Just trying to think about ethics while I sit calmly by the phone…my doctor wants to tak to me about something. I’m hoping it’s the Red Sox…
1. There is hope: the latest cable ratings show that CNN’s Brian Stelter’s slot “Reliable Sources” has lost more about 42% of its audience in the last six months. This indicates people must recognize a fake ethicist when they see one. Unlike his predecessor, Howard Kurtz (who had his own problems), Stelter refuses to focus any media criticism on his own network, which is one of the prime journalism ethics offenders extant, and his obsession with Fox News is nearly Media Matters-like. In short, he’s a biased, partisan hack, highlighted by his risible claim that the news media (and sainted CNN, of course) covered the Mueller investigation objectively.
The rotting American mainstream news media desperately needs objective, credible qualified critics. What it does not need is a fake authority like Stelter, and it is encouraging to see that the audience is reacting accordingly.
2. A Party of Assholes. This is nice: Here’s the statement issued by Virginia Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw, Senate Democratic Chair Mamie Locke, House Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn, and House Democratic Chair Charniele Herring regarding the upcoming commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement.
We will not be attending any part of the commemorative session where Donald Trump is in attendance. The current President does not represent the values that we would celebrate at the 400th anniversary of the oldest democratic body in the western world. We offer just three words of advice to the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation: ‘Send Him Back.’
There we see the priorities of the great mass of the Democratic Party since the 2016 election, in which marginalizing the elected President and insulting him (and, not incidentally, his office) at every opportunity for illusory political gain has taken precedence over the best interests of the nation.
I also strongly doubt that the President’s recent deliberately provocative tweets changed anything, as Democrats have been boycotting events where he was scheduled to participate for three years, beginning with his inauguration. They would have found some reason to do this, even without the tweets.
In contrast, at least one Virginia Democrat understands her duty. US Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democrat representing Virginia’s 2nd District, said
I will attend the Jamestown 400th anniversary of the founding of democracy in America because our democracy is not about the President or Congress—as President Lincoln said, “it is a government of the people, by the people, for the people and it shall not perish from this earth.”
I guess they’ll be calling her a racist now….
3. On the duty to intervene: In this week’s “Social Q’s” column, Philip Galanes dealt with a question from a guilt-ridden woman, who wanted reassurances that she hadn’t been ethically negligent. She wrote in part,
The summer day camp at our local Y.M.C.A. is in session. Recently, I saw a teenage counselor lead a line of preschool boys into the locker room to change for their swim lesson. They were like an adorable row of ducklings! Then I saw an older man — a friendly looking, grandfatherly type — take out his iPhone and photograph the boys while they were changing into their swimsuits.
Should she have “said something, done something,” she asked the columnist, and his answer was as correct as it was obvious: Of course she should have. However, when normal people who are not primed for remedial action witness something unexpected that requires assertive confrontation and intervention, they typically don’t have the instincts to act in a timely fashion. Ironically, those who are primed to act, either by training, personality or a hard-wired reverse of the normal inclination to avoid butting in or provoking a confrontation, cause trouble by being excessively suspicious.
I have written here before about my own experience, when I was walking into a building where I was scheduled to hold a training and witnessed a mother viciously kick her eight or nine year old son in the stomach. I froze for several seconds, in which time the family disappeared around the corner, and by the time I dumped my armful of materials on the sidewalk and ran to apprehend her, the mother and her victim were gone. If I had responded immediately, I could have at very least excoriated the woman and embarrassed her, and, if possible, made a complaint to police. Most of us aren’t wired to react that quickly, though. I wasn’t then—I’ve been trying to condition myself to be quicker.
As for the prevalent invasion of our privacy by the scourge of smartphones, I have no idea what the solution is, other than better ethics. Unless an individual is recording a crime in progress or some other special circumstance, it is unethical to take photos without a subjects knowledge and consent.
4. Am I the only one who finds this TV ad, which is suddenly running constantly, to be a symptom of a culture losing all regard for decorum, modesty, taste, privacy, and civility?
Never mind: now we have this..
5. What all this shows, Al, is that you don’t have the necessary character to be a leader. Good to know. Ann Althouse quotes this section from “The Case of Al Franken/A close look at the accusations against the former senator” in the New Yorker:
“Holding his head in his hands, he said, ‘I don’t think people who have been sexually assaulted, and those kinds of things, want to hear from people who have been #MeToo’d that they’re victims.'” “Yet, he added, being on the losing side of the #MeToo movement, which he fervently supports, has led him to spend time thinking about such matters as due process, proportionality of punishment, and the consequences of Internet-fuelled outrage. He told me that his therapist had likened his experience to ‘what happens when primates are shunned and humiliated by the rest of the other primates.’ Their reaction, Franken said, with a mirthless laugh, ‘is I’m going to die alone in the jungle.’… ‘I can’t go anywhere without people reminding me of this, usually with some version of You shouldn’t have resigned,’ Franken said. He appreciates the support, but such comments torment him about his departure from the Senate. He tends to respond curtly, ‘Yup.’ When I asked him if he truly regretted his decision to resign, he said, ‘Oh, yeah. Absolutely.’ He wishes that he had appeared before a Senate Ethics Committee hearing, as he had requested, allowing him to marshal facts that countered the narrative aired in the press…
Summary: Al was and is a weenie. He doesn’t have the courage and integrity to stand up for himself or basic ethical principles like fairness and due process. He’s a sheep, not a leader; like so many performers, addicted to applause and approval, without the moral and ethical fiber to fight for what’s right when the tide is running against him. His being run out of the Senate is an excellent example of the right thing happening for the wrong reasons.