2018 Ethics Restrospective #1: “Unethical Quote Of The Year” [Retitled]

As part of my determination to get the Ethics Alarms Awards completed this year, here is an opportunity for reader input. I won’t guarantee that the poll results here will dictate the final choices, but they will be a great help. Don’t hesitating to use the comments to make other suggestions and nominations. I’ll be posting these periodically during the day and evening. First up…

Nominations for “Unethical Quote Of The Year”


  • “Overturning Roe vs. Wade by an all-male majority, two of whom have had credible accusations of sexual misconduct lodged against them, would not be a legitimate action.”—–ABC correspondent Terry Moran


  • “Our future is: Female. Intersectional. Powered by our belief in one another. And we’re just getting started.”Senator Kirsten Gillbrand


  • “I am going to unfollow and block anyone that spouts the “age” shit. Ageism is NO different from sexism – or racism, or homophobia. A person is either competent – or they fucking aren’t. It has NOTHING to do with their fucking age. Go ask Pelosi – and RBG”—-Joe Biden fan and defender @perpetualTJ on Twitter

  • “Just as important as what we are going to do this hour is what we’re not going to do. We’re not going to debate climate change, the existence of it. The Earth is getting hotter, and human activity is a major cause. Period. We’re not going to give time to climate deniers. The science is settled, even if political opinion is not.”—NBC’s “Meet The Press” host Chuck Todd


  • “Christine Blasey Ford was a year or so behind me. I did not know her personally but I remember her. This incident did happen. Many of us heard a buzz about it indirectly with few specific details. However Christine’s vivid recollection should be more than enough for us to truly, deeply know that the accusation is true.”—Cristina Miranda King, a former classmate of Ford’s.


  • “Trayvon Martin was a teenage boy literally walking in his own neighborhood doing what most teenagers do: Wearing a hoodie, buying snacks and talking on his cell phone. His family and Trayvon would not know that his life would end that night because a white vigilante would be empowered by his own racist beliefs and murder a 17-year-old boy in cold blood.”——Patrisse Cullors, cofounder of Black Lives Matter and founder of Dignity and Power Now, in an op-ed on the NBC News website, via the “THINK” page, ironically enough.


  • “The president’s ongoing campaign to tear down the wall between the Justice Department and the White House seems to be working.”Matt Miller, previously a spokesperson for the Holder Justice Department, aka. Barack Obama’s lapdog.


  • “It would be hard to find a single psychiatrist, no matter of what political affiliation, who could confidently say Trump is not dangerous.”Yale psychiatry professor Bandy Lee.

Now the poll…


18 thoughts on “2018 Ethics Restrospective #1: “Unethical Quote Of The Year” [Retitled]

  1. Tough call. My top two were Terry Moran and Patrisse Cullors with Bandy Lee a not-too-distant third. But Moran, to me, epitomizes the soul of an unethical quote. Consider:

    – It is transparently partisan, and made by a person who represents himself as a nonpartisan news man.

    – It describes the accusations against Justices Thomas and Kavanaugh as “credible,” but the context of the comment suggests they are more than just “credible” in the generic sense, but rather dispositive and probative. They are neither.

    – Suggesting legitimacy is bound up in unproven and effectively unsubstantiated allegations is unethical on so many levels, it’s impossible to list them all. Never mind the fact that the alleged acts were probably not actionable legally in the context of their alleged commission, and that neither had any credible third-party support.

    – Suggesting an all-male court majority, even one without the supposed encumbrance of unproven, decades-old charges of sexual misconduct, could not legitimately revise Roe is literally insane on its face. After all, it was an all-male majority that put it in place to begin with. By Moran’s logic, the original decision can’t be defended on the basis of the gender of the justices who put it in place.

    I could go on and on, but I just don’t feel like it. I think this covers enough of the high points. This quote is singularly unethical, and wins this contest by a considerable margin.

  2. All of the selections are mindbogglingly obnoxious. Some are political rhetoric run amok.

    This was my choice, however:

    “It would be hard to find a single psychiatrist, no matter of what political affiliation, who could confidently say Trump is not dangerous.”—Yale psychiatry professor Bandy Lee.

    If Prof. Lee has never evaluated, treated, diagnosed, or otherwise interacted with Pres. Trump, the good professor has absolutely no business opining whether Trump is dangerous or not. If said Prof. had consulted, treated, diagnosed, or otherwise made a medical decision with Pres. Trump, to declare so in the public domain is a vicious breach of professional ethics, subject to revocation of the good professor’s licenses.


    • JVB I had the same line of thinking. One other point is that this comment by a “credentialed” professional destroys the credibility of everyone with similar credentials.

      • It is because lawyers, accountants, medical doctors, and nurses have enforceable and coherent codes of conduct, rules governing professional responsibility. We don’t expect that kind of conduct from reporters or politicians. Diagnosing a medical condition without ever meeting, talking to, studying, and investigating a patient is a major breach of those rules, which would subject such professional to discipline, even though the patient is loathesome.


  3. Kirsten Gillibrand, by far. She is a US Senator, openly calling for discrimination against men, using a buzzword salad for justification. Everybody else is a relative nobody shouting the into the wind. Gillibrand alone has actual authority to build a society that is female, intersectional, and believed in by all.

    • Do you really think so? I mean, she certainly has more influence than some, but her audience, I think, is more limited than that of Moran. I’d argue he has more influence on public thinking, if not actual policy, than a transparently partisan senator.

      But I can’t disagree that she has more actual ability to directly affect policy with her vote.

    • Yeah, I see this as a foundation to several of the others. As much as I dislike the President, some of these epitomize trends that were already in play before he was elected. So harping on him as the root of all horrible is shallow. Ms Ford is a late entrant to the game, getting her 15 minutes in a self-destructive attack on someone far better at the game. Matt Miller and Bandy Lee are clon.. in the same neighborhood of anything the get Trump.

      Terry Moran is more op-ed blather. Roe vs Wade, I think is pretty settled now, having been in place longer than a majority of Americans have been alive. This isn’t Prohibition where a majority were still seeking ways to get plastered. Those who object just have to not get pregnant and persuade others too. It doesn’t require court action and the requiremet fades away on it’s own. But its real use is to fire up the crowd to panic and throw money. Shill quotes are unethical by definition.

      @perpetualTJ is just aging or in demial about someone else aging and time will prove them wrong that there is some point difference from the other biases. I can feel pity. It is true that there is a prejudice against older job seekers that is not being handled well, especially as more new jobs are being created in the unskilled and fit end of the market than the experienced end who knows they deserve more than part-time minium wage but there aren’t positions listed. But Older workers don’t have the same strength and energy either, and may be horribly behind on tech changes. Some may be a little slower mentally but can’t jind work- THAT is the issue. Not denying that aging exists and is a fair factor in some decisions. I thought age appropriate was a big thing?

      Chuck Todd is second worst by a hair, as he is spouting science as if he is a scientist and his show’s platform is making denying inconvenient truths about the sky not falling very Orwellian. The dinosaur era was warmer, clearly that change was humanity’s fault and we should stop eating chicken and turkey to expiate that. (eating beef is fine, mammals stole the earth from the dinos and deserve to eat each other) If the human race disappeared tomorrow, the earth would continue to warm and cool in cycles we only dimly understand. This global warming religion is only hubris, and usually, the gods punish that…

      These were all bad. Senator Gillibrand IS a senator, so her quote has a larger stage and danger than the others. It will be remembered more and will spread more, like kudzu. Belief is not truth just because it is common now. How many flat-earthers and heliocentrists have you met lately? Despite being female, most of the meanest people I’ve met were female. Men seem to become jerks in different ways, but there is no lack of jerks in either gender. Supporting isn’t enough, you need to be these three to avoid dismissal. Intersectional places are just as exclusionary. Belief is wonderful, but it is not a be-all. This quote clearly wants to make a certain type of people rulers, and that absolute power is already corrupting absolutely.

  4. WOW!!! Just WOW!!! They are all so asinine and devoid of reality! However, I will go with Senator Kirsten Gillbrand because her remarks go to the centrality of all that we hold dear about society and the truth of science. Her, “Our future is: Female. Intersectional. Powered by our belief in one another. And we’re just getting started,” is idiotic on so many levels. If that’s truly what she believes there is little hope for her.

  5. I am having difficulty distinguishing the unethical from the stupid, but, because she violated clear professional ethical rules, I have to go with the psychiatrist as number one.

  6. I tried to post this on Facebook. This is what I received:

    You can’t share this link


    Your content couldn’t be shared, because this link goes against our Community Standards
    If you think this doesn’t go against our Community Standards let us know.

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