Unethical Quote of the Week: The Los Angeles Times

“If you can’t handle such a minor inconvenience, perhaps you should stay on the ground.”

The Los Angeles Times Editorial Board, in an editorial called “Shut up and Be Scanned,dismissing the objections of travelers who find the gonad and breast-fondling patdowns now being used by TSA screeners embarrassing and obtrusive.

Thus does a major U.S. daily airily shrug off police state search tactics being imposed without demonstrable good cause, informed consent or due process at airports. This, from the same people who have angrily declared that it is too burdensome to request illegal immigrants in the U.S. to produce the documentation that U. S. law requires them to carry with them at all times. Note that illegal immigrants also pose a significant security risk, and that unlike underwear bombers, they actually have killed Americans—Americans such as Chandra Levy, whose illegal alien murderer was found guilty of killing her today.

Is there any way to reconcile these two Times positions? Would the paper have ever dared to write, regarding legal immigrants asked to produce documentation, that if they can’t accept such a minor inconvenience, perhaps they should stay in their native country? With a dismissive and arrogant “like it or lump it,” the Los Angeles Times uses its First Amendment-protected megaphone to endorse the reduction of Americans’ freedom to travel and enjoyment of life while relieving the government of the obligation to find a more humane and less de-humanizing way to protect our safety.

I expect the press to be loyal to the American public and to fight to uphold our basic freedoms. You can’t fail at those twin obligations more completely than this.

[Hat tip to Ken at Pope Hat for the link, and kudos for his eloquent one word discussion of the quote above.]

11 thoughts on “Unethical Quote of the Week: The Los Angeles Times

  1. If I didn’t know better I’d worry that you were over the top on this one, Jack. The LAT may be wrong in their editorial opinion (they often are), but unethical? Is it unethical for anybody to support TSA on this?

    I hope not because I’m conflicted. As I understand it, the pat down (or up) is only for people who refuse the body scanner. It seems like it may be a reasonable inconvenience to bear to guard against a known danger. I hope I’m not being unethical to be conflicted about this? Maybe just borderline unethical?

    • No, the pat down is NOT just for people who refuse the body scanner. I have had my TSA feel-up twice. I begged for the scanner. The scanners are out of order half the time and there aren’t enough TSA employees trained to use them. With an artificial; hip, I face these every time I fly as longs as the scanners are only occasionally ready–and THAT is not MY fault. I’m not a terrorist, a background check could prove it, and an artificial hip should not make me a target of abuse 100 times a year. Damn right I resent it.

      It’s fine to be conflicted. It’s unethical to trivialize genuine police state-style abuse. It’s not an “inconvenience” to have my testicles fondled by a stranger in public. Don’t ridicule an affront to my dignity to be free from unreasonable searches by calling it “inconvenient” and telling me my choice is to stay home. You don’t think the press taking that attitude..screw law-abiding citizens because we (that is, Napolitano’s incompetents) let an underwear bomber on a plane…is unethical? 1) Dishonest 2) irresponsible 3) disrespectful of human rights and American values 4) arrogant and condescending and 5) unaccountable.

  2. Unfortunately protestations that these searches are unconstitutional may fly (excuse the pun) in the face of precedent that has over the years watered down the Fourth Amendment in the case of “administrative searches.” I don’t believe that the Supreme Court has ruled on airport screenings (I am no conlaw scholar so could be mistaken), but the there is a Ninth Circuit case (US v Aukai (2007)) that provides a spot-on summary of the law as currently applied (at least in the 9th Circuit). Among its holdings — there is NO consent required for screening searches. Also, once a screening search has begun you may not opt out of it for the obvious reason that a terrorist would do so at the point he believes he is about to be found out. As far as how far the search can go, the court holds that the search may not be “more extensive nor intensive than necessary, in the light of current technology, to detect the presence of weapons or explosives [] [and] that it is confined in good faith to that purpose.” So, under current law, that seems to be the germane question.

    • You are almost certainly right, though I believe the original line of decisions were a mistake. This is an ethical rather than a legal matter, anyway. Abuse of power is often the abuse of legal power.

  3. You forget, it is THEIR police state. If George W. Bush did this, they would scream bloody murder. Also remember, they are THEIR illegal immigrants. If a bunch of illegal Russians were in the country voting Republican and causing problems, you can be sure they would want that stopped.

    • Oh, I remember, “They” also told us that having the power to check on which books certain flagged individuals checked out of the library was the beginning of the Gulags; that listening in when a citizen was chatting with a suspected terrorist was one step away from 1984. Strangely, as someone who doesn’t talk to terrorists and who couldn’t care less if every book I’ve checked out of the library in my life was listed on a billboard, I find mandatory fondling for dubious purposes more of an intrusion on my dignity and rights, Silly me.

  4. I’m confused by the parallel and buttressing example. Yes, illegal immigrants kill people. So do legal immigrants and natural born citizens. Is their any evidence they kill people more often than the other groups, or is this just a sloppy example that wasn’t well thought out?

    • Since 9-11, they have killed people more often than any citizen who went through the old screening procedures at airports killed anyone by harming a plane—because the latter group hasn’t killed anybody at all. Illegal immigrants do in fact commit more violent crimes than the public as a whole….in fact, 100% of them commit crimes, because their being here at all is one. Fair enough?

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