This is the real Columbus Day: After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus saw a Bahamian island on October 12, 1492. He believed he had reached East Asia: Chris was right about the world being round, but it was bigger than he thought. His expedition went ashore and claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, the sponsors of his attempt to find a western ocean route to to the far East. Columbus changed the route of history, science and culture, with incalculable effects long and short term, good and bad. He also was directly responsible for brutal treatment of Native Americans, because he was a product of the 15th Century. We honor historical figures for their positive achievements, and if they are positive and important enough, the personal and public evils such figures might have also had on their ledgers are secondary. That is as it should be: the alternative is to honor no one at all, and to make history a parade of villains….
…although I would be hard pressed to find anything negative to say about the amazing Desmond Doss, who became the first Conscientious Objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor on this date in 1945. Ethics Alarms told his astounding story here, in 2017; so did the film “Hacksaw Ridge.” I still have a hard time believing it.
1. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! (#1): Here is the Washington Post, deliberately promoting statue toppling with a handy-dandy guide. This is the kind of thing that made me stop subscribing to my hometown paper. It does not explain why I subscribe to the Times, which just raised its rates to 90 bucks a month.
2. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! (#2): From Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” on CNN (That’s the hangout of absurdly unreliable Brian Stelter, who pretends to opine on journalism ethics while having none of his own):
Once respectable liberal journalist James Fallows, now employed by the extreme left-wing “Atlantic”: “The struggle for us all in the media is if we keep pointing out that one side of the political divide is actually instigating these things, defying subpoenas, trying to renege on the debt, holding up State Department appointments, et cetera, we are conscious of seeming shrill, we’re conscious of seeming unbalanced, we’re conscious of seeming to take a side. And so it’s something about our culture, we need to figure out how we can give out a narrative of the actual realities recognizing how this is at odds with our conventions.”
Oh, no! Seeming to take a side when they are taking sides? Seeming to be shrill when they are shrill? “Actual realities,” meaning “our biased views, represented as irrefutable truth to accomplish our agendas”? Whatever shall good journalists do? Wow. [Pointer: Steve-O-in NJ]
3. Oh hell, let’s do another one…. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! (#3): Fearmongering? What fearmongering? The Boston Globe helpfully offered images that show “what Boston landmarks will look like underwater depending on the climate choices we make.” Science! Actual realities!
4. And speaking of historical icons with a frightening dark side....The 1994 PBS documentary “America and the Holocaust: Deceit and Indifference” revealed disturbing facts about the degree to which a President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s State Department deliberately blocked imperiled Jews in Europe from finding refuge in the United States by blocking information, creating red tape obstruction, and forging an ant-Semitic policy with FDR’s full knowledge (but “plausible deniability). It was not until FDR’s own Treasury Department (under Henry Morgenthau, a Jew in the President’s inner circle) threatened to blow the whistle on the bigots at State that Roosevelt reluctantly created an agency to rescue Jewish refugees. About 20 minutes from my home is the huge FDR memorial. This part of his legacy is never mentioned, just as his illegal internment of Japanese-American citizens, and his agreement to hand over Eastern Europe to Communist domination. after the war. But Roosevelt may have saved the nation from collapse during the Depression, and the world itself from Nazi domination. That’s justification enough for recognition in the nation’s Capital, I think.
5. The rest of the story: Jon Gruden is out. Three days ago Ethics Alarms discussed the leaked, and old, email of NFL coach Jon Gruden, in which he attacked an African American union leader using the size of his lips. My conclusion: “Gruden’s excuse marks him as dumb and a liar who can’t keep his dishonest excuses straight. “I wasn’t making a racist comment when I said his lips looked like black inflated tires, I just use ‘rubber lips’ to mean liar, but…but.. I don’t believe he’s a liar either!” is the epitome of trying to dig one’s way out of a hole….I think Gruden is toast, and deserves to be.” And now we learn that Gruden has resigned, as in “Quit or be fired.” Ethics Alarms has flagged Gruden as an ethics villain before, but his team and the NFL did nothing, because pro football is an ethics desert. However, once more emails were leaked, Gruden’s prejudices and ugliness became untenable:
“Gruden’s departure came after a New York Times report that NFL officials, as part of a separate workplace misconduct investigation that did not directly involve him, found that Gruden had casually and frequently unleashed misogynistic and homophobic language over several years to denigrate people around the game and to mock some of the league’s momentous changes. He denounced the emergence of women as referees, the drafting of a gay player and the tolerance of players protesting during the playing of the national anthem, according to emails reviewed by The Times.”
“… called the league’s commissioner, Roger Goodell, a “faggot” and a “clueless anti football pussy” and said that Goodell should not have pressured Jeff Fisher, then the coach of the Rams, to draft “queers,”
…criticized Goodell and the league for trying to reduce concussions and said that Eric Reid, a player who had demonstrated during the playing of the national anthem, should be fired
… had used an expletive to refer to Goodell and that he did so because he disapproved of Goodell’s emphasis on safety, which he believed was scaring parents into steering their sons away from football.
…exchanged emails with Allen and other men that included photos of women wearing only bikini bottoms, including one photo of two Washington team cheerleaders
…criticized … as then-Vice President Joe Biden, whom Gruden called a ‘nervous clueless pussy.’
…..mocked Caitlyn Jenner,
Note how the accounts make no distinction between Gruden’s opinions that reflect badly on the NFL and those that are just politically incorrect but should not make him any less trustworthy as a coach at all. President Biden could be fairly, if not civilly, described as ‘nervous clueless pussy”; these were private emails after all. Exchanging sex-related emails with friends is not an unethical activity. he is 100% right that player political demonstrations on the field should not be tolerated. [Pointer: Pennagain]
6. Finally, here’s the quote of the day, from Supreme court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes (Pointer: Tom Fuller):
“If there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other it is the principle of free thought – not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought that we hate.” United States v. Schwimmer, 279 U.S. 644 (1929) (Holmes, J., dissenting)