Saturday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/10/18: “Ugh!” “Bah!” “Arf!””Ew!”And “Ahh!”

Why are these guys happy? Read on…

Goooood morning!

1. Why does anyone pay attention to what Dan Rather has to say about the trustworthiness of the news media? Interviewed in some Trump-bashing forum or another, the man who was fired from CBS for using a fake document to bolster an anti-President Bush story argued that President Trump was waging a “war on the press” in order  to “undermine the public’s trust in the rule of law, ” and that he was making “some headway” in undermining the press’s legitimacy.

To the contrary, Dan Rather and his biased news media colleagues have been 100% responsible for undermining the public’s trust in journalists. All of the Presidents attacks and insults would come to nothing if it were not so obvious, which more evidence every day, that the news media was biased, incompetent, dishonest, and pursuing a partisan agenda. Indeed, the fact that CNN, MSNBC and other news sources still resort to Rather as a credible commentator is enough to justify distrusting the new media all by itself.

2. Yup, those Republicans won’t return to civility…Kathy Griffin, trenchant as always and teeming with wit, has now called President Trump a “stupid racist piece of shit.” It is time to definitively establish that the “Trump is a racist” slur is a Democrat/”resistance” Big Lie, and nothing else. There is no evidence that Donald Trump is a racist. I have reviewed the episodes that supported support that contention, and ultimately they boil down to “If you aren’t a progressive, you’re a racist.” Trump opposes illegal immigration, and the dishonest advocacy of open borders has relied on intimidating supporters of this self-evidently correct position by tarring them as racist. Trump challenged Barack Obana’s birthright citizenship exactly as he challenged Ted Cruz’s citizenship in the 2016 campaign for the GOP nomination. (Ted’s not black, in case you hadn’t noticed.) The argument that this proves Trump is a racist is a failed syllogism: Many racists were birthers, Trump was a birther, ergo he’s a racist. False. He’s an asshole. He would have trolled any President, of any color, with the same idiotic accusation if it suited his purposes. But, again, the Democratic play-book for eight years now has dictated that any criticism of Obama is suspect of racist motives. And, of course, the President must be racist because he wants to limit the number of Muslims who enter the country from hotbeds of terrorism.

The hypocrisy of Trump’s foes using the Nazi Big Lie tactic while accusing him of being a fascist is so obvious that it’s hard to believe everyone doesn’t see it. I admit, it’s a versatile Big Lie, allowing pundits to equate Trump’s advocacy of “nationalism,” meaning opposition to the world government dreams the Democratic Party (and quite a few Republicans) have been promoting since Woodrow Wilson (who WAS as racist) with “white nationalism.”

Griffin’s “evidence”? The President said the White House might pull the press credentials of April Ryan, who happens to be black. If CNN was real news organization, it would have fired Ryan, who is a biased, ideologically-driven hack, long ago. Here are the Ethics Alarms Ryan files. Here is what April Ryan considers legitimate questioning of the White House Press Secretary:

“Sarah, is slavery wrong? Sarah, is slavery wrong? Does this administration think that slavery was wrong? Sarah, does this administration believe slavery was wrong?”

Stop making me defend President Trump.

3. Adopt a greyhound. Florida is finally banning greyhound racing. Good. It is a cruel sport that forces loving dogs into a life that is brutish and short, with dogs that don’t win enough to be profitable often ending up dead in a ditch. (I also have a bias: my mother’s younger brother, already of modest means, blew a small fortune gambling on dogracing in Massachusetts. As of October, there were about 3,700 greyhounds in Florida, according to the Humane Society of the United States. The end of racing means that all those dogs will have no place to go, unless they are adopted.

You cannot find a more gentle, affectionate, intelligent breed than greyhounds. They are big dogs, and obviously fast, but they need us, and we owe them. We allowed them to be abused for too long.

4. Ick, Aww! or ethics? Or maybe an Ethics Hero? On a Philippine Airlines domestic flight, Patrisha Organo a flight attendant with an infant of her own at home,  breastfed the hungry infant of a passenger who had run out of formula. I don’t know what to make of this. It was not a long flight, so the baby wasn’t in any peril. That kind of intimate contact with a passenger would seem to demand an airline policy discouraging it. The airline would be liable if Organo transmitted a disease, for example. Accounts called this service “above and beyond” the call of duty. I’d go a bit farther: breastfeeding isn’t her job, and she shouldn’t spend her time doing a passenger’s job. What other people should consider breastfeeding a customer’s infants when the mother screws up? Cabbies? Dental assistants? Hairdressers? Postal workers?

5. Why we aren’t as ethical as we think we are. The University of Georgia’s 2018 Ethics Week Lecture by Ann E. Tenbrunsel was titled “Blind Spots: Why We Aren’t As Ethical As We Think We Are,” focusing on why people overinflate their own honesty or others’ dishonesty depending on the situation. Ethics Alarms has covered the topic frequently, but Tenbrunsel, the David E. Gallo Professor of Business Ethics in the College of Business Administration at the University of Notre Dame and the co-author of “Blind Spots,” provided some useful concepts. She described four “blind spots” that lead to unethical decision-making: ethical illusions, ethical fading, dangerous reward systems and motivated blindness.

  • Ethical illusions are “biased perceptions of our own ethicality,” what I have called “restraint bias,” using Professor Zimbardo’s term.
  • Ethical fading is the failure to see a decision with ethical components as an ethical problem requiring an ethics analysis. Since I have the misfortune of seeing almost everything as an ethical problem, Ethics Alarms functions as an antidote to ethical fading.
  • Dangerous reward systems create perverse incentives for unethical behavior and unethical cultures to thrive. You know: like business, journalism and politics….
  • Motivated blindness is a form of confirmation bias, where one does not see or acknowledge unethical conduct by others when doing so seems to be contrary to ones own best interests. Say, when one doesn’t see that a Supreme Court nominee you don’t like is being outrageously mistreated…

33 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Animals, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, U.S. Society

33 responses to “Saturday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/10/18: “Ugh!” “Bah!” “Arf!””Ew!”And “Ahh!”

  1. Phlinn

    To be fair to Kathy Griffin, there were 2 other black female reporters Trump called out this week for asking stupid questions, as noted in your link.

    • That’s not being fair to her, that’s giving her more cover than she deserves. Jim Acosta isn’t black.If I flag Don Lemon, Al Sharpton, and Joy Reid as being especially unprofessional reporters, that doesn’t make me racist, because they ARE. There aren’t diversity requirements for criticism.

      • Phlinn

        The way you wrote the point implied it was just Ryan though. I think Griffin is wrong, since he has proven more than willing to call out non blacks as well.

        • You’re right. I meant to concentrate on Ryan because there’s enough evidence that her own mother would be justified in pulling her credentials, and because I’ve written about her before.

          The game is that you’re NEVER alloweed to criticize blacks for anything. If Trump excessively denigrates 10 people, and three are black, that proves he’s a racist.

  2. 3: Let’s see if the various animal advocacy groups put their pedals to the metal and make sure they all get loving homes, more than yammer about any other topic. That would be a sweet holiday present.

    • Those groups, by and large, are more likely to end the animal’s suffering permanently.

      PETA, HSUS, and many more are lying frauds who kill most of the animals they ‘rescue.’

  3. # 2–“(1)Sarah, is slavery wrong? (2)Sarah, is slavery wrong? (1)Does this administration think that slavery was wrong? (2)Sarah, does this administration believe slavery was wrong?”

    Who does the talented Ms. Ryan think she is, Jimmy FUCKIN’ Two Times from Goodfellas?

  4. Zoe Brain

    I note that Colorado has just abolished slavery, even if it is after conviction through due process of a crime. Other states still allow it, hence chain gangs and prison workshops with unpaid labour.

    You did know that slavery in the US was still permitted under those circumstances by the constitution, didn’t you?

    • valkygrrl

      I did, I did!

      Did you know that Trump sold a Medal of Freedom to Sheldon Adelson’s wife?

    • joed68

      So, I’m not technically breaking the law when someone resorts to “you’re a racist!” when losing an argument, and I respond with “Who, me? I’m no racist! Why, I’ll have you know that some of my best slaves are black!” ?

        • joed68

          It is, or maybe I saw it or heard it somewhere long ago and forgot I had. Just a single-word substitution, trading “friends” for “slaves”, because apparently the sentence with the former is the common defensive retort of somebody desperately trying to conceal their covert racism. I enjoy mocking and teasing people who are so hell-bent on labeling anything their mark does or says as indicative of racism, because there is truly no point in doing anything else. When it becomes unmistakably clear that I’m talking with someone that’s not interested in an objective, productive exchange of ideas, but rather in putting me off-balance and in a defensive posture, I enjoy turning the tables on them.

  5. valkygrrl

    Mr. Marshall, are we going to hear your thoughts about Trump blowing off a visit to a WWI military cemetery?

    • What so you think about it, Valky?

    • Sure, if you want it, you got it. I wasn’t aware of the story. Check in later.

    • Zoe Brain

      Apparently the weather was outside parameters for Marine One, the presidential helicopter.

      Entirely plausible, as unless doing SAR or other emergency missions, flying helos with a cloudbase of only 500 ft is something pilots tend to avoid unless really necessary. The pilots of Marine One do it regularly, but i doubt they enjoy it, especially with having the responsibility of the President on board.

      What is unusual is that the distance was only 55 miles,at most a 90 minute trip by car, and there is always a plan for adverse weather conditions. Moreover, all other VIPs made it – it wasn’t actually raining as it turned out. Apparently there were security issues regarding road travel that didn’t apply to any of the other, European, Presidents, or the White House chief of Staff.

      The incumbent is 70. In such weather, his joints might well be aching (mine do at 60), and although he regularly golfs in worse conditions, he enjoys golf. Standing and making speeches in the cold and rain while everyone present knows he dodged the draft might be something he thought it best to avoid.

      I’m trying to think of other plausible excuses other than assholery and having no idea of what the less enjoyable duties of a President are. Or what the word Duty means.

      In the grand scheme of things. I don’t think it matters. No one thinks the less of him than they did before. The Marines buried there might even have preferred he be absent.

      • joed68

        C’mon, Zoe. If this helps; almost every one of the well over 1000 of my Facebook “friends” is or was career military, most of whom I knew while on active duty, many of them marines, and most of them with combat deployments. Not one was chosen for their political stance, especially since I was entirely disinterested in politics in those days.
        I can say with confidence that if there were no term limits, and military service was a prerequisite for voting, Trump would probably be President until the day he died.

        • Starship Troopers!

          +10 for the reference, intended or not!

          In those circumstances, I think the Military might prop Trump up in his casket and continue voting for him for years after he passed… 🙂

  6. joed68

    Not to change the subject, but I just clicked on the “Ryan Files” link in the post, read the comments, and ended up wondering where TEXAGG04 has been for the second time today.

  7. Inquiring Mind

    3. The ban on greyhound racing may prove to be an Ethics Train Wreck. Proponents of a ban can have the best intentions in the world, but if they have not made plans for the re-homing or care of the dogs that will be affected, then we will see a mass slaughter.

    Should that slaughter come to pass, blame should rightly be focused on the proponents of the ban, who convinced Florida voters to feel good about themselves for a “humane” act that instead led loving, kind, dogs to the slaughter.

    Good intentions and five bucks will get you a big box meal from Taco Bell.

    • Isn’t that kind of like saying we shouldn’t have ended slavery because of all of the lynchings and abuse that came later? The sport IS inhumane. What’s the alternative?

      • It’s holding the law hostage to what bad people will do in response to the law.

      • What’s the alternative?

        There may not be one. However, there MAY be a culturally sensitive way to profit… if your culture is Korean.

        (“you see… we ban racing, then be buy all the greyhounds for pennies on the dollar, and secretly convert them to doggie burgers to sell in Korea… We’ll make millions!”)

  8. It is time to definitively establish that the “Trump is a racist” slur is a Democrat/”resistance” Big Lie, and nothing else. There is no evidence that Donald Trump is a racist. I have reviewed the episodes that supported support that contention, and ultimately they boil down to “If you aren’t a progressive, you’re a racist.”

    But what about Trump claiming that the Central Park 5 were guilty?

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