This morning served as a perfect example of how the news is now automatically politicized and prioritized for partisan ends. On CNN, a panel was discussing the mass shooting in Boulder. Colorado, and instantly transforming the segment into gun-control mass rant. On Fox, the crisis of the day was the chaos at the border, where the virtual open-borders policies everyone—including those planning to be illegal immigrants—knew would come in along with the Biden administration is having the predictable effects. That segment was a diatribe against the wink-wink, nudge-nudge Democratic enabling of uncontrolled immigration.
CNN wins in the closely contested dubious ethics category by having “contributor” Andrew McCabe on the panel. McCabe epitomized the FBI’s corrupt and partisan efforts to injure the Trump Administration from within; he leaked information to the media and lied about it; he was fired, and deserved to be. McCabe’s high-profile anti-Trump conduct was sufficient to get him a gig on CNN, where being part of “the resistance” is all one needs to endear oneself to the Trump Deranged.
McCabe should have lost his law license, as any attorney who leaks confidential information should, and personally, I wouldn’t trust him to walk my dog.
1. You want to be paid $15 an hour for doing a job this poorly? This morning, having been forced to get up and move my car at 7 am, I decided to drive to the local McDoanld’s for my favorite guilty morning pleasure, a sausage biscuit and some hash browns. For once I could understand the heavily accented woman on the intercom, and I made a clear and distinct order. But given false security by this unusual development, for the first time in a long while I didn’t check the bag—this McDonald’s bats about .500 in getting orders right—and sure enough, when I arrived home, I found an Egg McMuffin instead of a sausage biscuit. I hate Egg McMuffins.
This isn’t brain surgery. I know it’s a crummy job, but it is what they are being paid for. Don’t tell me someone who is that inattentive deserves “a living wage.” Pay them for not working, if you foolishly want to treat them as charity cases; at least then they aren’t getting rewarded for doing a job badly.
2. Why can’t McDonald’s work this efficiently? My experience getting my first Wuhan virus vaccination (in Alexandria, Virginia) was excellent. The elaborate process, staged at a middle school about five minutes from my home, was well-planned, cheerful, and quick, even on a Saturday with long lines. I must have personally thanked ten volunteers.
3. Oh, shut up! (1) Ex-Trump election lawyer Sidney Powell, facing more than $1.3 billion in damages over her post-election accusations, told a judge through her attorneys that the defamation lawsuit Dominion Voting Systems has filed against her should be dismissed because “no reasonable person” would believe that her well-publicized comments suggesting a coordinated plot against former President Donald Trump were “statements of fact.” Even Dominion characterized her statements as “wild accusations” and “outlandish claims,” her lawyers noted. “Such characterizations of the allegedly defamatory statements further support defendants’ position that reasonable people would not accept such statements as fact but view them only as claims that await testing by the courts through the adversary process.”
I think she wins on that point, but I have ethical problems with this:
“Reasonable people understand that the ‘language of the political arena, like the language used in labor disputes … is often vituperative, abusive and inexact,’” her motion to dismiss argues. “It is likewise a ‘well recognized principle that political statements are inherently prone to exaggeration and hyperbole.’” “It would make no sense, and serve no public purpose, to give immunity for statements made during the course of litigation – which are themselves public – but burden lawyers with the threat of billion-dollar defamation verdicts when the same allegations are made at press conferences and news releases announcing and discussing the case,” she argues.
Here is the ethics problem: lawyers are required by their ethics rules to not engage in dishonesty, misrepresentation, fraud or deceit. Advocating a client’s claim, making it clear that the position being put forward is the client’s and not the lawyer’s, does have “immunity.” But cases should not be tried in the media, and lawyers should not be seen by the public as hucksters and propagandists. Or liars.
4. Oh, shut up! (2) Maya Phillips, a New York Times “critic at large,” writes this in her review last week of a new 4-hour cut of the Justice League of America film first released in 2017:
“So here comes Superman, our hero ex machina: a white male Übermensch as the default image of hope and salvation, literally raised from the dead.”
Yes, a Times reviewer has to inject accusations of white supremacy into the review of a comic book movie, complete with Nazi jargon. This is, you know, knee-jerk anti-white racism, but Phillips, as a “critic of color” assumes she can get away with it.
Well, not with me, she can’t. Rush Limbaugh was tarred as a racist for adopting a satirical reference to Barack Obama as a “magic Negro,” and that was nowhere near as directly offensive as Phillips’ rhetoric. I could be wrong, but I think the reason Superman is the Big Enchilada in super-hero movies is because he’s the most powerful by far, and his skin color has nothing to do with it.
Phillips then adds, “Despite the other powerful, charismatic heroes on the roster (Gadot and Momoa are still intriguing to watch, even in the least flattering sequences), “Justice League” can’t see past the man with an S on his chest.” Yes, Maya, that’s because Superman is more powerful than Wonder Woman (Gadot) and Aquaman (Momoa) put together and multiplied by ten. (And Aquaman is pretty useless out of water.) I know, I know: Wonder Woman is a woman, and Aquaman isn’t white, so that that’s what really matters. At least to you.
Have they found a vaccine for The Great Stupid yet?
5. Answer: Clearly not. According to a letter from Tufts University President Tony Monaco, the Massachusetts school will spend $25 million to “advance equity, inclusion, healing, and justice” in its community and alumni networks. Student and faculty contributors crafted five final reports with recommendations to address institutional racism at the university. One part of the initiative will be to jettison the portraits of the individuals who have led Tufts over its history. Until September 2020, eleven portraits of Tufts’ former presidents hung in the Coolidge Room, often described as “Tufts’ oldest and most ceremonial space.” They were taken down literally because they were all white. The report recommends “that the space reflect the work happening on campus and that new installations must center marginalized voices from the university’s past and present.” The portraits are now in limbo, but are likely to end up on an an online database with all university portraits.
Such complete disrespect for those who have made a major contribution to an institution’s existence and reputation is indefensible and self-destructive. It does echo the logic of the statue toppling and honor-erasing now in vogue nationwide, however. Think about it: a well-earned honor—having a portrait hanging in a hallowed place in the institution an educator once lead–is eliminated because of that individual’s skin shade. That’s called an “anti-racism” measure.
Paging Inigo Montoya!