Good Morning, Ethics Lovers!
1 Fake news or just bad journalism? These year-end lists are sometimes very valuable. The Washington Examiner has published what it calls “our catalogue of the shoddiest political reporting beginning Jan. 20, 2017,” It’s no surprise that most of the items appear to spring from anti-Trump bias, but not all. I’m certain the list is not complete; I’m very certain that Fox News is treated far too leniently. It’s still a useful list.
This example from the list is the kind of misleading spin that Ethics Alarms will continue to label fake news: anti-Trump distortions designed to further a Democratic constituency’s false narrative. This one was generated by a reporter’s confirmation bias that the White House was hostile to LGBT citizens, then not checked, and given a pass by an editor who was also influenced by confirmation bias:
March 29: The Golden Easter Egg
The Claim: In a first for the White House, the eggs used for the annual Easter Egg Roll will be gold instead of the usual rainbow and pastel colors.
The Source: A New York Times reporter.
The Facts: This was not the first time that the White House has used golden eggs for the annual hunt. The Obamas had golden eggs as did previous administrations.
Hell, I knew about the golden eggs. It would have been easy to check, but the journalists leaped to the conclusion that would support anti-Trump fearmongering.
2. Add it to the list! Ann Althouse caught this one:
I’m reading “Trump’s claim that he prevented air-traffic deaths is his most questionable yet” by Philip Bump at the Washington Post (and similar attacks on Trump elsewhere). But what Trump tweeted was:
“Since taking office I have been very strict on Commercial Aviation. Good news – it was just reported that there were Zero deaths in 2017, the best and safest year on record!”
Those are 2 separate sentences. They do create the impression that they have something to do with each other, but he’s only claiming that he’s been “very strict on Commercial Aviation.” (Don’t get me started on the capitalization.) He never says because of my strictness there have been zero deaths. If you see a claim, you made an inference.
Bingo. And inferences should not be published in major newspapers as facts. Trump did not claim that he prevented air-traffic deaths, and even if he had, it certainly would not be “his most questionable yet.”
3. He just can’t help himself. I wonder how many extra approval points President Trump would have if he just had a smart, savvy, responsible tweet editor with veto power. Stupid tweets like yesterday’s retort to “Rocket Man”…
“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the “Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.” Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!”
…are nothing but destructive. a) This kind of flippant talk involving nuclear war is per se irresponsible. b) It reinforces fears that the President is reckless and untrustworthy. c) It is childish, and reduces international diplomacy to playground taunts. d) It shows a flat learning curve and a frightening lack of discipline and judgement. e) It’s crude, and unpresidential.
But you knew that without me having to explain it, right? So why didn’t he?
This morning commenter Steve-O-in-NJ used a three-word verdict at the end of a comment “Dead ethics alarms.” I’ve used that before, but I’m adding it now to the list of Ethics Alarms terms and concepts, and will be routinely employ the shortened version, DEA.
Trump’s big button tweet? DEA.
4. Speaking of crude…I have never heard of this kind of thing happening. In Austin, Texas, police arrested a couple after the manager at a North Austin restaurant noticed them engaging in oral sex at a booth in front of customers, including children, according to an arrest affidavit. Jonathan Hightower, 31, and Lashanda Fisher, 28, were arrested and charged with public lewdness.
What? How in the wide, wide world of sports could any civilized person think this was acceptable, not to mention legal, public conduct? I don’t understand the cultural and community influences that could produce such an episode. It shows utter disrespect for others and the establishment, defiance of societal standards, and an absence of prudence, decorum, and good citizenship.
Almost as disturbing are the 95% racist comments at the linked source. I also don’t understand a newspaper website allowing these to stay up. If you have commenters, you have to moderate the comments. Why would any African-American read or trust a news source that shrugs off comments like–oh! I just checked again, and since yesterday, all the comments have been taken down.
Too late, unfortunately. Nice place, Texas.
UPDATE: texaggo4 points out that not only has this happened before, but I posted about it, here. At least I’m consistent: about the Florida couple that started copulating on their table at a Florida restaurant, I wrote,
If anyone has any theories how two adults could be raised in a civilized country and think this is responsible, respectful, tolerable behavior, please pass them on. My assumption is that anyone with this little respect for others and civilized norms is dangerous, and certainly not trustworthy. Outside of a purveyor of live sex shows in Vegas, what sane employer would hire either of these creatures? The question of most import is whether they are just outrageous outliers with no greater significance, or whether public manners are in the process of reaching depths we never thought possible?
Note to those racist commenters at The Statesman: the Florida couple was white.
5. Speaking of racism AND year-end lists…Tucker Carlson tweeted out his “100 Racist Things from 2017.” These were mostly examples of outrageous race-baiting from the news media and activists, and they deserve to be mocked. Carlson’s effort, however, has an unpleasant smugness about it–you know, like Tucker–and creates serious dissonance when considered after reading those now-vanished comments on the Austin restaurant incident. Yes, there is a lot of race-baiting for cynical political purposes, and yes, playing the race card indiscriminately has become a reflex strategy by progressives. There is also a lot of ugly racism out there.
6. DEA I. A current TV ad for Rice Krispies Treats features an 8-year-old kid in a full football uniform, with helmet and pads, being urged to go out and play by his father. The child runs bellowing out the locker room to begin the series of concussions that will render him a vegetable in his 50s. Studies suggest that the earlier kids start getting repeated head trauma from colliding helmets, the sooner brain damage sets in.
7. DEA 2. Yesterday Al Franken resigned from the Senate because of unsubstantiated accusations that he got “handsy” in photo ops. His demise was brought about by fellow Democrats in search of Plan J, the latest unethical effort to prematurely end the Trump Presidency using similarly unsubstantiated accusations against him dating from before his campaign to create overwhelming public demands that the President resign, like Franklin. To be clear: this was so urgent, so justified by ends justify the means rationalizations, that Democrats jettisoned due process and a popular Democratic Senator.
In a year-end interview, former DNC chair Ed Rendell told New York’s AM 970 radio host John Catsimatidis, that former Vice-President Joe Biden is the Democrats’ “superstar” and and is the “one person I can say who will definitely win the election and has a superstar appeal in almost every state in the union, and that’s Vice President Biden.”
You know...this Joe Biden:
…and, of course, this…
Right, Ed. He’s a winner! Have Kirsten Gillibrand run as his VP.