Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/30/21: Ready to Play Ball (Sigh)…Plus Leaks, GULC, Pandemic Deaths, China, And Narratives.

Well, I’m reluctantly back on board for the baseball season in general, and the Boston Red Sox rooting section specifically. It was touch and go for a while. For the first time since I was 11, I bailed on the baseball season completely with months to go last year. The reason was disgust. I was nauseated by the fake fans in the stands, the fake sounds emanating from the speakers, and the ridiculous rule experiments, like play-offs that admitted losing teams, seven inning games in double-headers and extra-innings beginning with runners on base for no discernible reason. Then there was MLB’s ostentatious suck-up to Black Lives Matter, with the Red Sox being prime offenders in that category, plastering giant salutes to anti-white racism in centerfield and outside Fenway Park.The final straw for me was the the spontaneous player walk-out to protest the “racism” of Breonna Taylor’s accidental death in a police shootout, which had nothing to do with race. MLB simply capitulated to a wildcat strike, players not only playing politics, but racial politics, partisan politics, and worst of all, ignorant politics. That did it. I didn’t watch a game or follow the team of my childhood for the rest of the season, nor any of the post-season. The Red Sox cooperated by stinking up the field as they hadn’t done since a couple of seasons in the Nineties.

I tried not to think about baseball during the off-season, because I dreaded having to make the decision of whether to stick with the game that had given me so much pleasure, excitement and wisdom since the first decade of my life. Further alienating me was Boston’s unethical (but popular!) choice to bring back Alex Cora as the team manager, despite his role in orchestrating season-long cheating in Houston as the 2017 Astros bench coach, and allowing a lesser but still significant cheating scheme to take place during the 2018 Red Sox season as my home team’s manager.

The first test came when I had to decide whether to pay for the Direct TV MLB broadcasts. I paid. Then Sirius-XM (the bastards) announced that the MLB radio channels would no longer be free with my satellite radio subscription, and that for the coming season I would have to pay an additional 6 bucks a month. I paid that too.

I’m not happy, and I am certainly not looking forward to the 2021 season, which starts in a few days, the way I once welcomed the “boys of summer.” In the end, the decision came down to loyalty, gratitude, forgiveness, and hope. As I already stated, baseball has given me many decades of joy and entertainment, and as I used to say on my professional biography, the Red Sox taught me much of what I believe about “the nature of good, evil, justice, and chaos.” I owe the team more than a personal “cancellation” over one misbegotten season.

1. More on the ongoing Georgetown University Law Center ethics meltdown…Professor Josh Blackmun has an analysis here; Ethics Alarms tracked this story earlier this month. Blackmun writes in his conclusion,

The Georgetown University Law Center is in a precarious state. Junior faculty members will be required to conform to standards inconsistent with free thought and exchange. Senior faculty members who resist will be forced out, quietly or overtly. And the most outraged students now have absolute control over the law school. Any demand they make, no matter how unreasonable, must be accommodated. Again, GULC is the canary in the coal mine. These changes will soon trickle down throughout the rankings–unless an administration is willing to say no to groups. I doubt many deans have that intestinal fortitude to say a student’s offense is unreasonable. Indeed, their own jobs may be on the line. I fear for the state of the legal academy.

2. Hold that narrative! Apparently the New York Times reporters are under orders to repeat the words “falsehoods” and “false claims” in every reference to President Trump’s complaints about the 2020 election, as well the point that the accusations were “false” at any opportunity. But this isn’t reporting. It has yet to be determined that there wasn’t substantial fraud and other illicit manipulations of the voting, substantial circumstantial evidence that there was, and the Times standard verbiage erases the substantive distinctions between Trump’s more outrageous claims (like that he really won in a landslide) with legitimate controversies. I may have missed one, but I have never read a Times article that referred to the false claims of Democrats and the news media that the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russia.

In one Times article last week, the line was “false claims that the Democrats cheated” in the 2020 election. But Democrats DID cheat: the decision of the Michigan Court of Claims five days before the Times assertion confirmed that they did. The only question is how many other ways did they cheat, in how many other states, and how much of a difference did it make?

3. Why no Biden White House leaks? Jack Shafer is such a partisan pundit that he’s usually impossible to take seriously. When I saw the Politico headline on Shafer’s piece, “Why Trump’s White House Leaked and Biden’s Hasn’t,” and was in search of a good giggle, I decided to break with my usual practice and read it. This time, however Shafer’s analysis, at least as far his explanation for the endless Trump White House leaks, converges with mine. The reason Trump’s White House leaked so badly was two-fold: try as he might, Trump was unable to avoid employing Washington swamp creatures who were intent on sabotaging him, and many of the political naifs he hired from his own world of business, media and entertainment had, like the President himself, possessed no ethical principles or sense of professionalism whatsoever. The man hired Omarosa, the back-stabbing villain from “The Apprentice,” for heaven’s sake. He hired Steve Bannon! As Shafer notes, Trump himself had been a notorious leaker. He also was an uncontrollably chaotic manager, and such an environment as his style nurtured encourages a lack of loyalty and discretion.

Shafer does not mention that the news media under Biden is not eager to publish damaging information about this President while it was dedicated to bringing down Trump by lies, hearsay, rumors and any means necessary. The only part of Shafer’s piece that made me laugh out loud was his claim that Biden “hasn’t messed up yet.” Shafer really implies that there isn’t anything juicy to leak—like no copious incidents of incipient dementia in the Oval Office, or puppet-mastering by Susan Rice, Kamala Harris, or Dr. Jill Biden.

Oh, those stories are coming. Count on it.

4. What a surprise! Mexico’s government acknowledged three days ago that the country’s true death toll from the coronavirus pandemic is almost 60% more than the official test-confirmed number it had made public…and that’s just Mexico. One of the more despicable—and obviously false, if you weren’t trying to make the Trump administration look bad—claims flogged by the news media and the rest of the AUC last year was that the U.S. Wuhan virus death toll was disproportionately high. As explained here at Ethics Alarms (but seldom in the mainstream media), the US chose to over-report its pandemic deaths by routinely ruling anyone who dies while infected with the virus—like George Floyd!—as a virus victim, while other nations have minimized their pandemic fatalities, or lacked the capability of tracking them. But as Rev. Wright liked to say, “God damn America!” Our own news media, along with the CDC, set out to make the U.S. look as bad as it could.

5. Is it really that hard to find an authority without a conflict of interest? I don’t know whether the Wuhan virus escaped from a laboratory or not, but I do know that the World Health Organization has shown itself to be too closely tied to China to trust regarding any finding on the issue, and that any individual or organization, like CNN this morning, that quotes WHO as an authority without reviewing those ties isn’t trustworthy either. Then there is this: Dr. Ian Lipkin was quoted by CBS and USA Today as expert rebuttal to Dr. Robert Redfield’s claim linking the virus to a Chinese lab. The media sources didn’t let the public know that Lipkin also has long-standing ties to China.

In 2016, Lipkin received the International Science and Technology Cooperation Award at a ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, presided over by Chinese Communist leader Xi Jinping. The award, China’s top science honor for foreign scientists, prompted Lipkin to gush, “It solidifies my relationship with dear friends and colleagues in the Chinese Academy of Science, Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Health, and with the people of China. A 2020 Columbia University press release notes “the government of China honored Ian Lipkin with a medal recognizing his profound impact on their country,” adding that he “has worked closely with scientists and officials in China.”

This doesn’t mean that Lipkin is right about the virus’s origins and it doesn’t mean he is wrong. It means he cannot be regarded as a disinterested, objective observer, and that it is unethical for news organizations to present him as one.

11 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/30/21: Ready to Play Ball (Sigh)…Plus Leaks, GULC, Pandemic Deaths, China, And Narratives.

  1. #5 – So the WHO, one year after the Wuhan outbreak, went on a “fact-finding mission” to China to determine the cause of that outbreak. That’s one year for the Chinese Communist Party to dispose of whatever evidence it would rather keep hidden and fabricate new evidence to replace it with. One year to identify witnesses, disappear witnesses, get a hold of witnesses’ friends and family to hold as hostages. That’s when the WHO comes in for a few highly chaperoned weeks where they get to see exactly what the CCP wants them to see.

    Why do they even bother with such an exercise, when they must know it can have no credibility?

    • It’s like the International Red Cross going to inspect the “model” concentration camp at Theresienstadt and walking away, reporting, “Nothing to see here” after the Nazis cleaned everything up, deported half the residents to Auschwitz and made sure anyone who was left knew what to expect if they put on anything but smiling faces when the team was there.

  2. Can anyone find me articles from the same people who lectured us about calling it the “China Virus” or the “Wuhan Virus” now lecturing us about the racism of calling the latest fear-fest the “Brazilian Variant”?

    See, for some reason it seems like they are quiet here and it’s just one more tiny brick to add to a growing edifice that sure looks a lot like mainstream media beholden to the Chinese Communist Propaganda.

  3. On 4…

    I *hate* these comparisons with a burning passion. They’re garbage. Countries are different. Climates are different. Population densities are different. Culture is different. Reporting standards are different. Almost nothing is actually comparable apples to apples, and yet Democrats are attempting to do just that and blame it all on Trump.

    Trump, who could not possibly have done the things that would be necessary to stamp out Covid. Not only does the power for most of the decisions nest at the state level, but even the things Trump could do was fought tooth and nail by Democrats; I’m old enough to remember when Trump shut down air travel from China and Democrats called him a racist.

    Because of the way America is set up, the states were left to figure out what worked best for them. And what Trump said or did was basically irrelevant, because the states could (and often did) just ignore him. 15,000 seniors are dead because of Andrew Cuomo’s nursing home policies in a more directly attributable way than anything Trump did. And yet, it’s still “Trump’s body count”.

    There were so many things he did that were bad and criticizable, his opponents don’t need to lie like this.

    • Obviously they did, though, because they decoded early on to jettison fairness and fact. Everything Trump said or did was bad, triggering one of the Big Lies or justifying one of the removal plots. Nothing he did was praiseworthy, even things that clearly worked, or that Democrats of the past had cheered for, like removing our troops from foreign soil. Droning terrorists. Improving black employment. Routine Presidential conduct was deemed worthy of impeachment. No amount of legitimate reasons to criticize him was “enough.”

    • “There were so many things he did that were bad and criticizable, his opponents don’t need to lie like this.” Sums up the Trump administration and why anyone who isn’t part of the resistance tended to disbelieve the reals complaints about him. The media provably cried wolf too many times.

  4. Re: Baseball. MLB finally pushed me out the door with it’s covid panic. Young, healthy, ATHLETIC, spoiled gazillionaires were scared to death of catching a fucking virus. Ooooooh! I don’t wanna die! Even worse: touring pro golfers. Again, young, healthy ATHLETIC, spoiled brat gazzilionaires terrified of a flu. Afraid to touch clubs that were handed to them by their caddies. Pathetic. Sorry boys of MLB and the pro golf tours, count me out. I’d rather watch test tubes on TV or watch grass grow. Screw you, you bunch of babies.

  5. Stopped reading to declare GULC’s Blackmun an ethics hero. Wonder how long he will last? Hope he already has a resume/contact at George Mason — it has some integrity. More later.

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