…as well as the related queries..
1. How low do they think they can go without alienating every American with a conscience and a brain?
2. Does any leader with integrity, courage and influence exist in either journalism or the political left to call out this escalating madness?
Yesterday was a stinking garbage scow of unfiltered anti-Trump hate and public deception.
The Prayer Breakfast Freak-Out: I wondered if the Washington Post, which has made very clear its own attitude regarding prayer (and religion generally), would have the gall to criticize the President for not being sufficiently pious during yesterday’s Prayer Breakfast. Just two weeks ago, the Post mocked the Secretary of Agriculture nominee for once “praying for rain.” (The mocking headline has been scrubbed now) Sure enough, the Post did have such gall; so did MSNBC and other media outlets that regularly display contempt for the genuinely religious, a significant majority of whom are conservative and Republican.
The critics of the President’s comments care nothing about prayer, basically like me, but unlike Ethics Alarms they are willing to plow new ground in hypocrisy by using this superfluous event to launch more gratuitous outrage. The Prayer Breakfast has the same origins as the addition of God to the Pledge of Allegiance. It was an anti-Godless Communism grandstanding stunt by Fifties era Republicans at the height of their Red-Baiting mode. Now the same anti-religion liberals who routinely condescend to the faithful, and lobby for taking all references to “God” out of official documents, the same anti-religious zealots who have condemned Betsy DeVos for her support of Catholic schools, are deeply, deeply offended that the President joked about “The Apprentice” at a Prayer Breakfast.
The Frederick Douglas freakout: The President spoke of Douglas in the present tense in his random remarks about Black History Month on February first, prompting multiple cheap shots and despicable contrived insults. The Post wrote yesterday,
“The world may never know whether President Trump just got a little sloppy with his verb tenses on Wednesday morning or simply had no idea that the famous black abolitionist Frederick Douglass was, in fact, dead.”
“Does Donald Trump actually know who Frederick Douglass was?”
Syndicated African-American columnist Eugene Robinson wrote yesterday,
“[Trump] displayed comic ignorance of our history (somebody please tell him that Frederick Douglass has been dead since 1895).”
Bias makes you stupid.
Over the last several years, Ethics Alarms repeatedly criticized right wing cheap shot artists who claimed that President Obama was ignorant of the geography of his own country because he once referred to campaigning in ” all 57 states.” It’s called “a slip of the tongue,” and anyone who has to speak in public as much as Presidents do will utter some pretty embarrassing examples.
Decent people and journalists, applying the Golden Rule and knowing how often they have inadvertently said stupid-sounding things themselves, behave appropriately and smile. Thus the mainstream media largely ignored Obama’s slip, and of course that’s all it was. They accorded him the respect and good will that any human being, not just any President but anyone, deserves. Not this President, though. Not him, even though, unlike Obama, we now have a long, long record of his off-the-cuff rhetorical monstrosities, and anyone who wants to be fair and rational knows that the man is the sloppiest speaker ever to hold the office.
Do these ultra-biased leftist Furies really believe that any 70 year-old man with a private school, graduate level education doesn’t know who Frederick Douglas was? If they do, it is they who have been embarrassed by this episode. If they don’t, then they are engaging in the kind of intentional smearing of the nation’s President that they would have labeled rank racism if a critic treated Obama with such contempt.
The Gorsuch “Fascist Club” freakout: This one belongs in the Fake News Hall of Fame. The lies and misrepresentations regarding Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch deserve a post all by themselves (especially since so many of them are issuing from the same Democrats who voted to confirm him for his current seat on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals), but yesterday the journalism dirt machine was in high gear. The Daily Mail reported that while a teenager at Jesuit Georgetown Prep, young Neil showed the proclivities that would make him a future choice of this Hitlerian POTUS by starting a “Fascism Forever Club.” The proof of this was a mention of the club in Gorsuch’s senior yearbook. The story seemed ridiculous on its face, as anyone familiar with Jesuits schools would know that such a student club would never be permitted then or now, but—did I mention that bias makes you stupid?—many U.S. news outlets, blogs and, of course, social media users accepted it as fact, and so informed their readers.
Of course, it was a false report. Steve Ochs, a history teacher at the Jesuit-run Georgetown Preparatory School, told America magazine that the “Fascism Forever Club” report was nonsense. “There was no club at a Jesuit school about young fascists,” he explained. “The students would create fictitious clubs; they would have fictitious activities. They were all inside jokes on their senior pages.” Even Snopes debunked the story.
The Hair Growth Drug freakout: “Donald Trump’s Longtime Doctor Says President Takes Hair-Growth Drug,” trumpeted the New York Times, and most of the news media breathlessly followed with their coverage of this life-and-death revelation. Ugh…
1. How is this something the public has a right or need to know? Did the news media seek to discover if Obama used hemorrhoid ointments? Would reporters have deemed this newsworthy if they had learned that he did?
2. The President’s doctor’s revelation of the information is an unequivocal breach of patient confidentiality and privacy. This is not in the same category as, for example, the dangerous and addictive cocktails of drugs and medications Jack Kennedy was receiving regularly while President, and which reporters kept as secret as his many adulterous sexual trysts. The news media frequently decides that some news isn’t fit to print. How did this unethical breach of doctor-client privilege qualify as newsworthy?
3. The objective of the story was to embarrass the President of the United States, and to continue to make every effort to diminish him in the eyes of the American public and the world.
This is as appropriate a place as any to make this announcement.
Henceforth, Ethics Alarms will endeavor to exclusively refer to Donald Trump as The President. I never supported Trump for the office; far from it. I do support the President of the United States, however, as I have supported and will support all Presidents of the nation I proudly call my home. Those who seek to use bias, lies, personal attacks and violence to undermine the office and withhold the basic respect it must maintain in order for the United States to thrive and survive are not ethical, nor are they good citizens.
Ethics Alarms will be as vigorous in its criticism of the ethical breaches of this administration as it was with the previous one, but at this moment, the greatest threat to the health, safety, values and unity of the nation is the escalating anti-democratic and un-American conduct of the Democratic Party, progressive activists, and the mainstream news media. Do they really not understand that their vicious tantrum continues and escalates a cycle of government by spite and vengeance, and will permanently damage the Presidency for all future occupants? Apparently so, and that basic civic ignorance is far more consequential than not knowing who Frederick Douglass is.
Joseph Welch’s decisive question to Sen. Joseph McCarthy never had more currency: “Have you left no sense of decency?” It is long past time for the President’s angry and hateful foes to come to their senses, for the good of the nation, and themselves.