This Is NBC: With All The Ethical Reasons To Fire Donald Trump, It Picks An Unethical One

Dignity...always dignity.

Dignity…always dignity.

It has happened here with Bill Clinton, Bristol Palin, and many others: this is the downside of running a website committed to fairness. I have had to come to the defense of some very unethical people through the years, but I can’t think of anyone I detest defending more than Donald Trump.

From the AP:

“NBC said Monday that it is ending its business relationship with mogul and GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump because of comments he made about Mexican immigrants during the announcement of his campaign.”

Let me count the lies:

1. Anyone, including AP, who believes this is why NBC fired Trump is too gullible to function in society. He was fired because Mexico, Univision and illegal immigration advocates were threatening to make NBC’s life miserable. If what Trump said mattered to NBC, NBC would have fired him shortly after he said it.

2. Trump said nothing about Mexican immigrants. His much-maligned quote discussed illegal immigrants from Mexico “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists and some, I assume, are good people.”  The unethical and dishonest effort by the news media to confuse the immigration issue and the crucial, material distinction between legal immigrants, whom the nation should welcome, and illegal immigrants, which it should not and must not, is more harmful than anything Trump has said on the topic.

3. The statement is deceitfully phrased to represent what Trump said as a slur on Mexicans, as a racist statement. Trump was talking about, in his typically lazy, crude fashion, our national problem of  unchecked illegals streaming across the Southern border, and the undeniable fact that this group includes criminals and rapists (like here, here, here…how many examples do you want?), as well as “good people.” Trump obviously wasn’t claiming that all illegal immigrants were criminals and rapists, because that would mean that some of the criminals and rapists would also have to be “good people.” But Mexico, which counts on us to solve their social problems for it, and illegal alien activists, who don’t want Americans to know that many of those sneaking into our country are not the salt of the earth, but quite the opposite, have successfully imposed a political correctness embargo on speaking the unpleasant truth.

Now on to the hypocrisy. NBC firing Trump is not just a little like, but almost EXACTLY THE SAME AS A&E firing Duck Dynasty’s scion Phil Robertson for public statements that were completely consistent with the reality star’s persona as A&E understood from the moment it inked a contract with him. The same is true of Trump’s trademark bluntness. The one difference: Robertson’s homophobic statements were blunt and ignorant, while Trumps statements about illegal immigrant were blunt and true.

Here is my conclusion from my first post about the Robertson suspension, with Robertson’s name (and “Duck Dynasty”) removed for Trump’s, and NBC substituting for A&E:

“NBC can decide to dump any employee it chooses if it concludes that the employee, fairly or unfairly, threatens its bottom line. That’s not what’s happening here, though. Obviously Donald Trump’s eccentric credo is part of his “charm”); NBC can’t possibly be surprised or disappointed at what Trump believes. It just caved to political correctness, that all: the political and cultural bullies who believe that their point of view not only is the only one, but the only one anyone should be allowed to express without punishment.

Any media or arts organization that capitulates to this anti-speech attitude is a disgrace and so hypocritical that it should not be taken seriously. The Constitution’s guarantee of free speech won’t work if anyone being candid in broadcast or print faces the constant threat of an organized effort to have them fired, and nobody is willing to stand up for the open expression of ideas. For there is no evidence that Donald Trump has ever discriminated against anyone, or been anything other than a model citizen…

What NBC did is wrong—unfair, cowardly, and disingenuous, and harmful to open dialogue in the United States.”

I’ll stand by this, with a little queasiness about the “good citizen” part: I’d trust Phil Robertson before I’d trust Donald Trump.

Yes, I know there are threats of boycotts for NBC to worry about, social media bullying and pusillanimous sponsors. Tough: if NBC doesn’t have the guts and integrity to stand up for free expression and accept the consequences, then it should get into another business, which in NBC’s case might be a good idea anyway.

Trump isn’t the issue, NBC is. The network’s announcement was short, dishonest, and stupid:

“At NBC, respect and dignity for all people are cornerstones of our values. Due to the recent derogatory statements by Donald Trump regarding immigrants, NBCUniversal is ending its business relationship with Mr. Trump.”

Ugh:

1. NBC doesn’t even respect its viewers. If it did, why would it allow serial liar Brain Williams to join race-huckster/tax cheat Al Sharpton and assorted other fake journalists on MSNBC?

2. Why didn’t NBC act when Trump was loudly calling Barack Obama’s birth certificate a fraud, a position he has never changed? That is far more arguably motivated by racism than criticizing the U.S.’s refusing to enforce its immigration laws. We know why, of course: The Donald’s TV shows were getting strong ratings then.

3.  Res Ipsa Loquitur: a network that gave a fig about “dignity” would not have more reality shows than dramas on its schedule, nor would it feature programs like “The Island,” “The Biggest Loser,” or Trump’s own “The Apprentice.”  Dignified NBC reality shows in the recent past include “Fear Factor,” where contestant were forced to eat slugs or be covered with maggots.

4. Again, Trump did not make derogatory statements about “immigrants,” but accurate if impolitic statements about alien lawbreakers.

In summary, NBC’s decision is a classic in the pantheon of doing the right thing for unethical reasons.

19 thoughts on “This Is NBC: With All The Ethical Reasons To Fire Donald Trump, It Picks An Unethical One

  1. If you detest Trump more than unethical slug Harry Reid that’s saying something. That said, it would have been just a tad closer to ethical if NBC had simply said that Trump, like that guy they tossed from the NBA for private discussions made public, had become a liability rather than an asset and it wasn’t in their interest to keep him.

      • Indeed you did. You said you couldn’t think of anyone you detested defending more than Trump, so it sounded like he trumped Harry, who you’ve been REALLY clear you hated defending.

      • ” I can’t think of anyone I detest defending more than Donald Trump.” A lazy reading ignores the possibilities that you might feel the same way about both, or that your feelings about defending them are not directly proportional to how you feel about them as individuals.

        • Harry Reid, despicable as he is, is still a public servant, and has dedicated his life to service of his nation, as bad as he is at it. I see no such redeeming features in Donald Trump.

  2. Jack,
    Freedom of speech is only under direct attack if it’s prohibited. You keep making these heckler’s veto arguments and, while I’m not insensitive to them, they don’t quite trip my alarm the same way. People demanding a more PC society through boycotts (I know you consider those unethical, but it’s freedom of expression too) and public pressure is kosher in my book, however strongly I may disagree with the motives. The line gets drawn when people start enacting legislation.

    Trump was allowed to give his speech in full and, since then, the only fallout has been public, not governmental. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean your free from negative reaction or consequences.

    -Neil

    • Freedom of speech is under direct attack if the culture disproportionately punishes citizens who try to exercise it. The Constitution frames cultural values, which is why the government is prohibited from infringing rights. The rights imply values. The remedy for speech is more speech, not “let’s all band together and destroy this guy.”

  3. I agree with you about speech being under attack; however, Trump did at least sort-of tie his comments to Mexicans in general. He was indeed talking about illegal immigrants, but then digressed for quite a while to state that Mexico is “not our friend” and that that Mexico is “sending” people to the US who are not “good people like you” but are rapists and drug dealers. Even if you disregard the red-meat racism of saying that all illegal immigrants are rapists and drug dealers, there’s still the fact that he made it look like a Mexican government-promoted effort to infuse America with criminals. That not only insults the Mexican government in a way hard to fathom for a guy who wants to run foreign policy, but using the term “Mexico” to brand the effort to “send” criminals our way does indeed paint all Mexican citizens at least as malfeasants, if not as the criminals being referred to.

  4. NBC could have avoided the whole kerfuffle by doing nothing. Trump announced his bid to be the Republican candidate for President. Trump would have to resign from his various shows (Miss Whatever, the Apprentice, etc.) in order to comply with federal election laws, rules and regulations. Therefore, the problem goes away and advertisers don’t have to call a boycott of anything.

    jvb

  5. “First they came for Donald Trump, but I said nothing since I wasn’t a narcissistic, spray-tanned, jack-wagon, and still had all my hair…”

  6. > [NBC] should get into another business

    That is already true, they’re in the business of fleecing customers through their monopoly on pay TV (i.e. Comcast). I’m willing to bet a $10 bill (before the PC redesign) that they will still run Trump’s beauty pageants on PPV and making even more money from them.

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