Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/31/2021: Good Morning, Even Though It’s Not Really Such A Good Morning…

Turner Classic Movies will be running “Singin’ in the Rain” again this coming Saturday at 6 pm E.S.T. It always cheers me up. Incredibly, the film now generally regarded as the best original Hollywood musical ever made (I’d rank “Mary Poppins” and “Swingtime” next) didn’t even warrant an Academy Award nomination in 1952, and the other all-time classic in that year’s Oscar race, “High Noon,” was nominated but didn’t win. The Best Picture winner was Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Greatest Show on Earth,” which has been mocked by film critics ever since. I just watched that film again: it must have been stunning on the big screen. TV doesn’t do it justice, and with the demise of big circuses, it’s also an amazing historical artifact. The movie isn’t art, like “High Noon,” and it’s not as entertaining a Gene, Donald and Debbie, but we will never see the like of “The Greatest Show on Earth,” the movie or the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus again. I’m grateful to C.B. for making it. (And that train wreck is amazing!)

1. Now he tells us? In her review of a new book about President Andrew Johnson, the New York Times’ Jennifer Szalai concludes,

“But when Johnson was eventually impeached, it wasn’t for his subversion of Reconstruction; it was for failing to obtain Congressional approval before he fired his secretary of war. The articles of impeachment were “dryly legalistic,” almost all of them focused on violations of the Tenure of Office Act, passed by Congress just the year before. Republicans were trying to portray Johnson as a lawbreaker while studiously avoiding the matter of race. This fixation on technicalities, Levine says, “allowed Congress to impeach Johnson not for doing harm to hundreds of thousands of Black people in the South but for firing a white man….The impeachers may have been trying to be pragmatic, but playing it safe didn’t work; Johnson prevailed by a single vote. As one of his biographers, Hans Trefousse, once put it: ‘If you impeach for reasons that are not the real reasons, you really can’t win.’”

Yesterday I wrote about how the Times and others continue to reference Donald Trump in every negative context imaginable. What does it tell us that when the topic screams out for a Trump analogy that reflects poorly on his attackers, he isn’t mentioned at all?

2. Segue alert: More on mainstream media bias...A new Pew survey concludes that the crash of public trust in the news media has been powered by a wave of Republican disgust. Since 2016, citizens identifying as Republican have gone from a 70% trust percentage to 35%. Gee, what could have happened since 2016 to cause that? It’s inexplicable!

Quick observations:

  • Why was it still so high in 2016? After 8 years of Obama bootlicking? Apparently you have to hit Republicans between the eyes with a 2X4 to get their attention.
  • Pew says 78% of Democrats still trust the news media. That’s disgraceful, and justification all by itself not to trust Democrats. The total rot of journalism ethics is beyond denying and available for all to see, wreaking havoc on our democracy. Yet 78% of Democrats lack the integrity to admit it, because the spin, bias and a fake news benefit their “team”? Shame on them. Yecchh.

3. And while we are on the topic of unethical Democrats: An 83-year-old New Yorker named Diana de Vegh has revealed that Senator John F. Kennedy courted and bedded her in 1958 when she was a 20-year-old student at Radcliffe College. Their affair continued though the first two years of JFK’s Presidency, she says. Of course, de Vegh was just one of many. The man who routinely was rated the greatest U.S. President in public polls until Obama came along was a sociopath and a bumbling leader, but he played President wonderfully, didn’t send dumb tweets, and had the good sense to get assassinated before he could do something really disastrous, having already ducked W.W III via pure moral luck.

4. Good plan! I just read somewhere that White House “sources” say that Biden’s paid liar Jen Psaki keeps calling on Fox News’ Peter Doocy ( a walking, talking example of unethical nepotism, incidentally) to expose conservative “misinformation.” If that’s true, it is one more example of how bias makes you stupid. Psaki isn’t even a good liar, and because Doocy’s questions are usually valid, what their exchanges highlight is how evasive and dishonest the White House is. Meanwhile, it’s not just Doocy who is exposing the Biden White House’s candor problem.

For example, a reporter from The New York Post last week asked Psaki why anyone should believe her and the administration about big things when they don’t tell the truth about small things. The reporter’s example: less than two months into the administration, Psaki responded to a question about Biden’s younger dog, Major, biting a Secret Service agent. Psaki explained that the President’s dogs were still getting acclimated to the White House, and that Major had been “surprised by an unfamiliar person and reacted in a way that resulted in a minor injury.” We now know that this was a cover story: Psaki couldn’t even come clean about a dog bite. Last week, Judicial Watch forced the administration release documents showing that Major bit Secret Service agents or White House visitors every day for eight days between March 1 and March 8, and there was also at least one biting incident at the Biden lake house in Delaware.

The Post reporter agreed that this was “not the world’s most important story,” but asked for an explanation of “why there was a misleading account presented to us.” He added, “If we can’t get honest information about the minor stories, why should we have faith in the administration’s account for larger issues like Afghanistan?”

Well, the obvious answer is “they shouldn’t.” As the Federalist points out, “In common law, there is an expression, ‘Falsus in uno, falsus in omnibus.’ It means ‘false in one thing, false in everything.’ It is a principle judges have used for centuries to instruct juries on how to evaluate the truthfulness of witnesses’ testimony.”

Characteristically, Psaki evaded the reporter’s direct question, pretending that it was about something else. “I know you do keep the dog in the news in the briefing room, so thank you for that,” she said. “That speaks to where Major is located, to be fully transparent in your ongoing interest in the dog.”

The only difference between Psaki and the worst of President Trump’s paid liars is that the journalists that Democrats trust so much abet and enable her lies.

10 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/31/2021: Good Morning, Even Though It’s Not Really Such A Good Morning…

  1. Whew. That’s quite an article by Ms. de Vegh. Thanks for that. I’d only seen the Daily Mail headline. Interesting depiction of the world she lived in at Radcliffe and in D.C.

    It’s stories like these that must drive Bill Clinton absolutely bonkers. Being, as he was, JFK reincarnate, why on earth wasn’t he allowed to fuck everything that wasn’t bolted down? What the Hell happened? Chicks not over twenty-two were his birthright!

  2. What is your take on #1?

    My understanding is that they impeached him for the real reason: he deliberately violated the law. Leaving aside whether that is a “high crime and misdemeanor,” it might pass the smell test, as far as grounds go.

    On the other hand, I am unclear as to what “doing harm to hundreds of thousands of Black people in the South” has to do with anything. He opposed Reconstruction and vetoed legislation that would have helped former slaves, but that is all within his role as President. That does not sound particularly impeachable.

    Or is there some other subtext I am missing? (By the way, I am not ruling out the possibility that Jennifer Szalai is an idiot who: 1) does not understand what constitutes an impeachable offense; and 2) would like to interpret the impeachment of Andrew Johnson as an incident that reveals the systemic racism in the United States.)

    -Jut

    • “Real,” meaning that not liking how a President conducts policy is not a Constitutional reason for impeaching a President, but that was the real reason. Then Congress passed an unconstitutional law that Johnson was duty bound to defy. The reviewer and most historians support the Democratic Party position that hating an elected POTUS is enough to impeach him. I don’t.

    • Remember that the current narrative is that all of American history is racist and that anything that did not further the advancement of black Americans (or further it sufficiently enough) was due to systemic racism. The Woke have already decreed Lincoln not pro-black enough because he wouldn’t risk the border states seceding or risk the Northern population turning against the war if it went from a conflict to preserve the Union to one to abolish slavery. To them, the impeachment of Andrew Johnson for violating an unconstitutional law designed to trap him instead of tossing him out of office for not being progressive enough to force brutal Reconstruction on the South and immediately make all black citizens the legal, social and economic equals of whites smacks of the same systemic racism they claim still exists today.

      By the way, I read a great book recently called, “The Impeachers: The Trial of Andrew Johnson and the Dream of a Just Nation” by Brenda Wineapple.

  3. No dog should be allowed to bite anyone and if they do then the owner should be prosecuted. And if a dog bites people seven days in a row then the owner should be thrown into prison.

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