunch support of O’Reilly, who is no stranger to calculated onslaughts.”

—-Fox News, in a statement announcing that it was standing behind its beleaguered cash cow and star, Bill O’Reilly, who has been shown convincingly to have misrepresented his exploits on several occasions.

What an awful, slimy, deceitful statement. Yecch. It must have taken a veritable pack of weasels, plus some lawyers, to draft that. Let’s unpack it. Hold your nose: Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Journalism & Media, Professions

Integrity Check For Fox As Another Bill O’Reilly Fib Surfaces

Wags say Bill's next book will be titled "Killing Credibility"...

Wags say Bill’s next book will be titled “Killing Credibility”…

Now another Bill O’Reilly misrepresentation of the facts has come to light, mandating action by Fox News management if it doesn’t want to appear guilty of being even less concerned with the integrity of its product than the mainstream media is with theirs.  After all, Brian Williams is no longer on the air. So far, Fox is resisting. Its  operative rationalizations are:

1. Bill’s not an anchorman, like Brian Williams, but a pundit. My response: He poses as a truth-teller and calls himself a reporter and a journalist.

2. These are nit-picky, minor factual variations, not outright fabrications as in Williams’ case. My response: Yes, Williams’ were worse, and there were more of them. So what? O’Reilly should be held to the standard he articulated quite well while covering the Williams situation: if you can’t trust “an anchor or commentator,” he isn’t worth watching.

3. The whole controversy was the result of an ideological hit job by angry liberals who wanted to take down a conservative talking head in retribution for the most popular left-biased network anchor being hounded off the air by conservatives. My response: Yup. So what? Fox needs to be professional and insist on the integrity of its product, whatever the motive that drove O’Reilly’s exposure.

As Ethics Alarms discussed a few days ago, Mother Jones and its ideological assassin David Korn published a piece accusing O’Reilly of repeatedly telling his audience that he had been in a “combat zone” during the Falkland Islands war, and sometimes leaving the impression that he was on the battlefield in the Falklands. The truth appears to be that O’Reilly was in a scary riot that occurred after the war itself, in Argentina. Unlike Williams, then, O’Reilly accurately described the incident, but intentionally mischaracterized its nature. (A riot, even a riot prompted by a war, is not a “combat zone.”)

I wrote: “Are you surprised? I’m not. O’Reilly has a lot in common with Williams—an addiction to self-glorification,  a monstrous ego, and an unseemly desire for celebrity.” Thus I’m not surprised that a second example of Bill spinning his own exploits has surfaced. From The Daily Beast:

In 1977, O’Reilly was a 28-year-old TV reporter in Texas investigating the assassination of John F. Kennedy. O’Reilly wrote in his 2012 book Killing Kennedy that he was knocking on the door of a CIA asset with ties to the Kennedys and the Oswalds when he heard the asset shoot himself to death. Pretty dramatic, but it’s entirely false, says Jefferson Morley, a former Washington Post editor and author of JFK assassination book Our Man in Mexico. O’Reilly is heard on phone calls obtained by Morley telling an investigator that he would fly to Florida from Texas the next day to cover the suicide.

It’s harder to argue this one away than the Falklands enhancement: it’s a Brian Williams-style fabrication, and it’s in print. (The Smithsonian has reportedly pulled O’Reilly’s best-seller from its book stores now, because it regards the whole book as suspect. Funny: I always regarded this amateur history exercise as presumptively unreliable.) He has also repeated this fictional version of the facts on the air.

There should be no debate. Fox News exists because of conservative conviction that the mainstream media news networks were biased and could not be trusted. Fox is obviously biased, but it can’t give an organizational pass to intentional fabrication and maintain any credibility at all, especially when the liar in question is, like Williams at NBC, the 800 lb. gorilla of the organization. If O’Reilly survives because he’s a ratings champ while NBC, though kicking and screaming, properly jettisons its own gorilla, then Fox is exposed as a journalistic fraud (which many people are convinced it is anyway.) Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Train Wrecks, Journalism & Media, U.S. Society

What’s Really Wrong About The President Refusing To Say That Islamic Extremists Are Islamic Extremists

(Other than the fact that it’s ridiculous, of course.)

war_is_peace

Not THAT again…

As far as preventing terrorist organizations from destroying civilization is concerned, the proposition being repeatedly made by Republicans that “you can’t fight something if you can’t accurately describe it” is also ridiculous. Obama can call ISIS Late For Dinner if he wants to, and still take effective steps to contain the group and others. I can’t remember ever experiencing such a long and intense debate over what something should be called, unless you count the Republican insistence that water-boarding isn’t torture after decades of the United States saying otherwise  in legal documents, treaties and places where English is spoken, That, however, was obviously deceitful wordplay to get around the law, lawyering at it’s worst. This is something else…but what is it?

Yesterday, poor Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson did the rounds of the Sunday morning talk shows, and was asked to explain the Administration’s weird rhetorical line in the sand repeatedly. Presumably he was prepared beforehand, yet the best he could do was probably the version he came up with on Fox News, saying on the topic:

” [T]he thing I hear from leaders in the Muslim community in this country is, “ISIL is attempting to hijack my religion. Our religion is about peace and brotherhood and ISIL is attempting to hijack that from us.” And they resent that. Most victims of ISIL are, in fact, Muslims. So it seems to me that to refer to ISIL as occupying any part of the Islamic theology is playing on a — a battlefield that they would like us to be on. I think that to call them — to call them some form of Islam gives the group more dignity than it deserves, frankly.”

Wait..what? That’s it? So this is meant to, like, hurt their feelings? Why not go whole hog, and call them “Smoosh-Face Poopy-Heads,” then, or something similar? We’re officially denying what everyone knows to be true because moderate Muslims don’t like sharing a religion with the radicals, so to be nice, were speaking Fantasy rather than English? Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Leadership, Religion and Philosophy, War and the Military

The Brian Williams Ethics Train Wreck Welcomes Bill O’Reilly and Fox News…And Maybe Mother Jones?

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“The O’Reilly Factor’s” Bill O’Reilly has been one of the Right’s attack dogs on the Brian Williams fiasco, not that anything he has argued is undeserved or incorrect. He has stated, clearly and without exception, that no lying anchors, reporters or commentator can be trusted by viewers, and thus should not be watched. Now the uber-leftist magazine Mother Jones has published an impressive report that seems to show that O’Reilly himself has repeatedly exaggerated his own combat reporting experience over the years, in his case, during the Falkland Islands conflict when he was a CBS reporter:

[F]or years, O’Reilly has recounted dramatic stories about his own war reporting that don’t withstand scrutiny—even claiming he acted heroically in a war zone that he apparently never set foot in.

O’Reilly has repeatedly told his audience that he was a war correspondent during the Falklands war and that he experienced combat during that 1982 conflict between England and Argentina. He has often invoked this experience to emphasize that he understands war as only someone who has witnessed it could. As he once put it, “I’ve been there. That’s really what separates me from most of these other bloviators. I bloviate, but I bloviate about stuff I’ve seen. They bloviate about stuff that they haven’t.”

 Fox News and O’Reilly did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
I’m convinced; I think O’Reilly’s failure to respond, and Fox’s as well, strongly suggest that O’Reilly’s guilty of at least one instance (Williams, we now know, has many)of the kind of exaggeration that brought him down, and that Fox, like NBC, has been unprofessionally incurious about their top-rated on-air personality’s puffery.

Observations:

1. If Mother Jones’ writers (David Corn and Daniel Schulman) are correct, and the research looks thorough, then O’Reilly is obligated by his own words to take himself off the air. If he does not, then he will have branded himself a fraud and a hypocrite.

2. To the Mother Jones writers’ credit, they don’t accuse Fox’s head bloviator of hypocrisy, because he isn’t, yet. Nothing he has  said regarding Williams and journalism  isn’t true. He has not been unfair to Williams. Based on what Bill has said, if Mother Jones has him dead to rights, then he must concede that viewers can no longer trust him either, and he has made it very clear what needs to happen. If O’Reilly doesn’t abide by his own stated principles, then he’s a hypocrite. We shall see.

3. If Corn and Schulman are right, then Fox News would have to handle O’Reilly much as NBC has dealt with Williams, but one hopes faster and less hesitantly.

4. Are you surprised? I’m not. O’Reilly has a lot in common with Williams—an addiction to self-glorification,  a monstrous ego, and an unseemly desire for celebrity. I’ve caught him fudging to artificially enhance his resume, as when he refers to himself as a Harvard alumnus. O’Reilly got a Masters degree in Public Administration at the Kennedy School of Government, so he’s technically correct, but I’m certain most of his viewers never heard of the Kennedy School, and think that he means the college. I have it on good authority that Harvard grads who feel the need to broadcast their connection to the school are widely regarded by other Harvard grads as pompous, insecure jerks. Bill’s undergrad degree is from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York, and he earned his journalism degree from Boston University, an excellent school.

5. This is good investigative journalism. It also wreaks of a deliberate “you took one of ours down, so we take one of yours”  hit job by Mother Jones. A fundraising pitch for the Democratic Party popped up while I was reading the piece: this was opposition research. Corn, who also broke the unethically taped Romney comments about the “47%”, would never expose Williams or any other reliably Obama-guarding network talking head, because  he, and Mother Jones, don’t care about lying journalists who advance The Cause. Of course, I doubt anyone on Fox would expose false statements by George Will or Charles Krauthammer. Is there no media outlet that just cares about promoting honest journalism and trustworthy broadcasters?

6. I expect the mainstream media to be much more aggressive and unsympathetic, with all the Williams “false memories’ rationalizations magically absent, if the Mother Jones story hold up. After all, it’s O’Reilly, Fox News, and conservatives. No mercy for those bastards.

7. I wonder if Joe Scarborough was behind this…

I was on Bill’s show (about Beyonce’s lip-synching at the Inauguration), and he was wonderful to me. I got positive feedback from the appearance, and he said they would look for opportunities to have me back.

Well, that’s the end of that gig…

Update: Bill’s response, to The Blaze, is here. He says it all a lie, stands by his previous statements, calls the story  a politically motivated hit piece (it is, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be accurate), and calls Corn a moron. That’ s Bill. I hope he can back it all up.

_______________________

Facts: Mother Jones

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Filed under Around the World, Character, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

KABOOM! “Hey! Let’s Torture Our Son For His Own Good!”

This was a bad one...

This was a bad one.

I really need my brains right now. I have an intellectual property legal ethics seminar to write, and an aggravating commentary on the ridiculous stand-off over gay marriage in Alabama. And yet there are my brains, scattered all over the ceiling and walls after the first KABOOM! of 2015.

That’s one more reason to be furious at Elizabeth Hupp, Rose Brewer,  and Denise Kroutil, otherwise known (here) as the Cretin Family.  That, and the fact that they are brutal, child abusing idiots. You see, Auntie Denise was concerned that Hupp’s six-year-old son wasn’t sufficiently wary of strangers. Grandma Rose agreed, so with Mom’s approval, they arranged to have a stranger kidnap the child, imprison him, and terrorize him.

Followed by a stern lecture.

Let me know when your head blows up as I relate this ridiculous/horrible/unbelievable but true story. Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Family, Kaboom!, Law & Law Enforcement

Ethics Quote of The Month: Fired Sony Executive Amy Pascal

Good for you, Amy.

Good for you, Amy.

“Here’s the problem: I run a business. People want to work for less money, I’ll pay them less money. I don’t call them up and say, ‘Can I give you some more?’ Because that’s not what you do when you run a business. The truth is, what women have to do is not work for less money. They have to walk away. People shouldn’t be so grateful for jobs. … People should know what they’re worth.”

—Recently fired—because of those hacked e-mails—Sony Pictures chief Amy Pascal, in an interview with journalist Tina Brown at the Women in the World conference in San Francisco. She was addressing her e-mails revealing that actress Jennifer Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in “American Hustle.”

Take that, “77 cents for every dollar”!

My least favorite deceitful statistic took it on the chin with Pascal’s candid and accurate statement, and she ranks Ethics Hero status not just for saying it, but saying it in front of an audience full of women who have supported the lie while cheering and voting for politicians who repeat it.

A large chunk of the disparity between the salaries of men and women for the same jobs is not the product of bias or discrimination, but the natural consequences of females being raised to be less assertive, with lower self-esteem, and their resulting poor negotiating skills. Pascal is placing responsibility squarely where it belongs. This has been one more example of a traditionally mistreated group relying on victim-mongering rather than focusing on personal responsibility, accountability and honesty to address what is well within their power to fix.

Brava, Amy Pascal!

If Sony had any sense or principals, it would give you your job back.

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