Wednesday Ethics Wind-Down / Thursday Ethics Warm-Up, 10/14-15/2020: The Unmasking Of News Media And Social Media Bias Continues…[UPDATED!]


1. Notes from The Great Stupid. Here is a passage from a New York Times book review of “The Tragedy of Heterosexuality”:

In examining the pressure to partner with the opposite gender we find the extortions of capitalism, the misogyny of violence against women, the racist and xenophobic erasure of nonwhite families, and the homophobic hatreds that pervade so much of everyday life.”

Well, that and the biological imperative to continue the species. This brilliance is the work of Haley Mlotek,  a senior editor for SSENSE. Imagine: this is the quality of thought among our intellectual class.

No wonder the political class is so idiotic.

2. So this is a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, is it? Nikole  Hannah-Jones, faced with a careful and accurate fisking of her fraudulent “1619 project” by Times columnist Bret Stephens (covered by Ethics Alarms here) did not try to rebut him, or make a civil, reasoned argument. She did what her entire generation of prominent African Americans have been conditioned to do, because it works so well. She accused Stephens and the Times of racism, with a dash of sexism for flavor. Hannah-Jones tweeted,

“In 1894, the NYT called Ida B. Wells a ‘slanderous and nasty-minded mulattress’ for daring to tell the truth about lynching. 100 years later she earned the Pulitzer Prize. These efforts to discredit my work simply put me in a long tradition of [black women] who failed to know their places.”

(It is satisfying to watch the Washington Post pounce on the Times over this fiasco. The rivalry between the papers is one of the few factors that ever pushed one of them into practicing actual journalism these days.)

As for Nikole Hannah-Jones, she is a child. Her tantrum was irresponsible and an embarrassment to the Times, and she should, by rights, be fired. She won’t be, because of black privilege, now enhanced in the wake of the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck. The embarrassment for the Times, however, will linger. This woman was given leave by the paper to create and promote a false historical narrative that was not designed to enlighten but to further a political agenda. In truth, the Times deserves the embarrassment even more than Hannah-Jones deserves to be fired.

3. Congratulations to Jack Dorsey! The CEO of Twitter today gave us one of the best examples of Ethics Alarms Rationalization #19A, “It wasn’t the best choice.” (I hate this rationalization.) Speaking of Twitter’s increasingly infamous attempt to bury the New York Post story about discovered emails suggesting that Joe Biden may have been assisting his ne’er do well son in his Ukrainian influence-peddling, Dorsey said, “Our communication around our actions on the@nypost article was not great.” “Not great” is a misleading and intentionally mitigating description. It was incompetent and wrong.

Nonetheless, Twitter continues to suspend accounts that try to link to the story. The results of this sudden outbreak of obvious and undeniable partisan bias in a Presidential campaign—not that this bias hasn’t been screamingly obvious more more than four years—has had the perverse (but yummy!) effect of not only focusing public opinion on the unethical media effort to control the election by controlling public access to information, but making it impossible to hide the Biden story, which if true, has wide implications. The usual AUC procedure with facts and events that are unhelpful to the Democratic Party’s coup attempts is to bury them: give them little or no coverage, pigeon-hole them as “conservative media” fantasies or Fox News conspiracy theories, and have their pundits declare them “nothing-burgers.” This recipe has been effective; it is amazing, for example, how many legitimate stories that expose the corruption of the Democratic Party or its allies that my sister, an anti-Trump junkie, displays complete ignorance about when we discuss political matters.

This story, however, which if true could be devastating, can no longer be hidden. From Victory Girls:

There are SO many problems with what has happened today. First, that the social media censors even thought this was a good idea. Secondly, that the censors were PROUD of what they were trying to do. Because you know, RULES and such: 

“Facebook’s announcement that it would throttle access to the New York Post’s investigative reporting came via Andy Stone, a former Democratic congressional and campaign staffer who worked for Barbara Boxer and John Kerry.As of this moment, every American voter is currently banned from linking to news reported by one of the largest papers in one of the largest states in the country.”

Even The New York Post’s primary Twitter account has been locked — they claim the Hunter Biden stories violate their rules against the “distribution of hacked material” — something that apparently didn’t matter regarding President Trump’s illegally obtained tax returns. Twitter users can’t even direct message the story. That’s how much CEO Jack Dorsey doesn’t want you to know what’s in it.”Third, because it was a report involving Joe Biden, Hunter Biden, Ukraine, and Burisma. Block that story, but not this one nor this one. 

This targeted censorship unleashed a storm that rained down on social media. Twitter and Facebook had literally created their own Streisand effect by attempting to censor a specific news report, and the NY Post as well. 

Hence pointed observations like this one:

Censored tweet MORE

…and this tweet from CNN’s Jake Tapper, who of late has begun to relocate the integrity that CNN has tried, with some success, to burn out of him:

Tapper Streisand

4. UPDATE: Here is Ann Althouse’s reaction this morning to the New York Times and Washington Post’s coverage—late!—of the New York Post controversy. She makes it clear that both papers are trying to frame the story as false, or at least too suspicious to trust. Ann also reveals that at this point, she’s not making any pronouncements, and that she is abstaining in the 2020 election, presumably for reasons similar to why I have been tending that way.

5. Back to Jake Tapper”s ethics recovery, he actually slapped down Biden’s deputy campaign manager when she made the risible claim that the Senate seeking to confirm President Trump’s Supreme Court nomination was “unconstitutional” be telling her (and his viewers), “Constitutional doesn’t mean I like it or I don’t like it… There’s nothing unconstitutional about what the U.S. Senate is doing.”

6. Is this relevant to anything? GOP Rep. Ben Sasse asked a really silly “Gotcha!” question of Judge Barrett, who has been most impressive so far in the face of withering fire from Democrats. He asked her to name the five guarantees in the First Amendment, and she couldn’t think of the one I always forget: “Congress shall make no law prohibiting the right of the people to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The reason Amy and I have this problem is that the fifth right is usuall just a sub-category to the first, the right to free speech, and court cases have been rare.

I’d call Sasse’s question about as relevant as asking her to name the Seven Dwarfs or Santa’s reindeer.

7. And, finally, in the category of “far too little conveniently and economically late“, we have this from the Associated Press:

Germany has agreed to provide more than a half billion euros to aid Holocaust survivors struggling under the burdens of the coronavirus pandemic, the organization that negotiates compensation with the German government said Wednesday. The payments will be going to approximately 240,000 survivors around the world, primarily in Israel, North America, the former Soviet Union and Western Europe, over the next two years, according to the New York-based Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, also referred to as the Claims Conference.

With the end of World War II now 75 years in the past, Holocaust survivors are all elderly, and because many were deprived of proper nutrition when they were young today they suffer from numerous medical issues. In addition, many live isolated lives having lost their entire families and also have psychological issues because of their persecution under the Nazis.

36 thoughts on “Wednesday Ethics Wind-Down / Thursday Ethics Warm-Up, 10/14-15/2020: The Unmasking Of News Media And Social Media Bias Continues…[UPDATED!]

  1. 6. It’s relevant because of the protests. The “gotcha” is that, if ABC neglects to mention the right to petition the government, it isn’t because she forgot – because we can’t give anyone connected to President Trump the benefit of the doubt – it’s because she doesn’t respect or acknowledge the right to petition the government, especially in the form of protests. Of course, we all know that protesting during a pandemic is a human right….except when folks are protesting the lockdown.

    7. Little known and little publicized fact – in 1952, West Germany set up a Holocaust Restitution Fund which established a tax every German had to pay that was used to compensate Holocaust survivors in the form of pensions and other social welfare programs. Even survivors living outside of Germany received payments, although it is true that the payments were hard to apply for and receive and, obviously, survivors behind the Iron Curtain could not get them.

    After the fall of Communism in the Eastern bloc countries, the program was expanded to include many of those survivors and, last year, the spouses of deceased survivors became eligible to receive payments even if the spouses were not survivors themselves.

    So, this COVID-19 program isn’t the first and only attempt to compensate Holocaust survivors.

  2. 1. This is simply a Kermit the Frog scrunched up face and “Wha?” reaction/

    2. She IS a child, but, you know, patriarchy, white privilege, etc. etc.

    3. This is why early voting is a bad idea, where now apparently Democratic votes are surging, SURGING, I tell you, or so the mainstream media tells us.

    4. Don’t do it, remaining neutral in the face of wrong helps only the wrongdoer, never the wronged.

    5. Good for him.

    6. (eyeroll).

    7. That ranks right up there with the Republic of Ireland pardoning Irish soldiers who joined the Allied cause in WW2 who it treated like traitors afterward, when just about all of them were dead. This was the issue that led me and a co-worker to almost get in a fistfight, only stopped by the boss intervening when we began to shout at one another.

    • 3. Re: early voting
      They’re also saying because of long lines that this is voter suppression. There may be long lines for early voting but I cannot believe they’re all voting D. It isn’t voter suppression – I would expect long lines for early voting; I don’t know about Texas and Georgia, but, in my county early voting starts next week and there is only one location for early voting – the board of elections office. In contrast, on election day there are several voting locations for each congressional district – I counted at least several dozen across the county. I’ve never had to stand in a queue to vote (or at least not for more than a few minutes).

          • Voting here in New Zealand for our national elections started two weeks ago and finishes tomorrow. I like to leave it late into the voting period to vote as Steve-O-in-NJ says there may be later developments so I left voting until yesterday and I was in and out in five minutes. As well as voting for who governs us for the next few years there are two referendums; euthanasia which will likely pass and marijuana legalisation which will likely fail.
            I do think that the voter ID security measures here in New Zealand need tightening because if you know someone is intending to not vote and you can memorise their full name and address then their vote is easy to steal.

              • At least we don’t have one party and its friends completely censoring the news like the unDemocrat Party does in America.
                Generally we don’t have long queues waiting to vote, the vote counting is accurate as every vote is recounted as a check with the parties having scrutineers observing to make sure there is no cheating going on, but we do have the dreaded Green Party or the watermelon party as it is sometimes called (green on the outside and pink in the middle).

                  • The reason I wrote unDemocrat Party is that what is happening in America at the moment seems to me to be the opposite to Democracy. It would be as if the Republican Party decided that America should have a king or the Communist Party started promoting capitalism.

      • Texas started Tuesday. Long lines but efficient. Fort Bend County, though, had technical issues causing longer delays. I voted yesterday. In and out in five minutes. Not even long enough to enjoy a Rush song.


  3. Why would Sasse do such a stupid thing? Did he forget Barrett is a GOP nominee?

    To quite Al Pacino from Glengarry Glen Ross, “Your job is to HELP us, not FUCK US UP!”

    • Nah, I think he was trying to be helpful by lobbing a softball question to her, which she graciously fumbled, and delightfully chuckled over with a “well, d’uh, look on her face.” It didn’t hurt her chances because those who oppose her still oppose her and those who support her simply chuckled that a brilliant like hers could make a mistake. It humanized her. It is a tempest in a tea pot.


  4. On Tapper rediscovering “integrity”; Wolf Blitzer also recently grilled Nancy Pelosi (and you want to talk about childishness, find that clip, Nancy is off her rocker) about not wanting to pass help to people impacted by the COVID lockdowns, because it’s obvious to everyone with a pulse that even though Trump’s number is smaller than the Democrat’s, it’s still a number, and people could really use that money.

    Now, is this a come-to-Jesus moment and is the media, CNN in particular rediscovering journalism? Hah! No! Fools! They just think the election is in the bag, and they want to get back to the business of building credibility when it doesn’t matter so they can hemorrhage it when it does.

    • Oh, and watch this little exchange betwixt a fetching young reporter (with a Dunkin’ Donuts coffee ad in the lower left corner) and Joe Biden’s press secretary. “It’s censorship, children. Repeat after me: ‘Cen Sor Ship.'”


  5. #4 Jack wrote, “Ann also reveals that at this point, she’s not making any pronouncements, and that she is abstaining in the 2020 election, presumably for reasons similar to why I have been tending that way.”

    I’ve been saying since June 2019 that due to the candidates involved the rational thing to do for this presidential election is to vote based 100% on policy and nothing else and I’m encouraging everyone to do the same thing, it really is liberating!

  6. 4. Abstaining from voting against these idiots is virtue signaling lunacy. See below.

    6. How about Cory Booker asking Judge Barrett to condemn white supremacy. What a jerk. She should have responded, “I’m not sorry to have to ask you this, but do you condemn black supremacy?” God, these people are insufferable.

  7. the racist and xenophobic erasure of nonwhite families

    I contemplate with awe the sheer magnitude of derangement required to look at heterosexuality and see the “erasure of nonwhite families”, or of any color of family whatsoever. Where does he imagine nonwhite families come from?

  8. Regarding Number 4, I voted for Trump strictly out of spite for all the people who have polluted my Facebook page for the last 4 to 5 years (Sorry, Kanye, maybe 2024).

    I am not encouraging you to vote for Trump out of spite. However, considering the way he has been attacked, the Office of the Presidency itself was under attack in a way that is probably without precedent (the most likely candidates being Lincoln, Andrew Johnson and Nixon. If not for spite, I would vote for Trump merely for the purpose of showing support for the Office. You can’t engage in 4 years of mostly unfair hostility and not expect a backlash in the form of heightened support for the incumbent.


  9. 2. a-HA! These modern language revisionists can’t fool ME! I just checked the most up-to-date, politically correct source there is – the Merriam-Webster online Dictionary. How conveeeeeenient, for woke children like Nikole Hannah-Jones, to have a ready, brand-new definition for “mulattress.”

    They changed the definition of that, just like they changed the offensiveness status of “sexual preference.”

    NO! They can’t fool ME! After all, EVERYBODY KNOWS that the mulattress is that big, thick, square-cornered pad that Eeyore sleeps on!

  10. #4 I’m beginning to wonder if abstaining from the vote is per se unethical given the route government will take if the dems win.

    Portland, et al, where government allows some citizens trample, literally, the rights of it’s other citizens is what’s coming on a national scale.

    The federal government is preeminent, and has arguably acquired more power than the founders intended. Dems will seek to expand that, and packing the court if they win is a larger hurdle for states to sue and win in the event of the sure to happen federal overreach that results.

    I can’t recall the last time I saw a voter fraud case involving republicans, so the dems are not opposed to winning fraudulently and I’m sure have.

    It may be utilitarian ethics to say abstaining is unethical, but in this case it points right at the individual rights we’re watching get eroded the longer this goes on.

    I think Portland and Seattle give lie to the “it’ll never get that bad nationally” mentality one might be tempted to use. Tell me, five years ago would you have believed a section of a large American city would be taken over by terrorists and held for weeks without a finger lifted by the states government ?

    Given the opposition, it’s unethical not to vote for Trump if you believe in our system of government and the principles of our nation. He’s the only candidate that does.

    Or have Joe and Kamala come out and condemned antifa? If that’s their political base….

  11. #1 Why is an opinion from this company worth a thought?
    “SSENSE is an e-commerce and brick-and-mortar luxury and streetwear retailer based in Montreal, Canada.

    #2 The Pulitzer Prize was established by the owner of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the New York World, both known for their sensational reportage openly called “yellow journalism”. My mother remembered The World when she was a kid as a favorite of the whole family because of its comic strips (it was the first to have a Sunday supplement, and in color!), and that the first time she heard the word “hypocrite,” it was her father being accused by a soon-to-be-erstwhile friend of his for removing the humor section before putting the rest of the paper, folded neatly, unread, into the kindling box . Pulitzer himself was a New York congressman and a national mainstay of the Democratic Party. To his credit, he did invent crowdfunding — the largest ever — to erect the pieces of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor … instead of here in San Francisco where its major alternate destination would have been smack in the way of the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge.

    #3 Definition of MONOPOLY: ” a single company or group … large enough to own all or nearly all of the market (goods, supplies, commodities, infrastructure, and assets) for a particular type of product or service.”

    Don’t Facebook and Twitter (and Amazon and Google) qualify as marketing such SERVICE?

    #4 I’m afraid I have to vote for Rationalization #22, aka the best of two bad choices. I did it last time, reluctantly, and it worked. Well, sort of. Essentially, I vote for the best chance of the winner whose mind and behavior could be most likely to chan… oh, forget it.

    #5 One has to have a strong Constitution to put up with people like that.

    #6 I stopped listening; it was too painful. Whatever happened to secret interrogations?

    #7 I thank A. M. Golden for saving me from having to look up the information I knew was there.

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