Sunset Ethics, 4/5/2018: Sinclair, Opening Day Ethics, “The Crown” Ethics, And Fake News, Of Course.

Did everyone have a nice day?

1.  On the Sinclair broadcasting controversy. I was completely unaware of this, and Sinclair itself, until a couple of jerks accused me of cribbing my criticism of mainstream media bias from the company’s supposedly outrageous public statement. For the record, I don’t appeal to authority, and I make my own arguments. If other entities or pundits happen to reach the same conclusions, that’s to their credit. Go accuse them of following me. When a particular position stated by someone else strikes me as persuasive, I’ll credit the source.

Here is the script that Sinclair required the news anchors of its many local stations across the country. To save time, I’ll interject in BOLD

“Hi, I’m(A) ____________, and I’m (B) _________________…

(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that XXXX News produces.

(A) But we’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.

True. There is no denying this, and while the left-wing news media denies it as part of refusing to reform and do its job objectively and responsibly, the fact that the entity correctly framing the reality of U.S. journalism today is a conservative one does not alter the truth. Any news organization could have, and should have, sponsored the same statement.

(B) More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories… stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first.

This is also undeniable. The truth hurts. Tough.

(A) Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’…This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.

Completely accurate. It is terribly dangerous, and for a recent egregious example, look no further than the coverage of the anti-gun movement following the Parkland shooting.

(B) At XXXX it’s our responsibility to pursue and report the truth. We understand Truth is neither politically ‘left nor right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.

If Sinclair means this, good. And that is the standard it should be held to going forward.

(A) But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair please reach out to us by going to XXXX and clicking on CONTENT CONCERNS. We value your comments. We will respond back to you.

How can anyone object to this?

(B) We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced and factual… We consider it our honor, our privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day.

(A) Thank you for watching and we appreciate your feedback”

Since the statement is non-partisan, accurate, much-needed and one that every single news broadcast news source could and should have read to its viewers, daily if possible, there can be no valid ethical objections to it.

Deadspin, which has too many ethics problems of its own to count, attacked the statement as  america’s largest local TV owner turning its news anchors into soldiers in Trump’s war on the media.”

What utter dishonesty! As I said, and documented on the space ad nauseum, it cannot be reasonably denied that the statement’s characterization of news reporting is fair and accurate. Just because the resistances’s reviled President says something is so doesn’t mean it isn’t so, nor does his embrace of the obvious mean that to acknowledge the obvious is to support him. Deadspin then assembled a propaganda video of anchors across the nation saying the same thing, to make the process look sinister. Clever, but if you can’t see this for the misleading sliming it is,  get help. (Or, if you are NPR, get private funding.) Anyone could do the same thing with every baseball broadcaster who reads the MLB script about who owns the material in the broadcast. Anyone could do the same thing with the instructions I and many other CLE trainers read at the beginning of webinar. It can be done with the Pledge of Allegiance. Statements are scripted when it is important to have a carefully considered message communicated without variation. There is absolutely nothing improper, unethical or inappropriate about a stations owner requiring newsreaders to state the station’s mission, philosophy and basic ethical principles.

In fact, it is inappropriate not to. The howls from the Left are the very embodiment of the meaning behind the Bard’s famous line in “Hamlet” (Act 3, Scene 2 ),

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Except in this case, it would be, “The biased and partisan journalists who have been manipulating, hiding and distorting the news for years and hate being called on it doth protest too much.”


2. Another dumb “pay gap” controversy. I’m late slapping this one down. “The Crown, ” the Netflix series about Queen Elizabeth II, has been attacked by feminists, progressives and idiots—I’m sorry, but this is egregious—because actress Claire Foy, playing the Queen, was paid considerably less than co-star Matt Smith, who plays Prince Phillip.

The reason this was the case is that Foy, when she was cast, was a relative unknown, Smith, in contrast, had a ready-made fan base as one of the popular Doctors in “Doctor Who.” Thus he was worth more money to the producers in the beginning of the project. Marlon Brandon was paid much more than Al Pacino and James Caan in “The Godfather” for the same reason. This isn’t gender discrimination. This is business, specifically show business. Bigger stars get more money for legitimate and  obvious artistic and business reasons. Now there is a  petition to try to shame Smith into donating part of his salary from the series to Time’s Up.

This nonsense and gender-bullying. I needs to be sneered at and dismissed hard.

3. Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. This baseball’s true opening day for me: Fenway’s official first game for the Boston Red Sox. Traditionally, U.S. Presidents have thrown out the first ball when there has been a team in Washington, D.C. It is a nice national moment when it happens, and when, and this is key, at least half the country isn’t behaving like children and assholes, and are prepared to treat the office with respect for just a moment in time.  Half the nation is behaving like children and assholes, however, and have been since the 2016 election.

Incredibly, the Washington Post is pretending this isn’t the case, and attacking the President for declining the Washington Nationals invitation to do the honors:

“Why, then, has Trump refused to appear at the Washington Nationals opener, even after welcoming the World Champion Houston Astros to the White House last month? The answer is clear: Throwing out the first pitch does not fit into his political agenda. It does not offer him any tangible benefits. The president has shown that unless an event benefits him personally, he has little interest in it.

The Opening Day ceremony, by contrast, symbolizes national unity, which Trump has avoided since the beginning of his campaign. In Trump’s America, sports reflect the debates on Fox News and CNN, a fractured country polarized by the president’s Twitter account. Outside golf, where the president privately socializes with friends and corporate elites, the president’s main interest in spectator sports is promoting a form of “stadium-based patriotism” where Americans must demonstrate their loyalty to country by saluting the troops and singing “God Bless America.” Of course, if he attended a Nationals game, he would find that these rituals are promoted at the ballpark, too.”

Boy, you can’t get much more intellectually dishonest than this. Gee, why wouldn’t the President subject himself to loud, open-air jeering from the majority of a crowd of 40,000, a demonstration of contempt that would be played over and over on CNN, MSNBC,  NBC, CBS and ABC, with mocking commentary? What a puzzlement! I have no theories, do you?

President Herbert Hoover, the one time he went to throw out the season’s first ball, was booed mercilessly, and the insult became one of the most related events in his term in office. Boy, I cannot imagine why President Trump wouldn’t be eager to walk into this trap.

The dishonest authors of the Post article,

They want to see the President embarrassed, and are disappointed that he isn’t so foolish as to allow himself to be Hoovered.

4. Fake news, one way or the other: Drudge this AM told us that Trump’s approval poll numbers had “soared” to 51%, his all-time high. At the same time, The Hill informed readers that “Trump approval drops to record low.”

This is what modern journalism has become, and why it is no longer trusted.

41 thoughts on “Sunset Ethics, 4/5/2018: Sinclair, Opening Day Ethics, “The Crown” Ethics, And Fake News, Of Course.

  1. I assumed that the Sinclair thing was actually something shocking and bad, solely because I kept hearing, second-hand, about what a scandal it was.

    Apparently I’m still not cynical enough.

    • I too thought that perhaps my progressive friends and acquaintances had finally found something remotely sinister. After checking it out I was let down.

      It seems to me to be more of the left projecting its own character flaws onto the right. There’s NO reason to conclude immediately that these newly purchased news outlets will start reporting news biased towards the right the way the vast majority of journalists skew to the left. These outlets may very well someday do so, but just because the Left does it is no reason to assume these guys will. For one thing, the vast majority of these journalists that work for outlets recently purchased by Sinclair will all still be generally left-leaning reporters still anyway, maybe there will be a balance in this.

      No, this appears to be more of the effect I’ve seen since before Hillary announced there was a “vast right wing conspiracy” though in reality it became blatantly apparent that a network of Big Business, Big Government, Big Law, Big Education, Big Media, etc were all remarkably well attuned in skewing all communications and conduct in favor of their progressive narrative. This effect being that the Left tends to blame the Right for conduct the Left is ACTUALLY engaging in or very soon plans to.

      I will remain optimistic that these newly purchased outlets will stick with their pledge of objectivity until they give evidence that they aren’t. But in no way can the pledge be seen as any signal of partisanship like the hysterics have claimed.

      I think the outrage stems from:

      1) The Left has become SO comfortable with a pro-left bias in reporting for so long that they’ve internalized such reporting as being “fair and balanced”…so anything actually objective and factual will appear like a swing to the Right.

      2) Are offended by the possibility that a group of “notional” conservatives will actually do journalism the way it is supposed to be done in stark contrast to the misbehavior the MSM has gotten away with for generations.

      • And so we have news stories without any real reporting. Anyone wonder why the YouTube shooting is being investigated as ‘domestic violence’? The authorities stated the targets were random and everyone talked about how much she hated YouTube for demonetizing her videos. Nothing has mentioned that she so much as knew a person at YouTube headquarters. Why is it a ‘domestic violence’ case? Isn’t the media supposed to ask these question?. Same with the CDC worker who turned up missing. Why was this a national news story to begin with? Why were we getting updates on it? Why, when he shows up in a river 2 months later it is dismissed as ‘no foul play involved’ in days and no one says a word. “Nothing to see here, move along!”.

  2. I really hope Matt Smith doesn’t give Time’s Up (or anyone for that matter) a single pence. However, he seems to be damned if you do position.

  3. God, I cannot WAIT to watch the left collectively go into a fatal epileptic convulsion when Trump gets elected to a second term!

    • Boy, I can. (And as of this moment, I agree that this is likely, particularly since the Democrats have to nominate another women, and none of the likely candidates are electable or even respectable.) It will be much uglier than 2016-now, and that is too ugly for me.

      • Who? Kamala Harris? Elizabeth Warren? Who says the Democrats have to put a woman in the top spot automatically? The Democrats may increasingly be moving so far left they are an inch away from falling into the Pacific, but they aren’t so far gone they are going to leap from a 100-foot precipice into it.

        • I’m tellin’ you guys: D party ticket in 2020 will be Oprah Winfrey and (M) Obama. I won’t let you forget! [chuckling sardonically]

          Here goes ANOTHER test to see if my comment will post on first try.

        • Yeah, they are. They already have. If the men in the party don’t acquiesce to a female candidate, the convention and primaries will be a gender bloodbath. And, of course, any male who runs will suddenly learn that a “welcoming” object of his sexual attentions 20 years ago has suddenly decided that she was harassed.

          • That’s frankly a scary thought, scary because it’s all too believable. The Democrats will become the Party of the Pussywhipped. What’s more, they could become the party that wins by default, as any GOP male who runs will likewise find decades-old unverifiable and even anonymous accusers coming out of the woodwork, each with a more outrageous story than the last, until one sticks. Welcome to the society of mudslinging.

            • The Democrats will become the Party of the Pussywhipped.


              I want whatever you have been taking the past 10 years!

              The Establishment GOP is the same…

        • I would suggest Tulsi Gabbard is impressive and would have a good chance, but she is not in the establishment crowd, rather the more progressive crowd. I don’t think the Democrat establishment would be able to work with that, but I think she could win.

  4. This whole post is about how the left and the mainstream media (but I repeat myself) have made this country a place where anyone who doesn’t fall right in line with the progressive party line from the get-go is damned if he doesn’t and damned if he does, but a little too late to suit them.

    Sinclair is either too little too late if it is sincere, or more likely a cynical CYA or even gaslighting maneuver. After all, as long as they say the magic words to make it sounds like their reporting is totally non-partisan and scrupulously honest, it must be. I just got a decision in my favor in a case against one of my detectives in which the plaintiff, a career criminal. had sued over a 2011 arrest in which he fled from my guy and threw away a gun he was carrying. He claimed he fled because he thought he was going to be robbed and threw away his cell phone. Of course no cell phone was recovered from the scene. His theory was that since he said he never had the gun, then the officer must have planted it Essentially the judge ruled that just because someone says something is some way, no matter how loudly and confidently, doesn’t make it so without some kind of proof. I’ll believe the mainstream media is following these disclaimers when I see it. Of course then the left will just say they were intimidated into following the Trump party line, because nothing other than the progressive line could ever be true. Damned if they do, damned if they don’t.

    Matt Smith can’t win. He may have honestly negotiated his salary based on his ability to draw an audience, but once it was discovered that he outearned the female lead by a great deal, it was simply unacceptable to the current wave of feminists, who really don’t give a damn about anything except forcing everyone into line with the way they say things ought to be and supporting their cause. You should read Slate’s simplistic article on the issue, written by a “culture intern.” If Matt stands firm, these activists will dog him until he can’t get a bit part in a dog-food commercial. If he folds, then he’ll just be one more scalp for the feminists and open the way for one more legitimately talented actor to get bullied or paid less than he is actually worth. “Well, sorry, Mr. Mortensen, I know you have a lot more under your belt than the woman who’ll be playing opposite you here, but we can’t pay you more than her, because we don’t want to get crap from activists.” What’s more, he’ll also be told “and let this be a lesson to you,” like he should have asked for less. Damned no matter what.

    The Washington Post reporters know all too well that the President wasn’t going to expose himself to abuse when he had nothing to gain and everything to lose, just like your classmates who dared you to pull down your pants in public or go into the grouchy old man’s yard knew you were very unlikely to do it just on their say-so, so they called you a chicken or a party-pooper or whatever in the hopes of bullying you into doing it, so they could laugh themselves silly at the sight of your exposed butt or scatter at the first sign of Old Man Graves and later rock with suppressed giggles as you caught it. You see, the left/mainstream media has cast themselves as the smarter, hipper, cooler bunch, and the rest of us as the gullible idiots, so they figure they can just bully anyone who isn’t one of their crowd into doing what they want, and if he doesn’t go along with it, then he’s a chicken or a party-pooper for spoiling their fun, like the rest of us just exist to provide them with fun.

    As for Drudge and the Hill, what more is there to say? The media is now as much about having their own facts as they are about having their own opinions or even their own interpretation, and anyone who disagrees with their facts is “fake news.”

  5. I don’t watch any TV journalism, so I have no comment on the content of the message — but “requiring” all of your journalists to read a certain message is in itself very troubling. Moreover, because they all were required to read the same thing casts immediate doubt on the sincerity of the message and comes off as preachy. What is the difference between this canned message and your average everyday annoying telemarketer … or Jehovah’s Witness?

    The better course would have been for the parent company to release a written statement of its journalistic standards and goals and NOT turn its employees into puppets.

    • I think this was a more heavy-handed and blatant version of what we see regularly, and so it might be instructive as a look behind the curtain…. But if you really think that anchors don’t have scripts that are regularly mandated to them, I have a bridge to sell you.

      How are they different from telemarketers or Jehovah’s Witnesses? I mean… They’re on TV, right?

    • Another website—I don’t care to look for the video–did side-by side comparisons of Democrats and TV pundits reading verbatim talking points from the DNC attacking Sinclair.

      I would have directed the anchors to read, “This station has issued the following statement.” But news readers are news readers. They read public service announcements, and stories written by others. They ARE puppets much of the time. The outrage is way, way, way hyped.

        • They…. Do…. Though…..

          Oh, I’ll give you it’s much less blatant… But there have been compilations of anchors simultaneously regurgitating the exact same obscure verbage of talking points for years, John Stewart used to do bits on them. My analysis on the subject generally differs only from this particular situation as a matter of scope… It was done exceptionally poorly.

        • Of course. Except that CNN and MSNBC would have to shut down if THAT statement was read, since they breach it by the minute. The message they allow their journalists—using the term generously—to broadcast is that their networks calibrate and manipulate the news to please its desired left-wing demographic. They don’t need to make them read THAT.

          Fox, by the way, is so amateurish and spin-happy—especially its women—that it makes me physically nauseous. Shep Smith is weird, by at least he’s gutsy and objective; Chris Wallace is a pro. Why would you think I would ever give it a pass? I don’t write about it as much because I refuse to watch it very often.

  6. The Hill’s take on 4 is made more annoying by the fact that it is immediately, embarrassingly self-refuting. “Trump’s Approval Hits New Low” is a lie, and it is obviously a lie the moment you click on their own link to Real Clear Politics and look at the very first info-graphic, which shows that Trump’s approval number was lower and his disapproval number was higher around August and December of 2017. There is literally no way to look at the data that they relied on and come away with that headline. It is fake news.

  7. From a 1989 article:

    …Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and was given a suspended sentence of two months in jail and had his driver’s license suspended for a year.

    “He was worried about himself, not Mary Jo,” the Journal quotes an angry 76-year-old Joseph Kopechne as saying.

    The Kopechnes also told the Journal they are angry that none of the other girls, all experienced Kennedy campaign workers, ever spoke out on their daughter’s death.

    “They should try to explain, somebody’s hiding something,” 71-year-old Gwen Kopechne told the Journal. “I think all of them were shut up. I think there was a big cover-up and that everybody was paid off.”

    The Kopechnes, who received a settlement of $90,904 from Kennedy and $50,000 from his insurance company, say they do not regret that they didn’t sue the senator.

    “It was damn little, considering,” the Journal quotes Joseph Kopechne as saying of the settlement. “I’m not sorry we didn’t sue, though; it would have caused a lot more pressure.”

    The incident, generally regarded to have denied Ted Kennedy the presidency, remains controversial two decades later. Despite the senator’s persistent denials, rumors persist of a romantic connection between 28-year- old Kopechne and Kennedy, who was married at the time.

    The Kopechnes denied their daughter was involved with the senator, describing her as a quiet girl who once considered becoming a nun, and claim her name was “dragged through the mud.”

    In the unusually frank interview, the Kopechnes said they met with Kennedy twice after the incident, but they did not receive a satisfactory explanation.

    “I don’t believe anything I’ve heard so far,” Mrs. Kopechne said. “I want him to tell us what happened. Isn’t there something he could tell us that would lift this heavy, heavy burden from my heart?”

    I can tell you that many, if not most, Mass. citizens believe Mary Jo’s family is part of the cover-up, and that they were threatened, intimidated and paid under the table not to sue. $90,000 from the Kennedys? They were either corrupt, terrorized or stupid.

  8. If I were in the President’s shoes [full disclosure: not on my bucket list], I would have seriously considered the outcome of Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” before making a target of myself in an open stadium.

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