Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/25/2020: Lies, Liars, Fake Headlines And False Narratives.

Good morning!

What’s it like outside?

1. The Sisyphus Report. Ethics Alarms is currently at its all time high water mark for followers, a number it has reached three times previously, only to fall back, sometime precipitously.

When you are trapped in your home, you tend to obsess about such things.

2. You know why, but still…the mainstream media isn’t fact-checking or pointing out the blatant, insulting lie from Nancy Pelosi yesterday regarding the House Democrats’ alternative “stimulus” bill that “Everything we’re suggesting just relates to COVID-19. It’s not changing policy except as it applies here.” That bill included [Pointer: The Blaze]:

  • A bailout for the U.S. Postal Service
  • Student loan debt forgiveness
  • Required same-day voter registration
  • Airline emissions standards regulations
  • Study on climate change migration
  • Collective bargaining provisions
  • Increased federal minimum wage for companies that accept government loans
  • Publication of race and pay statistics for corporate boards

I’m not even mentioning things like the millions designated for the Kennedy Center, because that was technically related to addressing harm caused by the pandemic.

As I and many others noted, the Democrats’ grandstanding effort to stuff the rescue bill with progressive agenda items related to climate change, the Green New Deal and other social justice wish list items was political posturing for the base, which was forgivable as long as they didn’t try to hold the nation hostage, which they didn’t, at least for very long. But Pelosi’s denial that her party did what it did in plain sight (for anyone who bothered to read the bill about it) is the stuff of Jumbos, and the news media was obligated to let the public know.

They haven’t, and presumably won’t. Instead, journalists will continue to factcheck and scream about every lazy, non-substantive misstatement of facts by the President, and back the Democratic cant that President Trump always lies.

A party whose leadership issues pure disinformation like Pelosi’s should be estopped from using the “Trump lies”refrain. 

3. Then there’s Joe Biden. To the extent that he’s coherent at all, Biden has repeatedly pushed false narratives, including yesterday on “The View,” one of the few venues where he is not at an intellectual disadvantage. Joe actually said that he hasn’t criticized the President’s handling of the pandemic in the U.S.! That’s a Jumbo too: read the last debate transcript, for example (to be fair, given Biden’s current condition, he may not have been lying. He may have forgotten. Or believed it was January 18, 1958….):

Look, the World Health Organization offered, offered the testing kits that they have available and to give it to us now. We refused them. We did not want to buy them. We did not want to get them from them. We wanted to make sure we had our own. I think he said something like, “We have the best scientists in America,” or something to that effect.

This was pure falsehood (the WHO did not offer the US kits), and it was also, obviously,  criticism. Biden and his campaign havesaid that Trump slashed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He did not. Biden was among those to spread the false claim that the President called the virus as a “hoax” at his Feb. 28 campaign rally in South Carolina, and he even allowed his campaign to  tweet a deceptively edited  video that misleadingly spliced together Trump saying “coronavirus” followed by, “this is their new hoax.”

Trump is and always has been an unreliable source of information on pretty much anything, including his own past actions. Those who lie themselves as deliberately and frequently as his Democratic foes, however, have no standing to use that as a basis for their opposition. Supporters of those foes who begin with “Trump lies!” to justify their derangement are hypocrites without any defense.

3. Harvard degree? What Harvard degree? Further making graduates like me wish they had gone to correspondence school, super-woke, ultra-progressive Harvard University announced that it is laying off about 275 subcontracted dining hall workers without pay as the Cambridge campus shuts down in response to our epidemic. The University has a $40.9 billion endowment. As far as I can tell, none of its massive bureaucracy is being laid off.

It would cost Harvard an estimated $710,000 to provide four weeks of full-time paid leave for all of its subcontracted dining employees, or what Mike Bloomberg probably pays his dog walkers. In contrast, the University of Chicago, with an endowment of a mere $8.5 billion, said last week it would continue paying its subcontract workers through the end of the academic year.

To be fair, at least Harvard discriminates against Asian-American students in order to admit more African-Americans with lower test scores…

Yeah, I’m in a snarky mood today, and enjoying it…

4 Good. But why is this the Post headline… “Stimulus bill prevents Trump and his family from benefiting from loan programs” when the bill actually prohibit businesses owned by Vice-President Pence, by any members of Congress or heads of federal departments, or their children, spouses and in-laws? I know many disagree with me on this, but such headlines are included in the Ethics Alarms definition of fake news.

By omitting essential information and creating a false emphasis, the headline is deliberately deceptive, suggesting that an effort by the Trumps to profit from the legislation was foiled.

5. Here’s another deceptive headline, this time from the New York Times: Some Pregnant Women in New York City Will Have to Deliver Babies Alone.”  [Pointer: Althouse, though I now see it in my print version.] No, it doesn’t mean that women in the Big Apple will have to go squat in Central Park. “Alone” doesn’t mean alone. It means that no spouses or partners will be allowed in the delivery room—you know, like the routine practice in hospitals for decades. My father wasn’t present when I was born; my mother wasn’t “alone.”

It’s a false headline. Another one. And it is a headline that could create anxiety and fear among expectant mothers who read it to mean what it says. Who knows—they might be panicked into swallowing fish tank cleaner…

6. Speaking of false and damaging media-spread narratives, heeeeeeere’s FAUCI!

“I have never in that room had a situation where I said, ‘Scientifically, this is the rate thing to do it,’ and they don’t do it, or, ‘Scientifically, this is the wrong thing to do,’ and they did it anyway. Then we get up and we present it to the President, and he asks a lot of questions. That’s his nature. He’s constantly asking you questions. And I never, in the multiple times that I’ve done that, where I said, ‘For scientific reasons we really should do this,’ that he hasn’t said let’s do it or when he’s decided — not decided, when he suggests, ‘Why don’t we do this?’ and I say, ‘No, that is really not a good idea from a scientific standpoint,’ he has never overruled me.”

20 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/25/2020: Lies, Liars, Fake Headlines And False Narratives.

      • Speaking of “enterprising Lefties,” not all of them are consumed with kneecapping the Commander in Chief.

        Andrea Mitchell? She fears SKYROCKETING approval for President Trump despite the media’s best efforts to herd folks in the other direction.

        • Trump’s handling of this is at 60% approval, 38% disapproval.

          How many of the 38% disapproval really approve but want to stick to their hate Trump cred enough to answer a pollster as “disapprove”.

          I bet the real approval rate is higher.

          • No, I think they are like my sister, and hate Trump so much that they are emotionally and mentally incapable of admitting that anything he does or did is effective, right or appropriate. They wouldn’t accept that killing the Iranian terror-master was good, for example. Of the non-deranged, I’d say approve is near 100%. But the deranged is a solid 40%.

            • So Trump’s 58.5% chance of winning is nearly maxing out the undecideds in his favor, though odds of winning don’t equate to percentage of the vote received.

  1. Lot of journalists and left wing pundits should be very happy there’s a first amendment they can hide behind when furious Americans come out of this crisis and see them fully responsible for this society wrecking discourse..

  2. Figured it was a good time to remind folks about how the wheel turns…

    The Gods of the Copybook Headings by Rudyard Kipling

    AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
    I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
    Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.

    We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn
    That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
    But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breadth of Mind,
    So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind.

    We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,
    Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market Place,
    But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
    That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome.

    With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch,
    They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch;
    They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings;
    So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things.

    When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
    They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
    But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.”

    On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life
    (Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
    Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.”

    In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,
    By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
    But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “If you don’t work you die.”

    Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew
    And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
    That All is not Gold that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four
    And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more.

    As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
    There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
    That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
    And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

    And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
    When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
    As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
    The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!

  3. The Beach Boys video is great. Though times were never truly simple, it’s a nice trip to take even if just for a couple of minutes. Amazing harmonies with no lip synch…unlike that horror-strip show during this year’s Super Bowl.

  4. Interesting that visits to EA are up when so many regular commenters seem to be following some sort of order of the day imposing radio silence.

    • Ted Koppel: all journalism is editorialization.

      That’s a direct quote, of course.

      But imagine how he feels! If anyone can just point a recording device at an event and upload it, then who needs journalists? Before the age of convenient recording/reporting technology, skilled writers were necessary to observe and summarize in text. He’s just afraid he’ll be replaced by an eye-phone. No, maybe it’s desperate panic. And imagine that, if not for the varied effects of that panic, we might never have noticed how easily replaceable he is.

      I suppose he could do investigative journalism, but how could we imagine someone of that worth stopping to dirty his expertly-manicured cuticles? No, to him that must look like work for illegal immigrants and punk interns from lower castes. Nobody should have to research and think, right?

      Mindlessly reading the party line in faux-Shakespearean tones while facing into a camera: that could never be automated!

        • The thought of automating him out of a career was just too tempting a tangent. Replacing me with a robot would be the stuff of pie-in-the-sky science fiction, and yet they continue to try actively and frequently. That loaf has essentially already been replaced! I feel like the child in “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.

          We don’t need to dignify his self-importance with a reply, just hand him a dust-mop and point him to his lucrative new profession.

  5. I wonder how down the Harvard endowment is these days? A billion?

    Also heard the Harvard President and his wife have COVID19. What’s he make a year? I bet it’s astronomical. A couple million? I wonder if his pay is suspended.

  6. As a retired nurse anesthetist, I went into many delivery rooms to place epidurals. I recall a few times when there were 20 or more “relatives” in the room to witness the birthing. In the older days, when I began, circa 1965, visitors had to obtain a pass at reception to visit inpatients. Two passes were allowed. If a third person wanted to visit they had to wait until one of the two came down and handed off his pass. Children were never allowed. To quote Thourgly Modern Millie- “What is old is new again!”

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