Congratulations To New York Times Reporters Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman, Winners Of The First Ethics Alarms “Popeye”

Now and then I see or read about something that seems too trivial for a post, but it gnaws on me and torments me, and I worry that, like Lewis Black’s famous over-heard  “if it wasn’t for my horse, I wouldn’t have spent that year in college,” it will fester and eventually kill me. I’m going to launch a new category for these things, the Popeye, in honor of the gruff spinach-eating sailor’s quote that signaled a fight was coming, “That’s all I can stands, cuz I can’t stands no more!”

This morning, while reading this story by Times reporters Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman about the President gratuitously attacking his own Attorney General, I read this sentence…

“But even if Mr. Sessions remains in his job, the relationship between him and Mr. Trump — the Alabama lawyer and the Queens real estate developer, an odd couple bound by a shared conviction that illegal immigration is destroying America — is unlikely to ever be the same, according to a half-dozen people close to Mr. Trump.”

Wait—when did Sessions or the President express the “conviction” that ” illegal immigration is destroying America”? I googled the phrase. Few references came up, but over half of those that weren’t quotes of this article came from pro-illegal immigrant sources, as their exaggerated characterization of what illegal immigration critics say or think. It is a false representation, explicitly designed to make such critics appear hysterical and foolish. 

They are not hysterical or foolish.  They are correct. Critics say that illegal immigration is bad, because it is bad, by definition. They say that not enforcing the law is wrong, irresponsible  and dangerous,  because it is wrong, irresponsible  and dangerous. They say not controlling our borders is a demonstrably insane policy because this is self-evident, and that illegal immigrants should not be welcome because when a law says to a group “don’t come here without our permission,” it means that they aren’t welcome, again by definition, if they defy that law.  And yes, not one, single American citizen should be raped, robbed, beaten, killed or the victim of any crime, however large or small. that an illegal immigrant commits because, dammit, they shouldn’t be here in the first place.

But I’ve never heard anyone say that illegal immigration is destroying America. There are many, many other things that threaten the nation more.

Unethical and biased journalism, for example.

That phrase “a shared conviction that illegal immigration is destroying America” doesn’t belong in a news story. That’s pure bias, and a straw man, with two reporters exaggerating a position they oppose—because, I suppose, they are unthinking progressive tools—in order to mock it and make it sound hysterical and extreme, when believing that laws should be enforced is NOT the extreme and mockery-worthy position, theirs is. But never mind: their position shouldn’t be in this story at all. It is supposed to be a news story. Thanks to that phrase, which is false as well as gratuitous editorializing, the story isn’t. It is, at least in part, fake news.

What atrocious, embarrassing, unprofessional journalism. An ethical paper’s editors would have cut the phrase out, and reprimanded the reporters for being unprofessional.

And thus Times reporters Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman are the first winners of the Ethics Alarms Popeye Award, for an outrageous and unethical statement  that I had to expose, or die.

This is for you, Glenn and Maggie…you insufferable hacks:

16 thoughts on “Congratulations To New York Times Reporters Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman, Winners Of The First Ethics Alarms “Popeye”

  1. Welcome to the post-journalism era where Orwellian manipulations of issues and events are routinely utilized by the writeous!

  2. The fact that Thrush even has a job after committing the fire-able offense of asking a source to edit his story tells me everything I need to know about the NYT. That’s a cardinal sin in my business — you don’t show stories to sources, let alone allow them to play editor. Thrush should never work in journalism again after doing that. But not only does he have a job, after he was exposed giving his story to the DNC, the biggest paper in the world, the NYT hired him. What a scumbag reporter and scumbag organization.

  3. If that don’t beat all, I was channeling Popeye just yesterday when I began soaking the spinach seeds I’ll be planting today.

    Garden slugs? I’ll busk ’em right in the mush! Uk uk uk uk uk uk uk.

  4. I see your point, Jack, but this one doesn’t bother me overmuch. Wouldn’t it be a demonstrably true statement to say that although they have fundamentally different life stories and differ on other issues, the two men “agree that illegal immigration is a significant destructive force in American society”? A little more nuance might help (a lesson Mr. Trump also refuses to learn), but I don’t see Thrush and Haberman’s statement as outrageous.

    • Nor do I. I would go as far as to say the statement that Sessions and Trump “share a conviction that illegal immigration is destroying America” is an obvious fact. This is an example of seeing bias where none exists.

      • That’s not reporting, Chris, nor is it “an obvious fact.” I feel approximately as strongly about the madness of enabling illegal immigration, but I hardly feel that it’s destroying the country. When I feel that way, I’ll say so, and presumably so will they. Go ahead, I dare you: find me quotes that indicate either “feels that illegals are destroying the nation.”

        It is because partisans like you allow journalists to get away with such unsupported pronouncements as fact that the NEWS MEDIA is destroying America. Some integrity is needed here. Stop enabling fake news.

  5. Sessions also touted recent figures that show border crossings have fallen significantly under the Trump Administration, which he said is what happens “when you have a President who understands the threat, who is not afraid to publicly identify the threat and stand up to it, and who makes clear to law enforcement that the leadership of their country finally has their back.”

    What threat is this?

    Sessions said before a meeting with the Organized Crime Council—a coalition of 13 federal agencies:

    Because of an open border and years of lax immigration enforcement, MS-13 has been sending both recruiters and members to regenerate gangs that previously had been decimated, and smuggling members across the border as unaccompanied minors … They are not content to simply ruin the lives of adults—MS-13 recruits in our high schools, our middle schools, and even our elementary schools.

    To counter the illegal immigration problem, Sessions said the government will build a border wall and recruit more border agents.

    “We can devastate this gang. We’re going after them. We are not going to allow them to take over a block, a corner of our communities and terrorize people with this violence,” Sessions said.

    Sessions’ trip to the border Tuesday brings the focus back to immigration, even if the border wall remains more rhetoric than reality. In his Nogales speech, Sessions stressed the dangers of criminal gangs, whose members he said “turn cities and suburbs into war zones,” “rape and kill innocent citizens” and profit from trafficking people across the border.

    “Depravity and violence are their calling cards, including brutal machete attacks and beheadings,” he said in prepared remarks. “It is here, on this sliver of land, where we first take our stand against this filth.”

    In practice, it’s a lot easier to go after grandmothers and children rather than members of criminal gangs. The latter shoot back.

    There is zero evidence that the crackdown has done anything but boost the fortunes of these gangs, such had been wanting. Immigrants, both legal and illegal, are too scared to talk to the police now. Even some non immigrants with Hispanic names, as so many of those have been picked up. You can beat the rap, but you can’t beat the ride. And court costs. And months being moved from state to state before any hearing.

    My personal fear that asset forfeiture would be used extensively to legally strip the assets of migrants appears to be unfounded. Yet somehow there are many stories in local papers of service stations and restaurants owned by migrants that have been transferred to the ownership of border patrol agents for nominal sums. A return to the bad old days.

    • Thanks for finding that, S.D.: it proves my point. An accurate, objective, non-slanted way of summarizing that in the context of the Times piece would be “both the President and Sessions believe that illegal immigration is a serious threat to the nation.” Or “poses a dangerous problem that must be addressed.” Or “is a problem that if if it continues on the current course, will have disastrous effects.” Or even “is doing great harm to the country, it’s communities and citizens.” Those are factual summaries. Saying that Sessions feels that illegal immigration is ruining the nation is an intentional misrepresentation that opens the opinion to attack based on the extreme leap of terms, and not based on the actual problems caused by the actual phenomenon, or even what Sessions has claimed.

      An irregular heartbeat is a threat to my health. I can describe the dangerous conditions that it creates. It is not, however, ruining my health, because my health is not ruined, or even being ruined. It is not even the #1 threat to my health. Words matter. They should matter most of all to journalists.

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