Morning Ethics Warm-up: 8/18/17

Good Morning, Ethics Alarms Readers!!!!

1. I am so aggravated, offended and frankly frightened over how the Charlottesville politically-correct spin has been injected into the public’s brain by the familiar unholy alliance of the free speech-hostile left, the Soviet-emulating historical air-brushers, cowardly scholars and, of course, our impulsive and inarticulate President, that it is difficult for me to focus on anything else. As Billy Bigalow sings in “Carousel,” though, “I’ll try, by God, I’ll try…”

2.  Wolf Blitzer actually asked, on the air, whether the Barcelona terror attack was inspired by James Field’s homicide-by-auto in Charlottesville. I swear, this isn’t a Charlottesville commentary but a “How incredibly stupid does a journalist have to be before the public and his employers send him off to work at a bait shop?”  commentary. Is this some sinister effort to blame Robert E. Lee for terrorism in Barcelona? There have been  eight jihadi car-ramming terror attacks this year alone! Why in the world would a Spanish terrorist look to James Field’s for inspiration? Why would Wolf Blitzer even ask such a blitheringly idiotic question? How can we respect of trust major news media when it can behave like this?

As Ann Althouse wrote last week about a Washington Post story:

This is the kind of newspaper article I’m looking for, detailing what happened in Charlottesville, and I wish I felt more confidence that The Washington Post would tell it straight. Maybe this is straight, but how can I know? What trust has been shot to hell in the last few years of journalism! I’m still reading this, because it’s the closest I’ve come to the kind of careful report I want.

For me, once a major network anchor displays the utter stupidity (or contempt for the intelligence of its viewers) that Wolf’s speculation constitutes, I have enough information to never trust that news source….not that I didn’t already have sufficient justification for that conclusion.

3. I have come to the conclusion that all polls are inherently misleading, and those who cite poll results to justify or condemn policy decisions or initiatives are themselves untrustworthy. First of all, the polls reflect apples, oranges,  mangos and walnuts but treat them as if they are the same. When a majority of the public, for example, disapproves of Congress according to a poll, what does that mean? It means that some who disapprove do so because Congress is too conservative, while others regard it as not conservative enough. Since the two components of that disapproval diametrically oppose each other’s standards, the poll provides no genuine guidance or illumination. Such polls are also misleading because there is no way of knowing  how many of those polled are informed regarding the issues and legislative matters beyond reading headlines or watching Stephen Colbert. I don’t care what ignorant people think about things they haven’t bothered to think about, and neither should the news media or elected officials.  All polls should include the category, “I really haven’t studied this issue enough to have anything but a gut-level opinion.” “Don’t know/No opinion” is not the same thing.

Here’s one poll  conservatives and others are crowing about this morning: it shows that a strong majority opposes the removal of statues of Confederate heroes:

What does this tell us, though? Is the pro-statue contingent a white supremacist group, a racist group, a “the South will rise again!” group, a Southern history aficionado group, a cultural integrity group, an anti Soviet-style airbrushing group, a military history group, a “Thomas Jefferson will be next,” or a “Whatever the President says is aces with me!” group? I have no idea.

It is dishonest to present such polls as if they are more coherent than they are.

4. Remember how North Korea would be bombing Guam within a week? The Communist dictatorship has “delayed” its promised attack, and it is a fair conclusion that the reason is the Trump Administration’s refusal to yield to the bluff. Considering that the President was (unfairly) attacked for making it vividly clear that the rogue nation was courting disaster, one would think that some editorials might point out that a show of resolve and refusal to be intimidated turned out to be an effective response. One would especially expect this as we observe Iran giving every indication that it is violating Obama’s awful deal giving the country billions to pretend that it wasn’t developing the nuclear capacity to vaporize Israel, and maybe us.


5. Steve Bannon has been sacked, though he says he quit. Watch pundits on all sides find a spin that makes this reflect badly on the President. He’s doing it to capitulate to critics of his “both sides were wrong” remark. He’s making Bannon a scapegoat. He’s admitting that there was an alt-right, white supremacy influence whispering in his ear.

There is only one fair and honest reaction to Bannon’s leaving the White House: Good.

6. Much is being made over various corporate CEOs “distancing themselves” from the President over his comments regarding Charlottesville. CEOs are paid protect business, profits and stockholders, and their posturing and virtue signaling in such matters shows neither integrity nor courage. Think Cracker Barrel fleeing “Duck Dynasty,” only to come crawling back.They have no discernible values, only promotional ones. Maybe the President will learn that they aren’t trustworthy allies now.

Especially giggle-inducing was WalMart’s CEO denouncing the “moral equivalence” in the President’s statements while the chain was under fire for this botched display…

He must have fallen to his knees shouting “Thank you, Trump! Thank you, God!” when the conveniently distracting controversy erupted. I hope he sent the President a gift in appreciation.

15 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-up: 8/18/17

  1. 3. At least the poll has “somewhat” as a choice on both sides. It’s not uncommon to find polls where the choices are Approve, Approve with Reservations, or Disapprove, and then combining the latter two categories in the headlines.

    Can’t put my finger on it, but I think that picture is photo shopped.

    • There is a new trend in display software to ‘slightly offset’ labels to make the eye less likely to be overwhelmed. If you can engage the brain by showing a little anomaly for it to pick at, retention gets better (they say.)

      The picture has this in the labels and bar numbers.

  2. Looks like you and some of the commentators here are determined to go down with the ship. Ahoy, matey! You sure you don’t want a life vest?

    Today’s question… who here likes Art Buchwald?


  3. 1. There is worse, Jack. Anyone the left can smear this way is having their social media, Internet access, bank accounts, Pay pal, you name it shut down. This is about to get really rough if the left is not reigned in. Declaration checklist… Let’s see: Pursuit of Property? confiscated. Liberty? compromised with financial shutdowns. Life? not yet…

    2. The media thinks Americans are really stupid. Well… they have a point, but I think the term they are mistaking for ‘stupid’ is ‘apathetic and self absorbed.’ They are doing everything they can to actively piss the public off with these sorts of political hackery.

    3. Jack, the left has beaten us about the head and shoulders with polls my entire life. The right is simply late to the unethical game. I have been predicting this for over a year here: the left has pushed so far many former conservatives have decided to forgo ethics and morals to fight back using the same tactics the left uses. It is entertaining to watch the left object squawk about unfair tactics stolen from their playbook, but that is the only redeeming value I can see from where I sit.

    4. Progressives gave us NK and Iran. They will own this if/when it (literally?) blows up in our faces. That said, if President Trump (I still cringe when I write that term!) scratched his head in a forest where no one could see him, would it still be a Nazi dog whistle and therefore racist?

    5. Yup. One hopes Trump is learning the difference between good business allies and subordinates and political ones.

    6. Walmart: pay folks minimum wage, get minimum results. 🙂

  4. The excuse being offered by low-information Leftists for Google, PayPal, Twitter, and Facebook selectively banning and shutting out carefully selected right-wingers (and setting the precedent that they can autonomously decide who is worthy to use their platforms in the future) is that “they’re a private company and they have the freedom to do what they want.” They’ll even say this if they themselves are socialists who presumably don’t want private companies to be able to do what they want most of the time.

    That is technically correct; private companies can discriminate against their customers for whatever behavior they deem unacceptable (unless they’re Christian bakers or something. It’s complicated.) But two important points are just soaring over the heads of these low-information Leftists:

    1. Freedom of speech is not just a legal protection, but also a principle that is important in every sphere of life. It’s protected by the Constitution BECAUSE it’s an important principle. Extreme Leftists don’t generally acknowledge any Truth unless it comes packaged from the government in the form of a law, but the reality remains that all of us have a moral duty to hold freedom of speech and expression in high regard, even if we have the “right” to shut out those with whom we disagree. That is why what these corporations are doing is unethical and has the stink of fascism, even if it’s nice and legal.

    2. We are in an unprecedented era in which a few large corporations are relied upon more than ever for communication, information, and commerce. Those corporations are big enough to have an audience with the government, and are now proven to have melded with the DNC to form one big corrupt and incestuous slime ball. The corporations (including the aforementioned Google, Facebook, PayPal, and Twitter, can please Leftist politicians by staffing themselves with Leftists, propping up Leftist political talking points, or silencing or mischaracterizing dissent, and they can do it in 1000 different ways. In return those corporation can mold public policy, participate in government in elite ways, and protect themselves from any possible competition. And if those corporations decide you’re the next target, your life can be made into a pariah to the entire civilized world in a matter of hours. Even for someone who despises most of the alt-right…that doesn’t sound like something anyone, Left or Right, should get behind. The Left are benefiting from all of this (for now), including the violent race war, which is why so few of them are taking these new threats to liberty seriously.

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