Ethics Alarms On The New York Times’ “Most Important Debates” Of 2021, Part 2

Part I set some kind of Ethics Alarms record for reader disinterest, which I much admit, I don’t understand. These are all topics we have covered in some detail here over the last year, and the analysis of them by the alleged “newspaper of record’s” experts is, to say the least, perverse and revealing…yet the post’s first installment inspired just a single comment. Well, the Times’ take on the remaining issues are arguably worse. I find it fascinating, anyway. Here’s the rest of the highlights…

Can we save the planet?

It is embarrassing for a supposedly respectable news organization to frame an issue in such a hysterical and intentionally fear-mongering manner, which assumes one side of a debate is correct without reflection of nuance. The Times’ author on this topic, Farhad Manjoo, is a tech reporter, not an expert on climatology, so he has been given a platform to opine on something he doesn’t understand sufficiently to discuss reliably. On the topic of climate change, this is, sadly, typical. His article contains the kind of sentence midway through that would normally make me stop reading because of the bias, spin, hyperbole and mendacity: “During the Trump years — as the United States tore up international climate deals and flood and fire consumed swaths of the globe — unrestrained alarm about the climate became the most cleareyed of takes.”

There were no “climate deals,” just unenforceable virtue-signaling and posturing like the Paris Accords; the link between present day “flood and fire” and climate change is speculative at best, and unrestrained alarm is never “cleareyed,’ especially when those alarmed, like Manjoo, couldn’t read a climate model if Mr. Rogers was there explaining it. Then, after telling us that the Trump years were a prelude to doom, he says that since 2014, things are looking up. Much of what he calls “bending the needle” occurred under Trump.

Should the Philip Roth biography have been pulled?

This one is so easy and obvious that the fact that the Times thinks it deserves special attention is itself a tell. The answer is “Of course not!,” as an Ethics Alarms post explained. An absolutely competent biography was pulled by its publisher, W.W. Norton, never to be in print again, because its author, who had written other acclaimed biographies, was in the process of being “cancelled” for allegations of sexual misconduct toward women. I wrote,

“…[P]ublisher W.W. Norton sent a memo to its staff announcing that it will permanently take Blake Bailey’s biography of Philip Roth out of print, as a result of allegations that Bailey sexually assaulted multiple women and also behaved inappropriately toward his students when he was an eighth grade English teacher.

If that sentence makes sense to you, The Big Stupid has you by the brain stem.

It apparently makes sense to the Times, although its review of the matter doesn’t answer its own question. Why not? This is also obvious: as journalists, the idea that what a writer writes should be judged by what a writer’s personal life has involved is anathema, but the Times’ readers are so woke that the paper would dare not say so. Integrity!

Should we get rid of the SAT?

Here the Times plays the same trick it regularly does in its book reviews: it assigned the topic to a writer incapable of an objective analysis of the issues at hand, so it would get exactly the answer its Maximum Woke subscribers want. Bertrand Cooper, an activist who believes racism is the root cause of all social maladies in the African-American community, writes,

The National Education Association has described standardized tests as “instruments of racism and a biased system,” drawing on the antiracist scholarship of Ibram X. Kendi, who has long argued that the SAT is a vestige of eugenics… Dropping the SAT in the absence of any larger economic reform is a trivial victory and a potential distraction.

After all, the NEA and Ibram X. Kendri say that SATs are biased, so it must be true. I’m convinced! Seriously, the entire Times feature is a vivid illustration of how, when you are preaching to the choir, making sense or mounting substantive arguments aren’t necessary.

Do more police officers mean less crime?

It became clear that the Times wasn’t taking its own exercise seriously when it assigned this topic to race-baiting, Black Lives Matter shill Cooper again. What do you think he said? Of course! He concludes,

Having more officers means more Black men arrested for low-level offenses such as disorderly conduct and loitering. Crime is undoubtedly oppressive for communities, but is harassment and mass incarceration any less so? As DMX wrote in the song “Who We Be,” “The options: get shot, go to jail or getcha ass kicked.” America’s current approach to rising crime simply forces marginalized communities to decide which forms of oppression are tolerable. We’ve got “options.”

Oddly, Cooper doesn’t mention the option that would reduce the disproportional levels of crime and incarceration in the black community: working to create a culture that nurtures ethical values, law-abiding habits and good citizenship. How about considering the option of having a stable marriage before having children? Stigmatizing drug use and petty crime? Those “options.”

How big of a deal was the Capitol riot?

This one really is “res ipsa loquitur” exemplified, and needs no further comment from me, other than, “Yup! That’s the MSM narrative!”

“…What happened at the Capitol was not spontaneous tumult; it was the violent peak of a protracted coup attempt that began when President Donald J. Trump lost re-election. Earlier phases of this unprecedented campaign to overthrow American democracy included Mr. Trump’s lies about the results of the vote, his intimidation of state election officials and a bus tour that riled up his base. But its roots run deeper still, through decades of far-right, white-supremacist organizing intended to break the arc of justice in favor of a regressive vision of America.”

Should we abolish the Nobel Peace Prize?

I think I’ll end this exercise with the dumbest question of them all, which also generated an appropriately lame answer. The Nobel Prize is absurd and has no integrity: this was proven beyond a reasonable doubt when the committee gave Barack Obama the prize for being black and spouting platitudes. Later he boasted about droning people in foreign countries, but never mind. There is a more basic reason the question above is idiotic; “we” have no power to abolish the Nobel Peace Prize, because it isn’t ours to abolish. The Prize was established by the will and the endowment of Alfred Nobel, and is administered in Norway. The Times article doesn’t even think that’s worth mentioning, carrying on the paper’s tradition of selective reporting.

Rather than noting the Nobel Committee’s indefensible awards to liberals like Obama and Al Gore, the Times analysis is this facile: it agrees that the Committee’s awards to individuals it doesn’t like (Henry Kissinger) justify abolishing the Prize, but since it approves of the most recent Laureates,Maria Ressa and Dmitri A. Muratov “who are outstanding journalists and heavily persecuted members of a profession that is imperiled around the globe,” maybe it’s a worthwhile honor after all! No bias there! The Times flack, Krithika Varagur, adds, “Their selection showed a timely recognition of the dangers of “fake news” rhetoric…”

When is that Times apology for its hyping of imaginary “Russian collusion” evidence coming out, Krithka?

12 thoughts on “Ethics Alarms On The New York Times’ “Most Important Debates” Of 2021, Part 2

  1. Jack, sometimes your posts are so thorough, self-sufficient and on target, they don’t require comment. Of course, detractors will shout, “Echo chamber!” C’es la guerre.

      • Jack,
        Are today’s conservatives the same as those of the 70’s and 80’s that Carlin detested? I don’t think so. Much of his ire toward “establishment” types was rooted in his anti-military industrial complex perspective.

        Carlin’s routines were often centered on absurdities which today’s left is trying to sell to the American public.

        • I can never see George without thinking he was just a few personality quirks off from making a standard issue Irish Catholic priest. Or an Irish cop. Or an Irish drunk. Or an Irish mobster. He even looks a little like Whitey Bulger, non?

  2. These things are as predictable as they are mind-numbingly stupid. I almost am forced to ask, “What am I supposed to say — water is wet, the sun rises in the East, black is not white, etc.? There were no debates, just hot takes from people who’s opinion is either uninformed by any actual expertise or partisan hacks with no filter or even a nodding relationship with the concept of deliberation.

    It’s another in a long, almost unbroken line of Leftist pap spewed from most of the media, and led unabashedly by the New York Times. It’s embarrassing to the once-noble profession of journalism, which now ranks right up there with palm-reader and astrologer in professional integrity and trustworthiness.

    • It’s embarrassing to the once-noble profession of journalism, which now ranks right up there with palm-reader and astrologer in professional integrity and trustworthiness.

      That’s a really helpful observation, although journalism may come in below those two insofar as it holds itself in such ridiculously high regard and its practitioners actually seem to believe what they’re saying.

  3. There were no “climate deals,” just unenforceable virtue-signaling and posturing like the Paris Accords; the link between present day “flood and fire” and climate change is speculative at best, and unrestrained alarm is never “cleareyed,’ especially when those alarmed, like Manjoo, couldn’t read a climate model if Mr. Rogers was there explaining it. Then, after telling us that the Trump years were a prelude to doom, he says that since 2014, things are looking up. Much of what he calls “bending the needle” occurred under Trump.

    One of the tenets of their platform is: working-class and middle-class Americans live too well. We need to stop that.

    After all, the NEA and Ibram X. Kendri say that SATs are biased, so it must be true. I’m convinced! Seriously, the entire Times feature is a vivid illustration of how, when you are preaching to the choir, making sense or mounting substantive arguments aren’t necessary.

    Ibram X. Kendri has as much credibility and intellectual honesty as David Duke.

    How big of a deal was the Capitol riot?

    According to ABC news, it was just a peaceful demonstration that intensified.

  4. Well, No, No, No, Yes, Not much, No.

    Phew. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can go on to real questions.

    The Times is not impressing me with their prowess and acumen this week.

  5. Can we save the planet? The hubris in that statement is incredible. In short, not how you think and putting wind and solar in pristine or near pristine wild environments that YOU DON’T GO doesn’t strike me as a net win. There’s a project that is adding 550-650 miles of new power lines into what is rugged pastureland. If people died tomorrow it would go back to nature in a matter of years. Wind turbines add 100’s of feet of concrete that will never be removed, like confetti across the land. That’s how you want to save the environment? Seems like it’s ruining it to me.

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