Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 8/23/2020, As If Anyone Needs To be Warmed Up Today…

Hot enough for ya?

1. False narrative, bad analogy. The popular media narrative is that President Trump is in a similar position to George H.W. Bush in 1988, when polls at this point showed him trailing Democratic Presidential nominee Michael Dukakis by a large margin. Conservative media had cited the comparison earlier this summer to make the simple point that being behind in the polls in July is relatively meaningless. Lately the mainstream media has been flogging the analogy in order to continue its doomsday prediction for the Trump campaign.

“Bush ’88 rally could be map for Trump ’20” is somehow deemed worthy of a front page spot in the Sunday Times. To begin with, that’s fake news of the “future news” variety. (“…or, it might not be.”) More importantly, it’s straw man: the article exists to to show that President Trump may not be able to prevail, because, you see, having begun with the false assertion that his situation is similar to Bush’s, the Times explains that the situations aren’t that similar at all. The bad analogy is created to rebut it.

In fact, the differences between the Bush challenge in 1988 and Trump’s in 2020 mostly favor the President. Bush was never a popular figure; he was distrusted by conservatives, and only was nominated because an epicly popular President, Ronald Reagan, anointed him as his approved successor. (Barack Obama, in contrast, avoided “anointing” Biden.) A strong Democratic opponent would have beaten Bush; Dukakis was weak. He was ahead in the polls when nobody outside of Massachusetts knew what  he was like. Trump has a large base of passionate supporters, something Bush never had. He is an incumbant (Bush was not), and if they run, incumbents almost always win. Bush was an awful debater; Trump has proven effective in debates. And while Dukakis was completely supported by the liberal wing of the party, Biden has critics on the hard left, among feminists (the non-hypocrite faction), and African Americans. The Democratic party of the 1980s had not spent four years trying to overturn an election. Moreover, polls are less reliable now than they were before news media bias began warping them, and Trump’s support, as the last election showed,  is especially hard to measure.

2. More front page Times propaganda: Yesterday’s front page told us, “Facebook Braces For Nov. 4 Chaos” and that it was “planning for possibility of Trump tarring result.” Wait—aside from Joe Biden and others on the democratic side spreading the completely unsupported theory that the President would refuse to accept the results of the election if he lost, what justification is there for Facebook’s “plan” and the Times’ publicity of it? As far as I know, only one Presidential candidate has set out to “tar” the results of a defeat, and that was Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, it is the Times, among other media agents, and Democrats, that are pushing for mail ballots and suggesting a GOP effort to sabotage the vote. Who’s “tarring” whom?

3. Here’s another canary dying in the mine. What the George Floyd Freakout is going to accomplish, along with increasing black-white distrust, undermining law enforcement and enabling anti-white discrimination and racism, appears to include making collaboration among diverse employees difficult if not impossible. The CBS courtroom drama “All Rise,” about the travails of a black female judge, is imploding behind the scenes because its and “woke” female black writers decided the show’s veteran white “show-runner” (that means writer-producer) Greg Spottiswood  is racially and gender insensitive. Many of them have resigned; I assume Spottiswood’s head will be served up on a platter any day now. Here’s an example of what the black writers deemed proof of  insensitivity:

[T]wo women get on an elevator. A naked white man joins them, and they continue their conversation as if nothing odd is going on. [Writers]Mr. Nayar and Ms. Edwards said they had sent emails to Mr. Spottiswood objecting to the scene after the majority of the show’s writers found it objectionable. “Two women would not calmly continue a conversation with a naked white guy running into the elevator,” Ms. Edwards said. “That is violence. That is a dangerous situation that they would have to respond to.”

No, that’s not “violence,” it’s a gag, and a rather venerable one. Something outrageous occurs and two people are so intent on their conversation (or so used to crazy things happening) that they pay no attention. I’ve seen “All Rise;” like most legal shows, it has little to do with reality. The naked guy in the elevator would have been standard fare on “Ally McBeal” or “Boston Legal.”

In the pursuit of diversity, writers are being hired who see their role as more political and ideological than functional. This will not turn out well.

4. Today’s hypocrisy note: Did you know that Democratic Senator Tom Carper of Delaware admitted to hitting his wife, now ex-wife, and giving her a black eye? In a 1998 interview, Carper said:

Did I slap my wife 20 years ago? Yes. Do I regret it? Yes. Would I do it again? No. I slapped Diane one time. It was a stupid thing to do and I…regret it now. It caused some discoloration of her left eye and some puffiness

Isn’t that a euphemism and rationalization-fest? You don’t get a black eye from a slap; it takes a punch. It’s not so bad because he only did it once! (Rationalization #20. The “Just one mistake!” Fantasy.) Punching your spouse is signature significance. It he’d so it once, its is extremely likely that it wasn’t the only time. Oh! It caused some “discoloration” and “puffiness”! That’s called a black eye.

Yet Carper remains in good standing in the Democratic Party, and there has been nary a word of protest from the #MeToo wing. Carper even got a highlight moment at last week’s convention, casting the final nominating vote for Joe Biden.

The reason I didn’t know about Carper is that the mainstream media didn’t bother to report it. A recent episode demonstration his anger management issues was harder to cover-up, however. Carper unleashed a stream of “fucks” at an off-screen staffer in a live congressional hearing two days ago that was nationally televised.

18 thoughts on “Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 8/23/2020, As If Anyone Needs To be Warmed Up Today…

  1. Moreover, polls are less reliable now than they were before news media bias began warping them, and Trump’s support, as the last election showed, is especially hard to measure.

    Well, I agree SOMEWHAT; media outlets do put their thumbs on the scale regularly. Which said, back then, it was rare for news outlets to be involved in the polls themselves (which goes to your point), but the challenges pollsters face today due to changes in the ways people communicate are huge.

    Back then, everyone had – and used – landlines. Pollsters could and did use those; the National Do Not Call Registry wasn’t passed into law until 2003 (by amusing coincidence, it was signed into law by George H. W.’s son).

    So merely by using random number generators, pollsters were able to get reasonable cross sections of society just by making enough calls. It was legal to do so, and people generally answered the phone. Today, however, people rely on cell technology, so the ability of pollsters to randomly reach a cross section of the population is greatly diminished.

    • The ubiquity of caller ID is the real culprit here, I think. Back in the land-line days, few people had caller ID, but it’s on every cell phone now. I don’t know anyone who will answer a call from an unknown number these days.

  2. Jack: “ I’ve seen “All Rise;” like most legal shows, it has little to do with reality. ”

    Yes, but I have to disagree with you about All Rise. It is WORSE.

    With Bull, you can laugh at the poor questioning, the mockery it makes of the Rules of Evidence, or even the absurdity of a psychologist being permitted to address the court as a lawyer would.

    All rise is an ethical catastrophe. Ex parte communications galore, judges colluding with counsel to reach certain results.

    If someone thinks Bull is realistic, they might look forward to jury duty. If they think All Rise is realistic, it would undermine public faith in the judicial system.

    -Jut

      • You should probably tune in. Bull is fun because I get to practice my trial objections. All Rise would likely give you ample opportunities to issue spot the Code of Judicial Conduct.

        But, if you have not watched it much, there was an episode where the Judge conspired yo let an illegal immigrant exit through the back door, because ICE was sitting in the courtroom waiting to nab the person.

        -Jut

  3. Re:: No. 1; Pollings Galore.

    I must be living in an alternate reality. Is the NYT suggesting that 1988 polls should have a bearing in 2020? Is the NYT also suggesting that Dukakis polling ahead of Bush the Elder indicates Biden will win against Trump?

    Huh.

    If I recall, a photo of Mike in a tank killed Mike’s run and Bush the Elder won handily. Or do I misremember my history?

    jvb

  4. Now now Jack, Senator Carper obviously has a “mostly peaceful” marriage. Sure, there’s been times where he decked his wife and gave her a shiner, but the vast majority of that marriage was completely peaceful, and marriage is such a fundamental and necessary institution, I just don’t think we should do anything about that.

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