Ethics Dunce: Washington Post Political Reporter Felicia Sonmez [UPDATED And CORRECTED]

Too soon?

Of course too soon.

This is dead ethics alarms on display. A 41-year-old NBA legend, his 13-year old daughter and seven other human beings  die in a helicopter accident, and less than six hours later, a Washington Post reporter, involuntarily abetted by The Daily Beast, issues a tweet about the  low point in his life and career.

Is Sonmez  going for #MeToo brownie points? It sure looks like it. Let’s get a jump on canceling Kobe Bryant, womyn! It’s never too early.

No compassion for the family, no sorrow for the dead. Gotta trash the man, because there won’t be enough time in the future to rehash the 17-year-old rape allegations that Bryant, with the assistance of the King’s Pass, managed to avoid having destroy his career.

Has social media made people so cruel? Is this just the natural ethics void political journalists and progressive websites slip into after a few years of peddling hate against the President, day in, day out?

How can ethics alarms not ring out, loud and strong, when the idea is floated to attack a dead celebrity the same day he and his daughter are killed?

Update (6:50 PM): After being excoriated on Twitter, Sonmez deleted her tweet.

Too late.

Further Update: The Post suspended Sonmez. Good.

Notice of Correction: I originally included The Daily Beast in the headline, failing to notice that the article Sonmez linked to was from 2016. The Beast is blameless, and I apologize for the error. Thanks to VPJ for the note.

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22 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Washington Post Political Reporter Felicia Sonmez [UPDATED And CORRECTED]

  1. Right when I thought I couldn’t possibly hold the WaPo in any lower regard.

    Whaddya bet Sonmez tries to play the Kathy Griffin I’m The Victim card when what I sincerely hope is an EPIC $#!tstorm results.

  2. Is this just the natural ethics void political journalists and progressive websites slip into after a few years of peddling hate against the President, day in, day out?

    The peddling of hate against the President has nothing to do with it. The peddling of hate preceded him; he just provides an easy way to sharpen the spurs. If Trump enters into this at all, it’s to help assuage the overwhelmingly liberal mainstream media’s guilt at gleefully and ignorantly giving him the platform to rise to office – because the mainstream media misunderstood both what he was saying and what the public heard.

    We should never forget that the news media isn’t there to inform us. It exists primarily to sell ad space (what little it can these days) and subscriptions. It is a business – one currently suffering greatly from its own failed decision to train the world that news is “free,” and which now struggles daily to keep the doors open (personally, I’m not sympathetic to their plight).

    It cuts costs wherever it can, The grizzled veterans who actually understood a few things either died or took early retirement packages. They were replaced by kids who lacked the experience – and who are a lot cheaper. That includes editors desperate to cater to their “woke” (We Obviously Know Everything!) readerships.

    Further, it embraces groupthink at the expense of skepticism. There is no more remarkable echo chamber than the modern newsroom.

    All of which combine to give us this idiotic story. I want more of them. Call that schadenfreude if you wish, but until even progressives understand that their news sources are hopelessly corrupt, we’re all screwed.

      • There was a post a while back that was somehow veered into to…um…creative application of acronyms which, as I recall, degenerated rather quickly.

        To wit:

        Wisconsinites Offer Kick-@$$ Experience

    • Arthur in Maine writes: We should never forget that the news media isn’t there to inform us. It exists primarily to sell ad space (what little it can these days) and subscriptions. It is a business – one currently suffering greatly from its own failed decision to train the world that news is “free,” and which now struggles daily to keep the doors open (personally, I’m not sympathetic to their plight).

      Now hold on there! The informing of the ‘free republic’ like the United States from the beginning required a ‘free press’: all the broadsides and back-and-forth communication as the ideals of the revolution were worked out. It is the Noble Task of noble citizenry to keep the noble conversation going forward, nobly. No, I cannot believe any of this. Free and truthful communication is of such importance to a free republic that transmits its freedom to all people, everywhere, that I refuse to believe there are other motives or mixed-motives. And you are going to tell me that journalists are not there to inform us, but are there to create subterfuges-of-interest so that surrounding advertising comes to our attention and we BUY SOMETHING?

      “What are you handing me?”

      Adimagejim has brought to my attention so many times, like with a rubber-encased hammer, boink boink boink, that such ideas about ‘complicit media’ and indeed the notion of ‘manufacture of consent’ (I double-genuflect here to ward off the invocational danger in such a dangerous phrase) is the Stuff of Ch**sky: that evil man whose name shall not be spoken who has insinuated that power determines what *facts* and what *narratives* are put forward, or suppressed, by ‘intellectual elites’ and ‘complacent intellectuals’ within a larger ideological system. And now you are seeming to say that journalism must serve those groups and powers who place advertising?!?

      News media isn’t there to inform us? What?!? or even more stenuously: Whaaaaa?!?

      Wait, if news media is not there to inform us, then what is its purpose? Did it ever inform us? Did it ever tell the *complete truth* or did it tell us *partial truths*? Did we take them as full-truths or did we disbelieve? Was it always ‘selling something’? But what exactly was being sold? and what is being sold now? If it is selling now, was it always selling?

      Are you saying that it had always — secretly? or indirectly? — been selling washing-machines and cars and real estate along with the pseudo-journalism? Or are you trying to imply that other, perhaps larger — perhaps intangible? — ‘things’ are sold? [I just threw a vase against the wall].

      I feel that the grounding under me is becoming unstable. I thought I was standing on terra firma. Now, I am not so sure.

      The day does not look bright . . .

      • ”been selling washing-machines and cars and real estate along with the pseudo-journalism?”

        Ken Clayton/Dire Straits said as much ding nigh 35 years ago:

        ♫We got to install ♫microwave ovens
        Custom ♫kitchen deliveries♫
        ♫We got to move ♫these refrigerators
        We ♫got to move these color TVs♫

  3. I always hesitate to say someone should be fired for exercising “his/her First Amendment rights”, but something like this is pretty egregious. It’s one thing to say something privately to a friend about the man’s past, but to broadcast it in a public forum is beyond a “poor choice of words and poor timing”. Had Kobe Bryant still been alive, publicly tweeting something about that incident now, nearly 20 years later, is fraught with ethical peril. To bring it up only because of his death shows a cold, calculated callousness as well as terrible judgement.

    As you wrote, Ms. Somnez shows no respect for the family, no compassion for their loss, and no regard for the many friends and fans, all of whom are grieving to some degree.

    Is the kind of thing for which a reporter should be fired? I think the answer is “yes”.

  4. It didn’t start with Trump. GWB came in for plenty of hate online, although social media didn’t take off until the last 2 years of his presidency, so he didn’t have to get too many venomous tweets thrown at him. A certain cartoonist who I won’t name started pouring hatred on Reagan right after he died, saying if there was a hell, then he was in it. However, since social media hadn’t taken off yet, the jerk couldn’t tweet his bile to 22,000 followers instantly and they had to wait for his article to be published.

    The fact is certain members of the left have always had an IRA/jihadist mentality, where it’s considered virtuous to attack, maim, cripple, and destroy those they don’t agree with, who deserve no mercy. This is just that mentality on display. They shouldn’t complain if I post the essay I’ve got ready to go the minute Jimmy Carter kicks the bucket, or if I link to “ding dong, the witch is dead” as soon as Ruth Bader Ginsburg goes toes up.

  5. As a retired newspaper publisher/editor it troubles me deeply seeing media consistently practicing such unethical journalism — in fact I refuse to call it journalism. They have earned the moniker “fake news” and wear it well.

    We seem to be heading back to the days of yellow journalism with the use of lurid features and sensationalized news to attract readers and increase circulation/viewers

    With this degradation of real news and substitution of fake news we are presented little or no legitimate well-researched news while being subjected to eye-catching but misleading headlines to draw viewers/readers. Well used techniques include exaggerations of news events, scandal-mongering, and sensationalism. Yes, the term yellow journalism is now used as a pejorative to decry any journalism that treats news in an unprofessional or unethical fashion, but that’s all we get today from the NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, CNN, and other news outlets.

    • Frank Stephans wrote:

      We seem to be heading back to the days of yellow journalism with the use of lurid features and sensationalized news to attract readers and increase circulation/viewers […]

      I put an elipsis (I think it is called) to *head off at the pass* what some cynical people would include after it. Why they concoct and circulate such lies I do not know but it deeply pains me. [I just threw a vase at the wall]. For there are some who would say that yellow journalism had other, more nefarious, purposes than merely to ‘attract readers’ and ‘increase circulation’, and these beastly people mention the last 20-25 years of Forever Wars as an outcome of devious complicity between *vested interests* *arms manufacturing* and service to a certain wee little Nation over there where a great deal of US treasure is directed [I did not write that and you did not see it].

      This is so obviously untrue that anyone can see it. They look squarely at the issue, and they discern exactly what is going on, and why. Then they rush forward to volunteer their lives! We are there in those regions because we are bringing glorious freedom and we have been given the ugly task of having to kill off those who oppose our bringing what *the people* silently pray for.

      It seems to me that it is evil — yes I will say it — evil to say anything different. There may be some efforts to create clickbait and increase circulation but in the really important things Our Media does not ever get it wrong nor mislead.

      I just wanted to clarify this. There are ones LuRkiNg here who don’t see the world as we do!

  6. ‘Has social media made people so cruel?’
    YES! It’s far too easy to say something without thinking and put it out hoping to get it viral for the ego boost. And the mob jumps on without thinking what they are really saying and how it would affect themselves or people they like. And the semi anonymous bulk of the viral audience has all the wisdom of lynch mobs and witch hunts.

    (Just say “NO” to the mass hysteria of social media like Twitter and FB… interact where there is at least some thought, whether places like here or an online comic)

    • (Humans), it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.” ― Charles MacKay

      It gets worse.

      MacKay wrote that ~180 years ago.

      Has it gotten better, stayed the same, or gotten worse?

    • There is a lost generation, calling out for what they do not know, striving to fill a hole in their hearts, forever failing. They are in great pain: they have been taught that this world is all there is, that the answers lie in sex, drugs, politics, hero worship, celebrity, money, false religions, and in the approbation of others. They ‘click for likes,’ believing that their own worth can be found in the number of people who think as they do, who share their invented reality, even as that reality shifts like sand under their feet. The virtual world is more real than the person sitting by them on the bus, and truly fulfilling interpersonal relationship is lost to them.

      Yet it all rings hollow, and they grow angry at a world that fails to deliver on the promises of educators, politicians, and entertainers. ‘Why am I not happy?’ they cry, and circle the altar of self-immolation yet again.

      They have removed all restraint; been taught that the sacred is mundane, that there are no rules in their pursuit of fulfillment. They have found that being allowed to act as they wish is not enough, so they must force others to not only allow them this immoral freedom, but also to endorse, embrace, encourage, and admire them for their folly. For, in their minds, if anyone will not acknowledge them as the sole purveyors of truth and wisdom then these benighted rubes somehow prevent them from achieving the satisfaction they crave. These dissenters must be the reason for the gaping vacuum inside, and they must be destroyed!

      The lost ones know not compassion, nor goodness, nor history. Mercy is a weakness to their twisted minds. What can save them from the prison they have created for their lives?

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