Unethical Quote Of The Month: CNN Reporter April Ryan

“Sarah, is slavery wrong? Sarah, is slavery wrong? Does this administration think that slavery was wrong? Sarah, does this administration believe slavery was wrong?”

CNN’s April Ryan, yelling to White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders as today’s press briefing ended. She really did.

President Andrew Jack…no, that’s wrong. It’s President …Johnson, right? Lyndon Johnson? No, no..Barry Lyndon? No…Barry Goldwater? Barry Bonds? U.S. Bonds? U.S. Grant? Boy, history is hard

I assume that this was intended as a rhetorical rebuttal to the position of President Trump and those non-totalitarian-minded citizens—I hope not just conservatives and Republicans— who regard toppling statues and memorials of important figures in America’s past as a form of Orwellian thought control and manipulation of the historical record. Maybe she attends Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia.

Whatever it was, it wasn’t journalism, fair, or professional. Since Ryan knew the only answer that could or would be given, if Sander had been foolish enough to dignify the insult with a reply, it was really just partisan harassment and race-baiting, the equivalent of  a reporter shouting out at a Johnson era press conference, “How many did LBJ kill today?,” calling out after a Bush briefing, “Hey, any signs of those weapons of mass destruction?,” or calling out after an Obama White House briefing, “Does the President still promise that if we like our health plan, we can keep it?”

A news organization that doesn’t immediately discipline a reporter behaves like this at a White House press briefing—and Ryan should have been suspended, removed from the White House beat, or exiled to cute kitten stories on Headline News—it is announcing one of the following:

a) This new organization will  no longer apply minimal standards of respect, fairness and professionalism to coverage of this President.

b) This network no longer has any standards.

c) This network will allow gross demonstrations of bias and partisan animus by its reporters.

Under these conditions, the White House has no obligation to permit such an organization to attend press briefings, any more than it has an obligation to permit anti-Trump demonstrators to attend, or to tolerate reporters chanting slogans and carrying placards. And it should not. If CNN won’t uphold minimal standards of professional journalism, then the White House must. CNN should be told that until it receives a public apology for Ryan’s outburst, she is replaced by a trustworthy reporter, and the network pledges that it will not permit such conduct by its employees to occur again, CNN will no longer be invited to briefings. Its place will then be taken by Ethics Alarms, or Weekly Reader, or any entity with a concept of journalism ethics superior to CNN’s.

Meanwhile, while we are on the topic of professionalism, I have this to report:

Among the online accounts of Ryan’s disgraceful performance was one on Newsbusters,written by Scott Whitlock, who wrote in commenting on Ryan’s trolling,

“Generally speaking, journalists don’t scream at Democratic administrations to wonder if the present-day party supports the Trail of Tears conducted by Democrat Andrew Johnson or the pro-slavery Democrats who fought the Union in the Civil War. “

Ugh.

Andrew Johnson , who became President when Lincoln was assassinated, was a Republican, like Lincoln. He had nothing to do with the Trail of Tears, which occurred during the administration of Andrew Jackson, who was a Democrat, more than 30 years before Johnson was President. This post went up at 4:15 pm today, and it’s seven hours later as I write this. No one has corrected this wildly inaccurate version of American history. If I wrote something like that, I’d have ten “Jack, you idiot” e-mails or comments within an hour.

To recap, an unprofessional news network allows an openly biased and unethical reporter to engage in race-baiting at a White House press briefing, after which her conduct is critiqued by a conservative media watchdog reporter who doesn’t know the difference between Andrew Johnson and Andrew Jackson, whom he probably gets confused with Stonewall Jackson. Or Michael Jackson.

“Democracy dies in the darkness” indeed.

Sometimes I wonder why I bother….

 

37 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Professions

37 responses to “Unethical Quote Of The Month: CNN Reporter April Ryan

  1. “…the Trail of Tears…the Civil War.“
    Or how about the segregationists who were in office within the last 25 years?

  2. Jeff

    “Sometimes I wonder why I bother….”

    You’re a busy guy, Jack, and cataloging all the unethical and biased crap that comes from CNN is at least a full-time job for three people. You can’t possibly keep up with it.

    Just this afternoon, while reporting on the truck attack in NYC, one of CNN’s crime reporters offered up this gem of reportage about the attacker: “Police know who he is. They have a description of him. I’m not going to share that at the moment.”

    I can’t think of a reason not to share information that the police had released about the perpetrator of a terrorist attack. Well, no reason that isn’t rooted in bias, that is. Anyone think he would have withheld the description if it had included the words “caucasian” and “swastika tattoo”?

  3. Andrew Johnson was a Democrat.

    • He was a Republican President, because he ran on the GOP ticket. He had been a Democrat. Technically he was a National Union party member, but that was just the name used by the Republican Party in the 1864 election. Most sources either designate Johnson as a Republican or a National Union President. He was a Democrat after leaving the White House, and before running with Lincoln.

      If a politician runs on a party’s Presidential ticket, he’s a member of that party in the elected office. If Bernie Sanders had been nominated by the Democratic Party to run for President, he’d be a Democrat for that office.

      If Lincoln was a Republican in 1865, and no source says otherwise, then so was Johnson, because both ran under the National Union banner, and the National Union Party was indistinguishable from the Republican Party.

      Besides, you know damn well that Newsbusters was confusing Johnson with founder of the modern Democratic Party, Andrew Jackson, and that’s the reason he called Johnson a democrat, not because of his pre-1864 affiliations.

  4. JP

    I would further add that party swapping is quite common.

  5. Steve-O-in-NJ

    Sounds like someone watched “The Constant Gardener” one time too many, where impossibly virtuous lefty Tessa stands up after a bureaucrat’s speech and makes a simplistic rant against the war in Iraq – only to have him fall in love with her because he admires her courage. Next thing you know they are married, she’s pregnant, and she’s seriously musing over naming their son “Che.”

    Not that I think April wants Sarah to fall in love with her, but I do think the myth of the scrappy reporter/activist/ordinary person who stands up, shouts “truth to power,” and thereby brings down a dangerous demagogue or reaches a bad guy’s well of goodness is a trope that’s become a cliché undeservedly. It took months of meticulous work for Woodward and Bernstein to be in a position to go public with the Watergate story and nearly 2 years of work by a lot of folks for the investigation and scandal to reach to the point where Nixon lost the support of his own party and resigned rather than face impeachment. The Kilian documents controversy showed what can happen when the work is less than meticulous. CBS’s employees spent about 3 days on it, trying to get it to air quickly. It backfired, costing Mary Mapes her job and probably forcing Dan Rather into early retirement, while hardly causing GWB to lose a step.

    A rant by a self-important, self-virtuous lefty isn’t even going to survive the week’s news cycle. It sure as the devil isn’t going to make Trump resign after a heartfelt apology to the American people. April Ryan had to know this, and was just hoping to raise her own profile as a good virtuous lefty. The remark itself is no more ethical than it would be for me to take a dig at a coworker the morning after his sports team lost a hard-fought game or his chosen candidate lost an election. The difference is my coworker can tell me in no uncertain terms to get lost, and the boss probably would tell us both to get back to work and stop butting heads over nonsense, maybe adding an admonishment to me not to start trouble. If the White House press office gives April Ryan the boot and tells CNN to send someone who will behave, half the country will accuse the White House of being weak, thin-skinned, unable to accept criticism, etc. and April Ryan will get instant cred as a progressive heroine.

  6. It seems that this all arose out of General Kelly’s remarks:

    “[Confederate General] Robert E. Lee was an honorable man who gave up his country to fight for his state….One hundred and fifty years ago, that was more important than country — it was always loyalty to state back in those days. Now it’s different. But the lack of an ability to compromise led to the Civil War, and men and women of good faith on both sides made their stand where their conscience had them make their stand.”

    Apparently the complaint is that no compromise that retained slavery should have been contemplated, and that 500,000 dead should receive no weight in the retrospective calculation.

    • Steve-O-in-NJ

      General Kelly should have known that he shouldn’t have gone there. He went there. There are just some topics you need to stay away from around some people, because their brains will liquefy and trickle out their ears. Some people you can have a real discussion with about controversial or complicated issues, which a lot of history involves. Some people you just can’t. So you either steer clear of the issues around them, steer clear of them altogether, or you go in prepared to fight it out and defend your position. The last is sometimes the only option if you’re dealing with a SJW jerk who will try to bait you into a fight. In ordinary life we can pull SJW/TP relatives aside or email them ahead of the holidays and outline what behavior will and won’t be tolerated. General Kelly doesn’t have that luxury, since he has to deal with the public.

      BTW, Jack, moving into November, do you have any recommendations for ethical behavior around the holidays, especially when dealing with opinionated family members?

      • Family gatherings are about family and not about politics. Our general family rule is absolutely no political discussions, if someone goes there they immediately get shut down.

        • Steve-O-in-NJ

          Not a bad rule, but there’s always the shrill feminist aunt or the Bernie-or-bust cousin who won’t shut up. My dad is of the opinion you bite your tongue to avoid spoiling the holiday for everyone. I am of the opinion that you are within your rights to dismiss a disruptive relative – unobtrusively, of course.

          • Those that won’t shut up about politics are spoiling the holiday for others, don’t allow it to continue, put a stop to the discussion. Everyone in our family knows when to shut up, explain it to those who don’t understand it and then change the subject.

            • Children need to learn how to have civil discussions about politics—which, you know, is often really ethics—without taking it personally. More later…

              • I completely agree, but that’s something that parents should do at another time, family gatherings are so rare for some families that they should be strictly for family and steered away from politics.

              • Steve-O-in-NJ

                EVERYONE needs to learn how to have those discussions. However, if one mention of the president is going to send someone into a yelling tizzy, or one mention of another topic is going to send somebody into a fit of screaming and cursing, I think you need to pre-shut them down, or throw them out if they overstep.

              • Chris

                Children need to learn how to have civil discussions about politics—which, you know, is often really ethics—without taking it personally. More later…

                This is my teaching philosophy.

    • I’m dedicating the Warm-Up to the astoundingly dishonest and deranged reaction to Kelly’s 100% reasonable and informed comments.

      • Steve-O-in-NJ

        Can’t wait. P.S. I’m not justifying that kind of behavior, just saying it’s unlikely people are going to change.

        • Other Bill

          I think the thumb in the eye demographic that voted for Trump is delighted with Kelly being around and saying exactly something reasonable and mature like that.It’s also interesting that Trump likes having military people around him. They are salaried workers with a strong sense of duty. They are the antithesis of the Paul Manaforts and other grifters he spends so much time with in the international brand development business.

  7. I’m not in a good mood today and I’m completely fed up with partisan journalism, social justice warriors, and the lack of critical thinking in our society. Here are some random thoughts from a nearly debilitating migraine brain.

    April Ryan is acting like a partisan hack and a troll trying to fabricate stories out of thin air and her actions have painted a permanent Scarlet Letter on her forehead. Her press credentials should be immediately revoked and never allowed back in the White House or any United States government briefs.

    April Ryan is just another cog in the wheel of a symptomatic problem in modern journalism. Ryan and other “journalists” are trying to shove what they think is acceptable journalism down our throats. At this point in time professional journalism is tainted, maybe permanently so, because for the most part professionally fair and ethical journalists are a thing of the past. Apply what you already know about the actions of just the anti-Trump press in today’s world and tell yourself what you think this anti-Trump press will do when/if they ever get another Progressive in the White House and have control of the House and Senate.

    When journalist flaunt their anti-Trump hate and their pro left leaning totalitarian social justice warrior status’ as badges of honor you know there is a serious problem with modern journalism. Journalism has completely lost sight of their inherent obligation to the people to which they serve and now their allegiances appear to be to either a political “ideology” or a political party.

    A new lower bar has been set by all the hate enveloping anti-Trump “journalism” and it leads down a very dark place where the in-your-face obvious left leaning press will willingly kowtow to a left leaning totalitarian government controlled by irrational social justice warriors. With the onslaught of irrational social justice warriors forcing their will upon the people and the “fact” that journalism for the most part is dead, it’s just a matter of time now before the Constitution becomes a hindrance to the goals of these totalitarian conformists. Without a fair and ethical press and the rising of this new class of social justice warriors intimidating the masses we will end up with government controlled by social justice warriors and a press controlled by the government and we the people will loose.

    What’s the solution?

    What can we the people do?

    We the people need to stand firm, bite the bullet, step outside our comfort zone bubbles and exert the power of the consumer boycott and hit the press where it hurts the most – their pocket books. We need a movement to boycott any company that advertises for blatantly partisan news organizations, we need a movement to stop purchasing printed news from blatantly partisan news organizations, we need a movement to promote ethics in journalism and boycott any media outlet that keeps unethical journalists on their staff.

    Stop your cash from flowing into the coffers of unethical partisan news organizations. Yes that means sucking it up and stop purchasing their products. Write letters to the companies and tell them why you will no longer purchase their products. The power of the consumers pocket book is nearly unlimited.

    Again; I’m not in a good mood today and I’m completely fed up with partisan journalism, social justice warriors, and the lack of critical thinking in our society, can you tell.

    I hope I effectively presented my points, I have absolutely no patience for proof reading right now.

  8. We watch the local Fox affiliate, (surprisingly non-partisan, like the rest of the Madison local network affiliates) for our local news because it comes on at 9:00 p.m.

    It was delayed last night by the World Series. Preferring none of the cable nets, I was unsure which channel to watch to hear the latest on the “Lone Wolf” NYC attack, and it wouldn’t be Fox or MSNBC.

    We tuned into CNN after 9:00 p.m. CST, where I was greeted by the talented Don Lemon.

    Oy! He and his Lefty-centric “panel” were discussing their top story of the day: Trump/Manafort/Russkies/etc.

    Sheesh, what national news do the rest of you’s watch? Or do you’s watch at all?

    • Other Bill

      Not at all, Paul. For basic US and international news I go to the Daily Mail website.

      • Other Bill

        I see on CNN.com that the main story is a Trump speculation story while the NYC terror attack is pushed to side of the page in smaller fonts. Whew, I guess, as instructed by Obama and the Mayor of London, we have gotten used to terror attacks and are to just shrug them off. Can you imagine what the media would have done had this sort of attack happened ten or fifteen years ago? Now it’s just, “Oh, another terror attack. Yawn. Thank God most of the victims were just foreign tourists! How about those Dodgers?”

        • “I guess, as instructed by Obama and the Mayor of London, we have gotten used to terror attacks and are to just shrug them off.”

          Why wouldn’t we? The J.V. Team’s on the run after all, am I right?

        • Steve-O-in-NJ

          This sort of attack DID happen sixteen years ago. More to the point, these smaller attacks have been going on now for the last two years, Know what we hear first every time? “Let’s not give in to Islamophobia.” A Muslim goes on a mad rampage targeting members of the US military, who mostly aren’t in armed jobs, a Muslim couple cuts loose on a party with automatic weapons, a Muslim goes into a gay club and kills 50 people just because of who they are, and now one plows a rented truck into a bike path and cuts loose with a gun, and the message is Islamophobia, like the first thing public officials need to do is play defense for the scum who do this. $10 says DeBlasio resists handing this Oozebek over to the Feds, because the Feds could possibly fry him.

          Here’s the kicker – we are constantly told not to blame all Muslims when something like this happens…by the same damn people who blame all gun owners when a mentally ill kook grabs a gun and goes to town. If it weren’t for double standards the left would have no standards at all.

        • Kyjo

          Good thing he didn’t have real guns; you know how that story would go. Alternatively, had the attacker been a white Christian, we’d be seeing endless op-eds about how white men are actually the greater terrorist threat and only racism, white privilege, and white fragility lead anyone to believe that Muslim extremism is a bigger problem in the world.

        • crella

          Any coverage of the Las Vegas shooting has disappeared from CNN as well. Covering everything Trump seems to be their only mission; when there’s nothing Trump is when other news gets covered.

      • I’ve noted that site gets linked to for a LOT of news items that Lefty finds embarrassing.

        And while I like to read at my own pace and make up my own mind, I find commentary with film appealing to two senses.

        Oddly enough, the local Fox affiliate has started showing “DailyMailTV” after their hour news at 9, which comes off as a T.V. version of “People Magazine.”

        “CBS teams up with The Daily Mail, a British tabloid published in London and the world’s most-read English-language newspaper, to bring viewers “DailyMailTV,” which showcases exclusive stories and brings breaking news to the forefront. The program is based out of New York City and has multiple satellite studios to give the show access to reporters on the ground. Hosted by former NFL quarterback Jesse Palmer, the program covers a wide variety of topics, including show business, politics, crime, technology, health, science, and much more. These edgy and captivating stories come from all walks of life.” (bolds mine)

        • Other Bill

          Yes of course. I am duly and truly remorseful for reading the Daily Mail. But for things like terrorist attacks, they’ll give you the straight stuff right out of the box and won’t call it workplace violence or immediately blame it on islamophobia.

  9. Chris

    Someone I follow on Twitter today shared this story and said something positive about Ryan’s question. I “liked” it at first, then thought about it, then unliked it. You are right: the question was hostile, stupid, and unfair.

    Two years ago I wouldn’t have reversed my position, and I would have uncritically celebrated such an action by Ryan.

    Despite our many disagreements, moments like that remind me what I have learned from Ethics Alarms and why I still find it valuable. Thank you.

  10. “A news organization that doesn’t immediately discipline a reporter behaves like this at a White House press briefing—and Ryan should have been suspended, removed from the White House beat, or exiled to cute kitten stories on Headline News—it is announcing one of the following:

    a) This new organization will no longer apply minimal standards of respect, fairness and professionalism to coverage of this President.

    b) This network no longer has any standards.

    c) This network will allow gross demonstrations of bias and partisan animus by its reporters.”

    Here’s where I get frustrated. Jack, you’ve mentioned “tipping points” like this in analyzing all the news networks. At some point the entire journalist industry has violated the standards so badly and enough times that they aren’t currently announcing those negative qualities going forward but rather they have been a cesspool of ethics deviancy for long enough to be declared some sort of Ethics Corrupters or Ethics Villains or something worse than Ethics Trainwreck. And these articles and analysis are no longer clues that they are unethical but just more markers of being completely beyond recovery.

  11. I believe it was April Ryan that brought up this slavery question in the White House press briefing again today and was shot down.

  12. Chris

    Under these conditions, the White House has no obligation to permit such an organization to attend press briefings, any more than it has an obligation to permit anti-Trump demonstrators to attend, or to tolerate reporters chanting slogans and carrying placards. And it should not. If CNN won’t uphold minimal standards of professional journalism, then the White House must. CNN should be told that until it receives a public apology for Ryan’s outburst, she is replaced by a trustworthy reporter, and the network pledges that it will not permit such conduct by its employees to occur again, CNN will no longer be invited to briefings. Its place will then be taken by Ethics Alarms, or Weekly Reader, or any entity with a concept of journalism ethics superior to CNN’s.

    I can’t imagine a more counterproductive response. Even if you think such a response would be ethical in and of itself, you have to think of the consequences. Would this make other news organizations reconsider their biases and behave more responsibly? Or would they circle the wagons around CNN? Would those already opposed to the administration–so, the majority of Americans–view the White House’s response as professional and fair, or would they see it as more evidence that the White House can’t take criticism? Your proposal simply wouldn’t work, and would only increase division.

    The question “Was slavery wrong?” is a stupid one, but once asked that question, the correct response is “Of course it was wrong. Now let’s move on to an issue more relevant than one that was settled over 150 years ago.” You can slap down the nonsense without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Or at least, a competent administration could.

    • “Now let’s move on to an issue more relevant than one that was settled over 150 years ago.”

      Why can’t Leftists move on though?

      • Chris

        Yes, all those Leftists peddling the Lost Cause narrative, waving Confederate flags, and wailing about the War of Northern Aggression….

        • No, it’s all the Leftists peddling sermons against literally everyone because it thinks vast swathes of Americans (and mostly the entire republican side of the aisle) are all secret confederates and lost cause historians who wail about the War of Northern Aggression.

          This is a projection problem on the part of the Left. It reveals more about their attitudes than it does that of the Right.

    • The question asked by April Ryan at the Press briefing yesterday was, “Does this administration believe, does this president believe slavery was wrong?”

      I kinda like Sanders intentionally snippy reply to an absolutely absurd question from an unmistakable partisan hack, “I think it is disgusting and absurd to suggest that anyone inside this building would support slavery”; the only thing Sanders didn’t add prior to that statement that she should have are these four words, “Yes Ms. Ryan and…”.

      Personally I would have revoked April Ryan’s White House press credentials immediately after her first absurd outburst of blatant partisan hackery and racist innuendo towards the White House and the President, the continuation of her partisan absurdity at the press briefing yesterday should put her on the unemployment line.

  13. Michael R.

    You know, Spain’s Leader has abolished the democratically elected government of Catalan and charged all of its leaders with rebellion after sending in the Guardia Civil to beat voters and seize ballot boxes.
    France has been under near martial law (state of emergency) for over 2 years. They are thinking of ending this state of emergency by giving the government the emergency powers permanently. These powers include the elimination of warrants needed for searches, wiretaps, or other surveillance. The government has said they need these powers because they are in a constant state of war and have been since the Charlie Hebdo attack.
    Both these countries look like they could be headed back towards military rule or dictatorship. It would be nice if we had some traditional group that would gather and distribute information about such happenings to us. Of course, these events won’t be covered because they do not conform to the liberal narrative they want us to believe.

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