Afternoon Ethics Warm-up, 6/6/18: Special “Don’t Sue Me, These Are Just Opinions” Edition

Good afternoon.

1. For the record...Ethics Alarms passed 9 million views this week. That’s not a lot in a bit less than 9 years by the mega-blog standards, but their aren’t many ethics blogs that do better, and maybe none. Admittedly, this is a little like being the most popular fan site for Clint Howard…

2. Now this IS a frivolous lawsuit...tomorrow I finally go to Boston to argue my motion to dismiss the vexatious defamation lawsuit against me by an Ethics Alarms commenter whose feelings I hurt in the process of throwing him off the site. If a lawyer brought this suit, I would have a rare claim against him for breaching Rule 3.1, prohibiting frivolous suits. No lawyer, however, would bring such a suit. There has to be a good faith belief that you can prevail, or change the law, but there is literally no support in the law of defamation for calling insults (yup, I insulted him), opinions, and conclusions based on fully-revealed information and data libel. Non-lawyers, however, don’t have to obey legal ethics rules, and, as in this case, don’t know what they are anywhere. Maybe after I’m through with all of this, I’ll post the whole complaint. Among its claims is that I graduated from Hampshire College, and that the Massachusetts court has jurisdiction because I’m a fan of the Boston Red Sox. I also, it claims, defamed the plaintiff by erroneously referring to him as an academic. To deal with this spiteful action, I have already expended several thousand dollars. Yes, it goes with the territory. I know.

3. Imagine, impugning the professionalism and impunity of the FBI! A drunk and irresponsible FBI agent  shot a man at a Denver bar over the weekend when his gun flew out of his pocket, hit the floor and discharged as he was executing an acrobatic maneuver on the dance floor. This, you will not be surprised to learn, is not compliant with FBI policy. Agents are considered on duty at all times. They can carry their weapon at all times too, but cannot endanger the public while doing so. They are also not permitted to act like clowns in public, or be drunk as proverbial skunks. The agent is Chase Bishop, 29, who works out of Washington D.C. No word yet if he is part of the Mueller investigation.

Conservative wag Glenn Reynold would headline this story, “Top. Men.” Maybe he already has. And if you don’t get the reference, your cultural literacy needs a tune-up.

4.  Nah, the news media isn’t biased,Part I.

The New York Times last week corrected its published report that said President Trump’s rally in Nashville was attended by 1,000 people.   Trump had complained that the paper vastly underestimated the size of the crowd, which it had. “An earlier version of this article cited an incorrect figure for the number of people attending President Trump’s rally,” the online version of the Times correction said. “While no exact figure is available, the fire marshal’s office estimated that approximately 5,500 people attended the rally, not about 1,000 people.”

On Twitter, the reporter responsible for the error tweeted, “President [Trump] is correct about his crowd last night,” she said. “My estimate was way off, and we have corrected our story to reflect the fire marshal’s estimate of 5,500 people. When we get it wrong, we say so.”

The question is, why were they wrong? It looks like typical confirmation bias to me: the Times wants the President’s crowds to be disappointing. It is also ironic, given the endless complaining by the news media over the President’s false claims about the size of his inauguration crowd. Was Trump’s estimate off by off 500%? Whose profession is communicating the facts, objectively and accurately, journalists, or politicians?

Outside of the Times, which issued the correction but didn’t see enough irony to publish a report about its gaffe, the only media outlets I can find that thought the public should know about it were Fox New and the conservative news media, plus the Washington Post, because it wants to embarrass its rival.

5. Nah, the news media isn’t biased, Part II.

April Ryan, American Urban Radio Networks anti-Trump White House correspondent (She’s a CNN political analyst too), tweeted today that “Reporters on the South Lawn have confirmed the @realDonaldTrump was heckled and booed when he came out to celebrate America.”

This was the planned White House event that replaced the Philadelphia Eagles’ cancelled visit to the White House, dubbed “Celebration of America” and featuring the U.S. Marine Band and the U.S. Army Chorus.

Again, fake news, and confirmation bias is the cause. When he stepped to the podium,  a heckler in the crowd shouted, “Stop hiding behind the armed services and the National Anthem!” The audience then booed him.

“Thank you very much, everybody,” The President said. “Appreciate it.”

Ryan had to retract her report and take down the tweet. “Breaking: reporters are rewatching the event and found a heckler in the crowd started asking questions of @realDonaldTrump and the heckler was booed.” she tweeted.  “The heckler was escorted out of the event. The boos were for the heckler…The original breaking boo tweet was deleted as reporters on the South Lawn who told of the booing and heckling did not see all of what happened on the other side of the lawn. After the tape was watched the heckler was booed not @realDonaldTrump.”

Got it. Reporters eager to see Trump embarrassed didn’t check the facts, then relayed their half-baked reporting to one reporter whom they knew would use it.

People have asked what the mainstream news media could do to begin showing me that it was re-dedicating itself to being professional, ethical, competent, fair, objective, trustworthy and non-partisan. Getting rid of reporters like April Ryan would be an excellent start.

123 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions

123 responses to “Afternoon Ethics Warm-up, 6/6/18: Special “Don’t Sue Me, These Are Just Opinions” Edition

  1. ImJust Saying

    So, not even a single word on-point about the civil action on the table (Tuvell v. Marshall), huh? Speaks volumes, doesn’t it? (You have nothing cogent to say about it.)

    As for identities of posters and stuff like that: If anonymity such a Bad Thing, why is everybody here hiding behind avatars themselves?

    (BTW, trivial typos on the Internet are so common, that even de minimus pearl-clutching about them is too much.)

    • ImJust Saying aka Mr. Tuvell,
      Looks like our comments were posted at the same moment, you can disregard my cat got your tongue except the part of my opinion that your lying and unethical.

      About this comment and all your other ones here…

      It’s painfully obvious that you are here to harass and bait Jack, and other commenters, and you see nothing wrong with that either ethically or legally?

      Have you ever heard the phrase, Morally Bankrupt?

    • Want some comment on the partisan hack web link you originally posted? Fine.

      This case is first class bluster by a know it all hack who is unqualified to appear in court. The case against Jack is total bullshit, and Jack deserves all of his costs, including legal fees, time, and travel expenses, from the plaintiff. In addition, punitive damages should be rewarded to Jack (which he could donate to a home for indignant cats) as a lesson to others who would use the courts in this manner.

      The plaintiff is an example of the WORST abusers of our legal system, and serves as sound argument for the repeal of laws against dueling.

      All opinions on this post are mine and mine alone.

    • ImJust Saying aka Mr. Tuvell wrotem “As for identities of posters and stuff like that: If anonymity such a Bad Thing, why is everybody here hiding behind avatars themselves?”

      Not everybody here is hiding behind avatars; that’s a false assertion. Do you write anything that is actually fully truthful?

      I made the anonymity because of a literal cyber stalker becoming a real world stalker. Why did you make the choice, was it to literally hide behind a unethical shill facade (entrapment spy) to bait Jack? That was actually a rhetorical question because it’s pretty obvious from my perspective that that’s what your purpose here is.

  2. ImJust Saying

    (Hmm, sorry about the multiple posts, technical glitches prevented them from appearing on my device …)

    • ImJust Saying aka Mr. Tuvell wrote, “(Hmm, sorry about the multiple posts, technical glitches prevented them from appearing on my device …)”

      Your duplicate comments were posted June 8, 2018 at 9:54 am and June 8, 2018 at 10:02 am, that’s eight minutes apart; “technical glitches prevented them from appearing on my device”, I’m not buying it troll.

  3. ImJust Saying

    Re: “This case is first class bluster,” etc.

    Again, still not a single on-point comment about the case? Too bad. Throwing around generalized (non-particularized) insulting epithets is not considered an on-point legal argument, in the best legal circles. Even for non-lawyers-in-all-but-degree.

    • ImJust Saying aka Mr. Tuvell wrote, “Again, still not a single on-point comment about the case? Too bad. Throwing around generalized (non-particularized) insulting epithets is not considered an on-point legal argument, in the best legal circles. Even for non-lawyers-in-all-but-degree.”

      You’re adversarial, hostile and unethical bait isn’t going to get you what you want, troll.

    • Friendly reminder: Commenters have to provide a real name to the moderator. You have not. You have until 5 PM, and then your privileges will be removed. My e-mail is on the site.

    • Again, still not a single on-point comment about the case?

      Still looking for free legal advice and validation, Mr. Tuvell?

      The case has no merit.

  4. ”Hmm, sorry about the multiple posts, technical glitches prevented them from appearing on my device …”

    Haven’t seen anyone sorrier….

    Anywho, you think clearing your browser history of all that midget porn site surfing might help?

  5. ImJust Saying

    About the “not everybody here is using anonymous avatars” thing:

    First, in context, “everybody here” obviously means everybody participating in this substream at this time (nothing that Jack, who’s non-anonymous, isn’t a participant in the substream at this time).

    Second, everybody/participant IS using anon avatars insofar as I can tell. The only potential exception is the human-looking name “Paul W. Schlecht,” but clicking on his avatar yields “Cornelius Gotchberg,” hence the anonymity in his/her case. Yesterday there was the human-looking “Diego Garcia,” but drilling into his/her avatar goes to Facebook, which then yields no non-anonymous (personally identifying) info. Hence, these two human-looking names are equally as non-verifiably anonymous as Zoltar.

    (PS: As far as I’m concerned, there’s no problem with withholding identifying info, or with supplying it either, because there seems to be no policy on this website about it, either way. So why are you-all making a stink about it??)

    • WRONG, Anonymous Breath!

      From the Comment Policies, emphasis provided:

      2. I prefer full names attached to comments.. If you want to use a screen name, I have to know who you are. You can e-mail me your name at jamproethics@verizon.net, and it will not be divulged. You must enter an e-mail address, and it must be real. If you use a fake e-mail address, your comment will be deleted. No comment signed “anonymous” will be posted. Ever. (Well, hardly ever) If you use a URL as your screen name, I will treat the comment as spam no matter how trenchant your observations are.

    • ImJust Saying aka Mr. Tuvell wrote, “As far as I’m concerned, there’s no problem with withholding identifying info, or with supplying it either, because there seems to be no policy on this website about it, either way. So why are you-all making a stink about it??”

      It’s my opinion that you sir are the one that has been intentionally abusing your privilege here by using your pseudonym (ImJust Saying) and using it as a false facade to hide behind so you could literally shill for yourself behind that facade in what appears to be an ongoing effort to entrap the Defendant in a legally pending case. That sir is quite unethical and morally bankrupt.

    • Well, I will say a couple things: when I started here, I e-mailed Jack, as he requires in his rules, giving him my name and current e-mail address.

      I know someone else who drilled down into my Facebook account and discovered who I actually was. Of course, this person was a professional librarian and used to doing actual research and correlations.

      Finally, I set up that Facebook account many years ago, when I wasn’t sure I really wanted to participate in Facebook. The pseudonym actually relates to my interest in military history, but otherwise has little bearing on much of anything. It should be reasonably clear that I ultimately decided not to participate on Facebook. However, having such an account gives me a way to participate in forums such as this without having to set up another account somewhere. Call it the lazy man’s way to do so — there are many instances on the web where it’s convenient to use a facebook account for some sort of verification, even though it doesn’t mean a whole lot.

      Once established here, there is some small benefit in keeping this screen name to allow for a sense of continuity, so…….here I am.

  6. ImJust Saying

    Hmm, nothing in the Comment Policy you cite says anything about requiring non-anonymity, in the sense of a verifiable personal identity. It only speaks of a “full name,” but obviously any human-looking will pass that filter (because, you say nothing about verification, except for working email addr, which need not have personally identifying info associated with it; the concept of “fake email address” you mention doesn’t seem to exist). It says the string “anonymous” cannot be used as a “signature,” but only eliminates one name, and the site obviously permits arbitrarily anonymity-protecting screen names. Finally, non-anonymous-to-you still permits anonymous-to-everyone-else, which I was obviously taking about having no-problem with.

    Anyway, see https://ethicsalarms.com/2017/09/23/the-lesson-of-berkeleys-free-speech-week-fiasco-jerks-make-terrible-champions-and-martyrs/#comment-469596.

    • ImJust Saying wrote, “Hmm, nothing in the Comment Policy you cite says anything about requiring non-anonymity, in the sense of a verifiable personal identity.”

      Why is it that you choose not to read for comprehension and instead read to spin.

      2. I prefer full names attached to comments. If you want to use a screen name, I have to know who you are. You can e-mail me your name at jamproethics@verizon.net, and it will not be divulged.

      There is no ambiguity in the phrase “I have to know who you are”.

      • ImJust Saying

        But, the practical/working fact of the matter is that “everybody” (modulo epsilon) on this site does indeed use “screen names” that are different from their “full names,” and everybody seems good with that, and nobody complains with it. Until today. So what is this “comprehension vs. spin” of which you speak?

        • ImJust Saying wrote, “But, the practical/working fact of the matter is that “everybody” (modulo epsilon) on this site does indeed use “screen names” that are different from their “full names,” and everybody seems good with that, and nobody complains with it. Until today.”

          My, my what a nice little snowflake you appear to be. To date, I don’t personally know of anyone that’s chosen to use their choice of anonymity in such an obvious deceitful and self-serving manner. You’re quite special in that regard. Congratulations on being able to portray such a special narcissistic snowflake.

          ImJust Saying wrote, “So what is this “comprehension vs. spin” of which you speak?”

          Here’s the facts, ImJust Saying.

          I literally quoted the specific statement from your comment that I was addressing, then I shared my opinion about your statement, then I literally quoted a section directly from the Ethics Alarms Comment Policies that supported my statement, then I followed that up with my conclusion statement about a the lack of ambiguity of that part of the comment policy which directly contradicts your assertion about the comment policies. Your inability to properly comprehend the written word, both in the Comment Policies themself and my comment, is not my f’ing problem.

          ImJust Saying,
          You need to move on and do your trolling elsewhere. The perception of a dimwitted persona that you’re projecting through your use of this unethical pseudonym is damned foolish.

        • Alex

          “modulo epsilon”
          Only a mathematician would talk like that, maybe one with a Ph. D. from a *very prestigious* school probably.

          Disclaimer: this is a joke, only a joke and I make no representation or claim of the educational, employment, or intellectual qualifications of the recipient, including his/her membership of a group defined as academia – by any definition, reasonable or unreasonable. Void where prohibited. Our (royal we) privacy policy has been updated to meet GPDR requirements, if you do not agree and reside in Europe, please delete this comment from your brain. Eating the recommended daily ration of veggies has been determined to cause cancer by the state of California.

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