Ethics Exercise: What’s Ethically Wrong With Sybrina Fulton’s Endorsement Of Hillary Clinton?

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Sybrina Fulton is Trayvon Martin’s mother. Here is the entire article, published on CNN’s website:

Today, throughout many communities of color, our young people go about their lives feeling as if they are a target in their country. It’s become a sad fact of life that senseless gun violence can strike with little or no warning, either from neighborhoods that have become flooded with firearms, or police who are too quick to resort to deadly force.

Gun violence is an epidemic that kills 33,000 men, women, boys and girls every year. On top of those needless deaths, law enforcement agencies in America kill more people in a month than many other countries’ police forces kill in years. When those precious lives are taken, it forever tears apart the lives of thousands more — the friends and families who loved them, and who always will.

Losing a child is any parent’s worst fear. As a mother who has had to live that horrible nightmare in a very public spotlight, I hope that by speaking out, it will help focus some of that light onto a path that can help our nation find its way out of this darkness.

Last week, President Barack Obama took some important steps that included strengthening the background check system for purchasing guns without diminishing our Second Amendment rights. I was glad to see these actions put in place, and was moved by the tears of not just our President but of a father who clearly understands my anguish.

But next year we will have a new president. And everything Obama has done — even common-sense reforms that a majority of gun owners agree with — will be overturned if that president is a Republican. In fact, the Republican candidates have vowed to roll back all of these sensible measures. And many of them have shown open contempt for the simple notion that Black Lives Matter.

With so many of our children’s lives on the line or taken, we simply can’t afford to elect a Republican who refuses even to acknowledge the problem of senseless gun violence. The rising generation of our young people need a president who will stand up to inaction from Republicans and indifference from the National Rifle Association.

I believe that person is Hillary Clinton.

I know Clinton is tough enough to wage this fight. I’ve seen her do it for years. As first lady, she advocated for the Brady Bill and convened meetings on school violence. As a senator, she voted to extend the assault weapons ban and against an immunity law that protects irresponsible gun makers and dealers from liability.

In spending some time with her in person, I also found a mother and a grandmother who truly heard me, and understood the depth of my loss.

She knew all the statistics. But like so many, I’ve long since grown numb to the numbers. So instead, we talked about Trayvon and other families who have lost a loved one to gun violence. We talked about all of the wishes and hopes we had for their lives. And knowing we can never get them back, we discussed how to prevent more moms from losing their sons to gun violence.

Clinton will uphold President Obama’s recent executive actions, and then she’ll go even further. Her plan focuses on reforms that would help keep more guns out of the hands of criminals. It would finally close the gun show loophole, and the outrageous provision that allowed someone with an arrest record to buy the gun used to shoot and kill nine parishioners at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

I agree with the President: We should only support leaders that fight for common-sense gun reforms. Clinton passes that test.

Just as importantly, Clinton also wants to address the larger, systemic problems. She has a plan to begin to heal the distrust and divide that too often exists between law enforcement and the communities they serve.

She has called for key reforms — from better training for officers to eliminating racial profiling and investing in body cameras for every police department. She sees what I see: a criminal justice system that is not always just. A system that has contributed to creating a reality where just selling cigarettes, playing loud music, looking at a cop the wrong way or walking home from the store are now activities that can get you killed.

If you look at the numbers, America is missing 1.5 million men of color — lost to a system of violence and mass incarceration that seems to have long since forgotten them, but we haven’t.

Not only am I missing my son, but too many other moms like me are missing their sons — Eric Garner, Jordan Davis, Laquan McDonald, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Tamir Rice. As their mothers, we must do more than just cry. And all of us must do more than speak out, protest and march.

We must vote!

Ethics fouls:

1. I don’t believe for a second that Fulton wrote this transparent campaign piece, which hits all manner of poll-tested and focus group generated points with the style of a professional op-ed writer. Essentially this is a product of the Clinton campaign that was deemed to be most effective and newsworthy if Fulton agreed to put her name on it after it was customized for her. Are such ghost-written articles common? Yes. Are they deceptive? Yes. There is nothing to do about them either, other than point out that the author is having words put in her mouth for the benefit of another.

2. This is a race-baiting dog whistle. There has never been any proof, ever, that race was a factor in Trayvon’s death. Clinton/ Fulton is intentionally continuing the false and divisive narrative that Martin was killed because of racism, to appeal to the increasingly large race-baiting vote, as well as to African Americans.

3. The topic of gun control has nothing to do with Fulton, or her son’s death, unless, of course, Clinton’s intent is to confiscate all guns, because that is literally the only gun policy that would have saved her son’s life.George Zimmerman obtained his gun legally, and was licensed to carry it. Not one, single Obama proposal, order or measure would have changed what happened to Trayvon. Why was she recruited to write the article, then? To suggest otherwise…which is a lie.

4. The piece really is a masterpiece of deceit, slyly hinting at sinister untruths while stating little that can be called outright false. Let’s look at how it begins…

Today, throughout many communities of color, our young people go about their lives feeling as if they are a target in their country. It’s become a sad fact of life that senseless gun violence can strike with little or no warning, either from neighborhoods that have become flooded with firearms, or police who are too quick to resort to deadly force.

Brilliant! If the young people feel they are a target, then it is because of false narratives like Fulton’s. Nobody is hunting black kids…this was the first major lie perpetrated by activists and the media when the Zimmerman case was being driven by a media lynch mob to an unjustified prosecution. ALL kinds of violence can strike with little or no warning, but murders by guns are way, way down. Who “floods” black neighborhoods with guns? Nice use of the passive tense, there, “Sybrina.” The guns don’t flood themselves, and those evil cops aren’t doing it.

Gun violence is an epidemic that kills 33,000 men, women, boys and girls every year. On top of those needless deaths, law enforcement agencies in America kill more people in a month than many other countries’ police forces kill in years. When those precious lives are taken, it forever tears apart the lives of thousands more — the friends and families who loved them, and who always will.

Gun violence is not an “epidemic” by any definition. It is also misleading to call all of those deaths “needless.” Yes, and the United States is much larger than “many other countries,” making that statement only intentional emotionalism and misrepresentation. The last sentence is sentimental  manipulation of the most shameless and irresponsible sort. True, when anyone dies, it’s hard on the families.

Losing a child is any parent’s worst fear. As a mother who has had to live that horrible nightmare in a very public spotlight, I hope that by speaking out, it will help focus some of that light onto a path that can help our nation find its way out of this darkness.

Again, Fulton’s experience is irrelevant, unless her objective is to ban guns. Trayvon’s death wasn’t part of any “darkness,” though it was exploited—by Fulton, among others— to make the darkness of racial distrust deeper.

Last week, President Barack Obama took some important steps that included strengthening the background check system for purchasing guns without diminishing our Second Amendment rights. I was glad to see these actions put in place, and was moved by the tears of not just our President but of a father who clearly understands my anguish.

They were not “important steps” by any rational assessment. Yes, the President’s identification with Trayvon “as a father” was significantly responsible for racializing a non-racial, local investigation and encouraging the use of a non-racial incident to begin a general assault on the criminal justice system as racist. Tears are a dramatic tool, but are not a substantive argument for anything.

5. So instead, we talked about Trayvon and other families who have lost a loved one to gun violence.” This is a classic example of misleading by pairing unlike things together as if they were the same. Trayvon was lost to violence in which he participated, and which prompted a deadly self-defense response. A trial found that his killer was in legitimate fear for his life: if he had grabbed a rock and killed Trayvon while he was bashing Zimmerman’s head against the concrete, it would have been rock violence.

6. And many of them have shown open contempt for the simple notion that Black Lives Matter.” This is the most unethical passage in the essay. I have utter contempt for Black Lives Matter, but I don’t dispute that black lives matter.  Confounding the activist group, which is racist, assulative and anti-law enforcement, with the principle of equal protection and equal justice is intentionally dishonest and divisive.

7. “She sees what I see: a criminal justice system…that has contributed to creating a reality where just selling cigarettes, playing loud music, looking at a cop the wrong way or walking home from the store are now activities that can get you killed.” If Hillary believes any of that, she is too ignorant and intellectually lazy to be elected to any office at all. Who has been killed by the criminal justice system for “just selling cigarettes”? Not Eric Garner, who resisted arrest and was tackled by police using excessive force, and accidentally, I would say negligently, killed. Is she talking about her son being killed “walking home from the store”? He was killed in self-defense trying to bash in the skull of a wanna cop who happened to be armed. Or is Sybrina/Hillary talking about Mike Brown? He was killed in self defense while attacking a police officer. What young blacks have been killed by police for “walking home from the store,” or any of Fulton’s claimed provocations? None. The statement is classic “post hoc ergo propter hoc,” a  logical fallacy, and in this case, an intentional one.

CNN breached its duty of responsible editing by allowing such a sentence to be published on its website.

8. If you look at the numbers, America is missing 1.5 million men of color — lost to a system of violence and mass incarceration that seems to have long since forgotten them, but we haven’t.”

Right, Sybrina. Not a single one of those 1.5 million should be in prison, or were 100% responsible for their treatment by the justice system. Remember, this is all programmed by Hillary Clinton. This is her campaign talking. All blacks are in prison because the system is racist, she says.  That’s the message.

9. “Not only am I missing my son, but too many other moms like me are missing their sons — Eric Garner, Jordan Davis, Laquan McDonald, Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, Sean Bell, Tamir Rice. As their mothers, we must do more than just cry. And all of us must do more than speak out, protest and march.”

Grouping a 300 pound man who was resisting arrest, a young man shot by a lunatic (who is serving a life sentence), a hood who refused a lawful order to stop and was then executed by a Chicago cop liable to also face life in jail, Freddie Gray, who wasn’t shot, Michael Brown, who attacked a police officer, Oscar Grant and Rice, both killed over fatal confusion over realistic toys, and the Bell mess, which was a multilateral fiasco, is intentionally misleading and irresponsible. There is no pattern there: this is the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy at its worst. These men are all dead, all black and all have mothers, and those are the only things they legitimately have in common.

10. The article is divisive, misleading, uses deception at every turn, exploits sentiment and emotion, and is an intentional catalyst for anti-white, anti-gun, anti-law enforcement bias, entirely engineered by Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The programmed piece uses Martin’s mother specifically to exploit a false narrative that is comforting and useful to a segment of the black Democratic base.

This is what we can look forward to if Clinton is nominated. She is ruthless, she is without shame, she will manipulate the facts to suit her ends, and if she has to rub salt in old racial wounds to achieve power, that’s exactly what she’ll do.

__________________________

Pointer: Other Bill

14 thoughts on “Ethics Exercise: What’s Ethically Wrong With Sybrina Fulton’s Endorsement Of Hillary Clinton?

  1. “throughout many communities of color, our young people go about their lives feeling as if they are a target in their country.”

    This pisses me off. Why just “many”? Why not “all”? If police departments all across the country have rouge cops who see only color, and indiscriminately target these minorities, if the problem is really as insidious and wide spread and ONE SIDED as you (i.e. Fulton (i.e. Jen Palmieri, Brian Fallon, or whomever wrote this tripe)) claim it is, then why aren’t ALL communities of color, in fact any community where “color” lives (can I just start saying “black”?*), feeling this way? I’m black….so, is there something wrong with me for not feeling this way? Am I not “keeping it real” enough?

    I, along with blacks that feel that way, drive in the same neighborhoods, on the same streets, and on the same highways. Those blacks feel targeted…I do not. Why? Are the cops treating us differently, based on no differences in our behavior….simply because I don’t believe I’m being targeted? If it’s that simple, then I’m just gonna start not believing in speeding tickets, so I can start avoiding those as well.

    *-Isn’t referring to blacks as “people of color”, simply seeing the world as if being white (or, non-color) is the norm, and being black (or “person of color”) as the exception? Kind of like, when asked to recollect a story, and you can either say “A guy was running down the street”, or “A black guy was running down the street”; both presume that without the qualifier, the listener would just assume that the guy in both stories was white, so if the intent is to accurately claim that the runner was black, the adjective is necessary, whereas the adjective wouldn’t be necessary is the runner was actually white.

    Simply using terms “black” and “white”, as over-gerneralizing as they are, makes neither the exception to the rule, and “feels” less offensive. But that’s just me. My apologies to any non-black and non-white who feels left out of my rant.

      • Thanks!

        I forgot to mention this in my initial post:
        “If you look at the numbers, America is missing 1.5 million men of color — lost to a system of violence and mass incarceration that seems to have long since forgotten them, but we haven’t.”

        Since she also seems to want to play the fun game of disparate impact, with no consideration for nuance or details or reasoning, she should also consider how the percentage of black babies aborted is overwhelmingly disproportionate to the percentage of the black population.

        Issue: Too many black babies aborted; Rationale: “Doesn’t matter, it’s all about individual choice and autonomy, outside influences be damned!”

        Issue: Too many blacks in prison; Rationale: “Well, there’s a number of external factors to be considered; namely, how society has rigged the deck against black males, so it’s not entirely their individual choice to commit crime; rather, the pressures of being a black male in 2016…” and so on, and so forth.

  2. “1. I don’t believe for a second that Fulton wrote this transparent campaign piece.”

    Bingo. Have you heard Sybrina Fulton talk? I doubt she could have read this out loud.

    “2. This is a race-baiting dog whistle.”

    I actually didn’t get that. the word “Black” was only used once, in reference to BLM, and even that was in reference to disdain on the organization, as opposed to targeting the demographic. I think this is because, believe it or not, Bill wasn’t the first black president, and Hillary is just as white. The campaign can’t afford to make this racial and push away a black vote that might not feel represented by the oldest and whitest Democratic primary in living memory.

    (Was what I wrote before reading the article a second time.)

    How…. Insidious. Dog whistle is the perfect term. It checks all the democratic talking points, but does it so discreetly that I missed some of them. I realized when responding to one of your later points that garner hadn’t been shot. So if this was about gun control, what is he doing there? And then little snippets came together and I just couldn’t not see them. I hope the Clinton staffer that wrote this got a bonus, because as much as I find it abhorrent, I have to admire the artistry that went into it.

    • Anything that suggests that there was any injustice, racism, or law enforcement bias in the Martin-Zimmeerman affair is a racial dog whistle. Fulton is a walking dog whistle; the whole story and case is a dogwhistle. Either it’s a narrative about a white man allowed to hunt down and kill a young kid because he was black and wearing a hoodie, or it was a manufactured, fake racial incident with the full participation of activists like Sharpton, plus Obama, Spike Lee and the news media. One or the other. The facts prove it was the latter, and Fulton’s only fair symbolic value is of how a mother can stampede the society into believing her son was a martyr when he was really just an unlucky kid. To use him this way is a sneaky way of saying Trayvon was the victim of racism, and his killer was allowed to go free by a biased system. Both are untrue.

      • Trayvon or rather, his name and the mythic story attached to it, is now stamped on the psyche of America — I wonder if it had been ‘John’, if that would have stuck so firmly. Who’s gonna call his mama a liar? Spike Lee isn’t going to do it. There has been some turn-around, though, and there is credit due. Lee, who has been making black-focused feature and documentary films since 1986 (37 of them) that have been received with general interest (if not approbation) has a great deal of influence in the black community. He has been using that influence for the past couple of years — late but authoritative — to state publicly and repeatedly that there are sad and dangerous realities under the myth that must be addressed. One of those he has repeated time and again was made into a lyric that is becoming popular across the board, from a song in his movie, ChiRaq: “We gotta do better / What’s the use of saying Black Lives Matter if we’re gonna kill ourselves?” And the printed lyrics use the uppercase BLM.
        … Not connected with the “travonism” folk myth, I know, but neither does Lee belong with the great prevaricators like Sharpton.

  3. Hillary’s cynicism knows no boundaries. Using the young thugs mother to advance her agenda is business as usual. Well I’m sure Travon’s mom will show up at Hillary’s court dates all expenses paid.

  4. Jack said, “Remember, this is all programmed by Hillary Clinton. This is her campaign talking. All blacks are in prison because the system is racist, she says. That’s the message.”

    The real message from this attack dog endorsement hit piece is that the Clinton campaign what’s voters to believe that “All blacks are in prison because the system is racist and the Republicans want to keep the system racist because Republicans are racist and unjust; Republicans are to blame for all injustice and Clinton is the only solution to the problem”.

    It’s 100% manipulative political propaganda, it’s devoid of logic, and Sybrina Fulton is a political tool.

    This propaganda crap shows enough signs that the Clinton campaign is trying to psychologically manipulate voters that I sometimes wonder how many psychologists there are working as senior advisers to the Clinton campaign; I’ve wondered the same thing about Obama’s most trusted inner circle of advisers.

  5. A great statement from an article in the LA Times by Heather Mac Donald: “Contrary to the claims of the Black Lives Matter movement, the police are the one government agency most dedicated to the proposition that black lives matter.”

    http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-mac-donald-ferguson-effect-in-los-angeles-20160113-story.html

    Nice explication Jack. Thanks. I’m so impressed by with the amount of patience you display in going through these sorts of things line by line. My head explodes after a few lines.

    • She is one of my favorite journalists; it’s had to detect bias in any of her work. If you haven’t already, you should check out her work (along with Jason Riley) here: manhattan-institute.org

      • Yes, Chris. Jason Riley is a complete and reliable breath of fresh, intelligent air. I’m a big fan of Mac Donald’s and her work, regardless of where it appears. She’s particularly good on citing statistics. Interesting she was published in the LA Times. Isn’t it owned by the Tribune Company which owns the Boston Globe and the Chicago Tribune and is pretty reliably left leaning?

  6. Given that the Hillary campaign penned the article, the most pathetic part of the article is the revelation that as first lady she “convened meetings on school violence” — does somebody in the campaign really think that is a significant selling point? What person trying to get even a mid-level private sector job would brag about meetings?

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