Lunchtime Ethics Warm-Up, 5/29/18: Lies, Boycotts, Boos, and More Lies

1. Update: We discussed earlier the accusations by former staff that Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va.) had used his Congressional staff to perform personal tasks for him, his wife, and his dog. Now he has announced that he will not seek re-election, because he needs to deal with his alcoholism. As we know from many previous example, alcoholism is the go-to excuse for all manner of misconduct. In truth, it doesn’t make anyone misuse public funds, it doesn’t make anyone turn their staff into domestic help. This is a face-saving lie in most cases. In any case, good riddance.

2. Never mind football, what matters most is division and protest. DNC co-chair Keith Ellison actually tweeted this:

Yes, he is advocating a boycott of the NFL because the owners have decided that their ticket-purchasers should not be required to watch protests on the field before kick-off. Ellison and the other fans of making every aspect of American life a source of political discord believe that the protests, incoherent as they are, are more important than the games. He would inflict financial losses on a business for a completely reasonable policy, because it doesn’t further a progressive agenda. And, of course, those most harmed by a successful boycott would be the players.

3. Poll update: Yesterday’s poll asking about the best explanation for Andrea Mitchell’s jaw-dropping claim that fans at NFL games don’t stand for the National Anthem is very close. It doesn’t matter: it’s what MSNBC viewers want to believe” is ahead with about 30% of the votes. 25% call her gaffe unprofessional.  22.5% voted that it shows Andrea is an idiot (my choice), and just short of 22% found her statement to be fake news.

4. This is what the news media calls “factchecking.” In its snarky, negative-toned story on the President’s address to the cadets at the naval academy, the Baltimore Sun wrote,

He told the graduates he got them “a big pay increase, first time in over 10 years. I fought for you.” The military pay raise of 2.4 percent this year, set by a bipartisan majority in Congress and signed into law by Trump, was the largest since 2010. But it was not the first increase in more than 10 years — there have been increases every year for more than 30 years. Trump had requested a 2.1 percent increase. It was Congress that raised it to 2.4 percent.

There is no disputing that the President  says things that are not true, half-true, sort-of-true or true only in his own mind with disturbing regularity. However, the news media also works overtime to find falsehood where there is none. This is a great example. He did not say that this was the first increase in over 10 years.  He said it was the first big increase in that time, and it was, in fact, the largest increase since 2010—not exactly ten years, but hardly a lie. Nor does the fact that Congress gave a larger increase than Trump requested show that he didn’t “fight for” an increase.

In thousands of little ways like this, the news media deliberately works to undermine the President. Yes, it would be nice if he spoke with the precision of George Will. He doesn’t. We know that. Constantly harping on it is just petty at this point.

In a related story, Chief New York Times Trump-hater, Charles M. Blow spent an entire column ridiculing Trumps speech, and wrote,

To which witty Wall Street Journal editor James Taranto replied on Twitter, “Like I”…

Of this Althouse wrote,

It’s particularly funny because Blow — in “The Elevation of Imprecision” — is trying to look down on Trump. Trump, we’re told, uses “language that muddles to the point of meaninglessness, language that rejects exactitude, language that elevates imprecision as a device to avoid being discovered in his deceit.” She picks out that line because it’s just awful writing: pompous, repetitive, and, uh, imprecise. What the heck does “a device to avoid being discovered in his deceit” mean? There are either missing words or too many there. I suspect that I am not alone in preferring to listen to Trump’s word clouds than Blow’s smug bloviating.

5. Stay classy, NYC!  The fans at the Yankee game yesterday were informed that former mayor Rudy Giuliani was celebrating his birthday at the stadium, so they booed him. After all, he’s a lifetime public servant, one of the most successful mayors the city has ever had, and works for the President of the United States. Now recall this post (Item #3) from last month.

6. More New York Times fake news and propaganda.  At the Federalist, Mollie Hemingway neatly exposes another blatant example of the New York Times and other media lying to undermine President Trump, after being proven wrong in its earlier criticism.

On the path to the June 12 summit with North Korea, journalists claimed President Donald Trump would not be willing to walk away from the negotiating table because he was too desperate for a win.

The Washington Post’s David Nakamura wrote that “critics fear that a president determined to declare victory where his predecessors failed will allow his desire for a legacy-making deal to override the substance of the negotiations.” On the same day, the Washington Post’s Paul Waldman mocked Trump’s desire for a win, which he said was turning Trump into a fool who was getting played.

Then President Trump did what media outlets said he’d never do. He walked away from the negotiating table due to North Korea’s behavior. The media outlets didn’t acknowledge their previous analytical missteps so much as come up with new lines of attack on Trump.

Mark Landler and David Sanger of The New York Times wrote an article arguing there were deep divisions between Trump and his advisors. To support the claim, the Times argued that Trump said a June 12 summit was still possible, while his top aides said it was “impossible.”

When the President tweeted that this report was false…

…writes Hemingway,

Media types rushed to The New York Times’ defense, claiming they heard a White House official say the “impossible” line in a background briefing they were privy to. Someone leaked audio of a background briefing that they said supported The New York Times’ “impossible” characterization.

Yashar Ali, who writes for New York magazine and HuffPo, then outed the name of someone who briefed reporters on background and provided audio that he erroneously claimed supported The New York Times’ characterization…

The audio says:

REPORTER: Can you clarify that…the President obviously announced in the letter and at the top of the bill signing that the summit is called off. But then, later, he said it’s possible the existing summit could take place, or a summit at a later date. Is he saying that it’s possible that June 12th could still happen?

WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL: That’s…

REPORTER: Or has that ship sailed, right?

WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL: I think that the main point, I suppose, is that the ball is in North Korea’s court right now. And there’s really not a lot of time. We’ve lost quite a bit of time that we would need in order to, I mean, there’s been an enormous amount of preparation that’s gone on over the past few months at the White House, at State, and with other agencies and so forth. But there’s a certain amount of actual dialogue that needs to take place at the working level with your counterparts to ensure that the agenda is clear in the minds of those two leaders when they sit down to actually meet and talk and negotiate, and hopefully make a deal. And June 12 is in 10 minutes, and it’s going to be, you know. But the President has said that he has — someday, that he looks forward to meeting with Kim.

You will note that at no time does the White House official say a June 12 meeting is “impossible,” and at no point does he agree that the “ship sailed” or that time has run out. He definitely says it would be difficult to prepare for the summit given the lack of time to do so. His main point, as he says, is that the ball is in North Korea’s court and they need to act quickly. …Clearly The New York Times peddled fake news. There may have been a real White House briefing with real White House officials, but The New York Times couldn’t be trusted to accurately summarize what the White House official said. And it wasn’t on a minor point.

Recall that the whole point of their characterization was to say this official was at odds with Trump and that Trump wasn’t listening to his advisors. The fact that Trump and his advisors were not disagreeing with each other undermines the entire point of The New York Times story.

But rather than admit that The New York Times was incorrect, and their reporters aren’t good at listening to Trump advisors or accurately conveying their remarks, the media claimed that Trump was the one lying, since, well, White House advisors who give briefings exist. See, Trump said no source existed who said the June 12 date was impossible — but a source exists who did not say that. Ergo: Trump lied.

This isn’t only why increasingly the public doesn’t trust the press. It is why they shouldn’t trust the press, and why journalists blaming the President for the collapse of their own credibility are ducking responsibility for their own demise.

 

25 Comments

Filed under Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Sports

25 responses to “Lunchtime Ethics Warm-Up, 5/29/18: Lies, Boycotts, Boos, and More Lies

    • Ugh. Fixed. It was right in the tags…

      • Also, heads up the next week and a half to two weeks will see a drop in my participation, so don’t think it’s from a loss of interest.

        A combination of my home laptop (aged 12 years) finally dying after I used it to the bitter end and us going on vacation shortly will lead to a decrease in participation.

        • …ever heard of a tablet?

          Okay, it can suck to the keyboard addicted (no, a reasonable tablet keyboard does not exist…) but the use of one would not deprive us of our required ration of West perspective.

          I mean, you have a responsibility here.

          • I tried a tablet. I just can’t do it for anything other than E-reading.

          • Thanks for the vote of confidence. My new laptop search will commence when we are back from vacation.

            • I have not read the above as I am rationing my West content against the unpatriotic embargo soon to commence. I will be counting future comments and rationing myself over the next few weeks…

              These are tough times, people. We will get through them together.

              🙂

              • Wait, I’m confused…

                Are you characterizing my unintentional and temporary decrease of activity as an “unpatriotic embargo”, or my incapacity to adapt to modern technology and subsequent avoidance of buying a new tablet as an “unpatriotic embargo”?

                • I have not read the above as I am rationing my West content against the unpatriotic embargo soon to commence. I will be counting future comments and rationing myself over the next few weeks…

                  Just kidding. (a possibly in-poor-taste reflection on the standard disclaimers we have used on Chris in the past… 🙂 )

                  The decrease in necessary content is the embargo. Hating new fangled gadgets is as American as Apple Pie (or breakfast tacos.)

              • dragin_dragon

                Not if you expect me to use my phone or an iPad. I use computers…that’s IT.

  1. #4 this political imprecision has been mastered by politicians for DECADES, used to great effectiveness by the previous 2 Democrat Presidents. The Left is estopped from complaining about this phenomenon.

  2. On more clear evidence of media propaganda, this weekend gave witness to several media outlets and icons running a story of “immigrant abuse” by the Trump administration. Their kneejerk was so perfect they all tweeted the exact same imagery and commentary.

    Then someone pointed out the imagery and information was from a 2014 situation.

    Miraculously the tweets and stories were all retracted.

    Apparently “immigrant abuse” is only a problem when certain people sit in the White House and not others.

  3. crella

    Ivanka’s being lambasted on Twitter for ‘mockng the 1500 missing children’. What did Ivanka say about them that was so shocking? Nothing. She posted a photo of herself holding one of her children with the caption ‘Sunday morning’.

  4. He would inflict financial losses on a business for a completely reasonable policy, because it doesn’t further a progressive agenda. And, of course, those most harmed by a successful boycott would be the players.

    Would he have the same criticism for those employers in Virginia who fired those of their employees who attended that rally in Charlottesville?

  5. 1. We are electing crooks. Party does not matter: they are there for enriching themselves and their associates. Until this changes the Establishment lives.

    2. I support Ellison’s right to further alienate middle America, while observing the irony that his solution is the same one middle America used to express their displeasure with the NFL. In straddling the fence, the NFL now gets the worst of both worlds: SJW disdain for not being woke enough, and NFL fans who realize their response was BS and would not discipline the players at all.

    The difference? NFL fans could have been won back, but the progressive SJWs were never fans and want the NFL to crash and burn just because it is an American institution. Out of touch rich owners and players have forgotten who pays for their lives.

    …those most harmed by a successful boycott would be the players

    Condign justice. Those who allowed this to thrive last year will pay the price for placing money over morals, and virtue signalling over ethics. Good. Let them eat cake.

    3. Mitchell is a limousine progressive who looks down on America per se. As such, his opinion matters to me… not a bit.

    4. This will get Trump re elected. It will also rip defeat from the jaws of victory for Democrat hopefuls across the nation. All they had to do was stand out of the way and Trump’s mouth would have killed his political aspirations at re election, no matter what he accomplished. Instead, many of the previously oblivious are being challenged to find out for themselves what Trump is doing, and they are pleasantly surprised at his accomplishments. This, in turn, make them disgusted with the media, and the positive feedback loop is engaged.

    5. Virtue Signalling New Yorkers are rude, crude, and generally assholes. So what is new? New York values.

    6. See #4. Add: The New York Times hates middle America, something we have known for several decades. Trump is supported by middle America, so must be destroyed by any means necessary.

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