Conundrum: Is CNN’s Dylan Byers An Ethics Dunce, Or An Ethics Hero?

Midnight  Friday morning,  CNN was analyzing the GOP’s perplexing win in Montana’s special election for the House of Representatives—perplexing to Ethics Alarms because the winner, Gianforte, is a dishonest thug, but perplexing to CNN because their reporters were desperately hoping for a sign that voters were turning on President Trump, something their network has been working on for many months.  CNN’s Media reporter Dylan Byers then blurted out this remarkable statement:

“There’s this conversation that’s happening among people following the news industry, which is how can we bridge the sort of gap between all of those conservatives who don’t trust the media, and get them to start knowing that, you know, we’re acting in good faith, with good intentions? Maybe you can’t, because they’re not even listening. From the second, it’s not as though they’re reading the article and considering it, or listening the audio and considering it. They’re just not paying attention to it, because  they don’t trust us.

And this, by the way, you look at the tapes of Trump there. Two things have happened. One, over the course of several decades, the conservatives have done a masterful job at capitalizing the waning trust in media and using it to their advantage. But a second thing has happened, too, which is, on occasion, more than the media would like to admit, we have not told the story of conservative Americans, disenfranchised Americans, who believe that they are losing their country. The story we have largely been telling is a story that is more or less in step with the arc of history as defined by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. It does not mean we favor them to win. It just means that sort of vision of a progressive future, a global future, and that is not one that resonates with so many conservative American voters.”

“The story we have largely been telling is a story that is more or less in step with the arc of history as defined by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

It is notable that none of the three journalists on the panel with Byers challenged this damning characterization.

Byers’ candor is rare and refreshing, as he is confirming not only his own bias but to that of his fellow journalists in the mainstream media, a bias that most journalists, and most Democrats and progressives whose own political agendas are routinely boosted, bolstered and promoted by this bias, vigorously deny. Byers is trying to be honest, while apparently not comprehending the unethical and outrageous conduct he admits to. In good faith and with good intentions, he, CNN and the rest of the mainstream media “tells the story”—as in “frames the narrative”—of public events in the context of their vision “of a progressive future, a global future,” that “is more or less in step with the arc of history as defined by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

Could there be a more clear and convincing description of partisan, ideologically skewed, biased reporting?

Yet Byers said this apparently without any qualms about whether such an a approach to journalism is right, fair, or professional. He simply assumes that it is. What decent human being, after all, doesn’t see the virtues of a progressive and global future—who, that is, except those benighted, angry confused redneck dummies who “believe they are losing their country”?  Why would anyone but a dumb, bigoted hick think that?

It’s funny though: I’m not a bigoted hick, and it seems obvious to me, a relatively informed and historically literate observer, that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton‘s views of the virtue of  “a progressive future, a global future” includes American bowing to orders from governing bodies we didn’t vote for with values we don’t hold, in service of goals that do not benefit the United States. This is my definition of “losing the country,” and it is a good and accurate one.

Is Byers stupid? Blind? Being dryly amusing? Sinister? He expresses condescending concern that conservatives don’t trust news that is increasingly tailored, by his own assessment,  to further the “arc of history” as defined by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton—that is, as defined by a failed and incompetent President and an unpopular, dishonest and Machiavellian hack?  How can anyone go on TV and state matter-of-factly, with no self-awareness at all,  that it should be seen as appropriate and benign (“in good faith”) for journalists to warp reporting for an ideological objective (“with good intentions,” as in “the ends justify the means”), in order to follow the radical agenda of the 21st Century Democratic party? Byers is wounded because those not sharing that utopian dream don’t trust  him and the other partisan operatives driving their nation and culture where they quite responsibly don’t want to see it go. Of course, Dylan scolds, journalists just need to pander to them more by “telling their stories.” THEN maybe they’ll trust reporters more, and these simple folk will be receptive to that progressive future and global future.

I find this more amazing than the confession, though Byers doesn’t know he’s confessing, because to him this is virtue-signalling. Journalists are abusing their influence to promote the one-worlders’ dream of a United States that, like the transformed pod people in “Invasion of the Body-Snatchers,” is just like every other nation, because the rest of the world, contrary to the wisdom of our bold founders, knows best. So steeped in progressive cant are these people that they are incapable of understanding why anyone would oppose their mission, resent being misinformed to achieve it, or fail to trust the allied messengers of the Left.. After all, their intentions are good.

Byers is no Ethics Hero; progressive bias is natural and assumed in the news media environment. Journalist like Byers no longer believe that objective reporting is desirable, or that slanted coverage is anything to be ashamed of. He is an Ethics Dunce, but far worse: Dylan Byers is the embodiment of arrogant, partisan, ethically-inert journalism devoted to twisting public opinion, the nation and the culture into the shapes it craves.

By my definition, this makes him and his colleagues dangerous, and a  genuine and virulent peril to our democracy.


Pointer and Facts: Mediaite


29 thoughts on “Conundrum: Is CNN’s Dylan Byers An Ethics Dunce, Or An Ethics Hero?

  1. “we have not told the story of conservative Americans” and when they attempt to, there is always a hollow ring to it, like a tourist describing an unfamiliar culture to the folks back home. Everybody hates a tourist.

    When the Left loses an election, the cause is often explained by saying they failed to communicate their ideas and goals clearly enough. It is incomprehensible to them that they may have been fully understood, like crystal, and their arguments rejected. You don’t really understand your own position until you can create a rational argument for the other side’s view point and they are so immersed in the bubble of their echo chamber they consider any other position simply wrong, probably evil, therefor not worthy of understanding. Dylan will always fall short in understanding why they are not trusted.

    • You don’t really understand your own position until you can create a rational argument for the other side’s view point

      THIS is why EA is so important to me. I am gaining a view into my honorable opposition’s world (and those that stick around here, for the most part by my estimation, are honorable)

      Charles, Chris, valkygrrl, fattymoon, Spartan and so on believe they have rational, logical arguments for their positions and will defend them (mostly) in a civil manner. This is precious, because in my world the only progressives who you can talk to are fools, with little critical thinking skills and no ethics, parroting the latest meme without self awareness.

      This extends to the politicians in my area, as San Antonio (now called Military City ™ by the US Patent Office) is a progressive stronghold that has many examples of the breed, a dot of blue in a sea of red. Progressive politicians (think ‘Castro brothers,’ raised by an avowed communist mother) here pander to the masses, parrot the Democrat party line even when it is against the interest of those masses, and can change their position on an issue three times before breakfast. (A conservative Texan politician, on the other hand, will stay consistent on an issue, at least once you buy him. We have a serious problem with RINOs in Texas, beholden to Big Business)

      You cannot debate or even engage these folks, as they will declare you some sort of -ist, or -phobe just for having a different take on an issue.

      Ethics Alarms is the only site that allows this open forum for discussion I have found since Usenet 30 years ago was taken over by Flaming Liberal Academia. (I should copyright that phrase)

      Disclaimer: Conservative have their share of Redneck Reactionaries, Stoopid Stunts (especially when beer is involved) and unethical idiots. Human Nature does not change. However, the majority (IMHO) of progressives have passed the bounds of civil discourse, rational thought, and lawful behavior since the election. Conservatives never acted like this.

  2. I’ve been watching people “in step with the arc of history as defined by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.” Become so bold with their agenda that they no longer try to disguise it. They are so caught up with the self-declared rightness of their position that they embrace the whole thing. Including all the obvious extremes. They have become the very thing they say they hate most.

    Their agenda is no different in substance than any other philosophy taken to a thoughtless robotic extreme including the ones they hate. Those “in charge” are power brokers, those who follow are disposable pawns, those they hate are the enemy to be hunted down and eradicated.

    The arc of history is a soulless bitch.

  3. They’re reaching cartoon mad-scientist levels. “They don’t love us. Why don’t they love us? We’ll MAKE them love us…”

  4. How would you tell the story of someone who voted for Gianforte on election day? Obviously they don’t think of themselves as bad people and yet I can’t comprehend why anyone would be okay with what he did. So paint me a picture. What viewpoint makes it okay to physically harm a journalist for asking you about a pending high-profile piece of legislation?

    Because to me, it sounds like the bog-standard definition of something voters want to know.

    • The answer is the same as the story about why people voted for Trump. They wanted to reject what the Democratic Party has become and what the last 8 years showed that it stands for, and making that statement was more important to them than the character of their means of sending it.

      • That implies a certain comfort with what the other party stands for. The one of birthers, Oliver North, defending grab them by the pussy, the one with the Falwells and Robertsons, the party that defended sodomy laws and opposed marriage equity and, not for nothing, the party that just sent to congress a guy who assaulted a journalist.

        • You know that the Republican Party is no more represented by Ollie North than the Democratic party is represented by Jesse Jackson Jr. Cherry-picking the bad guys is too easy with either party. (And every single Democrat who defended Bill Clinton was defending “pussy-grabbing” —including Hillary and Gloria Steinem—whether they admit it or not.

    • I have no doubt many who voted for Gianforte would have been appalled had he attacked anyone other than a reporter. The relationship between “mainstream journalists” and conservatives has become so toxic (for the reasons laid out in this post) that I’m sure many who voted for him rationalize it away because they automatically assume a reporter (especially from The Guardian) did something to deserve it, or perhaps just deserved it on principle because he’s a biased journalist.

      We’re in dangerous territory, as partisanship (fueled by bad people on both sides, who no doubt think of themselves as heroes) rises to alarmingly high levels.

      • The same people who were all upset that someone colloquially known as a Nazi got punched, non?

        Guy who openly advocates ethnic cleansing gets punched, bad.
        Guy who asks about about voting on legislation gets punched, good.

        Yeah, still can’t wrap my head around it.

        I understand that the person who seems like a threat was punched. It wasn’t the right thing, but Nazis are rightly associated with mass murder. The Guardian isn’t.

        • What can I say? Partisanship makes people stupid and unethical. Ted Kennedy got re-elected every single time for 40 years after Chappaquiddick. Marion Barry was re-elected after smoking crack. Michigan state senator Bert Johnson has won several elections, despite having a felony record for armed robbery.

          The only logical conclusion is that voters are idiots.

          • I wouldn’t have voted for a Marion Barry but I can understand giving a second chance if you think they’ve turned their life around. Mark Sanford got back into politics and Anthony Wiener tried. But when Wiener pulled the same crap again while running for office people dropped him.

            If Gianforte had lost, then taken an anger management class and laid low for five years and then made another run, and won, it’d be understandable though there’d always be some stigma.

            • I doubt many voters really think (or care) that a disgraced politician has cleaned themselves up and turned their life around. In most cases, they just vote for the guy with the correct letter after his name. “He may be a scumbag, but he’s our scumbag…” kind of thing. That’s why political parties are bad news, they provide an easy mechanism for voters abdicate their responsibility to make informed choices. It’s even more damaging when you have a system like America, where the two-party system has calcified into a (false) dichotomy. When you only have two options, it’s even easier to vote brainlessly and pick whichever turd is the right shade of brown.

    • I think it’s more like jury members who drink and drive sitting on a jury in a case of drunk driving. “There but for the grace of God go I.” If people are honest they recognize that they could be pushed to violence if the circumstances were lined up just right. If you add in ” bias makes you stupid” and the pressures of a political campaign you come up with the conclusion that this is at least understandable, even if it’s not acceptable or ethical. And, you also realize that that person who lost it will never be able to live it down. He just created a little section of hell on earth for himself. Maybe he deserves it, but it’s got to be pretty miserable in there. I feel that for Hillary. Evenwhile I reject and loathe every part of her I pity her for having to occupy the world she created for herself.

      • Anyone could be pushed to violence, I’m sure there’s someone out there that Gandhi would’ve popped in the nose. It’s more a question of whether someone who’s pushed to violence by reporters asking just about the most legitimate question you can ask a candidate, how would you vote on this thing that congress is working on right now, belongs in congress?

        Can we all agree that the house should expel him if he reactivates?

        • What’s “reactivates”? The House punishes members for what they do while in the House, after being elected. A Democratic House member of long standing was impeached as a judge, then won a House seat. The choice of the Montana voters has to be respected, even if it isn’t a respectable choice. For some reason, Democrats are suddenly able to understand this rather basic principle.

          • Really? Did I say he should be expelled now or did I add a conditional.

            He attacked someone, he won, that’s unfortunate. The house must seat him, that’s settled law. If he bodyslams anyone else, he should be expelled. That’s a non-controversial statement. So exactly what basic principal is it you think that I’m missing?

            • You used an eccentric definition of “re-activates.” I looked it up to be sure: nowhere do I read that it means “bodyslams again.”

              Now that I know what you meant, yes, I agree. On the other hand, Senator Franken bodyslammed a protester a couple of years ago, but it was a conservative, so that was OK. Ted Kennedy didn’t slam anyone, but, I dunno, killing a girls is pretty bad too. I wrote about a Congressman who assaulted and battered a student reporter outside the Capitol—nothing happened to him.

              • NO I apparently had an auto-correct decide recidivates isn’t a word, I’ve now added it to chrome’s dictionary

              • What do we mean when we say body slam? As I understand it it means picking up the opponent and slamming them down to the floor on their back. As a wrestling move it looks like the person being slammed is participating to a degree. Is that to prevent even worse damage if the slamee doesn’t accommodate it? In the context of not wrestling does it just mean knocking someone over onto their back?

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