Ethics Quote Of The Week: Lee Smith, Making It All Clear

“Yet for its advocates, the questionable veracity of the Russiagate story seems much less important than what has become its real purpose—elite virtue-signaling. Buy into a storyline that turns FBI and CIA bureaucrats and their hand-puppets in the press into heroes while legitimizing the use of a vast surveillance apparatus for partisan purposes, and you’re in. Dissent, and you’re out, or worse—you’re defending Trump…In other words, there’s the truth, and then there’s what’s even more important—sticking it to Trump. Choose wrong, even inadvertently, …no matter how many times you deplore Trump, and you’ll be labeled a Trumpkin.”

Lee Smith in his essay, Who Believes in Russiagate?”

Later he adds,

“What unites [critics of Russiagate on the Left and the Right] obviously isn’t politics—rather, it’s the recognition that the Russiagate campaign represents an attack on American political and social institutions, an attack on our liberties, an attack on us. Russiagate is a conspiracy theory, weaponized by political operatives, much of the press, as well as high-level intelligence and law enforcement bureaucrats to legitimize an American election and protect their own interests, which coincide with those of the country’s larger professional and bureaucratic elite.”

You might wonder why I chose to highlight the first quote  rather than the second. The second tells me nothing I don’t know, or that readers of Ethics Alarms don’t know: I’ve made it a theme here since early in 2017. I learned something from the first quote, however. This is the phenomenon I have been experiencing on Facebook, where periodically pointing out unfair and intellectually dishonest attacks on President Trump and pointing out the news media’s horrific bias increasingly get me labelled as a Trump supporter, apologist or enabler. Meanwhile, I recently had a follow-up exchange  with NPR over my objections to Prof. Butler’s “Oh, come on!” outburst when I was correctly pointing out what was ethically dubious about late accusations of sexual harassment against political figures.  Oh, no, I was told. He wasn’t saying “Oh come on!” because I misrepresented sexual harassment law. He was saying that because he thought I was making excuses for Trump.

Except that my point would have been the same no matter who I had used as an example—Bill Clinton, Al Franken, any number of powerful men from whom women who might have originally been welcoming to unasked-for sexual contact, but who were made the targets of accusations by those same women years or decades later because of peer pressure and shifts of public opinion. So what was I being told? I was being told that even valid and justified defenses that would be accepted on behalf of other male politicians and celebrities would not be accepted if they were offered in defense of Trump. It doesn’t matter if Trump is being treated unfairly: he alone does not deserve the same ethical treatment of anything else, and anyone who attempts to extend equal treatment, objectivity and equity to this President  and  will be marked as a pariah. This will assist in silencing critics of the virtual conspiracy, and stripping the President of the common armor of reciprocity, respect and equal treatment.

Got it.

It’s clear to me now.

It’s a despicable, ugly thing.

And I reject it utterly

13 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

13 responses to “Ethics Quote Of The Week: Lee Smith, Making It All Clear

  1. adimagejim

    Russiagate regarding Trump is a cover up for the actual Russiagate of the accusers. Pure projection. Effects on the republic be damned.

    • That just sticks in my craw and puts them beyond the pale. There’s always asses, but this is calculated and deliberate. There’s no excuse for claiming misunderstanding and not meaning what was said. I’ll take honest mistakes over polished facades.

  2. Other Bill

    Thank goodness, Trump seems to thrive on adversity. Pretty remarkable. I doubt I’m the only voter who’s noticed.

  3. Glenn Logan

    It’s a despicable, ugly thing.

    And I reject it utterly

    And well you should, as should every single one of us — without exception. Anything less is shameful, unethical bias without regard for anything else.

    I find Trump at least as revolting in many ways as anyone on the Left. However, thanks to you and an unfortunately embarrassing paucity of others who refuse to allow their biases to dominate their thinking, there is at least a puncher’s chance of being informed on this point if you’re determined enough and unwilling to live in the echo chamber of the mainstream media.

    I don’t thank you enough, Jack, and I intend to remedy that starting now.

    Thank you.

  4. Fred Davison

    The second quote should read: DE-legitimize an American election

  5. Andrew Wakeling

    Yes you are right. Not that it matters much, but did you similarly protest against Bill Clinton’s accusers ( the complaining women who emerged long after the relevant events) and is it in your archive?

    • 1. Challenge, Andrew: what are the material distinctions between Clton’s circumstances and Trump’s? There are many.
      2. Clinton’s accusers were marginalized in the news media and harassed and intimidated by Clinton’s goons. My position on them was the same as it is with Trump’s: I didn’t know who was telling the truth.
      3. Lewinsky was not an accuser. My position was that Clinton’s perjury was a high crime, and that his cover-up of the Lewinsky matter was as well.
      4. Really, really lame “whataboutism”, AW.

      • Andrew Wakeling

        Jack, I only asked. And I said you were ‘right’. I am not adequately equipped nor interested in your ‘challenge’, re the ‘material distinctions between Clinton ….. and Trump. Yes there are many. But I am interested in Prof Butler’s and others’ accusations that you are biased. The rational test of this must be in your archive. You say in today’s piece that you have been “correctly pointing out …. the ethically dubious …. late accusations of sexual harrassment against political figures”. And you continue on by saying you’d make this point equally for Bill Clinton and ‘any number of powerful men from whom women might originally have been welcoming …… but who were made the targets of accusations years or decades later….”.

        So my question (as to whether you did make this case re relevant accusers of Clinton) is not to my mind unreasonable nor does it display ‘whataboutism’, lame or otherwise.

        You have been hammering the point for over 12 months that President Trump is not getting a fair go, and somewhat reluctantly I have come to agree with you. The ‘establishment’ or ‘deep state’ does seem to be striving to pull down a legitimately elected President, and there is much at stake.

        Whether he may deserve one or not, it seems highly unlikely that Donald Trump will ever get a triumphal arch….

  6. Propaganda: Information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

    Social Upheaval: A violent or sudden change or disruption to society.

    Class Warfare: Tension or antagonism which exists in society due to competing socio economic interests and desires between people of different classes.

    I am more convinced than I have ever been that what we have been witnessing over the last 20+ years is a very intentional seed-sowing propaganda campaign from the political left that has induced a class warfare upheaval in our society and its roots can be found in Marxism. I think we are in the midst of an ongoing nonviolent revolution that is trying to shift the United States society from a capitalist society into some dream of a communist utopia. How do they accomplish this; they attack absolutely anything that can stand in opposition to their ideological worldview. To these people maintaining the status quo of what has made the United States a great nation is equivalent to maintaining “evil”, and of course everyone should unite behind any movement that opposes evil.

    We have been witnessing very sharp divisions in our society that have been promoted by progressive leaning intellectuals and politicians. We have an onslaught of progressive leaning social justice warriors that are smearing anyone that produces logic or rational thinking that contradicts their worldview. At the root of the divisions is a clear attempt (which has been very successful) to divide our society into small segments along any conceivable class possible and set those classes against each other. Once select segmented classes, that are deemed worthy by social justice warriors, are unified behind one movement against what the new social elite classify as being “evil”, the United States that our forefathers created is done. Anyone that contradicts those that oppose what social justice warriors have smeared as being “evil”, is considered actively protecting and supporting “evil”, and therefore is part of the “evil”. This is what the propaganda seeds of Marxist leaning progressives have done to our society, they have intentionally and successfully dumbed down America.

    I think it’s only a matter of time before it becomes completely acceptable in our transforming society for these Marxist minded people to publicly threaten their opposition and confront anyone that opposes their ideological shift with direct physical force and it will be rationalized with a massive propaganda campaign as the equivalent to stopping evil. When this happens a bullet ridden war will erupt.

    Call me any kind of name you like; this is what I think we are witnessing, you’re welcome to think otherwise.

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