Afternoon Ethics Jaunt, 10/5/2020: Our Unethical Journalists


1. Multiple head explosion alert from the “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias” files. In the New York Times book Review section. Times business editor David Enrich reviews a book about Fox News by CNN’s fake news ethics watchdog Brian Stelter. The headline for the review is “Fox in the White House.” One would think a reputable book review editor would assign the reviewing of a book by CNN’s main shameless propagandist to a journalist who was at veery least sort of neutral, but no. Enrich is the author of “Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction, “ and apparently incapable of exploiting  the hilarity when a biased and partisan hack like Stelter writes that “Fox News has become little more than a propaganda organ.” That is exaggerated but close enough for journalism horse shoes. However the man who constantly and shamelessly covers for CNN’s pro-Democratic and  anti-Trump propaganda is ethically estopped from making such  criticism, and Enrich disqualifies himself as an objective and honest reviewer when he writes, after noting that CNN is hardly objective, by writing,

“To be clear, there is no equivalence between the occasionally inaccurate and misleading “liberal media,” which generally owns up to its mistakes, and the highly productive factory of falsehoods at Fox.’

Generally owns up to its mistakes? GENERALLY OWNS UP TO ITS MISTAKES!!!!! Enrich’s own paper is one of the primary offenders. Is the key word here mistakes? Maybe that’s the trick: the biased, partisan, untrustworthy news media Enrich is a part of doesn’t own up, because its distortion of the news, like Stelter’s, isn’t a mistake.

OK, I’m going to start the timer…NOW. It’s 2: 17 PM. How long before I find an item debunking Enrich’s characterization? I think I’ll try Professor Turley’s blog: he’s almost as disgusted with the news media as I am. Annnd, TIME! I found one. It’s 2:21 pm….

“The New York Times on Thursday published an opinion column by Regina Ip, the Hong Kong official widely denounced as “Beijing’s enforcer.” Ip declared “Hong Kong is part of China” and dismissed the protesters fighting for freedom in their city.  I have no objection to the publishing of the column. Ip is a major figure in Hong Kong and, despite her support for authoritarian rule and crushing dissent, there is a value to having such views as part of the public debate. Rather, my concern is that the New York Times was denounced by many of us for its  cringing apology after publishing a column by Sen. Tom Cotton (R, Ark.). and promising not to publish future such columns. So it will not publish a column from a Republican senator on protests in the United States but it will publish columns from one of the Chinese leaders crushing protests for freedom in Hong Kong.’

Of course, the apology for publishing an opinion that was not welcomed by the Left wasn’t a mistake. It was a reaffirmation of the Times’ deliberate bias.

2. On a related theme…CNN host Brooke Baldwin is not appearing on her show until after the election for some reason, and in an Instagram post about her enforced hiatus urged readers to vote, adding, “See my necklace?” The photo attached displayed a necklace consisting of an ornate “B.”

3. Imagine, a party with Gretchen Whitmer as a member has the chutzpah to call the President “autocratic.” Michigan’s Governor has been among the most brazen Wuhan virus dictators, with extreme and, the state’s highest court finally ruled, illegal edicts that exceeded both logic and her power. Now the Attorney General of her own state has announced that she won’t be prosecuting based on Whitmer’s orders.

Whitmer then went on CNN and told Jake Tapper,

 “This threat is still very real and the sad irony is on the day that the president was admitted to the hospital with the very virus he called a hoax, the Supreme Court in Michigan undermined my emergency rule, my emergency orders that I’ve had to enact that puts us in the same state as all other states in this nation, to save lives. We’ve saved thousands of lives and the Supreme Court, on a slim majority Republican vote, undermined that effort.”

Of course, that’s one more intentional false narrative, right down there with the apparently unkillable lie that the President has never condemned white supremacists. Apparently Tapper has decided that this is the one Big Lie that he will seek ethics brownie points for debunking: as he had previously, he pointed out that the  President Trump did not called the virus a hoax, but said the President had called the Democratic and media concerns over it a hoax.

The word you are looking for, Jake, is “hyping.” Unfortunately, the President’s fifth grade-level speaking vocabulary doesn’t allow such nuance, but that’s what he meant

22 thoughts on “Afternoon Ethics Jaunt, 10/5/2020: Our Unethical Journalists

    • I wondered what all the hoopla about putting the secret service agents “at risk” was all about. Never would have guess it was about his quick spin to great supporters….

      • I don’t think agents ride in the back with DJT. The limo aka “the Beast” is armor clad with bullet proof glass. He sits in a proverbial isolation caccoon that can withstand an RPG.
        Exactly what kind of mask can do all that?

        Don’t people know this?

        Are health care practioners who work with Covid patients required to self isolate or quarantine after a shift? I don’t think so.

        • The President can not be completely isolated from everyone else,. or even have contact limited to doctors and nurses. There must always be staffers and Secret Service agents within close proximity.

          President Lyndon Johnson was infected with H2N3 flu in December of 1968. There were certainly White House staffers and Secret Service agents within close proximity. To be sure, measures were taken to mitigate the risk of infection to those who had to work with the President then, and there were certainly contingency plans in case to mitigate this risk in case president Johnson, for whatever reason, traveled in a vehicle. (As far as I can tell, he was in the White House the whole time).

          • Got it, thanks.

            Follow up; Is that actually a rule? And if it is, should it be? “journalists are not supposed to endorse candidates outright”? I mean, I get it, you don’t want someone working the polls to be wearing campaign stickers. Journalists are ostensibly supposed to be unbiased and it’s be great if they could at least pretend that while at work… But should they really not be able to signal support outside of work?

            What’s the theory?

            That journalists have undue influence on society? More or less than the platoons of celebrities that signal their voting intentions?

            That having a presidential preference corrupts their ability to report the news in an unbiased fashion? That’s… almost quaint, and I hate to be the one to tell people this, but your parents had sex, and journalists vote whether they tell you who for or not.

            • It was a rule. Keith Olbermann, you may recall, got suspended by MSNBC for donating publically to candidates. Len Downey of the WaPo famously refused to vote so as to maintain the appearance of objectivity.

              The reason BB was cute about her preference was that saying “Vote for Biden” outright would violate the journalism ethics rules that today’s journalists openly ignore anyway. My point, and I should have been clear, is that if its unethical for journalists to endorse candidates in public, doing so sneakily or cheekily isn’t any better.

      • I had left a comment but it’s gone. Weird. probably because I did it from my phone.

        I don’t think B stands for Biden. She’s been wearing that as her signature piece since last September (from her instagram) My guess is it stood for Brooke and her adding “vote” was to tell people to vote, not vote for the guy who’s name starts with what My first name does.

        Make sense? She looks like the type of woman who doesn’t change her jewelry to match her outfits and is more of a person (like me) who wears the same stuff for a LONG time… 🙂

        Unless it’s wrong to tell people to vote as a journalist? Not sure the rules.

        Had she JUST started wearing a “b” then I think it would be unethical and could be read as saying “vote for Biden” but since she’s been wearing that in most all her photos since last year… a stretch for me to go there.

        Does that make sense?

  1. (3) When a Democrat accuses a Republican of doing something nefarious, it means that the Democrat is currently doing that very thing.

    After the legislature refused to extend her 28 day emergency powers (by vote), Gov. Whitmer defied the 1976 law by reinterpreting a 1945 law that most people understood had been superseded by the 1976 law. During this time she:
    •closed businesses
    •forced everyone in the state to wear masks
    •limited travel within the state, even to your own property
    •confined people to their homes except for ‘approved’ reasons
    •banned non-emergency surgeries
    •imposed new restrictions on an county for a rate of 79 cases/million people in an area with 6 times as many deer as people (meaning 1 case in the county of 11,000 people)
    •revoked an elderly barber’s license
    •forced health-care providers to develop plans to make sure treatments aren’t biased based on ‘stereotypes’ of patients
    •limited businesses and events to 25% capacity
    • allowed school boards to stop having public meetings
    •closed all indoor bars despite no evidence bars contribute to the spread of the CCP China Wuhan Kung Flu virus (I had to try to get them all in there)

    Now that the Supreme Court of Michigan has ruled her actions unconstitutional, she has stated she will continue to exercise them for at least 21 more days and they are all still in effect.

    She and the Democratic Party have held her up as an example to the country (she was selected to respond to the President’s State of the Union address, after all). Trump however, is the ‘autocrat’.

    Gov. Whitmer was elected because she promised she would fix the roads with no new taxes. The state had 2 roads taxes on the books and the revenues from neither was going to the roads (thank you Michigan state courts). The taxpayers refused to pass a 3rd roads tax. So, she borrowed a bunch of money for the roads with an executive order (which taxes will have to repay at a high interest rate) and used it to… not fix the roads.

    Governor Whitmer, a model for Democracy!

    • Michael
      Your points are well taken. I have been confused for a long time about the claims that Trump is a dictator, fascist, autocrat etc. Lets me see if this I can construct a list of all those things that he has imposed on the electorate with or without legislative acts.

      * Lowered tax rates across the board.
      * Caused federal regulators to slash unnecessary regulations.
      * Reduced our presence in foreign conflicts without creating new ones.
      * Eliminated the individual mandate on Obamacare
      * Began prison reform and reduced sentences for some serving life for a drug crime

      The only thing he might have done that would be seen as unilateral action is move money around in the defense department for wall construction which Congress then took action against. I cannot think of any other executive orders that negatively impacted my life in any way

      If that is a dictator, what would you call Whitmer? Satan.

      • No, you are not getting with the program. Trump is an autocrat because WHITMER is being autocratic. When the Democrats are being racist, that makes REPUBLICANS racist. When Democrats abuse women, is makes REPUBLICANS misogynist. Because Antifa and BLM are acting like racists, it makes the Proud Boys racist. It is just like Obama always said, everything that he (Obama) did wrong was George W. Bush’s fault and everything that Trump did right is due to him (Obama).

      • No she protected people from infection with COVID. “He died for his own protection”, what one victim…uh…patient…yes…patient’s widow said she was told when she complained that her husband died of a heart attack because they refused to implant the defibrillator he needed.

  2. As a side note to my fellow Ethics Alarms commenters…

    Ethics Alarms has been a staple of reading for many of us over the years. The blogger Jack Marshall has never asked a thing from any of us over the years. Now it’s time that we give something back that shows the value that his efforts have been and continue to be. Jack inspires discussion about the ethical lessons that can be learned by looking at current events. Other than the automatic fees that GoFundMe charges, 100% of the gifted dollars will be sent directly to Jack Marshall for the purpose of getting a new laptop blogging computer of his choice.

    Ethics Alarms New Laptop Fundraiser

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