Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/10/2020: Stelter Gaslighting, “Neither Rain Nor Snow,” A Good Lawsuit, And Orwellian Marketing [CORRECTED!]

Goooood Morning!

The song is from one of my favorite Broadway cast albums. The show (which I directed in college) is something of a mess, but the songs are terrific. Anthony Newley was a talented songwriter (with writing partner Leslie Bricusse) and a triple threat performer who was just a little bit too intense for some people. Among his best known songs with Bricusse are “The Candyman,” “Feelin’ Good” (from “Greasepaint,”) “Gonna Build A  Mountain” and “What Kind of Fool Am I?” (from “Stop the World, I Want To Get Off.” “On a Wonderful Day” is sung on the album by Cyril Richard, whom older readers will remember as the definitive Captain Hook, menacing Mary Martin in the live TV versions of “Peter Pan.”

1. This is wonderfully hilarious. Brian Stelter strikes again. From his CNN show yesterday:

STELTER: “When you see entire media companies essentially exist to tear down Joe Biden, is there an equivalent of that on the left, tearing down Trump?”

GUEST: “There really isn’t.”

Do any CNN viewers really believe this? How much gaslighting can a CNN talking head get away with?

2. Res Ipsa Loquitur. Running a small business trying to struggle through the lockdown when our main income is from live presentations, my wife and I are finding cash flow tougher than ever. Today we were alerted by the USPS that a large check we have been waiting for was delivered two days ago. (It wasn’t.) A few weeks back, we received what looked like an important letter addressed to someone in Spokane, Washington. Yet I will be encouraging voter suppression if I suggest that mail-in ballots are a disastrous idea.

It’s interesting: the same people who insist that the United States is out of step if it doesn’t emulate “other developed nations” in such matters as government health care and banning capital punishment are oddly silent about the overwhelming hostility to voting by mail in Europe. Paul Bedard points out,

Most developed countries, especially in Europe, ban mail-in voting to fight vast fraud and vote buying that had threatened the integrity of their elections, according to an exhaustive review of voting rules and histories in over 30 major nations. In the European Union, 63% have put a ban on mailing in ballots except for citizens living overseas. Another 22% have imposed a ban even for those overseas. And most of those that allow mail-in ballots require some form of photo ID to get one, according to the report from the Crime Prevention Research Center shared with Secrets. “These countries have learned the hard way about what happens when mail-in ballots aren’t secured. They have also discovered how hard it is to detect vote buying when both those buying and selling the votes have an incentive to hide the exchange,” said author John R. Lott, the center’s president.

Meanwhile, we don’t have to rely on Europe’s example to figure out this is a terrible and dangerous idea. From NBC:

More than 1 in 5 mail-in ballots were rejected in New York City during the state primary June 23, the city’s certified election results revealed this week. City election officials rejected 84,000 ballots — 21 percent of all those received by election officials. More than 403,000 ballots were returned to election officials, according to city data, but only about 319,000 absentee ballots were counted, the certified results showed… The U.S. Postal Service, unused to the deluge of prepaid mailers, reportedly left postmarks off ballots, leaving thousands of them to be rejected because it was unclear they were sent on time.

If I were conspiracy-minded, I’d suspect that Democrats want chaos in the November election–all the better to reject the results and take to the streets.

3.  Orwellian language is here! (As if you didn’t know.)  I saw a TV ad for Descovy, an anti-HIV infection drug, on TV last night in prime time. Among its warnings and disclaimers: “Discovy should not be taken by people assigned female at birth.”

Wait, what?  Am I to understand that the mere act of assigning a baby’s gender puts that individual at risk as an adult? Amazing! The power of words and documents!

The warning is nonsense. If the individual is really biologically male, it doesn’t place him at any extra risk if someone says he is female. What the ad really wants to communicate  is “Discovy should not be taken by current males who were born female.” That is apparently politically correct somehow, so instead the marketers opted for gibberish.

Incidentally, the ad is full of gay and trans stereotypes, so nobody will mistake its market. Are such stereotypes OK now? Only in drug ads? Are all those actor really gay or trans? Do they have to be?

Just tell us the rules…

4. Good! Garrett Rolfe, the former Atlanta police officer who was charged with murder after fatally shooting Rayshard Brooks during an attempted DUI arrest outside a Wendy’s, has sued the city’s mayor and acting police chief, saying his firing was illegal, which it probably was.

You must remember the incident (from June); Ethics Alarms had quite a lot of discussion about it.

Brooks was intoxicated and asleep in his car, blocking access to Wendy’s drive-in lane. When the officers attempted to arrest Brooks, he resisted (of course), wrestled Brosnan’s taser away from him, and began running. Video shows that as Brooks attempted to flee, he turned around and attempted to fire the taser at Officer Rolfe, who responded by firing three rounds from his gun at Brooks, killing him.

Riots started immediately, and Atlanta’s craven Black Lives Matter obeisant Mayor Keisha Lane Bottoms (D) and interim Police Chief Rodney Bryant fired Rolfe next day. Rolfe’s suit says he was acting within the scope of his position and the law, and that his termination illegal.

I am almost certain that he will win. I am absolutely certain that he will not be convicted (giving the BLM mobs an ideal excuse to riot). I am completely certain that Rolfe was only fired and charged because of the ascendant George Floyd demonstartions. Many independent legal experts, seeing the video, have opined that Rolfe did nothing wrong.

The lawsuit claims Rolfe “has suffered irreparable injury to his personal and professional reputation as a result of his unlawful dismissal” and that he has “become a public spectacle and object of ridicule,” adding that “his unlawful termination was unnecessarily public and has attracted national media attention.” He is seeking to be reinstated to his old position at the department with full back pay.

14 thoughts on “Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/10/2020: Stelter Gaslighting, “Neither Rain Nor Snow,” A Good Lawsuit, And Orwellian Marketing [CORRECTED!]

  1. In case anybody cares, Stelter’s guest was Nicole Hemmer. Brian had to be awfully sure she was a toady, because the answer, “What? CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times and almost all of the mainstream media have been trying to bring down President Trump since 2016!!! How can you say that?”

    • That is a really funny statement on Brian’s part. Either he is really an idiot or he is completely cynical, thinking his guest wouldn’t ask him, “Uh, Bry? Have you taken a moment or two to watch Don or Anderson on any given night? Or Freddo? Something tells me you might want to rethink that comment.” Alas, his guest simply went with the flow. Good thing, though. She is guaranteed many hours of future interviews. It’s good know who butters your toast.

      jvb

      • It strikes me that CNN in particular employs some of the worst actors in current media; Brian Stelter, Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, Sally Kohn, Jim Acosta…

        In order: A media watchdog in need of a media watchdog, the drunkest person on primetime, the person who comes up at the fifth result when I Google “Fredo” (not kidding, I was amused it worked), The dumbest lesbian on TV, and the guy who might be able to do his job if he could only stop looking at that damned handsome man in the mirror.

        It reminds me of a time I was talking to someone, it might have been the exiled Chris, who said that Chris Wallace was employed over at Fox specifically to give the network a thin veneer of non-partisan professionalism. I mean, take that with a grain of salt, but I see where he was coming from. CNN Doesn’t have that. Closest thing is maybe Jake Tapper, but he has his moments too. It blows my mind that in that entire clowncar, they don’t have a single person employed that lends credibility to the network, they just exist as the Mos Eisley of media.

        • You made me Google Fredo, too, and right below a Wapo entry, this: Fredo – Urban Dictionary
          In proper application referring to someone as “Fredo” means they are just a dumb ass loser like the Godfather movie character, which is exactly why Chris Cuomo was referred to as Fredo .

        • I’m not a big fan of this new (to me, at least) term, “gaslighting.” People like Stelter aren’t trying to drive anyone crazy by saying clearly insane things. People like Stelter actually, genuinely, believe what they’re saying and they’re speaking to their audience of barking seals who are all responding “Right on, man!” They don’t think any of these media outlets are biased for the simple reason the are RIGHT! How can you be biased when you’re RIGHT? You can’t! But it your are not virulently anti-everything not Democratic party, YOU ARE WRONG! Therefore, you need to be mocked mercilessly. Gaslighting is too complicated an explanation. Stelter and his ilk are simply always right. That’s all there is to it. They not smart enough to ever think they might be wrong on something. They’re arrogant and cocky and not too smart. A bad combination.

          • I don’t think Stelter in particular believes what he says… I don’t think he’s that dumb, frankly…. My take is that he knows his audience probably doesn’t get their news from multiple sources, and so they will take whatever pasteurized pablum that he doles out and believe that. I think he’s dumb enough that he does this incompetently though, when you run the insane asylum unopposed, why bother to ham-fist a question as stupid as something that translates to “I don’t exist, do I? to a guest. In other words, I don’t think he’s stupid enough not to know he’s a paid liar on air, but I do think he’s stupid enough to let the mask slip.

            but on that note, I wouldn’t call it gaslighting, myself. Gaslighting is related, but different, to lying with authority (which we call The Big Lie). When you’re lying with authority, you’re hoping that you can lie loud enough and long enough that your lie is accepted as the norm, particularly to a group that doesn’t know better. When you’re gaslighting, you’re telling a lie to someone that probably knows what you’re saying isn’t true, but you say it forcefully enough that you make them second guess themselves.

            Both of those should be in a completely different category from being wrong. There’s been… Oh, I don’t know, maybe 5 or 6 times in my life, where I’ve been completely, 100%, objectively wrong about something… And me being me, I’m just as forceful in defending my views when I’m wrong but don’t know it, as I am when I’m right, because until I figure out I’m wrong, I still think I’m right. I could have “gaslit” someone into believing something that was wrong, because I was forcefully wrong, but it lacked intent.

            Again…. I have serious doubts that no one has ever pulled Stelter aside and told him that he’s a little bit full of shit. He knows what he’s doing.

        • Yeah, that sounds like something Chris would say. All of Fox News’ actual news anchors play it straight. Shep Smith was very left-leaning. Brit Hume is legit (admittedly, I am friends with his daughter , and am a little biased); Bill Hemmer is fair, Bret Baeir. It’s the “pundit” like Carlson, Ingraham and Hannity who are ideologues, plus the whole Fox and Friends hackathon

  2. 3. The anti-HIV drug commercial. One of the supposed users of the drug is captioned as having been HIV positive since 2018. Wait a minute! People are still contracting HIV/AIDS? Are you kidding me? Hello?

  3. 4. Good luck, Officer Rolfe. I hope you have extremely competent counsel. Given the facts, I think that’s about all you need.

  4. What is DESCOVY for PrEP®?

    DESCOVY for PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a once-daily prescription medicine for adults and adolescents at risk of HIV. It helps lower the chances of getting HIV through sex.

    DESCOVY for PrEP is not for everyone:

    It is not for use in people assigned female at birth who are at risk of getting HIV from vaginal sex, because its effectiveness has not been studied.
    You must be HIV-negative before and while taking DESCOVY for PrEP.

    This sounds slightly better in context, but becomes frustrating once you think about it. If you are at risk do to “vaginal sex”, does that refer to the person(s) with vagina(s), or to the person with the ‘P’ in PIV sex (‘penis in vagina’ sex, the most obnoxious phrase I’ve read online).

    Or is it unstudied for both in heterosexual sex, and should only be used in biologically male-male homosexual relationships? Is that why the ad uses homosexual carachures?

    Plain language would make everyone safer.

  5. #4 – If I were Rolfe, I would not want the job back. Atlanta is going to quickly turn into a shithole that no officer will want to work in.

    I’d sue for full salary until he secures a new job, and if unable to find equivalent pay and seniority, Atlanta must pay the difference. It would encourage them to make sure he gets glowing references from them.

  6. #1 – hahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahaha hahahahahahahaha

    HAD TO Be a joke!

    Even today the most non anti trump article I’ve EVER read from them,(about the shooting at the press conference) had digs at the president!!!! Like “he never considered not coming back” Because he’s a TV-loving President, or something else implying he didn’t return for any other reason but to be on air.

    There were a few other digs too but really the most”reporting” I’ve ever read from that anti Trump rag. An hour later they bumped the article with the 54577545 lies tTump told today Atthe same conference.

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