1 Let’s see more of such Ethics Heroes, please… In Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania, John Orsini, has gone to court to stop his ex-wife from allowing their son, 17-year-old Antonio, from playing high school football in his senior year. Antonio has already suffered at least three concussions. Antonio’s mother and John’s ex-wife, Janice, says that her son understands the risks, and that doctors have OK’d his continued play.
But he doesn’t understand the risks—apparently neither do those doctors—and he is considered a minor under the law because teenagers are prone to poor reasoning and impulsive decisions…especially when they have incipient brain damage.
CNN is eager to hear his position on gun control though. But I digress..
Says the CBS news story: “John contends that after these concussions and sub-concussive hits, medical research shows that Antonio would be in grave danger if he continues to play football.” He contends? There is no contention: that is fact.
“I’m trying to save his future. I’m trying to save his life,” he said of his son.
Janice and her attorney issued a statement, saying in part,
“The mother and her 17-year-old son have reasonably relied upon the input and opinions of his treating physicians and medical providers, and have considered the state mandated safety and concussion protocols followed by the school district, in deciding whether it was appropriate for him to continue to participate in football.”
John believes the court will side with him. “If you have a significant indication that the child is being placed in harm’s way, and it’s brought to court to protect the child, it’s the court obligation to do so,” he says. I wouldn’t be so sure. This is football country, and football fanatics are in denial. They’ll get thousands of children’s brains injured before they are through.
“I’m hopeful that my son will just go on, get a good education and lead a healthy life. That’s all I want,” said John, whose other two sons no longer speak to him over this conflict.
Let’s hope Anthony is given then chance to grow smarter than his mother.
2. Let’s see, which Trump Derangement news media story should I post today? Every day, every single day, I have literally dozens of biased, vicious, stupid, unprofessional and blatantly partisan mainstream media news reports and pundit excesses to flag as unethical. Here, for example, is a New York Times columnists advocating for Rex Tillerson to betray all professional ethics, confidentiality, trust and responsibility by revealing everything he heard or saw as Secretary of State that could undermine Trump’s administration. It’s called, “Burn it down, Rex.”
Let me repeat: for journalists to set out to intentionally poison public opinion against the elected President of the United States by manipulation and hostile reporting is unethical and dangerous. This conduct has been the single largest ethics breach in the culture for more than a year, and one of the worst in U.S. history. In strenuously condemning journalism’s abdication of its duty to support democratic institutions and to remain objective and responsible, I am not defending Donald Trump. I am attempting to defend the Presidency itself.
Today I pick…this:
This is a graph MSNBC broadcast yesterday to illustrate the alarming and newsworthy increase in the number of tweets by the President mentioning Special Prosecutor Mueller by name, in order to suggest that there has been a substantial and ominous rise. WOW! Look at that sharp rise! Yes, this tweetstorm of antipathy toward Mueller exploded from zero to…2. TWO. We needed a graph to comprehend the momentousness of that.
Here, by the way, is what the graph would have looked like if Trump had mentioned Mueller…or aardvarks, or bok choy, or Al Kaline, or Tierra del Fuego… in a tweet just once…
Also, as Amber Athey points out, Trump had mentioned Mueller by name three times the old-fashioned way, by speaking.
This adds the “fake graph” as a sub-category of fake news. The graphic is being used to make something that is completely insignificant look important, and to mislead as well.
MSNBC is a disgrace to journalism and punditry.
And silly, too.
3. “The Ethicist” misses an angle. A letter to the New York Times Magazine’s last week came from someone who owned a rental property, and who stated that the neighbors next door are “extremely racist.” “We have had both white and Hispanic people as renters,” he wrote. “The next-door neighbors harassed the Hispanics until they left. The white family had no issues getting along but did hear their racist rants.” The questioner asked whether he is obligated to tell any prospective renters about the problem.
“The Ethicist” told him that the “right thing to do” was “to inform all potential tenants about this situation, and leave it to them to decide if they want to deal with it.”
This is wrong. To begin with, it is poisoning the relationship between the neighbors and the new renters from the outset. The writer will guarantee that the new tenants will interpret everything they see or hear from the neighbors though the jaundiced perception that they are racists. That’s unfair.
I have seen this phenomenon many times, in many settings, especially when starting a new job. “Hey, watch out for X, she’s—–.” In many of these cases, I discovered that the “warning” was based on hearsay, old and distorted past conduct, rumors, or malicious whispering campaigns. I’ve also been the victim of this process. Fighting the behavior became a crusade for me in theater, when I was often told not to hire an artist because he or she was disruptive, or impossible to direct, or just a “bad apple.” Funny: more often than not, if I gave them a chance, these pariahs turned out to be excellent colleagues and sometimes good friends.
Here is what the writer does have an obligation to do: investigate. Visit the neighbors. Talk to them. Make an independent assessment. Confront them with what he had been told, and if the visit is unsatisfactory, tell the neighbors that he will be monitoring their conduct, and would regard any effort to harass his renters as a personal attack, mandating a strong and unpleasant response.
4. From the “Inconvenient Truths” Files: Holocaust historian and scholar David S. Wyman died last week. He was best known for a controversial but meticulously researched and argued best-seller, “The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust 1941-1945.” Wyman argued, and showed convincingly, that the United States’s apathy and lack of compassion had cost tens of thousands of Jews their lives. He wrote: “One does not wish to believe the facts revealed by the documents on which it is based. America, the land of refuge, offered little succor. American Christians forgot about the good Samaritan. …The Nazis were the murderers, but we were the all too passive accomplices.” Among the most conspicuous accomplices pointed to by Wyman’s analysis was President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whom Dr. Wyman concluded did nothing for 14 months after learning in 1942 of the mass exterminations of Jews in Nazi Germany. When FDR finally did act, Wyman argued, he did so only out of political calculus.
This conclusion is inescapable on the facts. Roosevelt is so idolized by conventional wisdom for saving America from the Great Depression and Adolf Hitler that the dark side of his record, and it is very dark indeed, is consistently denied or ignored. FDR locked up American citizens without due process because of their nationality and race. He handed over millions of Europeans into the slavery of Stalinist Communism. And yes, bolstered by a State Department dominated by anti-Semites, he fiddled while Jews burned. In the recent Ken Burns documentary on the Roosevelts, the last was hardly touched on. Of course not. FDR was a great President!
It is telling that even Arthur Schlesinger Jr., an unapologetically partisan Democrat historian who was the Kennedy court hagiographer, couldn’t come up with a better defense than this, reacting to an episode of PBS’s documentary series “American Experience” based largely on Wyman’s book:
“If you look in a larger context, no one did more to save the Jews in Europe than Franklin Delano Roosevelt, by his opposition to Hitler, by changing the United States from an isolationist nation to a nation prepared to go to war.”
This tap-dancing employs at least the following rationalizations:
3. Consequentialism, or “It Worked Out for the Best”
14. Self-validating Virtue
19. The Perfection Diversion: “Nobody’s Perfect!” or “Everybody makes mistakes!”
21. Ethics Accounting, or “I’ve earned this”/ “I made up for that”
22. The Comparative Virtue Excuse: “There are worse things.”
26. “The Favorite Child” Excuse
33. The Management Shrug: “Don’t sweat the small stuff!”.
34. Success Immunity, or “They must be doing something right!”
38. The Miscreant’s Mulligan or “Give him/her/them/me a break!”
41. The Evasive Tautology, or “It is what it is.”
Rationalization 50A. Narcissist Ethics , or “I don’t care”
63. Yoo’s Rationalization or “It isn’t what it is”
…especially #22, “There are worse things,” #33, “Don’t seat the small stuff!’ and the recently discussed “Yoo’s Rationalization.”
Said Dr. Wyman in response, “If [the PBS show] had gone into depth on Roosevelt and the Holocaust, it would have been worse. There would have been a couple of more positive things to say, and eight or 10 worse things.”
How does popular opinion and the historical verdict deal with the fact that a great American President let so many Jews die, and knew that’s what he was doing?
Here’s that pesky Cognitive Dissonance Scale again. Letting the Holocaust proceed is at the rock bottom of my scale. FDR starts out high, but not as high as letting Jews die is low. Where does he belong on the scale, once the dissonance is resolved?
P0inter and Facts (#2): Daily Caller