Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/10/2017: Posts Collide! Journalists Self-Destruct! Women Undermine Themselves! And A Poll…

Good morning!

1  Bingo!  Amy Alkon, aka the Advice Goddess, has been staking out lonely territory as a feminist who feels the #MeToo mob and its attendant hysteria is setting the cause of women back, not advancing it. Here most recent post begins by mocking an LA Times hysteric who wrote that

“What happens when society ignores sexual assault? You get Lesotho, where girls aren’t even safe at the grocery store…”

Akon responded in part…

This sort of ridiculous hysteria — that our country is anything like a place where 19% of teenaged girls are forced to marry — makes things here cumulatively worse, not better.This is the safest, most modern, most individual rights-driven country in the world.

If you are in a profession where there’s a great deal of money and power, there are likely to be sociopaths of various stripes who will prey on you — whether you’re a man or a woman. No, sexual assault should not be ignored, but we also don’t help ourselves by turning an invitation out for a drink by a co-worker into some sort of victimization.

If it isn’t your boss trying to manipulate you into the sack when you want no such thing; if there’s no quid pro quo; if requests for a date stop when you ask for them to stop (or maybe after the second time), do you really need to identify as a victim?…

People have conflicting goals and desires. Any two people. Heterosexual men negotiate these with each other. They’re very comfortable with it — as am I, no matter what sex or sexuality you are or have. If one person isn’t holding the other down or saying “fuck me, or you lose your job…” …If there’s merely a need for a mild rebuff (like, “Sorry, I don’t date co-workers), well, this seems to me like a normal part of adult life.

I predict two things from the current hysteria (where, say, a stolen kiss from a drunken co-worker is equated with Harvey Weinsteining and may even be seen as a firing offense):

1. Employers will think twice about hiring women, especially when they have the option of hiring a commensurately qualified male.

2. Men will start seeing escort workers in larger numbers than ever, and it will become more acceptable than it’s ever been to pay for sex.

2. Who will save journalism, and when will it admit is needs saving? Washington Post politics reporter Dave Weigel‏ mocked the President for declaring his Florida rally “packed to the rafters” last week. Wiegel’s tweet included a picture of a half-empty Pensacola Bay Center.This was, it turned out, a mistake, but also a mistake brought about by confirmation bias, sloppiness, and hostility to the President. Once again, the news media handed the President the ammunition to discredit it, as it deserves to be discredited.Trump tweeted after the rally...

“@DaveWeigel WashingtonPost put out a phony photo of an empty arena hours before I arrived the venue, w/ thousands of people outside, on their way in…Real photos now shown as I spoke. Packed house, many people unable to get in. Demand apology & retraction from FAKE NEWS WaPo!”

Weigel apologized, tweeting,

“Sure thing: I apologize…Was confused by the image of you walking in the bottom right corner…It was a bad tweet on my personal account, not a story for Washington Post. I deleted it after like 20 minutes. Very fair to call me out.”

Weigel is a well-known Washington Post reporter, and the fact that he botched this in his own name rather than the Post’s doesn’t diminish its harm to the credibility of the already reeling news media one whit. The apology was nice, but it was also unavoidable. While Trump certainly has primed journalist skepticism with his adversarial relationship to reality, reporters are supposed to be professionals, and leaping to conclusions without confirmation or sufficient evidence isn’t professional, or worthy of public trust. Fact: Weigel would not have done this to Barack Obama.

Weigel’s gaffe was minor compared to CNN’s fiasco the day before, or the Brian Ross episode at ABC, but it deserves to be considered as part of the same pathology. Wrote Glenn Reynold on his blog today,

In attempting to “denormalize” Trump, they’ve denormalized themselves. If they simply reported fairly and accurately, without their screamingly obvious bias, they’d be able to do him much more damage. But they can’t help themselves.

Bingo. They can’t help themselves, and the ethics alarms when bias looms just don’t sound. Today the New York Times has a front page story, complete with a creepy photo of the President, featuring a long, insulting quote from Nancy Pelosi about how “unprepared” Trump was for the job. Oddly, nobody thought, “Wait, did we publish anything like this about the most unqualified President elected up to that  point? You know, the last one?”

3. Hate isn’t humorous. Chelsea Handler, unlike Alkon, a fake feminist, issued a viscous video mocking Trump spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders on the basis of her looks. This is equally unethical when employed against men in a political context, as it is a form of ad hominem attack. This is ugly when progressives mock Trumps hair, weight or complexion, but when the same Hillary Clinton supporters who condemned her male critics when the made fun of her legs turn around and present something like this as “just a joke,” the hypocrisy is so think you need a chainsaw to cut it. The difference between good natured ribbing and hateful debasement is harder to detect in an era when political correctness endangers about 75% of humor, but there is no mistaking which this is:

4. And now, an obnoxious poll…Estimable Ethics Alarms commenter Charles Green wrote, in response to the recent post about the literal “Hand Up! Don’t Shoot!” execution by a white cop of a terrified, drunk, unarmed white man in Mesa, Arizona,

“The fact that the victim here was white doesn’t constitute any disproof at all of claims that many police shootings of black people are racially motivated, so get over that”

As I said in response, I never suggested that this incident proved anything, as single incidents usually do not. It is still fair to point out that this incident, which was literally what the shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson was dishonestly and disastrously portrayed as to bolster a racialist and anti-cop narrative, did not spark protests and cries of anti-white racism. That’s just a fact. Make of it what you will.

And to help you make of it what you will, Ethics Alarms offers this undiplomatic poll, which Charles’ comment inspired. So blame him.

You can also comment, of course.

6. I LOVE it when this happens! I have mentioned Rep. Alcee Hastings a couple of times lately. He’s the Democratic Roy Moore, except that when he ran and was elected after being impeached for bribery by the very same House that impeached him, nobody wrote that it was the end of the Democratic Party. Now Hastings is on the rails under the Harvey Weinstein Ethics Train Wreck!



20 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/10/2017: Posts Collide! Journalists Self-Destruct! Women Undermine Themselves! And A Poll…

  1. I left this comment on the Advice Goddess blog.

    In the end, moral panics underrmine the very cause they purport to serve.

    The Kern County sex abuse cases harmed our ability to prosecute child sex abuse. So much so, that it likely enabled the Catholic Church to cover for pedophile priests.

  2. I’m disappointed with the results of this poll. I’m apparently the only one who has voted so far who does not believe that blacks are entirely irrational in their fear of the police.

    • I believe that blacks are not irrational in their fear of police. The use of the police as a tool of racial oppression is a matter of historical fact, as is profiling (“driving while black”) and the natural—but indistinguishable from racial prejudice attitudes—officers are likely to develop when a high crime area is mostly black, or when most of the criminals an officer encounters are black.

      However, that the fear is justifiable in many ways does not mean the expression of that fear is necessarily fair or justified.

  3. I took the poll to be “if the world were suddenly that way, given where we are now.” Perhaps that was presumptuous, but it led me to ‘makes things worse’ since the narrative would then be true: more blacks being shot despite being a minority.

    #1: I have always maintained that the left talking like America is the worst place in the world has been a type of lie: we historically are objectively better than ANY other country regarding civil rights, fair play, and a safe place to raise a family. Acting like we are not does not help the conversation, and in fact hurts the cause as normal Americans wake up and reject the fantasy.

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