Dinnertime Ethics Appetizer, 8/7/19: Spinning, Tweeting and Joking…[CORRECTED]

…and whatever THIS is…

The jaw-dropping video above has nothing to do with ethics, but after stumbling across this weird and wonderful act late, late last night in a 1944 B-movie musical revue called “Broadway Rhythm,” I’ve decided that the Ross Sisters need to be rescued from obscurity. We will never see the likes of this again. You decide whether that’s a good thing or not….

1. It’s nice to see the Times confessing that it’s a partisan hack news source, don’t you  think? When I posted about the unethical Times headline yesterday (“ASSAILING HATE, BUT NOT GUNS”),  I had no idea that a controversy had already erupted over the previous and subsequently removed headline in an earlier edition (“TRUMP URGES UNITY VS. RACISM”), which was attacked as being not negative enough about the President, or that the Times had replaced it in response to an outcry from its main audience, Democrats and Trump-haters.

How can the Times or its defenders pretend to claim that the paper has any integrity at all after such a craven and obviously biased performance?

In a Bizarro World spin job, the Times editor actually described the fiasco this way: “People think we are an important and necessary institution and they hold us to a high standard.”

Oh.

A “high standard” by a news organization is embodied by switching from an objective statement of facts to a partisan and biased one, after anti-Trump readers object! Good is bad, right is wrong, objective reporting is a mistake, the New York Times is the epitome of American journalism.

Nah, there’s no mainstream news media bias!

2. It’s official: nobody knows what racism means any more. Comic Chris Rock concocted a gag meme for Instagram:

Get it? “Betty White” as in “Bet he white!” Ok, it may not be not Oscar Wilde, but it’s clever enough for Instagram. Yet Rock was attacked for being “racist,” not counting the critics who thought he was wishing for the beloved comic actress to be mowed down in a hail of bullets. (Social media is good for causing the idiots among us to self-identify.)

There is nothing racist about the meme. Nothing. NOTHING. Rock’s meme is not suggesting that one race is inferior to another. He is stating a fact—a couple, in fact. The vast, vast majority of mass shooters (and serial killers) are white males. Not all of them, but almost all, which is what make is a bet, and a wise one. The other fact is that when educated, informed people hear about such shootings as we had last week, they assume that either the shooter is a Muslim terrorist, or a crazy white dude.

“If a white person posted this about black people their career would be over but when it’s the other way around nobody gives two shits,” read one social media commenter. “You can’t fight racism with racism, you’re just contributing to the problem. Sad a 17-year-old kid has to say this.”

Yup, it’s sad our 17-year-olds lack the abilities of critical thought and analogy. Rock’s meme wasn’t trying to fight racism, and merely mentioning race doesn’t make observations racist. If a white person posted this about black people, it would be immediately recognized as nonsense. Nobody, even white racists, think that blacks are typical mass shooters.

I’m praying that Rock, who has thus far been adamant about refusing to buckle to political correctness and social media mobs, continues to have the integrity not to apologize.

PLEASE, Chris. You’re my only hope.

3. Wisdom from the most ridiculous Democratic Presidential candidate—yes, even worse than Bernie. The New York Times interviewed New Age guru Marianne Williamson about her controversial statements about depression and its treatment. She is learning how to double-talk her way out of a dumb assertion, I’ll give her that, but her most interesting comment came in this exchange:

Times: If an argument is more nuanced than can fit in a tweet, and you try to put it in one, that nuance gets lost. But people still read it.

Williamson: I think that is a legitimate challenge to me. I feel in my career that I have been very careful. And what I hear you saying is that I should be more careful with Twitter. God knows in the last few weeks, you’d better believe I looked at tweets and regretted it.

I can see now that Twitter is not the best place to weigh in on such a serious topic. There, yes, I think you’re right.

Marshall: Ya THINK??? Every day pundits, journalists, politicians, the President of the United States and Neil deGrasse Tyson tweet out inadequately thought out, lazily worded and simplistically expressed opinions on matters requiring more nuance and exposition than Twitter’s limitations can possibly accommodate. They do this because they rely on the even more lazy and intellectually deficient general public to accept such half-assed posturing as profound. It’s an insult, and it makes everyone concerned more opinionated with less justification.

4. When Fred calls, I answer. Retired Ethics Alarms story scout Fred sent me this Babylon Bee link, which begins thusly:

Yes, it’s been around a while, but it shows that a) in the battle between dishonest fake factchecker site Snopes and  the openly fake news site, satire is easily winning over  partisan hackery, and b) I’m an idiot.  With every TV current events satire performer on TV spending every minute attacking the President, Republicans and conservatives, I never suspected that a single deft source of targeted satire from the other side of the political spectrum would be viewed by the Progressive and Resistance Collectives as a threat to be intercepted and destroyed.

Boy, talk about a flat learning curve! These people hate dissent, in whatever form it arrives, and effective dissent worst of all. Focus, Jack.

Ethics Alarms is still banned from Facebook, after all. [Pointer: Steve Witherspoon]

NOTICE of CORRECTION: The original headline included “doxxing,” because the post about Rep. Castro publishing the names of his district’s Trump donors began as an item here. However, as sometimes happens, it became too long, and I excised it to post as a separate entry. I forgot to fix the headline, though.

 

36 thoughts on “Dinnertime Ethics Appetizer, 8/7/19: Spinning, Tweeting and Joking…[CORRECTED]

  1. 2:
    Well then, I’m going to pull out my copy of The Fifth Element and watch it again!
    Oh, wait, that was Chris Tucker…Never mind.

  2. Jack, on point 2. I am not sure if we can say that the vast majority of mass shooters are white. What we can say is that of the mass shootings using long rifles that get national airplay are committed by young white males. Could we say the same if every multiple homicide across the nation was given equivalent airtime in the media? Does using absolute numbers of cases suggest greater or lesser proportion of perpetrator ethnicity?

    Lets use those statistics that get bandied about. What was it 216 mass shootings in the last year ( I don’t recall the exact number used by the gun confiscators)?

    The gun confiscators love to use the FBI definition of a mass shooting so any more than 3 beinf shot counts as a mass shooting event. How many of those cases were cleared? Were many of them white perpetrators? I don’t think so. We also cannot say that most serial killers are white when many inner city homicides go unresolved. I would bet that most of Chicago or Baltimore’s homicides were committed by a handfull of killers. We can say that of the serial killers we catch many are white.

    So if we are going to be honest we can only say of the cases that involve multiple fatalities among “innocent” victims most were of the shooters were white and the victims were of non specific targets.

    • You are correct, and so is Chris Rock. When the corporate media tries to hit you with a really big number of annual mass shootings, they include typical crime and gang related shootings. They also include injuries as “casualties” so that a drive-by that injures 3 people and kills 1 counts as a mass shooting. The vast majority of these HUNDREDS of annual mass shooters are in fact People of Color.

      Someone even made a graphic of all their headshots. You can see the “infamous” mass shooters, the ones responsible for massacres like in El Paso and Dayton. But they look like tiny marshmallows in a large bowl of hot chocolate.

      On the other hand, the kind of attacks that we typically consider “mass shootings” (indiscriminate killing, public place, higher casualties) are mostly either Islamic terrorists or young white males (young white atheist males really, but don’t expect that factoid to EVER become a talking point.)

      Chris Rock was thinking of those latter types of shootings. The media wants you to think of them too, and ignore the dozens of inner-city victims mowed down daily in Left-ruled cities. But they’re more than willing to borrow from column B to make column A sound scarier. Just another example of “journalists” pushing a narrative to get the political results they want, rather than informing the public.

        • Snopes, in the last paragraph narrows the definition of mass shootings to 6 in 2019. Of that 6 they say 50% of the perpetrators were white 33% black and 16% unknown mix. Do we want to employ the disproportionate arguement here or should to population universe be simply the 6 shooters?

          • The two main talking points in the wake of the most recent shootings: 1) There have been well over 200 mass shootings this year, and 2) these mass shootings are perpetrated largely by racist white men, now “emboldened” by Trump’s dog-whistling rhetoric. Snopes is evidently willing to sacrifice the first point so that the second point might retain narrative cohesion:

            However, readers should also be on the lookout for those with a racist or white supremacist agenda deliberately tailoring the definition of a mass shooting so as to yield a list of perpetrators with a higher quotient of non-white individuals.

            Right, yes, the white supremacists are carrying on about the epidemic of shooting massacres shaking our bewildered nation to its core. It is they who manipulate the definition of “mass shooting” for their unseemly ends.

            Of course you’re absolutely right to point out that, even on Snopes’ own narrowly tailored definition, only half the perpetrators this year have been established to be white. Of those only one might credibly be called a white supremacist or nationalist. The one other whose race is unclear was apparently part Italian and part Iranian, which makes him racially mixed, part white (European) to my mind, but who knows? In the few photos that have been circulated, he looks “white enough.” The important thing is that he made a single reference to a book called Might Is Right in an Instagram post, so our intrepid journalistic establishment made sure to work it in to every report that he “may have been” (the suggestion is enough to be regarded as fact in the minds of uncritical readers) motivated by white supremacist ideology.

            So let’s say 4 of the 6 are white, thus 2/3rds of mass shooters are white. And? So what? Isn’t that nearly exactly in proportion to our nation’s racial demographics? And if half of those murderous thugs are virulent racists, does that actually demonstrate that white Americans are waxing more and more racist? Well—what am I thinking? Of course it does. Because … Trump!

              • I have encountered white people who claim to be “people of color” because of their Hispanic origins. However, I’ve also encountered obviously racially mixed Hispanics who called themselves white. It’s a bit of a garbage term, but it does reflect the reality that America’s founding native culture is Anglo, and Hispanics have a foreign culture with some different assumptions about the world shaped by the Spanish colonial experience.

                “Semitic” is mostly just a euphemism for “Jewish.” (Technically, it refers to all groups who speak a Semitic language, which would also include, for example, Arabs. But that’s not how the word is used in common speech.) Jews can be of any race, but I’ve never heard anyone claim that a white (European-descended) Jew is a “person of color.” Most American Jews are regarded as white.

                Muslims, too, can be of any race, but I’ve never heard anyone claim a white (European-descended) Muslim is a “person of color.” Though the US Census uses an expanded definition of “white” which includes anyone with Middle Eastern or North African origins, I don’t think most Americans regard Arabs or Persians as “white.”

                • Well, that’s fair. There are also some people who restrict the term “white” to Northern Europeans, and would exclude the Spanish, Italians, and Greeks, among others. To me the term has always been equivalent to “European.” Of course, even that has some ambiguities. I think it’s fair to say, though, that few Americans of any race regard the 9/11 terrorists—all Arabs, though even that’s a rather broad ethnic designation—as “white,” and few regard the Iranian leaders Khamenei and Rouhani as “white.”

            • Another very frustrating truth: the book Might is Right, which the Garlic Festival shooter referenced as a book everyone should read, is NOT about white supremacy. The author was racist, and sexist, and very much anti-Semitic, but those are not the subjects of the book. It’s a book heavily influenced by Nietzsche, ranting against Christianity. And, more broadly, the idea of ethics and morality in total, but specifically, it’s an anti-Christian screed.

              In fact, it’s the very book that Anton LaVey plagiarized for the vast majority of the content of his Satanic Bible.

              Here are some representative quotes:

              “All ethics, politics and philosophies are pure assumptions, built upon assumptions…It is time they were firmly planted upon an enduring foundation. This can never be accomplished until the racial mind has been thoroughly cleans and drastically disinfected of its depraved alien, and demoralizing concepts of right and wrong.”

              “He [Jesus] died an abysmal failure – a Redeemer who did not redeem – a Saviour who did not save – a Messiah whipped like a calf – a slave-agitator deservedly destroyed for preaching a Falsehood – the monstrous gospel of Love, Brotherhood, Equality.”

              Our media combs through this book, filled with rantings against Jesus and objective truth, finds a few racist comments in there, and proclaims another shooting based on “white supremacist ideology.” They are gaslighting you.

              • But he referred sneeringly to “mestizos” in the same Instagram post! (Well, and “Silicon Valley whites,” but let’s not get bogged down in such minor details.)

                They’d claim someone were a white supremacist for being a fan of Abraham Lincoln, of they could get away with it.

      • Absolutely. Now why do we interpret the data this way such that mass shootings are associated with disaffected white males? Is this not invalid stereotyping? Is it because of the relative number of victims at one time: say eleven dead vs three? Or, is it because all of these heinous acts occur in places we might frequent while the others occur in the hood? Or, is it because we place higher values on one demographic group’s lives over another.

  3. The vast, vast majority of mass shooters (and serial killers) are white males.

    I think that it is certainly not true that the vast, vast majority of serial killers are white males. As a frequent viewer of TV documentaries about serial killers (a taste that I inherited from my mother), my casual observation has been that a lot of them are black and Asian. Aside from this anecdotal evidence, I have read several newspaper and magazine articles over the years that refer to various studies that supposedly demonstrate that, contrary to popular belief, blacks are over-represented and whites under-represented among serial killers compared to their proportion of the overall population. (I’ve never read any of the actual studies described, so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of these descriptions.) Here’s a recent reference to such a study:

    https://nypost.com/2018/08/14/serial-killers-a-terrifying-look-at-their-ordinary-lives/

    According to this article:

    Blacks constitute 29% of serial killers vs. 12% of the overall population;
    Whites – 59% of serial killers vs. 72% of the overall population.
    Asians – 6% of serial killers and 6% of the overall population.
    Hispanics – 5% of serial killers and 18% of the population.

    The article doesn’t indicate whether white Hispanic killers are included in the white number or in the Hispanic number or divided between the two categories. White Hispanics are about 12% of the US population and non-Hispanic whites are about 60%. Assuming that white Hispanic serial killers are all included in the Hispanic category and excluded from the white category, 59% of serial killers would be non-Hispanic whites, almost identical to their 60% of the overall population. (The references that I’ve seen to other similar studies all seem to indicate that black serial killers constitute 20% to 30% of the total.) But in any case, it is clear that a very sizable proportion of serial killers are not white males.

    Whether the vast majority of mass shooters are white males may depend on your definition of the term. It may be true if you’re talking about the general understanding of what a mass shooter is — the type of killer who suddenly slaughters a huge number of people who are virtual strangers to him — although I can remember several who were black, plus the Asian guy at Virginia Tech and the Afghani-American at the gay nightclub. But if you use the gun-control advocates’ preferred definition of 3 or more people killed in a single shooting, I have little doubt that a huge percentage, and probably an absolute majority, of them are committed by blacks and Hispanics. Most such incidents are gang- or drug-related attacks on rivals, and there were probably more than two of them committed this past weekend alone, and several more that would have qualified as mass shootings but for the medical skill that saved the lives of many of wounded.

    • But Chris Rock, and properly so, is using the definition that the public understands. A gang shooting isn’t a mass shooting, unless it’s the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. So we tend to think of a woman when we here about, say, a Chicago gang shooting: a professor at the University of North Carolina. Betty Black.

      • I’m having a hard time squaring this circle, in two places–

        1–There are several arguments floating around that white and hispanics are underrepresented, and asian and black overrepresented if you consider their relative proportion of general population. Is Chris just perpetuating ignorance and media bias?

        2–He’s making an easy bet, with two to one odds he’s right just by random chance. Rolling a die and claiming four of its six faces is not anything to crow about.

        Saying I bet the next young girl to get media attention for going missing will be a white female adds nothing to overall understanding of kidnapping.

        • No, he’s joking. Jokes don’t require statistical certainty.
          The rest is due to the dumb and intentional apples and oranges definition of mass shooting that lumps gang shoot-outs with what the public considers mass shootings.

  4. “The vast, vast majority of mass shooters (and serial killers) are white males.” Two separate issues here.

    Mass shootings, a term often used by the MSM to scare people, may or may not be what people are led to believe. One of the sources the MSM uses for such statistics is sites such as https://www.gunviolencearchive.org/reports/mass-shooting which include this as part of their data: “Rather than just collecting incidents of death, GVA also catalogs incidents where a victim was injured by shooting or by a victim who was the subject of an armed robber or home invader. Incidents of defensive gun use, home owners who stop a home invasion, store clerks who stop a robbery, individuals who stop an assault or rape with a gun are also collected.”

    When you examine their reports, most of the “mass shootings” are gang related, crime related, or self-defense. This information is never revealed by the media as it doesn’t fit their agenda, just as the political ideology and nut-case history of the Dayton shooter is being completely ignored. True mass shootings are extremely rare occurrences, just as commercial plan crashes. Both are sensationalized but for very different reasons. And while the media loves to dig into the causes of a plane crash they never look beyond the surface at the reasons behind mass shootings.

    While I agree that most serial killers are white men, I think that it is more important than ever to draw distinctions and counter the false narratives supplied by the MSM, especially in this context. Allowing yet another topic (racism, immigration, etc…) to be defined by those who are only seeking to abolish even the appearance of a rational dialog, is another win for them.

  5. “I never suspected that a single deft source of targeted satire from the other side of the political spectrum would be viewed by the Progressive and Resistance Collectives as a threat to be intercepted and destroyed.”

    Sarcasm right?

      • I commend you for sticking with it.

        The dominating ideology of the political left is progressive ideology (whatever that is) and progressives are like the Borg, they’re an absolutely inflexible narrow-minded hive, progressives have earned that comparison. All my previous optimism has been dismantled by progressives, my have no hope for a better life for my grandchildren. Progressives are destroying hope and that is the real problem.

  6. Did I somehow overlook the Doxxing entry promised in this post’s headline? Never mind, there’s this:
    https://www.foxnews.com/politics/twitter-locks-out-mcconnell-campaign-for-posting-video-of-calls-for-violence-at-mcconnells-home
    Apparently unable (or selectively unwilling) to differentiate between posts encouraging threats to others and posts by someone being threatened, Twitter suspended the campaign account of Mitch Mcconnell showing “protesters” threatening him outside his home, while the doxxing tweet by Joaquin Castro is still online.

    • No, that was my mistake. The post about Castro was originally the last item here, but when it went long I removed it and posted it as a free-standing essay. I fixed the tags, but forgot to fix the headline. Thanks. It’s corrected.

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