I actually have been lying awake with a not-quite-dismal headache, and all sorts of ethics nightmares real and imagined have been spooling through my fevered brain, so I decided to hell with it, might as well write an in-between warm-up and hope that it calms me down enough to get back to sleep.
Among other issues, I am annoyed that I didn’t get to a warm-up yesterday because August 7 is another date chock full of ethics milestones, notably the the passage of the infamous Gulf of Tonkin Resolution giving President Johnson almost unrestrained powers to oppose “communist aggression” in Southeast Asia. Not only was this the floodgates-opening moment for the U.S.’s disastrous Vietnam entanglement, but it permanently (so far, at least) accelerated Congress’s abdication of its constitutional duties to oversee the Executive’s war-making proclivities. August 7 was also the date in 1912 upon which Teddy Roosevelt completed his fateful, ego-driven move to split the Republican Party, preferring a public tantrum that would ultimately inflict Woodrow Wilson, arguably our worst President ever, on the Republic, over accepting the consequences of his own impulsiveness when he foolishly forswore running for a second full term in office. Not surprisingly, Teddy had found his hand-picked successor (and best friend) William Howard Taft not sufficiently Teddy-like, and when the GOP dutifully renominated Taft for another term that he would have won easily, Roosevelt launched his Bull Moose Party to oppose both Taft and Wilson. His own party then nominated Roosevelt 110 years ago, violently changing the course of history in ways too convoluted to guess.
1. What’s going on with Disney? The best answer appear to be “Really, really, incompetent management.” When I read complaints about Walt’s creation retiring its creator’s opening day speech from its anniversary celebration after 67-years, I assumed that it was all just “Disney has gone crazy woke!” conservative hysteria. Then I read the speech, which I had last heard when I first visited Disneyland when I was a college sophomore, on one of the most fun days of my life. Here is what Walt said:
To all who come to this happy place: Welcome. Disneyland is your land. Here age relives fond memories of the past, and here youth may savor the challenge and promise of the future. Disneyland is dedicated to the ideals, the dreams and the hard facts that have created America with the hope that it will be a source of joy and inspiration to all the world. Thank you.
That’s the mission statement for the entire Disney journey, and eloquently stated too. What could anyone, especially anyone charged with continuing to make the company thrive, object to about that perfect expression of why Disney is important to American culture? An organization that becomes estranged from its founder (or Founders) is risking its soul and survival. I hope that the erasure of Walt’s words from this year’s celebration is just another in a long string of dumb management decisions. I fear that it is much more than that.
2. Apparently racial discrimination is now the official policy of New York City. The New York Post reports that New York City Mayor Eric Adams has requested that city agencies provide photographs of potential candidates for jobs at City Hall ranging from assistant commissioner to departmental press secretary. The ubiquitous “unnamed city officials” explained that the request is part of an effort to hire more diverse staffers, a euphemism for “so the city can hire based on skin color.” Unethical. Of course. The officials the Post interviewed said they supported a diverse workforce but worried that the practice is causing the Adams administration “to make hiring decisions with a greater emphasis on race and ethnicity than merit.” The Mayor, ridiculously, swears that having the photos will merely help him recognize his employees in the sprawling city workforce.
3. Speaking of complexions, Shaun King, the Black Lives Matter activist who identifies as black despite all official sources listing him as having white parents, apparently misappropriated funds donated to his political PAC (“Grassroots Law”) to buy a champion Mastiff named Marz. The PAC made two payments adding up to $40,650 to Potrero Performance Dogs in California in December and February. King quickly deleted his social media post announcing the illegal purchase, and issued an Instagram explanation that only proved a) that he’s guilty and b) that he isn’t very bright, though we knew that. King’s excuse: “White supremacists and people who’ve meant my family harm have now shown up to our last three homes. Multiple times. I’ve received death threats in the mail, in email, and across social media. I report it. Nothing happens” Oh. Assuming he’s telling the truth, and I wouldn’t believe this guy about anything, that’s sad to hear, but he still can’t use PAC money to buy a dog for his family. And even if he could, spending $40,000 on such a dog is absurd. Nobody needs a show dog for security.
4. Well, no more M&Ms for me! Mars Wrigley, makers of Three Musketeers, M&Ms and other sweet American standards, launched a limited edition Snickers bar that its announcement said was only available in the countries of South Korea, Malaysia, and Taiwan. The announcement angered China, which claims Taiwan is only a rebellious part of China that hasn’t been brought to heel in 75 years. So, naturally, Mars groveled an apology, because almost no corporations have any guts or principles:
(Taiwan is a country.)
5. Don’t say gay! A horrific story out of Georgia involves a gay married couple that allegedly was using their adopted children to make child pornography. (“Investigators found evidence that the couple, who were the adoptive fathers of the pair of brothers living there, were recording themselves committing sexually abusive acts against the children….”) The majority of news stories, however, go to great lengths to never state outright that this is a same sex marriage or a gay couple. Photos are in the stories—to help Eric Adams—as well as phrases that make it clear that this involves two men in a gay marriage, but the term itself is suddenly taboo. Just as it would be unethical to use this incident to impugn gay marriage generally, it is also unethical for news organizations to play language games to prevent such use.
This is not objective or trust-building journalism. It is in the same category as the news media’s deliberate de-emphasis of China’s role in launching the pandemic in order to limit anger focused on Asian-Americans by idiots. The duty of reporters is to state the facts, clearly and without the influence of tangential agendas.
I wonder how many reporters even know that any more…
15 thoughts on “Insomnia Ethics, 8/8/2022: Disney, “Diversity,”Dogs And Dodges…”
The majority of news stories, however, go to great lengths to never state outright that this is a same sex marriage or a gay couple.
Sounds right. Just like the newspapers go out of their way not to mention the race of suspects in crime reports (unless it is a “white male,” then they often do). Why? It’s a mystery…
Or the name if the suspect has a Middle-Eastern name or, sometimes, a Latina name.
National news seems to like to bury things like that which is why some commenters, on sites that still allow comments, from the area in question will often provide links to local news which, for the time being, still show pictures and name names.
Yes, but “woke” is creeping into even local news. It has become particularly noticeable in the last five or six months here.
Regarding Disney, I remember when I was a kid watching Walt talk before some of his movies, during the Wonderful World of Disney (which we watch religiously) and in many other settings. I remember always feeling good about what he said, and never failed to pay attention to him when he showed up on the screen.
Now they seem determined to delete the man behind the brand. I doubt most kids today who love Disney’s products are even aware of Walt, and Disney not only seems fine with that, but also are intent on erasing him from memory.
I wonder how long Disney will keep the name? Maybe they’ll do a Facebook and change it. At this point, nothing could surprise me less. If that sounds like something an incompetent management team would do, well, yes.
(3) Shaun King, a gun control advocate, complained that he was unable to buy a gun and in his home state, you aren’t allowed to use a gun for self-defense. Since the government won’t let him buy a gun and he couldn’t afford the dog himself, he had to use the PAC money. I’m sure his next excuse will be that it was cheaper than hiring 24/7 armed security guards.
Do you have a link this?
Erm… if Mayor Adams wants to be able to “recognize his employees,” wouldn’t he want to eliminate the clutter by photographing only the people actually hired, not all the candidates? The action is stupid; the explanation is worse.
Absolutely right, Curmie!
He would just need the photos after the hire is done. Any other hypothetical reason for “viewing” candidates for higher-level positions in his Administration can be handled in the actual interviewing process. Or, am I missing something here?
Honestly, you’d be lucky if that’s the real reason, as opposed to the more old-school reason for screening employees by their appearance – to better recruit mistresses / stock the sexual harassment hunting grounds.
I wonder if you could do an ethics analysis regarding the protests against the Vietnam War.
I would address why the protesters did not notice or care that North Vietnam was the aggressor.
I also wonder why there seems to be more public support for the Ukrtaine today than there was for South Vietnam in 1975?
I’m so old, I was THERE during campus war protests and talked all night with the protesters.
They didn’t want to be drafted. With rare exceptions, that was what they cared about; all the rest was posturing. Give peace a chance, man. Actual deep analysis of the facts and issues was not common nor popular.
The anti-war protesters would have been more sympathetic if they stuck to opposing the draft.
The only protest I was anywhere near was in the spring of 1971 in Missouri, and it sure seemed the main point was to get final exams canceled — which then did happen, because the college administrators recognized that students were far too stressed out to be able to take an exam. A few months later, I was in the Can Tho area of South Vietnam doing my part in the drawdown of troops leading to our abandonment of the battlefield. A different kind of stress, to be sure. And, really, I bear no ill feelings toward the protestors so long as they acknowledge their complicity in the ‘re-education’ camps, the surge in ‘boat people’ and others trying to leave the country, and the horrible years of communist rule.
In the olden days, weren’t headshots included in job applications so that employers could discriminate against people on the basis of race at the outset?
Isn’t that why the practice was discontinued?
Isn’t this new practice the same as the old practice?
By the way, all questions above are rhetorical.