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.