More From The Bulging “It Isn’t What It Is” File! Unethical Quote Of The Week: Washington Post Deputy Editorial Page Editor Ruth Marcus

“How nice for the Supreme Court. It can take the precautions it deems necessary to keep its workplace safe…If only the court were willing to extend similar protections to the rest of us, in our workplaces. Or to be more precise, not to interfere with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s effort to provide such protections.”

—-Ruth Marcus, long-time WaPo op-ed writer and deputy editor of the Post editorial page.

Marcus’s opinion piece, Boris Johnson in reverse: The Supreme Court gives itself what it bans for the rest of us” is unforgivable, and the Washington Post should be excoriated for publishing such garbage. Why didn’t the editors…oh. Right. Ruth Marcus is an editor. The essay would be inexcusable if Marcus were just a typical op-ed partisan loud-mouth, because it is one of those punditry pieces that makes readers more ignorant than they were before they read it. The Supreme Court didn’t “ban” institutions or employers from making their own rules about Wuhan virus precautions as the headline says. It banned a vaccine mandate issued by OSHA, an agency, it concluded, that had no legal authority to issue one.

But Marcus isn’t any ordinary incompetent pundit. She’s a lawyer, or at least graduated from Harvard Law School: I can’t determine whether she ever passed the bar examination or is licensed to practice. She never has practiced, since she entered journalism rather than law after getting her Harvard JD. It’s no excuse. She knows what the Supreme Court does; most Americans don’t. Why is she writing op-eds that falsely pretend that the Supreme Court “extends” protections over anyone or anything unless it deems that those protections are already guaranteed by law? Marcus “reasoned”…

The court’s 6-to-3 ruling Thursday blocking the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-test mandate is yet another example of the elite playing by one set of rules while applying a different standard to the masses — Boris Johnson-ism, but worse. In that case, the British prime minister partied away in defiance of rules imposed on lesser mortals. In this one, the justices declined to extend the same protections to others that they grant themselves.

Not only are lawyers trained to make better analogies than that, opinion writers are supposed to be able to make better analogies than that no mater what their background and training. If they can’t then they shouldn’t get published. Boris Johnson violated a directive that his government issued for the rest of the population. The Supreme Court hasn’t done anything like that. If has forbidden a government agency from abusing its power by forcing businesses to do what is beyond the agency’s authority to require. No government agency could require participants in a workplace to wear business attire, and SCOTUS would end any attempt to do so, but it wouldn’t be “the elite playing by one set of rules while applying a different standard to the masses” for the Court to continue to enforce its own dress code, by its own choice.

Does Marcus really think it would make any sense at all for the Court to announce, “Since we’ve concluded OSHA shouldn’t be able to fine businesses with 100 workers or more to require employees to be vaccinated, the Court will no longer require lawyers appearing before it, and the reporters in the chamber, to test negative and be masked, except when speaking.” That would be a non-sequitur. Incidentally, those requirements are dumb, since speaking is when the danger of spreading the virus is at its highest. Nor does the Court set any standard for masks, which are mostly for show. Well, never mind: more than half the Court is over 65, meaning that they are at high risk if infected, while the vast, vast majority of workers who would have been effected by the banned mandate are under 65. That’s just another reason Marcus’s analogy is ridiculous.

What is Marcus doing then? She is doing what so many desperate progressives and Democrats are doing now—abandoning honesty, fairness, and responsibility and integrity in a desperate effort to rescue Joe Biden and the unscrupulous Democratic Party from losing power and support, as they so clearly deserve to do. They will do and say almost anything; here, Marcus is attacking the Supreme Court as she attempts to give those spreading the false narrative that the SCOTUS is a “threat to democracy” more ammunition to de-legitimize its authority. She has to know her argument is nonsensical, but she is confident that enough readers are ignorant of law and logic that he op-ed will convince more people than it disgusts.

This is a major betrayal of trust. Deliberate efforts by perceived authorities, experts and professionals to abuse their credibility by deliberately making members of the public ignorant and stupid represents a particularly heinous form of unethical conduct. It is one that Ethics Alarms has flagged frequently, yet I do not have a convenient name for the practice. It is worse than lying, or spreading misinformation. Making the public dumber cripples citizens’ ability to function competently in a democracy, while simultaneously softening them up to be exploited by demagogues. It is a terrible, indeed evil thing to do, and any journalist, politician, elected official, lawyer, scientist or other elite authority who engages in it intentionally is, to quote our previous President in one of his most inspired moments, an “enemy of the people.”

Ruth Marcus, with this disgraceful op-ed, qualifies.

12 thoughts on “More From The Bulging “It Isn’t What It Is” File! Unethical Quote Of The Week: Washington Post Deputy Editorial Page Editor Ruth Marcus

  1. “What is Marcus doing then? She is doing what so many desperate progressives and Democrats are doing now—abandoning honesty, fairness, and responsibility and integrity in a desperate effort to rescue Joe Biden and the unscrupulous Democratic Party from losing power and support, as they so clearly deserve to do. They will do and say almost anything. ”

    Doing what Barack Obama did when he shot a warning across the bow before the SCOTUS miraculously approved his misleading PPACA legislation that forced citizens to purchase specific products. Doing what they do every single time they think a decision isn’t going to go their way. I’ve taken to not reading anything the news media says about any SCOTUS decision because I can’t trust that it isn’t going to spun according to the narrative the particular outlet wants to promote. It’s better anymore to go directly to the Supreme Court website and read the ruling myself.

    • I’ve noticed they don’t wait for the decisions these days. They start by preparing the ground well ahead of time, front-loading public opinion with nonsense from “legal experts” to make people expect a particular outcome. That way, if (or when) the decision comes out otherwise, the public is already primed to be outraged by it.

  2. Taking a page from Steve Witherspoon’s playbook:

    “Ruth Marcusing” Noun. Deliberate efforts by perceived authorities, experts and professionals to abuse their credibility by deliberately making members of the public ignorant and stupid.

    • Great idea OB but you should might want to make a verb out of it…

      Marcusing verb Deliberate efforts by perceived authorities, experts and professionals to abuse their credibility by deliberately making members of the public ignorant and stupid.

      Obaming verb Deliberate efforts by perceived authorities, experts and professionals to abuse their credibility by deliberately making members of the public ignorant and stupid.

      Pelosing verb Deliberate efforts by perceived authorities, experts and professionals to abuse their credibility by deliberately making members of the public ignorant and stupid.

      Schiffing verb Deliberate efforts by perceived authorities, experts and professionals to abuse their credibility by deliberately making members of the public ignorant and stupid.

      Nadlering verb Deliberate efforts by perceived authorities, experts and professionals to abuse their credibility by deliberately making members of the public ignorant and stupid.

      Schumering verb Deliberate efforts by perceived authorities, experts and professionals to abuse their credibility by deliberately making members of the public ignorant and stupid.

      There are so many names in DC Politics that earn this select “honor” so…

      [Insert DC Politician Name Here]ing verb Deliberate efforts by perceived authorities, experts and professionals to abuse their credibility by deliberately making members of the public ignorant and stupid.

      I’m absolutely sure every person that participates on Ethics Alarms can come up with a large list but I think “Nadlering” is my current personal favorite, it kinda rolls of the tongue. Nadler’s intellectual dwarfness has already exceeded in showing us his unethical efforts to use his heavy weight ends justifies the means rhetoric to parrot widespread lies and intentionally feed the beast even though he knows it will cause stupid sheeple to be over bloated with massive propaganda. 😉

      “Schiffing” is a really, really close second.

  3. I think WordPress ate my first try at a comment. Here goes, again:

    Misleading analogies and false equivalencies are among the favored tools of today’s “journalists.” The Progressive Left and the media (but I repeat myself) have a clear agenda and it isn’t good for the republic. Forty years ago, I railed against the (comparatively mild) bias of news anchors; nowadays they look almost Fox News-ish by comparison.
    Marcus and her ilk aren’t really trying to convince “searchers for the truth,” they are merely reinforcing the beliefs and attitudes of those in the “woke bubble” and reaching out only to the easily swayed. I spend a few hours most days reading a variety of news sources online, trying to get an accurate and more complete view of national and world events and issues than I find from any single source. I know not everyone makes this effort, and I regularly refer friends and family to articles and sources (including E.A.) that I think will improve their understanding of issues and events.
    I sincerely hope that today’s so-called journalism does not stand uncorrected to become tomorrow’s history. As a student of American history, I realized a number of years ago that many “historians” and history authors do not go back to contemporary, original sources in their published works. It is common for some to cite a source that, when researched, is found to be wrongly quoted, taken out of context or in some cases actually contradictory to the point it was cited to support. I initially caught on to this when I read two texts on the same subject that cited the same source material to support opposing opposed positions. Going back to the source material I saw that one author had taken a few lines out of context while the other had used the full context of the cited work. I began looking for such errors and found that once some historian has written a “definitive” work on some historical subject, later writers will often cite the same footnotes in their own works in support of the same points, regardless of how inaccurately the source material was used in the first book. Obviously a good-faith effort at original research could have disclosed the problem. The more times a source document is used incorrectly or on pretext, the more entrenched the erroneous version becomes. It is possible in some cases to trace the poor research repeated from one book to the next over a period of years. In effect “John” cites “Joe,” who cites “Tom,” who cites “Bill,” who cites “Sam” who got it wrong in the first place. With many of today’s journalists apparently reading from the same approved script, I fear that today’s journalistic misinformation and misdirection will evolve into an accepted but false history of today’s events.

      • Here’s your first version:

        “Misleading analogies and false equivalencies are the stock in trade for media whose very purpose is to spread lies and disinformation. Forty years ago I used to rail against the (comparatively mild) on-air bias of network anchors and newspaper editors; nowadays those folks look almost Fox News-ish by comparison. The loss of even a nominally objective news media is a severe blow to the republic. I spend several hours of each day searching a variety of online sources of news, just trying to find some sort of balanced picture of news, current events and cultural/political trends. I know that not many people can or will expend the time I do on this task (one of the “luxuries” of retirement) and I regularly point friends and family to sources and reports that I think may improve their understanding of events and issues. When I read items like Marcus’ op-ed, I have to wonder if there are any depths to which the left will not sink in order to advance their agenda. I’m increasingly thinking that there are none.”

    • Good thoughts, Jim! Are you at liberty to disclose the author(s) and the context of the discrepancy? As a fellow fan of WWII history, the Revolutionary War, and Presidents, I would be very curious.

      • The errors I first discovered (over a decade ago) involved two books related to the American Civil War, and in particular the actions of a particular often-maligned general in a specific campaign of the war. The misquoted or “cherry picked” sections were from the “Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies in the War of the Rebellion” and a few other contemporary sources like newspaper reports and excerpts from collected private letters. The first book was written thirty years ago and was considered to be the authoritative work on this campaign. The second book was written about a decade later and echoed many of the first book’s conclusions. I began comparing their research to earlier works (more sympathetic to the general) and began to sense an agenda. While I won’t disclose the specific authors or works, a friend who is retired from teaching history at a major state university, also the author of several books on the Civil War, clued me in that this sort of second-hand research is more common than one might think. About six years ago, I learned that one of the general’s descendants had written a book refuting the unflattering conclusions of some previous writers about his ancestor and had noted the discrepancies I (and apparently others) had found, as well as citing more recently discovered papers and correspondence belonging to the general himself (lost in a university archive for over a century). I am a bit out of the loop on current Civil War historical debate, having turned my primary historical interest to Colonial America and the American Revolution after discovering a number of colonial militia and Revolutionary War veterans among my ancestors and joining the Sons of the American revolution five years ago. I guess laziness as well as bias can impact historians just like everyone else.

  4. “This is a major betrayal of trust. Deliberate efforts by perceived authorities, experts and professionals to abuse their credibility by deliberately making members of the public ignorant and stupid represents a particularly heinous form of unethical conduct. It is one that Ethics Alarms has flagged frequently, yet I do not have a convenient name for the practice. It is worse than lying, or spreading misinformation. Making the public dumber cripples citizens’ ability to function competently in a democracy, while simultaneously softening them up to be exploited by demagogues.”, “an ‘enemy of the people.’ “

    I respectfully submit that these people are intentionally undermining everything about the United States of America to gain and/or stay in power, so how about we call this what it truly is,

    Treasonous¹ Propaganda²

    Someone who uses treasonous propaganda can then identified as a

    Treasonous Propagandist³

    Respectfully submitted this 17th day of January ion the year 2022.

    ¹Treasonous: adjective, involving or guilty of the crime of betraying one’s country.

    ²Propaganda: noun, information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.

    ³Propagandist: adjective consisting of or spreading propaganda.

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