I feel like hearing my favorite hymn this morning.
1. How TV makes the public ignorant and unethical. On a 2008 “Law and Order” episode, “Knock Off,” a New York Assistant DA tells a lawyer that since his former client is dead, attorney client privilege no longer applies. “The privilege does not survive the client,” he says, authoritatively. This is exactly 180 degrees wrong. Privilege and client confidences do survive clients; lawyers are bound by them forever, with some rare exceptions.
The show had legal advisors. There is no excuse for this. What were Law and Order’s standards? Would it deliberately misstate law and regulations just to accommodate the plot? Apparently so.
2. According to the New York Times, we’ve been mistaken. People don’t kill people, Guns kill people, apparently all by themselves. One of the infinite ways news organizations practice unethical and biased journalism is by falsely framing facts and issues to encourage a particular public perception. The “paper of record” just went for a new record in this event with a piece titled “One Handgun, 9 Murders: How American Firearms Cause Carnage Abroad.”Incredibly, the article personifies a gun:
She came to Jamaica from the United States about four years ago, sneaking in illegally, stowed away to avoid detection. Within a few short years, she became one of the nation’s most-wanted assassins. She preyed on the parish of Clarendon, carrying out nine confirmed kills, including a double homicide outside a bar, the killing of a father at a wake and the murder of a single mother of three. Her violence was indiscriminate: She shot and nearly killed a 14-year-old girl getting ready for church.
With few clues to identify her, the police named her Briana. They knew only her country of origin — the United States — where she had been virtually untraceable since 1991. She was a phantom, the eighth-most-wanted killer on an island with no shortage of murder, suffering one of the highest homicide rates in the world. And she was only one of thousands.
Briana, serial number 245PN70462, was a 9-millimeter Browning handgun.
The thrust of the rest of the article is that the terrible murder rate in Jamaica and other third-world counties is the fault of the U.S. for guaranteeing its citizens gun rights, and not the corruption, weak government, poverty and rotten cultures, not to mention the killers they produce, in those nations themselves. “Law enforcement officials, politicians and even gangsters on the street agree: It’s the abundance of guns, typically from the United States, that makes the country so deadly,” the article says. “And while the argument over gun control plays on a continual loop in the United States, Jamaicans say they are dying because of it — at a rate that is nine times the global average.”
That’s right: all those murderous Jamaicans would become as harmless as lambs if the United States would just get with the program.
This isn’t news reporting, it’s anti-gun propaganda.
3. I would be cheered by “I’m not the only one, ” but its a rationalization. Apparently Facebook can do anything it wants to individual users, and whether it is by bias, mistake or malice, there is no recourse whatsoever. As regular readers here know, this is of special interest to me because Facebook has effectively banned Ethics Alarms, with serious consequences to the blog’s traffic, readership and influence. Links to any article or the home page are blocked. No reason has ever been given, and I have complained and inquired repeatedly.
I learned today, from a recitation of the experiences of individual Facebook users who have been blocked themselves that this is how Facebook operates: no process, no appeal, no customer service.
In Facebook’s version of a justice system, users are told only that their accounts have been disabled for “suspicious activity.” If they appeal — via a terse form that will accept only a name, contact information and an image of an ID — a mysterious review process begins. The wait can be endless, and the inability to contact a Facebook employee maddening.
One victim found phone number to call,and tried it:
“For customer support, press one,” said a voice recording. [He] pressed 1. “Thank you for calling Facebook user operations,” he heard. “Unfortunately, we do not offer phone support at this time.” Then his line went dead. (This is still the message a caller receives.)
Another user named Reeves got so frustrated that he went to the Facebook headquarters:
[Five receptionists sat behind a counter in the lobby. “My account got disabled, and I need help,” he said. The workers told him no one could assist him. “What if my account doesn’t get reactivated?” Mr. Reeves asked, desperate. A receptionist advised him to make a new profile. (That’s against Facebook’s terms of service, which specify that users “create only one account (your own).” Mr. Reeves created a new account, but it was disabled within hours; when he made yet another one, it was disabled within minutes. It’s now been three months, and he has no idea why he’s still unable to log in.
The term for this is Kafkaeseque. It is classic totalitarianism. Imagine: a company this openly unethical presumes to tell me that my ethics blog violates its standards.
4. OK, explain to me why this isn’t illiberal and hypocritical. “Why doesn’t anyone want to live in this perfect place?” the headline asks. The perfect place, or rather places, we learn, are a series of segregated residential communities restricted to lesbians only. Apparently the separatist movement was once thriving, but now it is having difficulty attracting younger lesbians. Good. But again, by what kind of mental and ethical pretzeling can progressives celebrate a group of like people deliberately ruling that nobody unlike them is welcome in a community? If a group of whites creating a whites only community is universally condemned as un-American and racist, how can a self-segregated community of lesbians be labelled a “paradise,” as the article does?
5. And finally, a Tom Brady ethics note, and, as usual, he’s on the wrong side of it.
Last week, the United States Patent and Trademark Office ruled that Bardy’s (ridiculous) application to trademark the term “Tom Terrific” was without merit. Other than the original crude animated kids feature that launched the name, “Tom Terrific” has been long associated with Tom Seaver, the New York Mets Hall of Fame pitcher who was recently diagnosed with dementia. The decision said that Brady appropriating the nickname “falsely suggest a connection” with Mr. Seaver, who was “uniquely and unmistakably” the only person associated with the nickname. “Tom Seaver is so well known that consumers would presume a connection,” the office wrote.
Trying to steal another great athlete’s nickname to make money out of it. Yechhh.
But that’s Tom Brady.