1. Since I don’t want to have too many posts at once showing how untrustworthy CNN has become, let’s put this one in the short form: on Sunday, CNN’s alleged show about journalism ethics, “Reliable Sources,” hosted by “watchdog” (stifling a guffaw here) Brian Stelter, conveniently skipped the single biggest broadcast journalism scandal in years.
Thomas Frank, a reporter for “CNN Investigates, announced that “the Senate Intelligence Committee was investigating a Russian investment fund”, the Direct Investment Fund — “whose chief executive met with a member of President Donald Trump’s transition team four days before Trump’s inauguration.” The CNN “exclusive ” was based on a single unnamed source, and quickly attacked as fake news—which it appears to have been. CNN, of course, has pushed the Trump-Russia collusion hypothesis as if it were a missing Malaysian airplane. The network pulled the story, retracted it, and three reporters involved in the fiasco “resigned.”
If one were depending on Stelter to get a weekly briefing on how reliable and ethical news media sources were in the week past, one would have been thoroughly deceived. “Reliable Sources,” under the oversight of Stelter, itself isn’t reliable or ethical. It is a house mouthpiece, masquerading as an ethics show. This is res ipsa loquitur, an episode that speaks so loudly by itself that no further evidence is required. If the host of a broadcast ethics watchdog cannot and will not report on serious ethics breaches by his own employer, which is also one of the most visible and significant broadcast news outlets in the journalism, then the show isn’t really dedicated to journalism ethics. It is a biased tool of competition and propaganda, with conflicts of interest that it neither admits nor tries to avoid.
Stelter devoted most of his show to attacking President Trump for not according proper respect to the news media. The President has labelled CNN as “fake news.” This episode vividly demonstrated why.
2. Watching HLN’s Robin Meade this morning to avoid “Fox and Friends” (the CNN outgrowth also has thus far neglected to mention the network’s fake news episode,) the Cheerful Earful began, “The minimum wage might actually hurt workers????” while making a shocked face that would be appropriate if she was saying that the moon was made of cheese. Thus do those constantly marinated in progressive/ Bernie-style fantasies set themselves up for amazement by the obvious.
Yes, Robin, it has been well-known for about a century that raising the minimum wages causes unemployment for workers whose negligible skills just are not worth the new mandated wage, eliminates whole job categories (summer jobs for teens being the most harmful to society), and puts many small businesses out of business. But never mind! “Living wage” sounds so kind and good, and the rising minimum wage is always a tool to help unions argue for increases in their much more than minimum wages, which is why the Democratic Party keeps promoting the lie that raising the minimum wage ever higher makes sense.
Robin was shocked at a new study of the results of Seattle’s huge minimum wage increase, enacted in the heat of mindless progressive faith. Conducted by a group of economists at the University of Washington who were commissioned by the city, the study indicates that far from benefiting low-wage employees, the costs to low-wage workers in Seattle outweighed the benefits by a ratio of three to one. This is the study found that some employers have not been able to afford the mandated minimums, so they are cutting payrolls, delaying new hiring, reducing hours or firing workers. Gee, who could have predicted that? The news media is reporting this as if it is a surprise. It’s not. I oversaw a study at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce decades ago that indicted this would happen, because it has happened before. Frankly, it’s obvious; so obvious that I have long believed that Democratic Party advocates for the minimum wage are lying to their gullible supporters. Both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton made raising the minimum wage a rallying cry, which is one of many reasons why I found it impossible to trust Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.
In the meantime, having seen the writing on the wall, restaurants are increasingly moving to replace waiters, waitresses, and cashiers with automated systems, because they are cheaper…thanks to the minimum wage. If humans were cheaper, humans would keep those jobs, and restaurants would be more pleasant, unless you prefer dealing with computers than human beings. I don’t.
Lies have consequences. Or as Robin would say, “Lies have consequences???”
3. Slain motorist Philando Castile’s mother has agreed to a not-quite $3 million settlement with the the Minnesota city of St. Anthony Village, whose police officer shot and killed her son during a traffic stop. Unlike the recent payment of “wrongful death” damages to Mike Brown’s mother by the city of Ferguson, this resolution of the tragedy was appropriate, and is also a sufficiently high penalty that it should serve as an incentive for communities to hire better qualified police officers and train them properly. Unfortunately, the more activists reflexively demonize police for episodes like Castile’s death, the fewer qualified—the fewer sane—potential cops will seek this dangerous form of public service.
4. Ethics Alarms head scout Fred reports that since March, an 11-minute video has been shown to every prospective juror in the two federal courthouses that serve the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The Marshall Project writes,
The video — which cost the court $15,000 to make — complements the customary voir dire process, during which judges and lawyers question potential jurors about conflicts of interest and obvious prejudices that could prevent them from deliberating fairly. It features three speakers: the district’s U.S. Attorney Annette Hayes, Reagan-appointed Judge John Coughenour, and Jeffery Robinson, deputy legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union who started his career as a criminal defense lawyer.
“You might have a deep-seated belief that basketball is a better sport than football, and you may prefer strawberry to raspberry jam,” Robinson says in the video, describing examples of conscious — or explicit — bias. “Today, though,” he says, speaking slowly and looking directly into the camera, “I want to talk to you about unconscious bias: something we all have, simply because we’re human.”
Since bias makes us stupid, it seems reasonable that teaching jurors how to identify their biases and avoid them will lead to smarter juries. It’s a start!
5. Lisa Durden, the Essex County College professor who issued a racist defense of Black Lives Matters in a Fox News debate with Tucker Carlson, was first suspended by the community college and eventually fired, as she should have been. Durden, who seems to be angling for a job at MSNBC (and was doing so, I thought, in her appearance with Carlson, as I felt she was playing—over-playing, in fact— a role) is claiming victimhood.
Durden told the Washington Post that the firing was unjust and baseless, because “there was no due process, there were no facts.”
The video is a fact, Lisa. Your racist statements (“Boo-hoo-hoo! You white people are angry because you couldn’t use your ‘white privilege’ card to get invited to the Black Lives Matter’s all-black Memorial Day celebration!”) are facts. She went on to argue…
“I was publicly lynched. They didn’t let me finish the class and they disrupted the learning process.”
It’s called “firing for cause,” Ex-Professor. Once a teacher has proven that she cannot be trusted and advocates values no school can allow to be taught in a classroom, she must be removed as soon as possible. YOU disrupted the learning process.
Then this proof of civic ignorance: “I had a right to free speech, and I exercised that right.”
True…and the school exercised its right to decide that it did not want to be represented by an anti-white racist on national TV.
[UPDATE: Lawyer Michael Ejercito notes that the college is a state institution, so the First Amendment is relevant. This case found that professors could be disciplined for speech that a school felt undermined student trust in a faculty fairness and equal treatment, though it did not involve off-campus speech, like Darden’s. She says she is going to sue: good luck to her. It is one thing to teach racists theories in class: academic freedom applies. Going on national TV and using racist rhetoric, however, is legitimate grounds for termination, anywhere. If the Courts have to make this clearer, I’m sure they will, and I’ll be thrilled to see Ms. Darden pay for the clarification.]
Next, a lie: Durden told The Post that when she mentioned “white people” she was referring only to the white people who were upset about Black Lives Matter banning them from the event “I will apologize if a person assumed I meant all white people,” Durden said. “I never meant all white people.”
Sure. “You white people” directed to a white Fox host always means “those white people.”
The real ethics issues raised by this incident include how teachers like Durden (and the University of Delaware adjunct professor who tweeted that Otto Warmbier was a “clueless white male” who “got exactly what he deserved” shortly after the young man died) get hired by colleges at all. Also:
What kind of process allows racists to enter the teaching ranks?
What kinds of training and standards do such professors receive?
Are these kinds of divisive and biased beliefs welcome at many (or most) colleges, as long as the professors don’t broadcast them outside the classroom?