The Sixth Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Worst of Ethics 2014 (Part 2)

Rice and Janay

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

Charlo Greene

 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

“Hands Up! Don’t Shoot”

Hands up

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)

Jumbo film

“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



This one…


Part 1 is Here.

Part 3 is HERE

Part 4 is HERE


21 thoughts on “The Sixth Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Worst of Ethics 2014 (Part 2)

  1. If found your site a few week or so ago and thought it would be insightful and focused on ethics. But after reading your posts for these weeks and both parts of the Sixth Annual Ethics Awards I see that you are nothing but another politically biased right wing leaning blog, masquerading as something else. What a shame. Ethics needs to make no room for politics. And you missed the boat on a number of ‘winners’ due to your bias. Sayonara Ethics Alarm.

    • Because objectively flagging the spectacularly incompetent and dishonest misadventures of the current administration and not sugar-coating it out of regret and disappointment means I’m biased. Got it. Everyone who knows me and reads here with an open mind knows I am dead center politically, and objections like yours, and the accusations underlying them, are just sad. You won’t be missed.

      If you had the courage of your convictions, you would specify where you think I was unfair or slanted, opening yourself to examination of your own logic. It’s so easy to impugn a considered analysis like that: just shout bias. The mark of a boor, a jerk, and a coward. Sayonara yourself, ass.

      • And let me just add—I hate this crap. If I’m not being fair, I want to know. The people who sit on the sidelines keeping score and attributing conclusions that I reach using valid and unbiased methodology to being “right wing”…and then don’t have the guts to be specific…just infuriates me. What do people like this think “ethics” is, anyway?

        • Come the next Republican administration, I wonder how the right wingers will react to the inevitable scourging that admin will receive when it has ethical lapses and dunceries…

          Will you have a readership?

          I have a hunch you will…

          • I really don’t care what a President’s policies are, if he’s effective, honest, and displays competence in leadership. This isn’t a policy blog. The ACA, for example, would be fine with me from an ethical perspective if was passed honestly. It wasn’t.

      • Although I agree with a great majority of what you called out in 2014, simple things like calling MSNBC “the most ethics-free network in the free world” tells me all I need to know – that you can’t actually differentiate the lies and propaganda that is offered as news at the leading TV news outlets. Coupled with that type of even handed reply to my post you have also proven yourself a ‘winner’. Thank you.

        • Excuse me? Have you looked at the slate of commenters on MSNBC? MSNBC employs Al Sharpton, which automatically puts it ahead of all others: he has a pure conflict of iunterets, he is a laothsome huckster and tax cheat, and he is a terrible host. MSNBC had to be pushed to dismiss Martin Bashir for saying that Sarah Palin should be forced to eat shit. MSNBC employs its pundits, like Maddow as reporters when objective journalism is called for. MSNBC broadcast doctored tapes in the Zimmerman case.MSNBC seldom puts any dissenting voices on the air to oppose its all-Obama-worship, race-baiting all the time schedule. An MSNBC host mocked Mitt Romney’s mixed race grandson! MSNBC hired Mia Farrow’s son and Alec Baldwin without either having any news commentary credentials whatsoever. MSNBC makes Fox and CNN look like a paragons of ethics, and they are both terrible. That’s your proof that I’m a biased right-winger? That I agree with almost every objective media critic that MSNBC is a disgrace?

          • And I’m banning this guy. Today was a bad day to troll me. Seriously: pointing out that MSNBC is irresponsible, untrustworthy and intentionally biased is unfair? Not doing so is proof of dementia.

      • We-ell, I only started reading here when we were late 2011/early 2012, and but for the occasional lashing a GOP down-ticketer got and the clear divergence of this site from the right on the subject of gay issues, it might be mistaken for a right-wing one by a casual by-stopper, since the president is the most visible and talked-about person, and this one’s been an ethics disaster. I don’t doubt the next GOP president will come in for his share of criticism, and, as an inveterate righty, I don’t doubt I will be defending him here, although I won’t defend the indefensible.

        • I actually do keep score. I avoid a lot of Democratic stories because of the appearance of bias issue. Meanwhile, the media is dominated by liberals, entertainment, non-profits, education—most of the areas I cover other than business. When the GOP had a certifiable ethics dunce as its chair, I was extremely critical of him–my contempt for Mitch McConnell knows no bounds. In Pelosi, Reid, and Wasserman Schultz, the Democrats have amassed the most loathsome and dishonest group of leaders I’ve seen since Tom DeLay was sent to jail.

          I’d check my criticism of conservative talk radio, Fox, Newt, Santorum, Romney, Jeb Bush…the fact that I support legalizing current illegals (but not via presidential fiat),a gasoline tax, infrastructure expenditures, and many other issues. The Left has become so left that it sees any rational positions as right wing. I can’t help the fact that that Democrats have disgraced themselves as thoroughly as Republicans before the 2006 midterms. I’m not taking the blame.

          • All of which are clear to anyone who actually reads the blog and doesn’t just pop in and out. I still say you and I may be in for ahem, a more spirited ride when the next GOP president is sworn in.

          • “The Left has become so left that it sees any rational positions as right wing.”

            That says it all. Well, almost all.

            So much of the “Right” has become so left that it forces itself to act – and to be extra conservatively correct, forces itself to take no action at all, including not even speaking up – like sketch artists paralyzed with terror at the thought of offending any of the prophets or profiteers of the Left by so much as drawing a cartoon.

  2. So, it seems you’re a conservative mouthpiece.
    You raaaaacist!
    How can you live with yourself. The next thing you know you’ll be chewing tabaccy and wiggling your single tooth with a tongue pickled in white lightning. It’s obvious you’re not very smart you backwoods @#78!

  3. You know? The absolute, unassailable inerrancy of so many leftists (well, how else can they be, right?) in calling out the absolutely non-credible, un-watchable right-wingness of Fox News has to be one of those miraculous, supernatural endowments of such leftists that mere mortals simply will never appreciate adequately. If those leftists were anything less than infallible, one would be justified in suspecting that Fox News is the only channel they watch. Those lefties surely must know something that we mere mortals will never grasp – like, that Fox News transmits some kind of electromagnetic, political equivalent of the Ebola virus: Watch 30 seconds of O’Reilly, and you’re doomed to never throwing a ballot switch for a Democrat ever again. Gad! The trumped-up Reefer Madness-like hysteria against Fox News makes lefties who embrace such propaganda into boring, detestable bullies.

  4. The Judge Howard incident certainly outraged the entire State of Texas! Then there’s the Curious Case of Ragin’ Ray Rice. Actually, it’s Janay that has a lot of talking heads confused. Yet, you see this sort of thing over and over- a woman abused by her husband coming back to defend him, even to the extent of turning on those who came to her assistance. I’ve been involved in such a case personally. It’s crazy, but it’s human (and particularly, feminine) nature. All you can do is pursue the case against the guy for the woman’s sake and for that of all other women and children who are at potential risk… whether any of them want it or not.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.