Friday Ethics Fries, 4/1/22: April Fools-Free Edition

Way back when Ethics Alarms was just beginning, I got flamed by a bunch of nasty lawyers for suggesting that it was unethical for a criminal defense lawyer to use his website to perpetrate a hoax on April 1. You see, it wasn’t technically unethical because 1) it was April Fools and 2) the Rules of Professional Conduct prohibition against lawyers lying only applies to lies that would justify an ethics complaint. Obviously punishing a lawyer for an April’s Fools gag, even a bad one, wouldn’t be grounds for professional discipline, so I apologized and pulled the post. As a legal ethicist, I should have been clearer.

But I still believe it is unethical for lawyers to lie in public, whether it is sanctionable or not. And I still hold that April Fools posts and articles on platforms and sites that the public has been led to trust that are not obvious to all but complete mutton-heads are unethical, as in “wrong.”

In another realm, I just learned that my Wuhan-phobic sister has been exposed to the virus while on a cross-country trip. Now she doesn’t know what to do, since her destination is a home just as pandemic-phobic as she is, and if she is tested, as she will be required to be, and tests positive, they won’t let her inside the house. Nobody has taken more extreme precautions than my sister. Now she says that she hopes al the masks and shots and social distnacing that had made her live like a leper the past two years will protect her from infection, though she says there is no guarantee. Be proud of me: I didn’t say, as I desperately wanted to, “If you don’t have confience that all of that will protect you, why the HELL did the U.S. cripple its society, economy, education, social structure, politics, families, culture and trust based on politically-fueled and mainstream media-promoted hysteria?

1. Pssst…ethics dunces! It doesn’t matter. Now some sources are disputing the Oscars’ statement that Will Smith was asked to leave the ceremony after his slap-fest and refused. So what? Smith’s conduct isn’t mitigated either way. He should have left the auditorium without being asked immediately after battering Chris Rock and embarrassing the Academy. But he wanted to get his Oscar, because he’s a sociopath, or plays one at award ceremonies.

One more Will Smith note: Fellow Hollywood asshole Jim Carrey floated this excuse for his pal:

“I also think that people not unlike Will, or myself, we live in a lot of pressure. We set up a lot of pressure for ourselves, [and] we’re encouraged by this country to never stop and never be satisfied and never look at our lives and going, ‘You know what? I’m enough. I have enough. I’ve done enough…It’s beyond our bandwidth. And we’re starting to see the symptoms of what it’s like to be living beyond your bandwidth and cracking under the pressure. That’s what that was.”

Was it? It’s called being a grown-up and dealing with life, Jim. Normal people who don’t have millions in the bank and are adulated for making movies don’t get any sympathy from the law or society when they “snap.” The “little people” have a lot more pressure on them than Will Smith, and those who have grown up learn that they have to deal with it  without beating on whoever is nearby.

2. I confess! Schadenfreude! The Los Angeles Times, reports that Rep. Maxine Waters (Is she the worst Democrat in Congress? The amazing thing is that she isn’t, not even close )requested that the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority show up in her district  to provide assistance to her homeless constituents. However, “an unofficial social media post erroneously promised that those who showed up would get rare vouchers for permanent, subsidized housing” resulting in homeless people showing up in packs while “heated arguments broke out among the hundreds of people who turned out for assistance.” Overwhelmed and surprised, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority workers “were unable to meet more than a small fraction of the need and left while throngs of people were still waiting for help.”

 Waters, quick-thinking as ever, tried to take control of the situation by telling the group that they needed to “go home.” Ha! The crowd of mostly homeless people responded to that angrily. As one participant shouted at Waters, “We don’t got no home, that’s why we’re here. What home we gonna go to?”

I’m sorry, but I have to laugh. Imagine what Waters would have said (or Don Lemon, or Nancy Pelosi, or “The Squad,” or Charles Blow, or Joy Reid, or Hillary Clinton, or Stephen Colbert…) if a President Trump had told a homeless group to “go home.” Waters’ response was pure Waters: she indignantly told the crowd, “There’s nobody in Washington who works for their people any fucking harder than I do!”

This is the ethical equivalent of “Do you know who I am?”

Finally, when The L.A. Times tried to interview Waters about the fiasco, she  threatened the reporter by saying “you’ll hurt yourself” if he proceeded to publish a story. “I don’t want you to start trying to write it, you won’t understand it,” she said.

Oh, I think we understand Maxine perfectly by now.3. Speaking of Pelosi, the Ethics Corrupter, she was asked by a reporter at a Capitol press conference if Justice Thomas “should resign” for not recusing himself from 2020 election cases. [Aside: except for the most shamelessly biased of the legal authorities (and ignorant or lying Democrats like Sen. Klobuchar) nobody believes that Thomas has to recuse under current judicial ethics principles, and nobody in their right mind believes that he should resign or be impeached. Yet progressives keep banging this drum…even after claiming that for the GOP to criticize Judge Jackson was racism.]

Pelosi’s answer: “I don’t think he should have ever been appointed.” This disrespectful slap at Supreme Court Justice of 30 years by a Speaker is as unprecedented as her tearing up President Trump’s State of the Union message behind him on national TV. Then she told the reporter that Ginni Thomas was “an admitted and proud contributor to a coup of our country.”  Oh! It’s a coup now is it? And when did Mrs. Thomas admit to that?

4. Hypocrisy know no bounds. Incredibly, CBS News is under fire from the Left and mainstream media journalists for hiring former Trump administration official Mick Mulvaney as a contributor. You see, he worked for the Trump White House, so he is prescriptively evil.

Every one of Bill Clinton’s paid liars, including George Stephanopoulos, James Carville and Paul Begala were hired by networks; Donna Brazile is still roaming the Sunday panels, but a former Trump political aide is just too, too much. The Washington Post wrote, “The reaction from CBS News employees to Mulvaney’s hiring was as chilly as the reaction on social media, where many journalists and political commentators suggested that the network was jeopardizing its long history of journalistic excellence.”

Wait, were these critics from 1964 via time machine? CBS didn’t report on Hunter Biden’s laptop (to name just one example) even after the New York Times admitted it wasn’t “Russian misinformation.”  Didn’t CBS News bury the revelations of a tobacco executive about a cover-up because the network was afraid of their tobacco sponsors? Who was Dan Rather working for when he used a fake document to attack President Bush?

WHAT “history of journalistic excellence”?

The Post’s idea of proving Mulvaney isn’t trustworthiness enough to be a broadcast journalist:

“In February 2020, while serving as President Donald Trump’s interim chief of staff, Mulvaney said that media coverage of the growing coronavirus pandemic was meant ‘to bring down the president.”

But it was, as contrasting it with the coverage of the pandemic during two years of Biden makes clear. And…

[He] predicted in a Nov. 7, 2020, Wall Street Journal opinion column that Trump would gracefully accept electoral defeat.”

Because real journalists in 2022 never make predictions that don’t pan out…

In related news, I have been meaning for over a week to mention how damning it was that various networks were reportedly bidding for Biden paid liar Jen Psaki’s services. Today, however, the news is that she will be signing with hyper-partisan, completely untrustworthy MSNBC. Perfect! That’s exactly where she belongs.

5. Mustn’t forget this classic “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!” episode: the news media was reporting that there was a damning “7 hour gap” in the phone logs at the White House around the time of the “insurrection.”

“A 7-hour gap in Trump’s calls evokes a missing spot on Nixon’s tapes,” the Washington Post reported , evoking the 18-minute gap in President Richard Nixon’s White House tapes relating to Watergate. Oh no!, the paper’s opinion columnist Greg Sergeant suggested: the altered Trump phone logs were even  “worse than Watergate.”

NOW we’ve got him! BWAHAHAHAHAHA<cough>OOpsie!

CNN reports today: “Official review of Trump phone logs from January 6 finds record is complete.”

Welcome back, Emily!


11 thoughts on “Friday Ethics Fries, 4/1/22: April Fools-Free Edition

    • I mean, Jim Carrey may have stated the reason, precisely as I stated the reason a couple days ago. He’s not excusing Will’s behavior, in fact, he seems to be saying exactly the right things.

      After making headlines Tuesday morning when he told CBS Mornings co-host Gayle King he was “sickened” by the standing ovation Smith received winning the Best Actor Oscar just 45 minutes after slapping Rock, calling it a “selfish moment” by Smith, Carrey took a more measured tone in an interview with the Associated Press.

      “I see it as a larger issue, and it’s an issue of the boundaries being broken – boundaries and allowances and permissiveness to certain behaviors,” Carrey told the AP while promoting his new sequel Sonic the Hedgehog 2. “The fact is that license is being given to people to act out violently when they don’t like what they hear. And it just shouldn’t be.”

  1. Regarding Number 5, it offers an innocent explanation for why no calls were recorded through the White House switchboard. The switchboard logs were confirmed to be correct. However, several calls known to have been made are still unaccounted for in other records.

    However, neither calls dialed directly from the Oval Office (not dialed by the switchboard operator), nor calls made by cellphone were recorded in the “presidential diary”. The article notes several calls were known to be made, and their absence from the “diary”, maintained by a National Archive’s staff member, are not explained. Spokespeople speculate the White House was too chaotic during the fallout from the riot to adequately keep the archivist appraised of presidential activities.

  2. I’m going to say (again, sorry Jack!) that that April 1st flamefest is what ended up bringing me here. So something good came out of it, right?

    Also, interestingly enough, one of the folks flaming you (on the lower temp setting) ended up becoming a good personal friend of mine years later through a different chain of improbable events.

  3. Re 5

    Despite the he headline the entire story is presented as if Trump was attempting to circumvent records laws.

    Funny no mention of HRC’s server through which she corresponded to avoid FOIA.

  4. On April Fool’s Day – this is an absolutely fun day in which ordinary people are taught not to take themselves too seriously. And while that seems like a good thing for *all* entities in society do, I just don’t see any good arguments for why any institution of trust – especially government institutions – should also partake in April Fool’s antics that outweigh the good arguments for why those institutions should NOT.

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