Ethics Corrupter of the Year
(Awarded to the unethical public figure whose prominence, popularity and success most corrupts the public’s ethical values)
Janay Palmer Rice, beloved punching bag of NFL star Ray Rice, who was caught on camera smooching with her man shortly after being cold-cocked by him in a hotel elevator, married him, and has repeatedly defended her husband, prompting confused female pundits to defend her. She is not only the embodiment of Rationalization #42. The Hillary Inoculation, or “If he/she doesn’t care, why should anyone else?”, she is also a good bet to get some young women killed by giving them a role model who stands for standing by your abusive man with the hard right hook.
Double Standard Of The Year
In a year of double standards, the treatment of soccer star (and accused child abuser) Hope Solo by her sport, feminists, the media and the public takes the prize. The standard, as I understand it, is that big, strong female athletes can beat up smaller, weaker family members with impunity, and it’s no big deal, but when a male athlete does the same, he is scum. Got it.
Uncivil U.S. Official of the Year
Victoria Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and the top American diplomat in Europe, was caught saying in a viral Youtube video saying “Fuck the EU.” Now that’s diplomatic. Of course, she wasn’t fired, because she works for the Obama Administration
The Jesse Jackson Award
(For the Year’s Worst Amateur Diplomat)
First Lady Michelle Obama, who helped her husband make the U.S. look weak and ineffectual (he needs no help), by engaging in this ridiculous effort at hashtag diplomacy. Those kidnapped girls were never found, and Boko Haram, the Nigerian terrorist group that took them, I learned today, just killed a reported 2000 more victims. Time for another sad picture, Michelle!
Most Unethical Sports League
The NFL, last year’s winner, was even more unethical this year, with the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson fiascos, Commissioner Roger Goodell showing no innate instinct for right and wrong and both the league and its teams making up rules and policies according to talk show calls, polls and wet fingers in the air. Meanwhile, it’s still making billions paying young men to lobotomize themselves. What a great sport.
Sports Cheat of the Year
Alex Rodriguez, suspended Yankee star, had denied, denied, denied, threatened to sue Major League Baseball and the union, and insisted that he had not, as an investigation had determined, used performance enhancing drugs supplied by Biogenesis. Then, just as his season-long suspension was lifted, it was revealed that A-Rod had, under oath, admitted using steroids from 2010 to 2012.
Annual Sports Ethics Controversy That Gets Worse Every Year
Steroid cheats (like Rodriquez) and their fitness for admission to Baseball’s Hall of Fame
Unethical Lawyer of the Year
Michael Fine, the Ohio lawyer who allegedly hypnotized female clients in order to sexually molest them. Runner Up: Alexa Van Brunt. She didn’t do anything unethical; she just advocates ethics rules that would eliminate the core of legal ethics, proving that she doesn’t understand her own profession.
Unethical Judge of the Year
Wade McCree, the handsome devil pictured above (he circulated this selfie), who, presiding over a felony child-support case, conducted a secret sexual relationship with the woman seeking support from the defendant. This was just the latest of his embarrassments. Runner up: Texas District Judge Jeanine Howard, who handed down a stunningly lenient sentence of probation and 250 hours of community service at a rape crisis center for a man who confessed raping a 14-year old girl at her school.
Unethical National Broadcast Journalist Of The Year
CNN’s Carol Costello. She was biased, smug and incompetent all year long, but reached her nadir when she gleefully played a recording of Bristol Palin explaining to police how she had been assaulted, saying to her viewers, “You can thank me later.” She refused to apologize on the air, or to Palin.
Unethical Local News Reporter Of The Year
The Stephanopoulos Award
(for the Broadcast Journalist Conflict Of The Year)
MSNBC’s Al Sharpton, who could probably retire this award, continued to “report” on the Ferguson protests while actively leading them. Naturally, the most ethics-free network in the free world saw nothing inappropriate about this.
Journalism Ethics Failure of 2014
Rolling Stone. Its epic failure to exercise any journalistic objectivity or judgement while publishing an anonymously-sourced rape accusation against a University of Virginia fraternity, written by a reporter who set out to find a sensational campus rape story, was a disgrace. None of the story’s facts checked out.
Most Unethical Fact Check Of 2014
Washington Post Fact-checker Glenn Kessler. I feel bad about this one: Kessler tries to be unbiased, unlike, say, PolitiFact, but he did a hatchet job on Rand Paul, fact-checking him on what he never said, and declaring his opinion to be a lie. You can’t fact-check worse than this.
Unethical TV Talk Show
The Daily Show—which is sometimes a news show, sometimes a commentary program, sometimes a comedy show, and sometimes a talk show. It wins this award with an interview set up as an ambush. It persuaded four diehard Redskins fans to appear and discuss the team’s controversial name with correspondent Jason Jones, not warning them that they would be confronted by a group of Native American activists including Amanda Blackhorse, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit attempting to force the team to abandon its logo and nickname. Naturally, the fans were unprepared to parry the practiced points of experienced advocates, which was the Daily Show’s design: rig the debate to make the side it favored look foolish.
The Kitty Genovese Award For Unethical Bystanders Of The Year
The District of Columbia Fire Department. 77-year-old Medric Cecil Mills collapsed across the street from a D.C. fire station. His daughter ran across the street to seek help from the firefighters, and was told that they couldn’t respond until being dispatched. She called 911, and while waiting for assistance, Mills died. (None of the firefighters involved were fired. Good ol’ public unions…)
Forgotten Ethics Outrage
The persecution of Justin Carter, the teen who was arrested and charged in 2013 for making a harmless comment to a friend on Facebook that authorities called a terrorist threat. He’s out of jail now, but spent nine months in prison.
2014’s Ethics Outrage That Most Makes Me Regret That Ethics Alarms Has No Real Influence
Fallen Hero of the Year
MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber. Celebrated, admired, trusted, lionized, applauded and pointed to with pride as “an architect of Obamacare” by those whose intent was to make the public feel confident that the massive, unreadable and unread bill was everything it was claimed to be, suddenly was declared a nonentity by the very same Democrats and pundits who had appealed to his expertise and authority. Why? He met this fate with a series of videotaped speeches and appearances in which the entire, dishonest strategy behind the passage of the Affordable Care Act was laid bare. Now he is a symbol of villainy to Obamacare critics, and a detested traitor to its advocates.
Celebrity Race-Baiter Of The Year
Actor Samuel L. Jackson, who embarrassed a local TV interviewer by claiming that the interviewer had confused Jackson with fellow African American Lawrence Fishburne, because, you know, to white people all blacks look alike. Despite the fact that the interviewer had done no such thing, he apologized, and virtually every news outlet reported the event as Jackson had described it. (Ethics Alarms was almost alone in pointing out that Jackson acted like a race-baiting, bullying jerk.)
Unethical Celebrity of the Year
The atrocious Lena Dunham.
Jumbo Of The Year
(Awarded To The Most Futile And Obvious Lie)
“The fact of the matter is, the process associated with the writing and passing and implementing of the Affordable Care Act has been extraordinarily transparent.”
—–Josh Ernest, Presidential spokesman.
Never mind the “lie of the year” that was central to its passage, the President’s repeated pledge that “if you like your health care plan, you can keep it. Period.” Never mind the Jonathan Gruber’s revelations of intentional misdirection and a strategy of cynical misrepresentation. Never mind that the very name “The Affordable Care Act” is deceitful, as nothing in the law makes medical care more affordable, and for much of the public it makes insurance less affordable. And never mind Nancy Pelosi’s declaration that the bill had to be passed so the public could learn what was in it: the process was extraordinarily transparent.
Dumbest Ethics Controversy Of The Year
Part 1 is Here.
Part 3 is HERE
Part 4 is HERE