Morning Ethics Round-Up, 8/13/2018: Rally? What Rally? Bias? What Bias? Texts? What Texts? Spy? What Spy?

Huh. I didn’t know that ZZ Top were white supremacists!

Good Morning!

I just know this week will be better than last week…

…though these items certainly don’t inspire hope.

1. The dangers of “future news” That huge, scary rally in Washington where the nation’s capital was going to be descended-upon by all those white supremicists activated by Donald Trump’s election and rhetoric to celebrate last year’s Charlotteville riots? About two-dozen people showed up. I talked to friends in the District who said they were terrified of the rally. CNN, the networks, the Times and the Post had all headlined this major, major event, which would show just how much racism there is in America. This was fake news, straight up. It was imaginary, “future news,” a headline about what was going to happen because the mainstream news media wanted it to happen. Then they could bleat out the narrative that President Trump was inspiring racists to come out of the woodwork. Maybe someone would get killed, like in Charlottesville! Well, they could hope.

What investigation went into the determination that there was going to be a huge gathering of racists in D.C.? Clearly, not enough. 24? 24??? I could set up a rally of locals who think Gilbert and Sullivan should be taught in the schools that is five times that with some phone calls, texts and a Facebook post. It would take me a couple of hours. Yet the Times put the inevitability of this massive white supremacy rally on its front page. “After weeks of hype…” wrote the Times. Weeks of hype by the press.

Incompetent, dishonest, irresponsible. You know. As usual.

It is worth mentioning that the counter-demonstration to the imaginary demonstration was many times larger than two-dozen people.

2. In related news about non-news...The Boston Globe has been contacting newspaper editorial boards and proposing a “coordinated response” to President Trump’s criticism of the news media, especially his controversial “enemy of the people” rhetoric. “We propose to publish an editorial on August 16 on the dangers of the administration’s assault on the press and ask others to commit to publishing their own editorials on the same date,” The Globe said in its pitch to fellow papers.

Talk about bad timing! We just had the explosion of the fake racist rally story. We have the Manafort trial being featured on the front page of most newspapers like it’s the O.J. trial, when  the majority of public has no idea who the man is and the trial details have nothing to do with anything newsworthy. We have the mainstream news media giving the claims of a reality show villain the kind of attention John Dean received for his Watergate testimony while it makes sure nobody knows that a Chinese spy infiltrated the staff of a powerful U.S. Senator for 20 years. Nah, the news media isn’t the enemy of the public! It just deliberately abdicates its duty to inform the public objectively , is engaged in a coordinated effort to bring down an elected President, has abused its First Amendment-bestowed immunity from the consequences of its conduct, and is working to divide the nation to the point where it cannot function. That’s all. None of this is good for the people or the nation, but that doesn’t make those intentionally harming both enemies, exactly….although off the top of my head,  I can’t think of a more accurate word for it.

I know this position infuriates many people, and indeed has cost Ethics Alarms readers and friends, but what the hell: an ethicist who won’t tell the truth out of fear isn’t very ethical. The American news media has been conning itself through the rationalization of Self-validating Virtue, #14 on the Ethics Alarms list. A free press is at the foundation of our democratic principles, so journalism is by definition good. It it were not good, it would not be protected as an absolute by the legacy of the Founders. Thus, reason the journalists, whatever they decide is the right thing to do must be good, because they, the Good, have decided to do it. It also follows that whoever and whatever they oppose, or that oppose the Good, are not good, but rather enemies of the Good.

This is, of course, a logical fallacy, a rationalization and circular logic, but that is not only what drives most of today’s journalists’ certitude, it also misleads their defenders and supporters. But blinded by this fallacy, journalists are openly abusing their First Amendment privilege, and using it to harm the culture, the public, the political system, our institutions—including their own!— and the nation itself. I think it is obvious that those who are actively inflicting such harm on the nation qualify as enemies of the people. I would prefer that the President of the United States not have to declare that the case, but the power of the news media almost makes him the only one who can counter their abuses. The news media cannot be trusted. That is a fact that the media itself will not accept or reveal–The Self-Anointed Trustworthy  cannot be untrustworthy!—but it is crucial that the public be told.

The Globe’s coordinated attack will only prove the news media’s bias, while exacerbating the divisiveness and partisan anger that it has been cultivating since 2008 and before.

3. Also, I hear Senator Feinstein just fired the staffer who hired the Chinese spy she learned about five years ago…From the Washington Post:

“The FBI has fired Agent Peter Strzok, who helped lead the bureau’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election until officials discovered he had been sending anti-Trump texts. Aitan Goelman, Strzok’s lawyer, said FBI Deputy Director David L. Bowdich ordered the firing on Friday — even though the director of the FBI office that normally handles employee discipline had decided Strzok should face only a demotion and 60-day suspension.”

Observations:

  • Strzok single-handedly undermined the credibility of both the Clinton and Russian investigations, trust in the objectivity of the Special Counsel, and the integrity, competence and reputation of the FBI.

The fact that his firing took this long undermined the latter further.

  • Moreover, if you think everyone who worked with Strzok wasn’t completely aware of his virulent bias against President Trump, I have a bridge to sell you.

He got away with it because the entire culture at Justice was (is?) biased.

  • Strzok should have been fired for his defiant, arrogant performance in his Congressional testimony. That alone undermined the investigation, and embarrassed the FBI.

(I was just kidding about the Feinstein thing.)

4. Here are the results of yesterday’s polls regarding the news blackout on her Chinese mole. Note that two out of 113 polled said that they knew about the story through mainstream media reporting, and that not one of 153 voters agreed with Feinstein’s assessment—and most of the news media, apparently, that a Chinese spy serving on her staff and as her driver was “no big deal,”

 

13 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, U.S. Society

13 responses to “Morning Ethics Round-Up, 8/13/2018: Rally? What Rally? Bias? What Bias? Texts? What Texts? Spy? What Spy?

  1. Other Bill

    No.2. Outstanding analysis and summary. Trump is speaking truth to power (certainly one of the left’s most annoying and cloying mantras). Who’d a thunk it? Which just goes to show you how out of whack things have become since Watergate. The press think they run the country. I blame Sam Donaldson.

  2. A.M. Golden

    My guess regarding your first section is that the media is congratulating itself for agitating enough antifa counterprotesters that it scared off all those right-wingers who were surely headed to DC…

    kind of like how Alexandria Ocasio Cortez makes all those conservatives afraid to debate her.

    It rather reminds me of Harry Truman. I think a lot of Truman these days. He once wrote a letter to his daughter, Margaret, complaining about the Soviet Union, “A totalitarian state is no different whether you call it Nazi, Fascist, Communist or Franco’s Spain.”

    In other words, anti-fascist doesn’t mean anti-authoritarian.

    • Luke G

      Do you think it’s a sincere belief- the media actually thought a mass demonstration was coming, and believes their timely alarm scared all the bad guys away? Or is it more likely that they deliberately created false hype so, when crowd was as tiny as it was always destined to be, they could sell it as yet another tiny crowd drawn by Trump, or a mass desertion by his (phantom) followers?

      I want to believe the former, because I like to think most people are sincere even when wrong. It’s getting harder for me to think that.

  3. adimagejim

    As has been mentioned in past posts by many and as I have also written since the 2000 election, we are headed for something less than 50 states under the current Constitution.

    Perhaps it is wiser to let those desiring some other form of governance to have it among the states wishing to do so. Provide a transitional period of, say 3 years, for people to freely move to where they wish to live. Then lock down the borders and allow the non-Constitutionalists to enjoy their social justice workers paradise…totally alone. Let’s see how long that would last before Constitutionalists would be blamed for their failures despite our complete separation.

    Do it legally. Do it peacefully. Do it rationally. Do it justly. But do it and let them live with the consequences.

    • dragin_dragon

      I like the way you think. MAKE, not ‘let’ them live with the consequences.

    • They would stave. Progressive utopias cannot feed themselves (look at the USSR and the grain imports that kept them in line during the cold war)

      And the Conservative states would not let that happen.

      Doomed to failure from the start.

      • No, I am afraid that we are stuck with slogging this out, and forcing them to stop the insanity along the way.

        • dragin_dragon

          In the interest of covering all the bases, what if we can’t? We are not actually looking at rational policies, here, we’re looking at ‘feel good’ emotionalism. This is not reality-based, and has little to do with the actuality of the physical universe. I would guess that the only way to deal with it is to isolate it and allow it to “starve itself out” with unworkable, unsustainable approaches.

          • The question is moot if they do not force the stupidity on us. Unfortunately they have shown no signs of going queitly into the good night… so, like Zoltar, I fear violence will resolve the issue, as it has historically across history. Progressives are the ones rioting, and attacking their opponents physically.

            We know they want to forcibly enroll their opponents into their programs: comply or face dire consequences. Common Americans will not stand for this. We did not: we elected Trump.

  4. Chris Marschner_

    Skokie proved that if you ignore that which is designed to provoke, fear and violence will not occur.

    The media wants violence. It is serving to provoke fear and hatred for the purpose of making a buck.

  5. Jeff Jacoby tweeted about his own encounter with neo-Nazis.

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