Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/27/18: Everything Is Spinning Out Of Control!!!

Good MORNING, everyone!!!

(And good morning, little Louie..)

1. The state of American journalism, CNN’s Headline News quadrant: A recent poll claims that 50% of Republicans regard the news media as “enemies of the people.” Just because it is actively manipulating the news to try to topple the President of the United States? How unreasonable! No, I am beginning to believe that the 21st Century U.S. news media is really the Enemy of the Cerebral Cortex. On HLN this morning, James Comey’s disastrous interview on Fox News yesterday (among about 400 other stories of more relevance to Americans) was deemed newsworthy, but not one but two royal family stories were: the wedding dress for the American woman whose name I can’t remember who is going to marry the British prince who doesn’t matter on a date I don’t give a damn about, and, again, what the new royal great-grandchild’s name will be. The breathless reporting on these two world-altering events took over 10 out of the 40 minutes the network devotes to news rather than pharmaceutical commercials, a full 25%.

But that’s not all. HLN newsbabe Robin Meade emulated “Best in Show’s” Fred Willard’s cruelly hilarious send-up of Joe Garagiola’s embarrassingly lunk-headed turns as a “color man” at the Westminster Dog Show by asking the dumbest question, I think, I have ever heard on the air. If you haven’t seen “Best in Show” a) What’s the matter with you? and b) here are typical questions asked by Willard during the fictional dog show’s broadcast as “Buck Laughlin,” an ex-pro athlete, to his British dog expert  (“Trevor Beckwith”) co-host and others:

“Now tell me, which one of these dogs would you want to have as your wide receiver on your football team?”

“Doctor, question that’s always bothered me and a lot of people: Mayflower, combined with Philadelphia – a no-brainer, right? Cause this is where the Mayflower landed. Not so. It turns out Columbus actually set foot somewhere down in the West Indies. Little known fact.”

“Now that looks like a fast dog. Is that faster than a greyhound? If you put them in a race, who would come in first? You know if you had a little jockey on them…”

Robin, however, against all odds, topped Buck, asking the British reporter, after learning that the new total would be named, “Louis,”

“Now in American, when we hear that name we immediately think, “Louie Louie, oh no, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, baby.” Is that the way it is in England too? “

2. #MeToo’s late hit on Tom Brokaw. An ex-NBC  broadcast journalist decided to exploit the Cosby verdict to accuse the retired anchorman of a decades old  (from 1993) incident of sexual harassment. Brokaw denies it all unequivocally. Placing Brokaw’s alleged attempts to kiss the woman in the context of Cosby’s rapes is unfair. Waiting so long to tell the story—if it is true—is unethical because it left Bad Brokaw free to harass other women. Waiting so long to tell the story—if it isn’t true–spectacularly unethical, since it harms Good Brokaw’s reputation and it is probably too late to determine what really happened. The uber-feminist, #MeToo, men-are-viruses-in-the-universe crowd will believe the accusation anyway, because “all victims should be believed”…and that’s unethical too. Meanwhile, Tom’s accuser will get interviews and may even get a gig or twelve out of it.

Going public with an accusation you can’t prove that will destroy someone’s reputation when you deliberately passed on the opportunity to make the accusation when it could be proved is a terrible thing to do to someone, absent other factors, as in the Cosby case. For example, if Brokaw calls his accuser a liar, and there are more women who he harassed, they would be ethically justified in coming forward, regardless of how long ago they were harassed.

3. Wait, what Comey interview? Former FBI Director James Comey was interviewed by Fox News’ Bret Baier yesterday.  Baier asked Comey about his decision last year to give a memo detailing his conversations with President Trump to a friend, Columbia University Law School professor Daniel Richman.

“So what specifically did you leak to Mr. Richman?” Baier asked the fired FBI Director.

“I sent Mr. Richman a copy of a 2-page unclassified memo, and asked him to get the substance of it out to the media,” Comey replied. “I don’t consider what I did with Mr. Richman a leak,” Comey answered. “I told him about an unclassified conversation with the president.”

Yes, and Bill Clinton didn’t consider what he did with Monica “sex,” and Dick Cheney didn’t consider waterboarding “torture.” Leaks do not have to contain classified information to be leaks.  If they contain classified information, its is a crime.  A government official leaking of any information, without permission of the government, surreptitiously and anonymously to the press is unethical, and a firing offense.

4. The end of the Korean War? It is all moral luck, of course. President Trump’s aggressive and confrontational approach to North Korea could have resulted in a war or other disaster, but the fact is, it did not. If, as it seems, North and South Korea are about to finally end the Korean War officially and North Korea’s dictator deescalates tensions internationally, President Trump will deserve credit for a major foreign affairs triumph. That he may have blundered into it doesn’t matter. That his Teddy Roosevelt/John Wayne/cowboy diplomacy was arguably reckless doesn’t matter. He will deserve credit.

I guarantee that the mainstream news media, most pundits and Democrats, and of course “the resistance,” will refuse to admit it, just as many of them to this day refuse to credit  Ronald Reagan’s policies with bringing down the Soviet Union. This is an integrity test, if in fact the two Koreas have an accord. Your friends, journalists and opinion commentators who don’t have the decency to say, “Well, I can’t stand the guy, but this is great, and he did it,” will be telling you something very useful about their character.

5. Of Kanye West and Donald Trump. The Left end of social media is freaking out over hip-Hop super-star Kanye West’s sudden conversion to Trump supporter. After his initial movements in Trump’s direction last week, he tweeted this week, “Obama was in office for eight years and nothing in Chicago changed” and “You don’t have to agree with trump but the mob can’t make me not love him. We are both dragon energy. He is my brother. I love everyone. I don’t agree with everything anyone does. That’s what makes us individuals. And we have the right to independent thought,” as well a photos of a MAGA hat signed by the President. Various users tweeted that his apparent conversion has cost him nearly 10 million followers in 20 minutes after posting the autographed “Make America Great Again” hat, but in fact West gained followers.


  • West is like Trump in many ways, most of them not good. This development shouldn’t have surprised anyone. As with Trump, West is also prone to be mercurial, as in “if you don’t like what he says, wait a minute.”

Then there is this interpretation, from a commenter on “Instapundit”:

Kim: We haven’t been in the news for a while!

Kanye, sipping from his goblet: I’ll take care of it…

  • Rolling Stone, while condemning West’s tweets as “aligning himself with a demagogue and racist movement” (There is no “racist movement” except perhaps against whites, and West is aligning himself with the President of the United States, like Americans are supposed to do…):

“Whether one likes it or not, and no matter if it’s right or wrong, Kanye West moves the culture. There is a reason I often jokingly refer to him as a “hip-hop David Koresh.” People worship this man and will follow him wherever he goes. The magnitude of his stardom cannot be overstated.”

That someone as unstable and narcissistic as Kanye West can “move the culture” is at least as disturbing as the fact that someone like Donald Trump can be elected President.

37 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/27/18: Everything Is Spinning Out Of Control!!!

  1. Can you imagine the gushing that would be going on in the media if the Koreas decided to get married while Madeline Albright and HRC and John Kerry and Obama were on the stage? Today? Virtual crickets.

    The end of hostilities on the Korean peninsula is a big deal. Something I thought I’d never see in my lifetime, like the collapse of the Soviet Union and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Who knows, maybe I’ll live long enough to see Cuba adopt democracy and capitalism.

    • I did a search for “Trump is leading us to nuclear war”. I found headlines that closely match that from CBC, The Guardian, The Washington Examiner, CNN, CNBC, Mother Jones, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, Newsweek, etc. A typical headline is Newsweek’s “Trump’s Conspiracy Theory Delusions Will Likely Lead to Nuclear War With North Korea, Psychiatrists Warn”. The press and the ‘experts’ mocked Trump of his negotiations with N. Korea and it looks like it will lead to the ending of the Korean after over 65 years of war. This seems to happen a lot to Trump. He says something, the press and experts uniformly mock him for it, and he turns out to be right.

      Of course, today I can’t find any report of this on Yahoo!’s news feed. I find one report on Reuter’s about the Korean leaders meeting, but no mention of Trump’s involvement except where the UN criticized him.

      • Reminds me of theNFL prognosticators who make all their bold picks on Sunday morning and then never say a word about their picks. Until next Sunday when they make their picks. Again. And they’re always right. On Sunday morning.

  2. The issue of the Korea’s is monumental news, but is it enough to get rid of Stormy? I doubt it. A coup on the diplomatic front of epic proportions and it becomes a grudging aftertought on the national Never Trump networks.

  3. I have a faint recollection of Brokaw, during Diana’s funeral, gabbing with a female British guest, and abruptly asking her, “Will Charles be King?”. She firmly asserted that he would and would be a very good king. Later on, Brokaw commented on how much alike Bill Clinton and Tony Blair were, only to be rebuffed again by his guest that, “No, they’re not really alike at all”. In response, we got a mumbled, “Well, they were both in a rock band”.

    I don’t know that I necessarily intended to put together an anecdote of Idiotic American Journalism questions that involved the royal family and Tom Brokaw to draw together three of your warm-up items, but I think it’s safe to say that British journalists probably dread having to deal with American broadcasters when it comes to these types of stories.

    • Great story!

      And I’m not sure Robin is a journalist. She’s a true newsreader, and obviously has the job because she’s bubbly, likable and beautiful. Let’s see…journalist or news-reader?:

      Meade grew up in New London, Ohio, and graduated from New London High School.She attended Malone University and Ashland University, where she majored in radio/television production, programming and performance and minored in political science. She graduated in 1991 with a major in programming and performance.

      In 1992, Meade became Miss Ohio,and was a semi-finalist in the Miss America pageant.

      Meade began her career in broadcasting as a reporter at WMFD-TV in Mansfield, Ohio. She then worked as an anchor and reporter at WCMH-TV in Columbus, Ohio, and at WJW-TV in Cleveland.Later, she got a job in Miami, Florida as the morning news anchor of WSVN-TV’s Today in Florida and also served as the station’s noon anchor and health reporter.

      She went on to work at NBC Chicago affiliate WMAQ-TV where she started anchoring the morning newscasts and then co-anchored the weekend newscasts and also served as a general assignment correspondent for the station. During her tenure with the NBC affiliate, she covered the 1996 Olympics, which included special reporting on the Centennial Olympic Park bombing.

      She then joined HLN, then known as CNN Headline News.

          • We played it in marching band in the stands, as one of several standard pieces to give the cheerleaders something to dance to.

          • I lament the loss of silly songs. I can’t fathom a song like “Ghostbusters,” which was a smash hit when I was in high school, being recorded today. In the current music industry, everyone’s trying to be cool, or quirky in a hipster sort of way. There’s no room anymore for goofiness for the sake of being goofy.

        • Slick — me too! (And I’m under 50 Jack.) I then moved on to the King Louie song from Jungle Book. Bad, bad name for a Prince. I know that absent disaster he will never be King, but he is going to endure King Louie jokes his entire life.

  4. #4 On the brief time I had today’s Outnumbered on while I was shuffling through news channels while I ate lunch I could swear that I heard Juan Williams say something like Trump doesn’t deserve any credit for the change in North Korea but Putin does. I’ll certainly want to confirm that what I heard is accurate when I can find a full video later, but it sure sounded a LOT like that to me.

    • Hey, did you hear Juan Williams has a twin brother who converted to Islam and took the name Amahl? If you’ve never seen him on TV don’t worry, if you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Amahl. 😀

  5. Sorry, I’d far rather watch royal baby stuff on HLN than watch yet more attacks on the elected president filling the news. But the Eagles had it right: “Get Over It.”

      • No, this is not that rationalization. I take the flailing and attacking the president constantly, despite losing the election, as more important. However, I choose not to waste my life listening to their BS incessantly. Looking at baby photos makes me feel better, and the baby has potential to do something with their life, as opposed to the actual value of the losing side’s flailing (which would be served by any one of a hundred different actions after losing the election than pouting)

  6. In all fairness to his newborn Highness, the name “Louis” was given to him in memory of Lord Louis Mountbatten, who as commander of the Burma campaign in WW2 and last Viceroy of India, does deserve to be remembered.

  7. 5. Uh-oh. I might have been wrong. We might yet see Kanye on the ticket with Oprah in 2020, instead of Michelle. The more like-TRUMP the anti-TRUMP, the more competitive in an election race against TRUMP.

    Louis is one of my Dad’s names. So I’m cool with royalty using it, too.

  8. I’ll remain skeptical about the Koreas.

    The North is still a bunch of lying dictators.

    If the South complacency goes along with what I’m certain is just another ruse…

    Worse… if a president falls for this crap and in a few years or so we decrease our military prescence only to have that tyrannical scum come back with his nuke threats to get his way….

    I don’t believe for one minute this just isn’t more conniving maneuvers.

      • Well North Korea’s overtures of peace and amiability was short lived.

        1) They are back to nuclear bribery. What was this…3 days? Is that a record? What’d they say….”Promise not to attack and we’ll give up our nukes?”

        I thought they already said they were giving up their nukes…

        Promise not to attack… what stupidity. No you lying tyrant, as long as you sit across a border menacing a free system we helped establish and gave American lives for (in no small number), we’ll retain every prerogative to attack if we have to.

        2) So in other words this is precisely what I expected…only smarter…NK is trying to put a wedge between the US and SK.

        • And the thing is, I think NK strategists are too stupid to think of this maneuver… which means some other nation’s security/espionage/subversion systems are at work advising NK on this maneuver….

          Some other nation?

          • A nice one-two punch would be for TRUMP to say: “That old Iran deal…and the latest bribe try by the little rocket man…BOTH deals are OFF!” (And he should say that, while on his way to the U.S. border with Mexico [where the caravan of invaders is poised] to literally flip them off.)

            Especially needed now and ASAP (that declaration of deals-off, that is), seeing as how Bibi Netanyahu exposed Iran’s treachery just today.

    • That’s a reasonable assumption. The “let’s have peace” act is is still infinitely preferable to the “I’m going to blow up Guam!”act. And Trump unquestionably deserves 1) credit for forcing the act to change, at least for now. 2) some sheepish acknowledgement from the hysterics who were trembling in fear because for once a US President didn’t capitulate to the NK extortion game.

      • And you never know, maybe the North Koreans are finally running out of money. It’s what undid the Soviet Union. What was the old strategy? Strategic patience or something like that? That didn’t seem to be doing much. Kind of like leading from the rear worked out so well in Libya.

        • I think the real math in North Korea is “calories”. A society CANNOT last forever when it’s calories per person ratio is as inverted as NK’s. They’ve lasted, what is this now, 3 or 4 generations on starvation living? Their physi

          • ques show it. They are reported to be eating grass and cardboard and in some cases their own children.

            Eventually, the system DIES.

            If a war doesn’t kill them, their self-imposed socialist denial of nature will.

            • You may see clamoring for change once the people with the guns start getting hungry.

              (And I’ve seen some reports that, perhaps, those people are starting to get hungry)

              I wonder if anyone has done an evaluation of North Korea’s caloric intake vs what North Korea produces + brings in from the outside. I have no doubt our long-term strategists have some sort of math equation that say “North Korea can’t last past XX date without either changing or bringing in massive quantities of food”. I wonder how accurate those time tables correlate to North Korea’s periodic extortions of the outside world.

    • I understand and share your skepticism. But if it is true, if this really happens, this would be the foreign policy story of the century, it seems to me.

      For 65 years we have maintained tens of thousands of American boys in South Korea. They were there as a shield to allow South Korea to develop into the country it has become today. There were there as an assurance to North Korea, China, and the Soviet Union that we deemed South Korea’s independence important enough to go to war over.

      Regardless of exactly how it happened and what motivated it, if it is true then Trump has to get the credit for it. He may not have known what was going to happen, and he probably didn’t have a strategic plan as Reagan did for the Soviet Union, but still — he pretty much caused it to happen.

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