Ethics Dunces: Bismarck, N.D. Supporters Of A.J. Clemente, The Obscene Ex-Newscaster

A.J. Clemente.

A.J. Clemente.

In an earlier post I referenced A.J. Clemente, a newscaster for KFYR-TV in Bismarck who debuted in his new role by saying “…fucking shit!” on the air, because he didn’t know his mic was on. Not surprisingly, he was fired. Now, apparently, many viewers have come to his defense and are admonishing the station for being too harsh.

The station is not being too harsh. The station is upholding correct professional standards, and removing an unprofessional employee whom they do not trust and have no reason to trust. The episode showed him to be careless, reckless and, obviously, subject to obscene outbursts, which only are appropriate if you are David Ortiz. Ah, but some of the good citizens of Bismarck, displaying the same entrenched ethics cluelessness that led to the nomination of the ridiculous Mark Sanford, ex-Romeo governor, to lose a GOP House seat in South Carolina, don’t comprehend accountability, trustworthiness or responsibility, because to them, the only values that matter are forgiveness and compassion. The technical terms for such people are “patsies” and “marks.” They would cripple society, business and government with their mindless, deadly niceness. Examples:

  • “I wish you would reconsider your decision to fire AJ,” Adam Kyle wrote on the station’s Facebook page. “His response and reaction to all of this has been mature and well measured. He has probably won many people over with his humility.” Yes, and he has every reason to he humble, Adam. He crashed the plane on his first flight. He had no record of accomplishment to weigh against this inexcusable gaffe, and he had no excuse. All right, he handles the aftermath of his incompetence well. That’s not what I would call a useful job skill, because one would hope that he would have to use it as little as possible.
  •  “The entire country will now judge your station by your actions in this young man’s case. You will be harshly judged for that one error,” wrote Philip Chua. Wait—it’s right for the entire country to harshly judge the station for “one error,” firing an employee who embarrassed the station and showed himself to be a rank amateur, even though it’s not an error, but it is wrong for the station to judge its new employee based on his one genuine, unforgivable error that held his employers up to national ridicule? Good grief. Philip is philosophically in tune with my adversaries on the Applebee’s thread, whose position was based on the presumption that any company that fires an employee for obvious misconduct is still the villain, and the fired employee is always the victim. This accountability-free and anti-competence attitude infects labor unions and much of the workforce. It is the bane of everything from our schools to service industries.
  • “I’m really disappointed you decided to fire A.J. Clemente for a mistake that hurt no one,” Josh Jamaal said. Yes, and the pro-vulgarity lobby is heard from. Public obscenity hurts everyone, by reducing respect and eroding civil custom. It undermines civilized discourse, corrupts the young, and makes language ugly. Clemente’s outburst hurt the broadcast, which harms the audience, which is detrimental to the station. Good analysis, Josh.

If one wonders why the United States is plagued with poor service, failing businesses, bad schools, indignant unemployed, incompetent elected officials, and untrustworthy leaders, look no further than the kind, nice, forgiving, dangerous defenders of A.J. Clemente, and the millions of Americans like them, who believe there is something cruel and unreasonable about holding employees to standards. For them it is a convenient distortion of the Golden Rule: “Don’t hold others to standards, so you won’t have to be held to standards yourself.”


Facts: CBS


9 thoughts on “Ethics Dunces: Bismarck, N.D. Supporters Of A.J. Clemente, The Obscene Ex-Newscaster

  1. Wait until the Tsarnaev brother apologists get rolling on “Democracy Now,” Jack. The older brother was denied US citizenship and couldn’t try out for the US Olympic boxing team as a result. He’d have to box for his native country’s team. Tragic. The other one only got a partial scholarship to UMass Dartmouth. Are you kidding me? UMass Dartmouth? Wouldn’t any enlightened country have given him a full scholarship to Harvard? Or at least the real Dartmouth? Unconsciounable. Now we know why the terrorists hate us.

    • If you’ve ever seen the campus of UMass Dartmouth, you’ll know that you wouldn’t want any more than a partial scholarship there. The buildings are bleaker than a Soviet-era apartment block in Dagestan.

  2. Today, I went over the thermodynamics and kinetics of the decomposition of ammonium nitrate and the combustion of ammonia in oxygen. I pointed out that the information gained from the freshmen chemistry textbook would strongly suggest that you don’t allow houses and apartment complexes within a block of a fertilizer plant. It also explains why people should flee as quickly as possible from a burning fertilizer plant and why first responders should be told to just evacuate people and get out. It is a shame that our government regulators can’t be bothered to know such things. It is a shame that 40 people or so had to die because of it. Why are there no cries for accountability in this matter? Why is there no leader stating that something needs to be done?

    “Don’t hold others to standards, so you won’t have to be held to standards yourself.”

  3. Did you notice that the FCC supported Papi’s outburst?

    Red Sox slugger David Ortiz will not be penalized by the FCC for dropping the f-bomb on national television Saturday during a pre-game ceremony honoring law enforcement personnel in Boston after the capture of the marathon bombers. “David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today’s Red Sox game,” outgoing FCC head Julius Genachowski tweeted. “I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston.”


  4. Give AJ Clemente another chance, I was watching AJ last night on David Letterman and David showed a clip of an anchor Sue Simmons who curses during a tease and then apologized afterwards. The station never fired her. AJ was nervous, Also the TV station he worked at never gave AJ a cue that they were on air. I say hire AJ again.

    • You couldn’t be more wrong.

      1. You don’t see the massive distinction between a long-time, veteran, proven, professional journalist with a large following, who has one open mic mishap after being relaible and outstanding for thousands of broadcasts, and a tyro who does it, not only on his first day, but out of the gate? Come on! One has earned trust and the right to be forgiven for one mistake; the other has nothing but distrust to show for his debut. One makes the mistake of forgetting a basic rule after so many years that she is too relaxed and complacent, which can be corrected by a lesson like this, the other has shown that under pressure, he fails.
      2. So what it he’s nervous? He’s supposed to be a professional.
      3. “Also the TV station he worked at never gave AJ a cue that they were on air.” Excusemaking. It’s 100% his fault. Broadcasters are trained to respect the mic as always potentially hot.

  5. You say that he has ‘no excuse’, but I’ve worked in broadcasting and I’ve never heard of a newsroom that doesn’t cue the anchors. No station manager or producer on set? Nobody to call out, ‘on in ten’? Cameras live early? There were several elements of this debacle and A.J. was only one part. Now, you can hold him responsible for it if you want to, and sure, we all like to pretend that WE don’t use those words, golly no! But, watch the interviews. There is a reason why every single on-air talent is very sympathetic to him. That’s because, without cues, it could happen to any one of them. The truth is, the station failed him at least as much as he failed them. Still, he’s obviously going to move on to bigger and better things. Good for him.

    • He has no excuse, and may I say “DUH!, because there is no excuse for ever, ever saying “Fucking shit” in a professional setting, in a studio, near a microphone, among colleagues, while working, as the public is standing by. None Ever. And you are absurd for even suggesting otherwise.

      It could not “happen to anyone” because civil professionals don’t scream “fucking shit” in public or on the job. Ridiculous.

      He’s a young man who made a mistake, and if he learns from it, great–best of luck to him. But he deserved to be fired.

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