Comment Of The Day: “Unethical Quote Of The Month: Journalist Matt Pearce”

I thought a bit of rancor was appropriate for a Comment of the Day on this topic, which I’m sure some Ethics Alarms readers are getting sick to death of, the collapse of journalism ethics. I fight every day to find a balance between posting more evidence of this corrosive and wholly avoidable infection within our society, for more evidence appears daily, and leaving the issue alone for another day in order to examine different topics. But while in other areas of professional ethics I see sincere and genuine efforts to identify unethical conduct, address it, and reform it…Yes, even in politics…I see none  in journalism. To the contrary, I see obstinate denial that there is a problem, especially from those who perceive themselves and their ideological agendas as benefiting from the increasingly egregious mainstream media bias. Until there is an acknowledgment of this problem and its seriousness within journalism itself, it will only continue to get worse, and our society and nation will get even sicker as a result.

Here is Steve-O-in NJ’s Comment of the Day on the post, Unethical Quote Of The Month: Journalist Matt Pearce:

CAN journalists legitimately try to hide their agendas from anyone with a functioning brain and ethical compass after they “cut loose” in 2016? The evidence of media bias has been getting bigger and bigger since 1992. The media’s running interference for Bill, attempt to swindle the voters in 2004 with a lie, and industry-wide push for Obama were all pretty damning pieces of evidence, but the open abandonment of objectivity in 2016 in an attempt to save this nation from itself irrevocably broke the scale. I think for a while they even had you [ Host’s note: That is, me] persuaded, though not consciously so, since your thinking moved through the idea that Hillary would do less damage than Trump before you decided that Hillary was also unworthy of your support.

It’s frankly time for the mainstream media to own up to the fact that it isn’t objective anymore and hasn’t been for some time, and that its job is to push the progressive agenda any way it can. It won’t though. It’s like a family member calling you up on Saturday morning and saying “I don’t want to take up your day, but the attic needs cleaning, the faucet’s dripping, and the hedges need trimming, so I was hoping…” What your in-law is really hoping is that you’re gullible enough to go along with what he says, and that, come 5 or 6 that evening, when all these tasks are done, before he pushes you out the door because it’s suppertime and “I only bought enough for us, I know you’ll understand” you’ll self-deceive and say it was no trouble at all. In reality, you got had, you knew you were being had, but you took the path of least resistance (of course maybe your wife implied or stated outright that your monthly sex night was in jeopardy if you didn’t do whatever her screwup brother wanted).

If you have a spine and a brain, you won’t self-deceive, and you’ll tell your in-law he is hoping in vain, you already have plans, and he can do his own damn home maintenance, Chump’s Free Contracting is out of business. It’s time for the public to stop self-deceiving and not take anything the mainstream media says at face value.

33 thoughts on “Comment Of The Day: “Unethical Quote Of The Month: Journalist Matt Pearce”

  1. This MAY already be happening. Note NYT’s declining subscription rate and MSNBC’s and CNN’s declining Nielsen’s ratings.

      • Speaking of—I finally forced myself to watch Alec Baldwin’s Trump imitation. I was genuinely shocked: it’s terrible! It’s 7th grade level face-making—no subtlety, no wit, and most of all, no resemblance. It is just calculated to appeal to Trump-haters, while funny impressions should make the subject as well a his or her detractors laugh. Baldwin’s a talented performer, if the biggest jack-ass in Hollywood; he should be ashamed of himself.

      • Ben Shapiro’s take on the success of Roseanne is the correct one. Has nothing to do with Trump. As he put it, Roseanne’s character could have been a Bernie supporter and it would have been popular.

        Roseanne is, and always will be, a show about a “blue collar” family “just trying to get by”. It’s appeal is that many Americans have been convinced that they are stuck in the same economic conditions and therefore have an excuse to surrender any higher aspirational values, norms and standards.

        Anyone can identify with what is essentially a subtle appeal to being an underdog wanting to get ahead without ever having to make any serious life / habit changes that might actually help get you ahead.

          • Full disclosure: I did not watch the show, and got transcripts online after I saw the news item about ratings.

            I would not watch Roseanne Barr if she set herself on fire, and I don’t care who she voted for. Her brand of ‘humor’ is uncivilized, crass, crude, and vile. It used to be shocking, which is how she got her fame. It is no longer unique.

          • Roseanne was a great show with fantastic actors and it resonated with a lot of blue collar families. I haven’t had time to catch the reboot yet.

            • Yes. Roseanne Barr the person is a complete nutjob, but her show was a classic for good reason. I’m not sure if I’ll catch the update either given her recent nuttiness, but I remember the original fondly.

        • It is not what the show said or was about: it is what the show was purported to be about that got the ratings. And the main character being a Trump supporter who said the left has moved so far left that they left her implied that the show was about MAGA, even though it is still filled with unethical progressive (but I repeat myself) trash.

          Ben IS correct, but many of those things do not matter to everyday Americans who woke up to vote in 2016. Many of them either do not have opinions on most of Ben’s issues, or simply want a respite from the entirely one sided progressive dumpster fire most TV comedies are today.

          We will see if Ben’s observations offended enough to mean the show loses ratings in the coming weeks.

          • It is not what the show said or was about: it is what the show was purported to be about that got the ratings. And the main character being a Trump supporter who said the left has moved so far left that they left her implied that the show was about MAGA, even though it is still filled with unethical progressive (but I repeat myself) trash.

            Can you clarify what you mean by this? What part of the show, then and now, do you see as “unethical progressive trash?”

  2. Steve-O’s analogy with Chump’s Free Contracting is a CLASSIC!
    As always, well put, Steve-O!
    The propagandists are so full of themselves, they won’t even slow down. Persuasiveness is a glass house that will never be built, let alone finished, by builders who have no skill save for throwing stones.

    • Thanks. We all have that relative, whether by blood or by marriage, who’s “not looking to impose” or saying “this isn’t that big of a thing, but…” and always tries to trap you if you resist, making you convince yourself that you’re a bad guy or failing to use your skills if you don’t do it his way. “Well, I was hoping to have the yard cleared this weekend, and you’re usually pretty reliable about these things, but I guess my kids will have to wait a week to get the swings going. I hope it doesn’t rain next weekend.” “Well, I was kind of hoping to put the deposit down on the time share now, and you know I’m good for repayment, but if you can’t help I guess it will have to wait until payday. I hope someone else doesn’t grab that week, or I’ll have to jump through all kinds of hoops at work to change my vacation.” “I really want to get this television set up so the kids can watch DVDs this afternoon at the birthday party, it really won’t take that long and you’re so much more mechanically inclined than I am…”

      The media is the same, after all, you’re smart, hip, fair, and open to new ideas, right, even if you’re not quite as much so as they are?

  3. “It’s frankly time for the mainstream media to own up to the fact that it isn’t objective anymore and hasn’t been for some time, and that its job is to push the progressive agenda any way it can.”

    You’re being way too reasonable here, Steve. An undergrad classmate of mine who is a Columbia School of Journalism School grad and hard core lefty (but I repeat myself) has blythely informed me that journalists aren’t expected to be unbiased. So, journalistic bias isn’t even perceived as being a problem.

    • This whole bias in journalism thing is not as complicated as say Sparty and earnest lefties make it out to be. Of course we all have biases. But that’s irrelevant, a red herring. Doing unbiased reportage is not difficult, regardless of your personal leanings. It’s a craft, a trade. Here’s an outline of an unbiased piece of reporting:

      “The Trump administration announced it is imposing a tariff on steel imports into the United States. [Add more details about amounts, countries affected, timing, and maybe a statement from someone speaking on behalf of the administration.] Republicans said the following: [ …]. Democrats said the following: [ … ]. Expert opinions varied. Some economists opined that the tariffs would provoke a trade war. Paul Krugman said [ … ] Others thought the actions were long overdue. Larry Kudlow thought the tariffs would begin to level the playing field for US manufacturers competing against government back foreign firms. Domestic stocks sold off sharply but promptly regained most of their losses prior to closing. Administration spokesperson so and so promised more details in the coming days.”

      That would be reporting. An editorial or opinion piece could be done on the editorial page. Pro or against, it doesn’t matter. That would be the editorial writer’s OPINION. The rest of the paper should be objective, unbiased REPORTING. It’s not hard. But we never see it any more and that’s a very significant problem. Reporters can have their personal biases, but they need to set them aside while they’re practicing their craft, which is REPORTING the news. Once they are promoted to the editorial page than can be as biased as their bosses let them be. When writing opinion pieces. The fact that people are biased does not preclude objective reportage. It’s not rocket science.

  4. I agree, slickwilly – COTD. Second try to post my comment…

    That’s a GREAT comment, Other Bill! The example you wrote is a jewel – well, these days, it’s a jewel, but it seems like an example that is either totally ignored, or simply not even presented or suggested at all to today’s students who intend to learn journalism.

    You reminded me of how Ken Burns used verbatim press accounts of baseball games played in the later 1800s and early 1900s, when he made the epic video docuseries on the game. In those earlier days’ accounts, even though there was some flowery language (one example, I recall, was read aloud specifically to illustrate “over the top” painting-with-prose), the reader could still trust that essential facts could be found without difficulty. Politics and ideology were completely absent, except perhaps for the writer’s bias slightly in favor of one team or another, one player or another. The times were a “golden age” for both journalism and baseball.

    So today, we’re all supposed to be SO much more sophisticated – writers, observers, readers, and viewers. That old style would be SO BORING. Today’s articles MUST say things like, for example, how a manager of a baseball team changed pitchers more often and more puzzlingly (and more disruptively to the fans’ enjoyment of a given game, for a set-up of confirmation bias) than TRUMP changes Cabinet secretaries. Oh, crap – I just gave some sportswriter some free op-ed material to embed. [Yawn]

    • Thanks guys. Regards from The Antipodes where the nation has been traumatised by a bowler scuffing a cricket ball with a piece of sandpaper during a friendly against South Africa. It’s a good thing they don’t have corporal punishment here. Gaylord Perry wouldn’t have lasted a minute playing cricket here. Pretty interesting contrast with American sports ethics.

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