Be thankful tomorrow, everybody.
There’s always something…
1. On unethical misleading language, Part A: Today’s “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias” note: I was suddenly struck after reading one, two, three, four impeachment-related stories in a row in four separate news sources that they all used the phrase “dirt on Joe Biden.” Isn’t that strange? “Dirt” isn’t a description, it’s a characterization, and a deliberately pejorative one that assumes that Biden is a victim of a dastardly action. It’s widespread use is one more smoking gun that demonstrates mainstream media bias aimed at smearing President Trump. The term “dirt” presupposes that if the President sought to persuade the Ukraine to aid the U.S. in an investigation, something it is obligated by treaty to do, it was only to assist his re-election chances. When the term “dirt” has been used in conjunction with a politition seeking damning information on Bill Clinton, either George Bush, or Trump himslef, it was always in the context of an election campaign. Few wrote that the Mueller investigation was a “dirt” seeking operation (though in truth it was). But it’s always “dirt on Joe Biden” that the Ukraine was allegedly asked/forced/extorted into looking for. When Jeffrey Epstein was being investigated, nobody said the FBI was seeking to smear him with “dirt,” because news sources accepted that an investigation was appropriate.
Yet there are many reasons and strong evidence suggesting that an investigation of Joe Biden’s alleged machinations to benefit his son by abusing his office and misusing his influence was (and is) also appropriate. The United States should not just shrug off corruption in its highest offices because a complicit individual is running for President, but that is the thrust of the current impeachment push by House Democrats. For the media to intentionally choose terminology—and slang, which is usually not in a newspaper style-book— to lead readers away from the argument that an investigation of Joe Biden was necessary and valid whether he was running for President or not shows a disturbing disinterest in fair reporting, and a preference for anti-Trump propaganda.
2. On unethical misleading language, Part B: No, none of the soldiers President Trump pardoned last week had been convicted or even charged with “war crimes.” Yet I have read otherwise repeatedly, especially on social media. That term is a favorite way to characterize the controversial cases because it supports Big Lie #3: “Trump Is A Fascist/Hitler/Dictator/Monster,” in this instance, Hitler. Murder by military personnel, or crimes committed during war, are not automatically “war crimes,” and the military does not usually seek a conviction for war crimes against U.S. personnel. As I have written on this topic before, the whole concept of “war crimes” is ethically dubious.
3. Oh! The “Fearless Girl” people are suing each other! Good. “Fearless Girl”—you remember her, right?
—is an unethical statue as positioned, so this court-dust-up is especially satisfying: From the New York Times:
…Known as the “Fearless Girl,” the bronze statue in Lower Manhattan was intended to “drive a conversation” on the importance of elevating women in corporate roles — a feminist message amplified by replicas that have popped up in cities around the world.
But the financial services firm that purchased the original, State Street Global Advisors, is calling them unauthorized copies and waging an aggressive legal campaign against them. Critics say the fight proves that the company’s embrace of the Fearless Girl was always less about promoting female empowerment than it was about promoting itself…
State Street’s lawyers, who are seeking unspecified damages, argued in court that the replicas were a trademark violation and diluted the company’s message. David Studdy, a lawyer for the company, said that Maurice Blackburn had “used the campaign to promote itself or themselves by tying the name of Fearless Girl to themselves.”
Lawyers for Maurice Blackburn, however, argue that State Street is trying to “retrospectively assert rights” over the artwork that it did not obtain at the time of the original purchase. “The saddest part of all of this is that their actions are sullying this icon,” said Jennifer Kanis, a principal lawyer at the firm.
3. One obnoxious marketing campaign spawns another. I never wrote about it (though I referenced the ads here), but Milky Way’s “Sorry, I was eating a Milky Way” campaign that began in 2012 was another example of commercials’ glorifying (or trivializing) being a jerk. I wondered, and still wondered, if this was Donald Trump’s fault, a sub-category of the Nation of Assholes phenomenon I so sagely predicted in 2015. Today I learned that the equally obnoxious Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups TV ads punctuated by an irritating male voice saying “Not sorry!”—not sorry for WHAT? Why is being “not sorry” an presumed virtue?— came about this way, according to Marketing Dive,