Item #2 in today’s warm-up was wrong, false, and based on bad information that was, I believe, deliberately posted by others on the web to deceive. As you can see by viewing the entire context of the report, O’Donnell and CBS did nothing unethical or misleading. This screenshot
..shows a chyron that had been up through several video clips, and at the second the screen above appeared, the voiceover referenced Trump’s Hispanic support.
There is no way anyone who had watched the segment could have concluded that the shot was intended to fool viewers into thinking those were Biden supporters. The claims to the contrary were deliberate disinformation, and they hooked me, in part because of confirmation bias, as I believe the news media is capable of even the most dastardly lies in their campaign to mislead the public, and in part because I didn’t think anyone would claim something this easily checked if it wasn’t true.
Well, @AZ GOP LD 25, a ” Trump Victory Field Organizer Realtor/Owner of Tracy DuCharme Group” did: she’s a liar. Then The Last Refuge, a right wing website did, and its false story was picked up by The Citizens Free Press, the news aggregator.
Then I spread the lie further.
Careless, and stupid.
I apologize to readers, Nora O’Donnell, who was very nice to me when I was a guest on her show, and CBS. Much thanks is due to mermaidmary99, who sent me the video above.
I wanted to get that up as soon as possible, but I have more to say.
- I can’t check the veracity of every story I discuss here. I just can’t; I don’t have the time, and I don’t have the resources. I know that’s a real weakness of Ethics Alarms, just as I can’t cover all the important ethics issues that need to be covered and analyzed. All I can do is the best I can, and in this case, I didn’t even do that.
- I hate deliberately false stories, even supposedly humorous “hoaxes” when they are not obviously gags. I don’t forgive sources that fool me, either. I am inclined to trust people. I take it personally when someone exploits that trust, and by doing so cause me to disappoint those who trust me.
- This particular “gotcha!” emerged from the muck of Twitter. That should have tipped me off. I would seriously consider firing an employee who set off a chain of misleading stories with an irresponsible tweet like hers. Twitter should ban her for using Twitter to perpetrate a fraud. There have to be consequences for using social media like that.
- The Citizens Free Press has has a good few months as it has captured some of the Drudge Report’s readers who have become disgusted with the recent anti-Trump tilt of the formerly favorite news aggregator of the Right. I had not been convinced of CFP’s legitimacy; for one thing, its headlines are too often sophomoric: “CBS News is so busted…” was the link to the fake story about O’Donnell. It’s 9:30 pm now, and the false story is still up. That’s it for me: I won’t be using Citizens Free Press again.
- But then, who can I trust? There’s no news source that both covers a wide range of topics and issues and is objective enough to rely upon.
- Finally, this happened in part because I was rushed. As the post’s heading suggested, I was dealing with an unusual number of crises and distractions from the moment I got out of bed. One of my ethics rules that I emphasize in trainings is that pressure and haste lead to unethical conduct.
It’s easy to explain why this true; obviously it isn’t as easy to avoid the problem.