Julia Ioffe, a columnist at “Foreign Policy” and a contributing writer for “Politico Magazine” was moved to issue the above tweet by accounts that First Daughter Ivanka Trump would serve as First Lady while Melania Trump remained in New York to care for the Trump’s young son . Oh, nice! Keep it classy, news media!
Ioffe now joins John Oliver, Charles Blow, Harry Reid, The View, Harvard Law professor Larry Lessig and others on a growing list of nominees for the 2016 Ethics Alarms Award as the most unsavory passenger on the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck. The problem is that she isn’t a British comedian, a race-baiting Times columnist, a full-time asshole, a talk show hosted by celebrity ignoramuses, or an especially deluded academic. Ioffe is supposed to be a journalist whose analysis can be trusted, and the vicious character and unrestrained hate that her tweet reveals should disqualify her for that profession. Before Donald Trump—you know, the new President whom the New York Times decreed is exempt from ethical treatment?—such a public statement would have disqualified any journalist and ended her career immediately. This would have happened because journalism organizations once valued not just professional conduct and objectivity but the appearance of it.
The tweet wasn’t just disgusting, it was incompetent, misleading and stupid:
- The news report has been denied by the Trump transition team, so the alleged journalist was spreading “fake news.”
- Even if it was had been accurate report, there is precedent, lots of it, for a non-spouse serving as First Lady.
There have been almost two dozen permanent or temporary First Ladies who had other family relationships with Presidents, including daughters, daughters-in-law, nieces, sisters, cousins, and aunts. Three daughters assumed the First Lady role when their mothers died: Letty Tyler Semple for President Tyler, Mary Harrison McKee for President Benjamin Harrison, and Margaret Wilson for Woodrow. Oddly, none of them were accused of having sex with their fathers. Margaret Wilson shared First Lady duties with President Wilson’s cousin Helen Bones, who had worked for the first Mrs. Wilson as personal secretary. Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren and Chester Arthur were widowers, so their First Ladies couldn’t be spouses. Jefferson’s daughter Martha Randolph, Jackson’s niece and daughter-in-law Emily Donelson and Sarah Jackson were all First Ladies. James Buchanan and Grover Cleveland were bachelors when they assumed the presidency, so Cleveland’s sister Rose Elizabeth served as his First Lady until he married Florence Folsom fifteen months into his administration, and Harriet Lane, Buchanan’s niece, acted as his hostess and was the first Presidential spouse referred to as the “First Lady.” Many other non-spouses served in the capacity for limited amounts of time for reasons comparable to Melania’s conflicts.
In short, Ioffe is ignorant of American history and didn’t know what she was tweeting about, but did so anyway, misleading the public.
- And even if Ivanka were the first non-spouse to assume the duties, the role of First Lady isn’t subject to “nepotism laws”! It is not an appointed government position, and the First Lady is ALWAYS a relative! How stupid can a tweet get?
Apparently not stupid enough to disqualify someone to write for The Atlantic, where Ioffe is scheduled to begin her new job. Ioffe was running out the string at her old gig with Politico, but Politico, at least, immediately saw the downside of continuing to employ a political reporter so teeming with brain-crippling disrespect and hate for the new President, and fired her, first stating…
“This tweet is completely unacceptable and is an obvious violation of POLITICO standards. Julia Ioffe is no longer with the publication.”
…and then elaborating (sorry for the size and blurry type):
The Atlantic, in contrast, made it clear that it has no standards, at least regarding reporter bias, education, fact-checking, professionalism or civility, announcing,
Why would they be confident of that? Moreover, Ioffe didn’t make “a mistake,” as her immediate reactions to Politico’s boot proved. First she tweeted, “We have a president-elect who popularized ‘saying what everyone is thinking,’ but I guess my phrasing should’ve been more delicate.” Then she added this:
This is called “doubling down, ” or “I wasn’t kidding; I really meant it: I loathe this man.” However, the Atlantic, her agent, or someone managed to persuade the reporter that even in this bottom-feeding journalism environment she was on thin ice, because all of a sudden Julia was contrite, deleting the tweet and issuing a standard CYA apology:
“All that said, I do regret my phrasing and apologize for it. It was a crass joke that I genuinely regret…It was a tasteless, offensive tweet that I regret and have deleted. I am truly and deeply sorry. It won’t happen again.”
This is a Level Ten apology, the worst of the worst, on the Ethics Alarms Apology Scale, “an insincere and dishonest apology designed to allow the wrongdoer to escape accountability cheaply, and to deceive his or her victims into forgiveness and trust, so they are vulnerable to future wrongdoing.”There is no reason to trust her, and the initial tweet and the immediate refusal to back down is signature significance for a biased, close-minded, irresponsible journalist. The fact that The Atlantic still sees Ioffe as an asset is also signature significance. No respectable publication would employ a reporter after such outbursts. Quick: would a reporter who publicly suggested that LBJ, Nixon, Ford, Reagan or George W. Bush were “fucking” their adult daughters have been tolerated in any newsroom or news network? Would an accusation coming within ten miles of such vile language about the current President be shrugged off as a “mistake”?
This disgusting episode exposes the entire profession of journalism.
UPDATE! Well, this ethics-free and rotting profession proved me right in record time. The following journalists have applauded Ioffe’s inexcusable conduct, and in some cases attacked Politico. So far, we have..
MSNBC’s hyper-partisan Chris Hayes, Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern, Ben Berkon of Digitas, Elizabeth Nolan Brown, Reason, Chris Geidner and Miriam Elder of BuzzFeed, Leon Krauze from Univision, journalist Porochista Khakpour, Heat Street’s Louise Mensch, Bruce Arthur, Toronto Star, Esquire’s Corey Atad, Paul Lewis at The Guardian, Amy Davidson of the New Yorker, freelance journalist Lauren Duca, Jesse Berney, Rolling Stone, Kirsten Powers, of USA Today/CNN, Anna Merlan on Jezebel, and Dave Weigel, of The Washington Post, among others.
The approval they express shows every one of them to be biased and incompetent, as well as untrustworthy, and I’m sure this group is but a tip of a very large and ugly iceberg.
Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias.
Pointer: Zoltar Speaks!