“Reporting”—in scare quotes because it was in fact advocacy, character assassination and blatant news manipulation—on the successful totalitarian movement by gay rights advocates to force Mozilla to fire its CEO (for the thought crime of not opposing an anti-gay marriage ballot initiative in California, but rather being so evil as to exercise his rights of political speech and support the traditional definition of marriage), ABC news accompanied the report on “Good Morning America” with video of a Westboro Baptist Church demonstration, complete with its charming “God Hates Fags” signs.
This, of course, implicitly sided with those, led by the CEO of OKCupid, trying to rob Brendan Eich of his job for having a different view than the intolerant Left, while imputing to Eich ugly attitudes that there is no evidence whatsoever he possesses. It seem ABC selected the same clip in 2012 in a story about the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling, making the illicit suggestion in such a choice that there are just two sides in this issue; those who “hate fags,” like the Phelpsians, and those who want all Americans, whatever their sexual orientation, to be able to have their relationships with committed loved ones recognized as a legal marriage.
Mr. Eich has the money and the team of lawyers to make ABC pay dearly for this slur on his character (there is no similarly expensive way to make the network—and the others, for this was just ABC’s turn—accountable for blatant news distortion and advocacy in the guise of “objective news reporting.”), so ABC pulled the false video and issued this wan and dishonest apology:
“Editor’s Note: The segment as originally aired on Good Morning America on April 4, 2014, and included on this page, has been updated to correct an error. Video of a demonstration by the Westboro Baptist Church, which is not connected to this story, was inadvertently used in the original segment. We apologize for the error and have removed that video.”
It was not “inadvertent,’ and it was not an “error.” Who is so naive as to believe that? Nobody in the editing room, nor the producers, nor the editors, nor the GMA on air personalities as the film was shown, noticed what accompanied the story, or saw anything amiss? This isn’t an inadvertent choice; it’s an intentional choice that reflects the unprofessional bias of the network and its employees. They were caught, that’s all, and called on it. Unless there was a deep-seated bias at ABC, such a mistake could never have occurred.
Newsbusters, the conservative media watchdog organization that pursued the slur (is it too much to ask that a non-conservative organization might be interested in eliminating or at least limiting terrible, biased, unfair journalism, and call out offending examples when liberals aren’t the victims? Apparently so), wrote:
“ABC News has assured the Media Research Center that such footage will not be used in the future. The network deserves credit for realizing their error and taking action.”
No, it really doesn’t deserve credit. The network would deserve credit if it made a genuine effort to start practicing ethical journalism, rather than apologizing when its routine bias becomes too despicable to sneak by.
37 thoughts on “ABC Quietly Apologizes For Being An Unethical, Unprofessional, Biased and Unfair News Organization. Not Accepted.”
In 2012? I thought the most recent SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage was last year, and it wouldn’t surprise me if that picture/footage was used then. I was out sick that day, so I wasn’t too plugged in with what footage was shown when.
The fact is that there is no getting around the bias that’s been allowed to dye American journalism to the deepest core of every thread sinc ewho knows when. Edward R. Murrow and Fred Friendly were biased, but at least they had some form of integrity in their format and made sure their hit piece on Joe McCarthy (no matter how you dress it up, it was still a hit pieces) was well-grounded in fact and airtight. Had they been wrong factually about something they would not have run it, and they would not have used the wink-wink, nudge-nudge pairing of some image that had nothing to do with the story they were running to try to plant bias in their viewers.
Woodward and Bernstein were not necessarily biased, or not obviously biased, they simply followed the story to where it led. The problem seems to be that since Watergate every reporter seems to remember what they did, forget why they did it, and want to duplicate their feat, culminating in Mary Mapes’ and Dan Rather’s attempt to manipulate the 2004 election by producing a story that was based on false information. It was no longer about getting to the truth, it was about targeting a president like big-game hunters targeting a huge African buffalo.
More subtle, but no less insidious were the unfair late hits on both Bushes in 1992 and 2004, the former successful by bringing up Iran-Contra six years after the fact, and the latter unsuccessful by attempting to dredge up a decades-old DUI. If the media sector is willing to attempt to manipulate elections by selective coverage, never mind make a sector-wide push to elect their chosen candidates (which has already been talked to death about), it should not surprise anyone that lesser figures like CEOs or ordinary businessmen have absolutely no protection from smearing if they deviate from the sector’s chosen agenda for this nation.
As far as the media sector (bar FOX and a few pockets) is concerned, the question of gay marriage is not only settled, but has only one righteous side, and anyone who can’t see that is simply not with the times, or not sufficiently intelligent, or a hater. Anyone who’s a hater deserves no protection and to be smeared, attacked, forced out of his job, and publicly pilloried. Arguably this is worse than other questions like global warming, where the science is not as settled as they’d like to think, or this nation’s choice of leader, which they can’t clamp down as hard on… yet. In this case they have the perfect issue and the perfect means to enforce orthodoxy and they see nothing wrong with enforcing it by hurting those who deviate, since they are deserving of being hurt. Whether you agree with gay marriage or not, you should find this chilling, because who’s to say what issue will be in their crosshairs next?
This does beg the question of whether they are manipulating public support for redefining marriage via biased reporting.
When last did you see a mainstream media story about gay marriage that cast it in any terms but glowing ones? I do remember reading one in National review that cast a stark contrast between opposite-sex and same-sex relationships, saying “one produces children and the other produces bedsheets stained with blood, semen, fecal matter and lubricant,” but there’s no way the mainstream media would even think of running that. Yet everyone is supposed to laugh at Dan Savage’s casting the name of Santorum as the frothy mix of lube and fecal matter resulting from anal sex. Ho ho. Biased coverage? Nah, couldn’t be.
I’m still confused about why there is a “question of gay marriage” to begin with. Who gives a shit? What right do any of us have to question–or take offense with–or legislate against–who consenting adults love? What’s ethical about that? Homophobia is irrational, emotional, reactionary, and patently un-American. I mean, when is freedom not free, if it’s we’re not free to love? I would further argue that the attempts at legal maneuvering to ban or limit the rights of consenting adults to have absolute equality is much closer to the “totalitarianism” of petitions and complaints from galvanized citizens–and for the record, I was impressed by OK Cupids willingness to possibly antagonize the 49% of America who identity as conservative, in defense of the 8% or so who are homosexual, but a little uncomfortable with their goal. On the other hand, the anti-homosexual element rarely pauses before sticking their hands into the lives of their targets. Either way, situations like this make me look in the mirror, take a deep breath, and thank nature that I was born a straight, white, fat guy in America.
“What right do any of us have to question–or take offense with–or legislate against–who consenting adults love?”
Come on, you can do better than this. Consenting adults can’t love multiple partners, and so on. Legal lines get drawn for a reason. This is just a question of where we draw them and we draw them by democratic process. You don’t get to just shut the other side down.
“On the other hand, the anti-homosexual element rarely pauses before sticking their hands into the lives of their targets. ”
Tit for tat reasoning. Like I said, it’s not “It Gets Better,” it’s “It’s Our Turn Now.”
Tit-for-tat would work if society condoned the “tat”. I am not aware of evidence that it condoned the “tat” in this instance.
Tit for tat argument breaks down when the antithesis is “we can, but we’re not going to let you”–all based on a book about some hippie who lived 2000 years ago, went around telling anyone who would listen that he was God, and never had much to say about sexual orientation himself.
Leviticus 18:22 Every Jew living at the time knew what that prohibited, and Jews today still believe in Leviticus 18:22. (Leviticus 20:13 was a commandment directed towards Israel as a nation, not a commandment for individual Jews to kill people.)
Of course, there are secular reasons for defining marriage as between one man and one womna. John Locke explained it back in the 17th century. Joel Prentiss Bishop observed that same-sex unions could not fulfill the ends of matrimony. Supreme Court Justice Thomas Stanley Matthews said, in strong, eloquent language.
Murphy v. Ramsey, 114 U.S. 15 at 45 (1885)
As for trying to run people out of their jobs for their opinion of same-sex “marriage”, I have yet to recall when the leadership of the anti-SSM campaign, let alone the American general population, condoned or embraced such tactics.
You were BORN a fat guy?
Let’s call it a genetic disposition coupled with years of failed, futile re-education.
There are laws criminalizing bigamous cohabitation in the U.S., which the Supreme court has yet to overturn.
And, foc outside, Saudi Arabia bans the practice of same-sex marriage. I am sure an imam can explain what gives Saudi Arabia that right.
to the contrary, homophobia is ingrained in our culture.
Then it was stupid.
When was the last time that happened?
Any time a bunch of yahoos get together and try to, or succeed in, passing laws about how two consenting strangers are allowed to compose or maintain their relationships. I just find the whole debate offensive–it doesn’t matter. Let’s break is down to basics here: I have gleeful, consensual sodomy with a woman and I’m a frat-boy hero. If I happen to prefer guys, I’m a pariah who doesn’t deserve love–the ultimate pursuit of happiness. And don’t give me that Rick Santorum “man on dog” bullshit, either.
Society has always regulated relationships, the same as it has regulated everything else, and with good reason, because unlimited ANYTHING is bad for society as a whole and no right is absolute. Simply saying that YOU find the debate offensive, and, by logical extension, that’s the end of the debate is beneath the level of this discussion and frankly talking like a child. There are a lot of things and discussions I personally find offensive, that doesn’t mean I get to silence them.
I see nothing heroic about engaging in consensual sex, then again I’m not a frat-boy and I haven’t been for a very long time. I see nothing particularly good and I see zero appeal in preferring members of the same sex, which is something I don’t “get” intellectually, since it produces nothing but compacted fecal matter. I see a real problem with the small minority who happen to prefer the same sex beating the majority about the head with how damn special their orientation is and now it’s not just equal to the normal orientation but some kind of special state of blessedness without whose imprimatur no one gets to do well. It doesn’t all come down to you getting to bang who you want, when you want, how you want and as often as you want, and that’s talking like an arrested 16-year-old.
I’m sorry, first of all, that you’re hearing something different than I’m saying. That said, I’m childish because I disagree with you?–I’d love to live in a world where my opinion, “by logical extension” ends debate and discussion. You said that, not me–but if you’re offering, I’ll have a go. It would be like being King, and being King would be cool indeed.
Reducing caring, committed relationships down to “compacted fecal matter” is fairly strong evidence a rational discussion in this forum was a foolhardy endeavor–and I’m the “arrested 16-year old?” The issue with homophobes is that they inevitably reduce homosexual relationships down the physical act of sex. By your definition of homosexuality, then, are lesbians, who generally don’t compact their fecal matter, worthy of higher level of bureaucratically ordained partnership then males. I have lesbian friends who just celebrated 40 years together. They occasionally joke about lesbian relationships after the first five years ago becoming a matter of cuddles and hand-holding. Maybe we can get chaste lesbians some sort of dispensation that give them almost all the rights of other citizens?
I’ve yet to hear a homosexual–or and advocate for marriage equality–demand “special” rights. All but perhaps the most radical would be tickled to death with bureaucratic acknowledgement, access to benefits, and spousal rights in direct correlation with those afforded marriages sanctioned by old testament superstition. But again I ask, why is this a question we even need to have–life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Why do I get to be married, while my neighbor doesn’t? It makes no sense to me, especially when we have so many greater and more profound issues to deal with in our country.
I don’t know if you’re aware of this, JC, but from an ethical perspective, Ethics Alarms has been consistently and unequivocally supportive of equal rights for gays and gay couples, including the right to marry, and the right not be discriminated against on specious religious freedom grounds.
That does not mean, however, nor could it, that I am going to accept unethical bully tactics by gay rights advocates, or biased, pro-gay marriage news reporting rather than objectivity. Perhaps you didn’t intend the implication that simply because I won’t give a pass to unethical conduct in pursuit of a result that is itself ethical, that means I support their victims’ politically. That’s called “the ends justify the means,” and this is an ethics blog.
Or perhaps “Reducing caring, committed relationships down to “compacted fecal matter” is fairly strong evidence a rational discussion in this forum was a foolhardy endeavor” isn’t the accusation I think it is.
It better not be, because I’ll resent it.
I like this blog because it’s generally objective–if you hark back to my original post it was only to say that I find the gay marriage thing to be a non-issue. What’s the big deal about something that affects no one but those involved. As for that Ok Cupid message–corporations are people now, right–they’re exercising free speech. I appreciated their balls. The “fecal matter” was just me throwing Steve-O’s own bigoted quote back at him–I’d whine “he said it first” but then I’d truly be the “arrested 16-year old” he accuses me of being.
But, okay. I get it. I’ll shut up and leave.
1. Get what?
2. Who told you to shut up OR leave? I merely asked you not to suggest that this blog wouldn’t tolerate pro gay marriage arguments, because that’s unfair and demonstrably untrue.
3. “corporations are people now, right” really makes you sound juvenile and ignorant. Stop it. That’s not the law, and its also not new that corporations have rights, as they would have to, if you think about it for 30 seconds.
4. Free speech is not always ethical speech. Surely you can grasp this?
5. Guts? To punish someone for taking part in the electoral process, and taking a majority position then shared by the state of California and the President, and making multiple untrue and illogical statements in the process? It’s gutsy to be dishonest, vengeful and coercive?
Understood. I just don’t want you being blamed for saying something that I said and which is the polar opposite of what you would say. You and I are not going to agree on everything, and that’s fine. I believe I must take accountability for my own views and my own bluntness, though.
In all fairness, Jack, I was the one who made the comment that I saw zero appeal in same-sex relations, because sex between man and woman produces the next generation, and sex between two men produces “nothing but compacted fecal matter.” I wasn’t being bigoted, but I was being blunt, which I think is acceptable given the bluntness, foul-mouthedness, and sometimes hatefulness of the other side, not necessarily in terms of tit-for-tat but in terms of avoiding the appearance of weakness and reminding the public as a whole what’s at the bottom of this, no pun intended.
I will not accept bully tactics, nor shout-down tactics, nor simple dismissal, nor disrespect from those who happen to not agree with me. I definitely don’t think it’s ok to start looking back through people’s tweets, posts, messages, etc., from years ago, nor where they choose to spend their money, and use that information to stir up trouble for them, hold them up to public ridicule, and run them out of employment. Otherwise, let’s ALL start trolling everyone’s financials and social media and emails, publicize every single damn thing, and encourage a boycott or smear of everyone we disagree with in the hopes of hurting them. That includes everyone of ME extraction who sends money back home and everyone who donated to some cause to provide Christmas gifts from some organization that also does other stuff, liberal or conservative.
And Jack, as unfortunate as it is, I think you know all too well that it’s only “being dishonest, vengeful and coercive” if it’s directed against causes the mainstream media or those in power agree with. If it’s directed against those who the media or the current administration disagree with it’s “courageously standing up for others,” “being an ally for those who need allies,” or “taking a bold new step for progress.” You mark my words, the day is going to come when this is all going to boomerang, and I won’t be sorry when those who threw this boomerang get clocked in the head when it returns.
I have no problem with your comment, or the tenor of your debate with whatshisname, or your handling of it. I do object to his suggestion that he can’t get an open-minded reception to his views “here,” as if this is some kind of ideological enclave, and pointed out my pique, whereupon, apparently, he left in a huff. Not sure what his problem is. I have a sock drawer to organize.
I don’t think the push to get the guy fired was right either, but you’re edging close to Godwin’s Law when you call it “Totalitarian.” A bunch of people whining about something and a company caving in isn’t anything like totalitarianism.
The demand for conformity of political, ideological and social thought is the essence of totalitarianism. Why Hitler more than Mao, Stalin, Orwell?
From wikipedia: “Totalitarianism or totalitarian state is a term used by some political scientists to describe a political system in which the state holds total authority over the society and seeks to control all aspects of public and private life wherever possible.”
From Merriam-Webster: “Totalitarianism-
1 centralized control by an autocratic authority
2: the political concept that the citizen should be totally subject to an absolute state authority”
The Key element is CENTRAL control. The desire for conformity to popular belief based on mob rule is pure Democracy at its worst. Just because a bunch of people get their own way and it isn’t what you like doesn’t mean it’s totalitarian.
Your definition is not in any way inconsistent with mine. Totalitarianism has to start someplace. It started with bullying mobs in Russia, Italy and Germany. The French Revolution was a democratic movement that demanded conformity, and became totalitarian. The objective of your mob is to become the absolute authority, and its goals are central control. You’re quibbling. Worse, you’re attempting to trivialize what isn’t trivial.
I’m not quibbling, I’m taking direct issue with your tendency to assign a sense of monolithic identity and cohesion to large groups of people who disagree with you. It’s the same as the boycott issue- boycotts as a rule don’t have a central authority or monolithic presence, but you keep referring to them as organized. Likewise the hubbub about the mozilla guy, while misguided and anti-freedom, had no unity, cohesive identity.
Large groups of organized people are called mobs, and they are coercive, and when they demand conformity, they are behaving in a totalitarian fashion. My tendency is to use descriptive words that those not determined to misconstrue will understand. Boycotts, to mean anything, must be organized, which is why the synonym is ban, as in a punitive ban. Individuals do not execute punitive bans. You will not find a single reference to boycotts anywhere here that isn’t clearly referencing organized boycotts. If you are complaining that I leave out the “organized,” that’s quibbling. And so is this.
I am far from the only one who has compared the conduct in this incident and other incidents to totalitarian regimes. That’s because the comparison is valid. Here’s Charles Krauthammer, on the ostracism of anyone who refuses to accept global warming cant:
“The proper word for that attitude is totalitarian. It declares certain controversies over and visits serious consequences — from social ostracism to vocational defenestration — upon those who refuse to be silenced.” Exactly.
And do I really have to explain AGAIN that on the issue of the right to same sex marriage that I AGREE with the position of the boycotters, not their victim?
“I am far from the only one who has compared the conduct… to totalitarian regimes. That’s because the comparison is valid.”
You owe me a new keyboard for the coffee I just shot out my nose. “Because Other people say it, it’s valid?” REALLY?
No, you owe me 20 bucks. I said the exact opposite, which you would have recognized if you weren’t in the grip of a pedantry attack. Or can’t you distinguish the not-so-subtle difference between “it’s true because lots of people say it” and “lots of people have noticed this because it’s true”?
When lives are getting destroyed because one group can’t tolerate the expression of ideas counter to its own, what would you call it? Soft tyranny, perhaps? A neighbor who fled Nazi Germany said that early in the process his family was visited by an SS officer who charmed parent and child alike and brought cake when they barely had much more than bread. He also hinted broadly that it would be very good if he saw Elizabeth and Rolf at the upcoming meeting, casting it in terms like service, patriotism, etc. We all know what happened to folks whose kids didn’t show up at those meetings, don’t we? It started with economic consequences, and you know the rest.
Those pushing this particular agenda now cast it in terms that no one can argue with, greater freedom, equality, being on the right side of history (which is essentially the atheist version of “God is on our side”), but it’s no longer about persuasion, it’s about bullying, dominating, and personally and professionally hurting those who disagree with the agenda. The irony of the fact that the most hateful standard-bearer of this approach started a movement against bullying is completely lost on those pushing it. Their slogan might as well go from “It Gets Better” to “It’s Our Turn Now.”
I guess I’m not gonna get a cake from the ‘progressives’ 😉
The term “progressive” itself has become Orwellian. Is intolerance and gang retribution against non-conforming laggards with the discovered Truth really progress?
Hell, NO! It’s McCarthyism in reverse.
Liberals believe that the U.S. is executing too many people.
Progressives are certain that the U.S.S.R. did not execute enough people.
That’s a great line. And sadly, maybe more than a line…
Take a read of The Black Book of Communism if you have any doubts.
This does beg the question as to why the progressive leadership would support defining marriage to include same-sex couples.
No one is even trying to disguise their agenda. This can’t be good. Like kidnappers who let the victim see their face.