What did we learn from the Ethics Alarms “echo chamber” survey? Not much, unfortunately. Most respondents clustered around the center, to the right, which I didn’t need a survey to figure out. I work very hard to keep the perspective here as moderate as possible, but then this is not a political blog, and ethics should come from a centrist perspective. (If one is far left, however, it all looks far right to you.) I was disappointed that more non-commenters didn’t participate, but then non-commenters don’t participate. There were only a couple. I also was disappointed that virtually all of the intermittent commenters whom I know tend to a progressive tilt didn’t take the various tests. Why would that be? I have no idea.
I doubt that there is any way to keep a blog like this one truly diverse, at least among the commenters. Cognitive dissonance is powerful: if someone regularly disagrees with the analysis here, the natural tendency is to stop reading, or, apparently, as we recently witnessed with a now departed mad troll, to stop playing nice.
I force myself to cover far left and left-biased sites like Salon, The Atlantic, Vanity Fair,The Daily Beast, Boing-Boing, Mother Jones, Vox and others, but it’s not fun. I doubt I would subject myself to the experience if it wasn’t part of my job. (The far right sites are pretty annoying as well.) Others, the rational, generally fair sites like Reason and Five-Thirty-Eight, are frequently enlightening.
One note to counter excessive negative talk about the traffic here (which I am primarily to blame for): there are very few blogs or websites dedicated to ethics. I’m disappointed that the upward trend traffic here experienced through 2017 didn’t continue, but if there is an ethics commentary site on the web that offers as much content and has as much traffic as this one, I haven’t found it.
1. It’s a shame this didn’t happen in the U.S. so everyone could make sheep jokes and I could decree the messaging incompetent…To encourage more Germans to get the Wuhan vaccine, Hanspeter Etzold, who works with shepherds and animals to run team-building events for companies in the northern German town of Schneverdingen, organized 700 sheep to form a giant syringe. See?
“Sheep are popular with people and carry positive emotional connotations. So perhaps they can reach many people emotionally when logic and scientific reasoning don’t do the job,” Etzold says. Yup, if you can’t convince people to do what you want using facts and logic, it’s time to use fear, or fake facts, or propaganda, or threats, or insults. Or sheep. [Pointer: Willem Reese]
2. Boy, even I forgot about that...Conservative CNN pundit Mary Katharine Ham is in a nasty spat with her colleagues and New York Times Trump-hunter Maggie Haberman for being so tasteless as to compare the network’s rapid shove of the June 14, 2017 shooting attack on the Republican Congressional baseball team, which left Rep. Steve Scalise seriously wounded, down the memory hole while trying to make the 2021 January 6 riot a Day to Live in Infamy. “You’re welcome to talk yourself into idea that a similar murder attempt on an entire team of Democrats would have gotten the same treatment. I think the shooting of Gabby Giffords is pretty analogous and disproves that theory. Even without that data point, it’s just not true,” Ham tweeted. “And it doesn’t mean Jan. 6 doesn’t deserve coverage. Moving on after 48 hrs would be wrong for that and for Gabby Giffords! But the coverage was what it was, Scalise’s return to Congress was very sparsely covered, and the anniversary was barely mentioned.” Double standards? What double standards?
3. Oh NOW it’s time NOT to inflate pandemic death statistics! For many months now, Ethics Alarms has tried to point out the deliberate dishonesty and fear-mongering strategy of the CDC recording anyone who died with the Wuhan virus or its pals as dying OF the Wuhan virus or its pals. There is a huge difference, but most of the public isn’t aware of the trick, and when I have tried to explain this to various pandemicphobes among my friends and family, they tend to mutter something about Fox News talking points.
But now the hand is on the other foot, and President Biden, after previously saying that President Trump should have prevented 100,000 deaths—is it too snarky to say that was an assholish lie?—-is now the one watching those inflated statistics come home to roost. Sooooo…
On “Good Morning America,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky finally admitted,
“The overwhelming number of deaths, over 75 percent, occurred in people who had at least four co-morbidities. So really these are people who were unwell to begin with.”
And might have died soon anyway, or died at the same time without the virus.
4. This is academia! Kara Cooney is a professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA, and she has no integrity whatsoever.
She released a book in November called “The Good Kings” which is about Egypt, the subject she knows more about than you and me. However, it included this passage about… Kyle Rittenhouse?Yes indeed:
“[C]onsider 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who used his semi-automatic weapon to kill two Black men in Kenosha, Wisconsin, while waging a glorious race war on behalf of his inherited White power.”
Well, as we all know except those who have clung to the various lies about Rittenhouse spread by the media, all of the men shot by the teen were white, and there is no evidence whatsoever that he was waging a “race war.” Incredibly, the professor was indignant when this blatant and arguably defamatory falsehood was pointed out by critics. She wrote,
“On p. 341 of THE GOOD KINGS I state that Kyle Rittenhouse shot two Black men when instead he shot two white men. That was my mistake, and I apologize. The response has been a hateful stew of ridicule and denial that America has a race problem at all….If one mistake in a little known book about ancient Egypt elicits this much howling, it is to avoid discussing our larger problem, to avoid seeing our deep-seeded obsession with patriarchal power. “So yeah, tiny detail of the book with a big mistake about a massive American issue. And that’s on me. But the white supremacy is still a problem. And the misogyny is still a problem.”
How did misogyny get into this? Oh, I get it: criticizing the professor is misogyny because she’s a woman.
Gee, is it too snarky to declare her an asshole? What else would you call a scholar who reacts to a careless and biased error like that?
5. See, this is why I read Vox: Poor Nancy Pelosi revealed herself as painfully unwoke by having the cast of “Hamilton” perform during the Democrats’ “Remember Jan. 6!” orgy. Hamilton has been cancelled, sayeth Vox, because the show, “according to current conventional cool-person wisdom, glorifies the slave-owning and genocidal Founding Fathers while erasing the lives and legacies of the people of color who were actually alive in the Revolutionary era. It is no longer considered to be self-evidently virtuous or self-evidently great.” Also out: once -celebrated progressive feelz-infused sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” and, naturally, the “Harry Potter” books and movies.
Boy, it’s a lot of work being progressive; you have to throw out the culture every few months whether there’s anything to take its place or not.