U.S. Journalism’s Continued Unraveling, And CNN’s Unprofessional, Unethical, Destructive Disrespect For The President Of The United States

And the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck’s carnage continues…

The degree to which the Post 2016 Election Ethics Train Wreck has engulfed the news media has shocked even me, and readers know that Ethics Alarms had  swamp-level regard for U.S. journalists long before the 2016 campaign. It has obliterated any legitimate trust a citizen could have in the mainstream media’s news judgment, objectivity and competence, and with the exception of tiny pockets of professionalism here and there (Jake Tapper comes to mind), has declared itself a partisan foe of the electoral system, and the Presidency. The double standards applied regarding Democrats and Republicans as well as the smug shamelessness with which the media has applied them cannot be condemned too harshly. Naturally, the equally corrupted members of the so-called “resistance” see none of the harm and betrayal in this, since it suits their own ends.

Ethics Alarms  can’t catalogue all of the worst examples of this; there isn’t time. Last month, for example, New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, who once had a conscience and a mind even as you or I, authored one of the ugliest and most disgusting pieces I have read in any reputable publication. In the disgrace titled “There’s a Whiff of Treason In The Air” Kristof issued a conspiracy theory that would be at home in the archives of Alex Jones,  Mike Cernovich, or Donald Trump in his birther days, except that so many hopeful Democrats endorse it. The column is one long, vicious smear, claiming that President Trump engaged in treason, while citing absolutely no evidence whatsoever that supports such an inflammatory accusation. I considered flagging all of the slimy, dishonest, hypocritical rhetorical techniques Kristof brings to his efforts to undermine his nation’s President, but I decided to do so would insult my readers’ intelligence: it is so obvious, particularly when one considers the Russian “ties” the Clinton campaign had to Russia. Why do the business dealings of Trump campaign personnel with Russian figures spell TREASON to the Times columnist, and the more ominous ties between Russia and the Clintons get a pass? Simple: he wants Donald Trump to be proven a traitor; his readers want it; and he, the Times and the Democratic Party that has sold its integrity and soul intends to push the accusations as long as they can cripple and delegitimize the government they oppose.

Commenting on a Guardian story about British involvement in the intelligence efforts to prove something nefarious was going on between Trump and Putin, blogger John Hinderaker nicely shows how irresponsible and unsustainable the Russia conspiracy theory has become:

“The blindingly obvious point that the Guardian tries to obscure is that the combined assets of all of these agencies failed to find any evidence of collaboration between the Trump campaign and Russia. We know this, because the Democrats have pulled out all the stops. Both before the election, and especially after the election, they have leaked furiously to try to discredit President Trump. If there were any evidence of collusion between Trump (or even obscure, minor “advisers” like Carter Page) and Russia, there would have been nothing else in the Washington Post or the New York Times for the past five months. But they have nothing.

What was really going on seems clear. Everyone involved in this story thought that Hillary Clinton was sure to win the election. Why? Because they read the Washington Post and the New York Times. Plus Real Clear Politics and 538. The suggestion that the Russian government tried to swing the election to Donald Trump is ridiculous. The Russians thought that Hillary was the certain winner, and if–a big if–they carried out a primitive phishing expedition into Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s email account, and subsequently sent the DNC emails to Wikileaks, it was to cause trouble for Clinton after she became president.

Likewise, British intelligence and the other agencies mentioned by the Guardian thought there was no doubt but that Hillary would win. How could they curry favor with the new administration, expected to be Obama’s third term? By feeding negative information about the opponent who was sure to lose, even though there was no real significance to the intelligence provided.

That’s what happened. The fact that liberals still try to push the “Russia” story, even when it is obvious that they are out of ammo, is pathetic.”

Pathetic is far too nice a word.

It’s also too nice a word for what my wondering eyes saw on CNN last week, the day after many of Trump’s policy reversals on various issues—China’s alleged currency manipulation, Janet Yellen, NATO, and others. John Berman and Poppy Harlow as well as a panel of studio guest were giggling, laughing and openly ridiculing President Trump like a bunch of mean girls in the locker room. This went on for a long segment, and continued after commercials. It was nasty and personal, and nauseating.

I found the personal level of ridicule and sexual innuendo President Clinton received on the Tonight Show during the Monica scandal revolting and harmful to the office. The utter contempt with which David Letterman treated President Bush was also excessive and in bad taste, catering to hate–but at least these were comedians and satirists. I watch a lot of TV news, and I would venture that no news team, ever, anywhere, has acted in front of the cameras so disrespectfully regarding a President: not Clinton, not Nixon, not Johnson, Ford or Bush. (Of course, nothing but dreamy-eyed worship accompanied stories about President Obama.) For broadcast journalists to sit smirking and giggling over the actions of the President of the United States is cultural poison. It rots the fabric of the union, and risks injuring the office permanently as well as the prestige of the United States. CNN has always been terrible about permitting facial expressions, tones of voice and body language to signal their anchors’ political  biases, and what I witnessed last week was what will happen when basic standards of professionalism are not maintained and enforced. The next step would be reporters openly jeering, holding their noses and gagging at every Presidential clip. CNN may get there yet. I never thought they could sink as low as they have.

A competent director would have called a halt to such unprofessional on-air behavior, and suspensions and dismissals would follow. This is hate and bias at its worst, showing a complete abandonment of basic civic responsibility. Yes, you criticize a POTUS as hard and as vigorously as the facts support. Ethical journalists do not engage in mockery and open contempt, and particularly, they do not treat the nation’s institutions this way, virtually spitting on them live, and coast to coast. It is not merely unethical journalism, but unethical citizenship

Yet this is CNN.

 

17 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership, U.S. Society, Workplace

17 responses to “U.S. Journalism’s Continued Unraveling, And CNN’s Unprofessional, Unethical, Destructive Disrespect For The President Of The United States

  1. This is how the modern Left, fully unveiled, behaves out of power, I am honestly terrified how they will behave when they get power back.

  2. Chris

    it is so obvious, particularly when one considers the Russian “ties” the Clinton campaign had to Russia. Why do the business dealings of Trump campaign personnel with Russian figures spell TREASON to the Times columnist, and the more ominous ties between Russia and the Clintons get a pass?

    Well first of all, Carter Page literally admitted this week to having been approached by Russian spies who were attempting to recruit him. Nothing from the National Review piece you linked to alleges anything “more ominous” than that.

    Second, the “Uranium One” scandal in that NR piece has been debunked several times, and you should know that. There was nothing “ominous” about that deal at all.

    http://www.cnbc.com/2017/02/16/trump-claims–falsely–that-clinton-gave-russia-20-of-us-uranium.html

    This is the “No puppet. You’re the puppet” defense the Trump camp keeps trotting out, and you’re too smart to fall for it, Jack. Russia did not try and help Clinton win; they did try and help Trump win. That is why the Trump camp is under investigation for possibly colluding with Russia and the Clinton camp is not. That is why the media is looking into the Trump-Russia connections and not the Clinton-Russia connections. How is this hard to understand? How can you attribute such a rational decision–to spend more time investigating the guy who is actually president instead of the woman who now never will be–to bias?

    The Russians thought that Hillary was the certain winner, and if–a big if–they carried out a primitive phishing expedition into Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s email account, and subsequently sent the DNC emails to Wikileaks, it was to cause trouble for Clinton after she became president.

    Why does Hinderaker presume to know more than our intelligence community?

    Fake scandals don’t have new developments every single week. I honestly don’t understand how you can’t see the amount of circumstantial evidence we have in this case. This is “Bill O’Reilly being accused by multiple women of sexual assault” level of certainty; there is never this much smoke when there is no fire. You accurately pointed out that the likelihood of O’Reilly being innocent given the evidence we have is nil, and the same is true of Trump (or at least members his campaign) at this point.

    So forgive me if I’m having trouble getting concerned over a few reporters giggling.

    • Keep dreaming, sliming and hoping, Chris. This is the progressive version of the birther theory. Clapper said there’s no evidence, and so does Hinderaker; meanwhile, you cherry picked one of the NR’s mostly dead on examples of the Clinton Russian connections. In the end, Obama will come out looking a lot worse than Trump, if the facts ever get reported. Page saying that a Russian agent wanted him do do dirty work isn’t a “confession,” you know, because he didn’t say “Sure.”

      Wait: aren’t you all moving on back to the tax returns now? It’s so hard to keep track. The entire party is following in the idiotic footsteps of the Congresswoman from Watts, who just wants to overturn the election, and doesn’t care that she can’t cite an impeachable offense. At least she’s honest.

      And yes, any fair and decent American should find the spectacle of a bunch of smug newsreaders mocking his or her nation’s leader on TV disgusting and deeply offensive, no matter who the White House occupant is.

      For the record, the comparison of sexual harassment accusations and “contacts” of staff and associates may be the most awful of your growing inventory of awful analogies. See, a woman saying “he harrassed me” is evidence. In sexual harassment, offenders typically have multiple victims, so the accumulation of accusers is both predictable and a marker of likely guilt. But legal business contacts with the Russian government is NOT evidence of a crime, or impropriety, so multiple contacts are X times Zero, and still zero. No one with actual knowledge has credibly accused Trump or any member of his team of illegal or treasonous collusion with the Russians. It’s not even a decent circumstantial case. It’s an embarrassment.

      In this matter, bias has made you stupid. You, like ridiculous Maxine, just want to undo the electoral process, so you are imagining excuses to do it. No matter how much blundering, blathering and botching Trump will do, and I’m sure it will be a lot, the conduct of the Left since the election has been a historic, civically irresponsible and destructive disgrace. You ought to be ashamed for being part of it.

      • Chris

        Clapper said there’s no evidence, and so does Hinderaker;

        Clapper said there was no evidence that any of Trump’s staff had been recruited by Russian spies as of January, when he left office; that was before Page said a Russian spy attempted to recruit him. The investigation is ongoing. Who cares what Hinderaker says?

        meanwhile, you cherry picked one of the NR’s mostly dead on examples of the Clinton Russian connections.

        No, I focused on what the National Review chose to open with, and what they called the Clintons’ “shadiest deal.” That isn’t cherry-picking. Admittedly, I didn’t read the rest, because my general policy is that once an article lies to me, I stop reading. How was their dishonest portrayal of what happened with the Uranium One deal “dead-on?” I just posted the fact check for you; Clinton did not have unanimous approval of that deal, and it was approved by nine other people. This is the type of unethical, dishonest smearing you claim is happening to Trump, and you fall right into it when it comes to Hillary.

        Page saying that a Russian agent wanted him do do dirty work isn’t a “confession,” you know, because he didn’t say “Sure.”

        I didn’t call it a “confession.” What it is is yet more circumstantial evidence.

        Wait: aren’t you all moving on back to the tax returns now? It’s so hard to keep track.

        Is it, really? That’s weird. It’s completely possible for the left to both a) demand Trump’s tax returns and b) demand the Russia investigation continue to be pursued. Look, I just did that, and it only took me a couple of seconds! I have no idea where you would get the idea that we cannot do both at once. What kind of comment is that, Jack?

        But legal business contacts with the Russian government is NOT evidence of a crime, or impropriety, so multiple contacts are X times Zero, and still zero.

        As you know, some of the known contacts were not legal, so I don’t know why you chose to phrase it that way. The Logan Act may be unenforceable, but that doesn’t make violating it less illegal; it just means the law won’t be enforced. And of course, even if Page said “Not a chance in hell” to the Russian spy who approached him, such contact would still not be a “legal business contact;” it would be an illegal one, just one in which Page was not the lawbreaker.

        • Chris

          One more thing, Jack: birtherism was never investigated by the FBI, or the intelligence agencies of other countries, as the Russia allegations have been. That alone gives this a little more legitimacy than that baseless conspiracy theory.

    • Admitted to being approached by two Russians?

      How dastardly!

      Do you even notice how the more wing nutty advisors are all being let go or marginalized, while definitely proven partisans-for-America are increasingly bending Trump’s ear on foreign policy and more moderate and even liberal advisors are bending his ear on domestic policy?

      Can you just drop this. It’s embarrassing for you.

  3. Chris

    One thing that should cast doubt on the “The Russia allegations are just. a manifestation of liberal tears” theory is this week’s revelation that the investigation didn’t even start in the US:

    British and other European intelligence agencies first intercepted suspicious “interactions” between people associated with the US President and Russian officials in 2015 as part of routine surveillance of Russia, intelligence sources have confirmed to a number of different publications.

    Spy agencies, including GCHQ, were not deliberately targeting members of the Trump team but rather recorded communications through “incidental collection,” CNN reports.

    This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information under the “Five Eyes“ agreement, which calls for open sharing of certain types of information among member nations the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

    Russia and Iran have threatened the US over Syria
    Over several months, different agencies targeting the same people began to see a pattern in communications between the Republican’s inner circle and Russian operatives. For six months, until summer 2016, these interactions were repeatedly flagged to intelligence officials in the US, who sources have said were slow to act.

    “It looks like the [US] agencies were asleep,” a source told the Guardian. “They [the European agencies] were saying: ‘There are contacts going on between people close to Mr Trump and people we believe are Russian intelligence agents. You should be wary of this.’

    “The message was: ‘Watch out. There’s something not right here.’”

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/trump-russia-investigation-now-has-specific-concrete-and-corroborative-evidence-of-collusion-a7683386.html

  4. I keep washing my hands, but they still seem dirty. Can’t wash my eyes out enough either. Jack, our country is in serious trouble and each day I see more and more slime dripping out of the wounds.
    I was in the military during Watergate, and it killed me to see the president go down, but I knew it had to be. The media would have never thought to have been this unprofessional then, nor would the public have tolerated it.
    “Watch out, there is something not right here”. Now that IS serendipitously true.

    • Feelings aren’t evidence, and they produce bias.People you don’t like and distrust seem capable of anything: that’s why juries aren’t allowed to know the parties involved.

      Nixon was also mistreated by the mews media—nothing like this, though—and presumed to be engaged in dire activities by political foes who had hated his guts for decades. In his case, he ultimately proved them correct. That didn’t retroactively make the way he was treated fair, and in fact, the unfair treatment he received may well have pushed him over the edge.

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