Post-Thanksgiving Ethics Indigestion,11/26/2020: A Whole Lot Of Shaky Ethics Performances Going On

1. AstraZeneca! In Jurassic Park’s control center, as the first tour of the park begins having technical glitches, creator John Hammond turns with contempt to tech guru Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight, aka “Newman”) and spits, “Our life is in your hands and you have butterfingers?” That was the first thing that jumped into my head when I read this:

The announcement this week that a cheap, easy-to-make coronavirus vaccine appeared to be up to 90 percent effective was greeted with jubilation. “Get yourself a vaccaccino,” a British tabloid celebrated, noting that the vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, costs less than a cup of coffee.

But since unveiling the preliminary results, AstraZeneca has acknowledged a key mistake in the vaccine dosage received by some study participants, adding to questions about whether the vaccine’s apparently spectacular efficacy will hold up under additional testing.

Scientists and industry experts said the error and a series of other irregularities and omissions in the way AstraZeneca initially disclosed the data have eroded their confidence in the reliability of the results.

Competence. Diligence. Responsibility. The duty of care. Trustworthiness.

2. Butterfingers II: The case of the premature obituaries. Radio France Internationale (RFI) mistakenly published online the obituaries of about 100 public figures who were and are still alive.Among those declared dead were Queen Elizabeth II, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Carter, Yoko Ono, Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot. Google and Yahoo then picked up the fake news, which was, of course, spread on social media.

RFI apologized for the error last week, saying a “technical problem” had caused unedited drafts of the death notices to go up on its website.

Right. All by itself. RFI celebrity news editor Dennis Nedry was unavailable for comment.

3. “Mister we could use a man like Alex Trebeck again…” Today in the cancel culture: No sooner was former “Jeopardy!” champion Ken Jennings named a temporary guest host of the traumatized show in the wake of the passing of long-time quiz-master Alex Trebek (if indeed he is dead) then the cancel mob was after him for a tweet he issued in 2014. The offensive Twitter statement was “Nothing sadder than a hot person in a wheelchair.”

The Horror.

There was nothing wrong with that tweet or that sentiment—think Christopher Reed, Kirk Douglas, Deborah Kerr or Annette Funicello—and it is obvious to anyone not looking to be offended. But never mind : the disability community can get cheap publicity and a sliver of power by trying to hurt Jenning’s reputation and career over a six-year old throwaway tweet. Rebecca Cokley, director of the Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress, wrote, “Not sure I’ll be able to watch ‘Jeopardy’ after learning what an ableist-trash heap Ken Jennings is. That just sucks.”


Following the script, Jennings is now groveling apologies. I sure hope he reminded the producers of “Jeopardy” about the tweet before agreeing to step into Alex’s still-warm shoes, since he had already issued an apology for the remarks in 2018, when the Cancel Crowd hadn’t started taking steroids. (Wait—isn’t this double jeopardy?)

Ethics Alarms does salute Jennings for integrity: He has refused to take down the tweet as a matter of principle, saying in 2018, “I’m strongly against deleting old tweets, even the gross ones…seems like whitewashing.” I don’t agree with him if a tweet conveys misinformation or the author regards it as both unfair and needlessly hurtful. Taking down a social media post or statement because cyber-bullies demand it, however, is cowardly, and just empowers the jerks.

4. Worst Excuse By A Hypocritical Mayor Ever. Wow, Coloradans. You voted for this guy? After being exposed as a flagrant imperialist and violating his own anti-pandemic edicts minutes after issuing them (as discussed in yesterday’s post) Denver Mayor Michael Hancock issued this statement:

Mayors apology

Ugh. Try that one in court, you ass. Or when your wife catches you in bed with another woman after lecturing her on the importance of trust and fidelity. I much prefer the explanation of another hypocritical mayor, the remarkable Marion Barry of Washington, D.C., who was caught smoking crack with an old girlfriend a few days after warning D.C. students about the dangers of drugs. He memorably said, “Bitch set me up.”

Hancock’s conduct was signature significance for an untrustworthy phony. No apology can undo the reality. Hancock should resign.

18 thoughts on “Post-Thanksgiving Ethics Indigestion,11/26/2020: A Whole Lot Of Shaky Ethics Performances Going On

  1. 3) Why does anyone give a F what anyone says on Twitter? The only time I ever hear about Twitter is reading it somewhere other than Twitter; many times if I even encounter a twitter reference I’ll move on immediately. I’ve never been on twitter. The only way I’d be on Twitter is if I had a lobotomy first. What happened to the strategy to just ignore these mob mentality assholes? This apology business needs to stop somewhere; the longer it goes on the worse these twitter mobs will become it seems.

    • This is a question for which the answer will apparently only be known by the prigs on Twitter. The rest of us capable of actual independent thought will be eternally perplexed.

      Perhaps, when we shuffle off to our reward, God will enlighten us.

  2. 2. “I can’t take ’em like that, it’s against regulations”.
    3. According to the Blaze article, the tweet was eventually deleted.

  3. 1. Jack said:

    Competence. Diligence. Responsibility. The duty of care. Trustworthiness.

    Also process, consistency, prudence, pursuit of excellence and reliability.

    3. Regarding Ken Jennings, who wants to bet that Jeopardy will eventually bow to the woke cancel prigs in the Twitter cloud and send him back to emeritus status?

    There are some hosts who can never be successfully replaced. Jack Sajack and Alex Trebeck are good examples, along with Gene Rayburn of The Match Game fame among others. When people become sufficiently identified with an entertainment product, there is simply no way forward once they’re gone.

    4. Colorado mayor


    Well, as we’ve seen, the Democrats embrace “Do as I say, not as I do” and never fail to use an appeal to emotion when they’re caught, knowing full well that most of their voters are always on board for an appeal to emotion, and can’t wait to forgive him. A real, level 1 or 2 apology would only leave the Denver democrat voters confused and calling for his job.

    When issuing an apology, it always pays to know your audience, even if getting value out of it isn’t exactly the idea …

    • Of course not, Lucky, Jack knows his actors and actresses like we mere mortals know the backs of our hands, or, probably better. Christopher Reed was most famous for voicing Mr. Ed as well as playing a tractor on “Green Acres.” Get with the program.

  4. Thanks for the Jerry Lee Lewis. When asked if he was jealous of Elvis’s success, he said, “Nah. He had somethin’ I don’t have.”

    I wonder when the cultural appropriation squads are going to come after the white rockers who simply ripped off black blues guys?

    • If anyone accuses Steve Winwood of appropriation, I’m going to hunt them down and strangle them with banjo strings. I am the 21st century rendition of Quick-Draw McGraw as El Kabong. It is more plausible and likely that “Black” artists have appropriated WINWOOD, more than the other way around.

  5. I’ve read so many psuedo-psycholigical articles about how Republican are more reactionary and think with their lizard brain’s, but Democrats are more open minded and thus less reactionary.

    Yet, it is the Democrats living in fear during the virus.

    • Let us not forget this.

      I know we’re all tired of the polling-industrial complex and rightly so, but let’s please remember that a December 2016 YouGov poll found half of all Clinton voters that year didn’t just believe that Russia “interfered” in the election to the advantage of Trump, but that they tampered with the ballot tallies and effectively hacked the voting machines. By 2018, a supermajority of Democratic voters expressed this belief.

        • Here is more from Tracey.

          Of course what happened subsequently was that even years after Trump had safely taken power, the corporate media’s top luminaries continuously used the phrase “hacked the election” to describe the purported actions of Russia on behalf of Trump in 2016. Supermajorities of Democratic voters came to believe not just that Russia “interfered” in the election, but directly installed Trump into power by tampering with voting machines. Now, though, journalists who fostered these blinkered beliefs will feign incredulity that their conduct could have contributed to widespread “doubt” as to the “legitimacy” of that election. And they’ll be aghast at any suggestion that this was inevitably going to generate yet another crazed anti-legitimization initiative in 2020.

          To paraphrase the film Joker, these people should get what they “fucking deserve”.

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