Can You Spot What’s Misleading And Incompetent About This “Study”?

Of course you can!

So why couldn’t the researchers?

An online survey  asked consumers to order virtual meals after randomly looking over menus that either had some form of climate labeling or none at all. 23.5% more of those who ordered from a menu that noted  “the least green” choices made a “sustainable” meal choice than those who ordered from menus without such information.

More than 5,000 adults 18 and older participated in the test in March and April of this year. They were told to imagine that they were at a restaurant ordering dinner. Subjects were randomly assigned to view only one of three menus on which every food option was identified by a photo that could be clicked when placing an order. One menu featured standard, climate neutral codes below each meal photo. Another featured red labels stating “high climate impact” under meals that included beef. A third menu featured green labels stating “low climate impact” under those meals that did not include beef.

The researchers concluded that both the high and low climate impact menu labels were effective at encouraging more sustainable food selections compared to the control. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: The Announcer’s Suspension

North Carolina State basketball and football announcer Gary Hahn, broadcasting the NC State-Maryland Mayo Bowl game, said at one point, “down among all the illegal aliens in El Paso it’s UCLA 14 and Pittsburgh 6.” Learfield Communications suspended the Wolfpack Sports Network play-by-play announcer “indefinitely” following the game.

Various media outlets have described the statement as “offensive,” but it was unquestionably factual.

illegal immigrants are crossing the border into El Paso, Texas at a record pace. The mayor has declared a state of emergency. If it was the politically incorrect term “illegal alien” that was deemed offensive, the description is still used on some official government websites, perhaps because that’s what they are.

There is some crucial information we don’t have yet, though. Does Learfield Communications have a policy forbidding its announcers from making political comments during broadcasts? It should. There is no justification at all for sports broadcasters to bring non-sports topics, opinions and commentary into their broadcasts. I regard doing that as offensive whether I agree with the commentary or not. It is unprofessional: I don’t care what a baseball of football play-by-play announcer thinks about anything other that the game he or she is describing, and using that role to make gratuitous comments on public issues and current events is an abuse of position.

Was Hahn warned about this in the past? If this was his first offense, even if there is a policy, an indefinite suspension is unethically severe, so I won’t even bring that factor into today’s employment ethics Ethics Quiz, which is…

Can suspending Hahn for making a gratuitous reference to El Paso’s “illegal aliens” be ethically justified?

Outkick points out that Hahn might be excused for thinking that such editorializing is acceptable today based on the conduct of broadcasters like ESPN’s Mark Jones. ESPN (that’s Disney!) seems to encourage Jones, who routinely injects his extreme, woke, biased opinions into his basketball game coverage, constantly slamming Donald Trump, denigrating conservatives, even at one point making the false claim that Jacob Blake was unarmed to jibe with Black Lives Matter propaganda. The problem with that excuse for Hahn is 1) ESPN has clearly given Jones, at least, a green light to be unprofessional 2) Jones is black, and as we have seen elsewhere (CNN’s Don Lemon), there are different standards of professionalism for some black broadcast journalists. 3)Making gratuitous statements that offend conservatives is okay; offending progressives, even with facts, is currently far more risky.

My quiz answer: Absent a written policy, Hahn should have been warned and nothing more. If he violated a policy, a brief suspension would send a valid message.

I, however, am not broadcasting football or basketball game. They are illegal aliens (or illegal immigrants), not “migrants” or the other euphemisms and cover phrases, and that’s what they should be called, so the public understands the issue.

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/31/2022: Good-Bye 2022 And Good Riddance Edition

I want to take this opportunity to thank the Ethics Alarms stalwarts who have kept the comments lively and substantive over the holidays. December usually is a wasteland here, indeed the cyber-tumbleweeds start rolling through the abandoned streets the week before Thanksgiving. This year the traffic fall-off was hardly noticeable due to the quality and quantity of the participation. Thanks.

1. What can be said about this depressing video? An unshakeable progressive is confronted with damning facts about the current child gender-swapping fad on the Left, and he insists that it is a conservative conspiracy theory lie, until he is shown convincing proof. Then his objection to the conduct evaporates, and he announces his approval.

Here’s what I can say…

  • The mask is a tell. Outside, and he’s still virtue-signaling to the mask-fascists, “I’m one of you!”
  • This could be staged. If so, the actors are excellent.
  • Partisans like this guy roam on both sides of the political spectrum, They are blights on democracy, and why we can’t have nice things.
  • Two likely trolls commenting on this post give every indication of being like that Masked Man. I’ve got a bet with myself that the get themselves banned by Monday. We shall see.

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On The Freedom Of Speech Front…

Strangely, many of the same people who are claiming that democracy is hanging by a thread or two are also trying to fray a rather obvious thread, the right to free expression and free speech. Since that First Amendment thingy is a bear, they have to find ways around it that will stifle ideas, opinions and arguments that interfere with the “greater good”.”” (as they see it, natch). Or pretend the First Amendment “isn’t what it is” (#64).

Recent developments:

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Thoughts While Reading Classmate Entries In My Alma Mater’s Anniversary Report, #4: Imagine…If John Lennon Had Graduated From Harvard

If John Lennon had graduated from Harvard (and not been assassinated, of course) he might have written the ridiculous insufferable screed I just read in my anniversary report. I knew the author as a freshman, and did not enjoy the experience: the fact that he appears to be just as big a jerk today as he was when he was 18 confirms my long-held conclusion that maturity is a myth and most people don’t change as much as we would like to think.

Of course this guy is obsessed with climate change. He is downcast about the “prospects for the future of human civilization,” seeing “pending catastrophe” due to our “abuse of Mother Nature,” and there’s “very little time” to turn things around. No, Al Gore was not in my class.

Millions are going to die, “water wars” will rage, nuclear wars are inevitable, and hoards of climate-displaced refugees in the millions will roam the earth. Everyone must reduce their carbon footprint to zero–ZERO!—immediately, “not next year, not in five years, but now” or we are doomed. That means, this expert says (I can’t figure out what his real area of expertise is, but I don’t care, either), going cold turkey on fossil fuels and buying electric cars or, presumably, using bicycles and roller skates. Airplanes are right out, I guess.

He goes on to lecture on the need to abandon “tribalism,” self-interest, nations, success (“tribal dominance”) basic human aspirations and ambitions, all of it, because it is these maladies that have brought us to this perilous state. I’ll give him credit for one thing: at least he realizes that the kind of ascetic existence that he demands of humanity can’t possibly occur under the current governmental and societal structures, though he never has the guts to come right out and say what he’s advocating: world dictatorship by some body or individual who is wise and beneficent. For that would be the only way his formula for survival could ever be carried out, and that formula is exactly as absurd as Lennon’s lyrics in “Imagine.” It can’t happen, won’t happen, and most important of all, shouldn’t happen. Two and a half pages and 2,000 words of environmental, utopian virtue-signaling, all culminating in an urgent, indeed hysterical exhortation to not only do the impossible and impractical, but also do it without any reasonable assurance that such radical measures will work.

Good plan!

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Worst of Ethics Award 2022: Most Unethical Parent Of The Year…And More!

Kendra Licari was arrested this month and faces up to ten years in prison. In December of 2021, Licari informed police that her daughter and her boyfriend were being harassed, bullied and stalked online. Her daughter, she told them, was frightened and traumatized. Kendra and the boyfriend’s mother, she said, were working together to find the person responsible for the cyberbullying.

Police investigated, and discovered who was making Licari’s daughter’s life miserable. It was her own mother.

The investigators found that Kendra Licari had begun harassing her daughter online in early 2021, sending anonymous threats and insulting messages while pretending to be another high school girl. Though Mom tried to conceal her real identity, but FBI cyber-experts traced the messages to Licari’s IP address.

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David Brooks, A Trump Derangement And “Bias Makes You Stupid” Case Study

New York Times opinion columnist David Brooks should have that famous epitaph tattooed on his forehead.

He was once an independent, erudite, interesting essayist of conservative leanings. Then he accepted big bucks to be the New York Times’ token conservative pundit. Soon, after forced contact with Charles Blow, Thomas Friedman and Paul Krugman, the Times version on the Stockholm Syndrome took over shortly before the election of Donald Trump, whom, to be fair, the tweedy and classist Brooks surely would have regarded as icky even before his re-education by the Times. Today’s model of David Brooks is incapable of objective analysis, He serves a neon-bright cautionary tale of what happens when bias eats away at one’s analytical abilities and credibility.

Take his latest column…please.

It is called “The Sad Tales of George Santos,” but it quickly devolves into one more gratuitous attack on Donald Trump. What it most reveals, however, is how far David Brooks has fallen.

Halfway through this mess, Brooks writes, after stating the obvious about Rep.-elect George Santos,

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Thoughts While Reading Classmate Entries In My Alma Mater’s Anniversary Report, #3

I have just a few general observations this time.

  • I know I have mentioned this before, but I can’t get past it: it is remarkable to me, but maybe it shouldn’t be, how many of my classmates regard climate change as their greatest concern for the future.These are (mostly) smart, analytical people, yet climate change conventional wisdom has been successfully implanted in their brains by relentless media hammering and by cognitive dissonance (that is, what the “good” people believe must be good and true) so deeply that they are incapable of perceiving obvious logical fallacies. The people society trusts to devise substantive and practical solutions to our problems are stuck in the “Do something!” mode. Scary.
  • Trump Derangement rages.
  • So does wilful historical revisionism. One Democrat wrote that his wife was an “Eisenhower Republican” but had abandoned the current Republican Party because it had become too radically conservative. Eisenhower Republicans would make today’s GOP seem like the Antifa. Kennedy Democrats were more conservative than today’s Republican Party.
  • By far my favorite ethical weirdness, though, is the widespread obsession with exaggerating the significance of the January 6 Capitol rioting while referring to it as both an “insurrection” and a bleak portent of the decline of democracy. This opinion is coming from the class that overwhelmingly supported the student take-over of the Harvard administration building and cheered the students who battled riot police who tried to clear out the mob! That invasion of Harvard offices was just a microcosm of the Capitol riot, a foolish and doomed tantrum, except that the students were angry that their school was supporting a war over which they had no authority or control, while the Capitol rioters were protesting what they believed was a perversion of a Presidential election that had rendered their votes and rights effectively null and void. While the students were never held accountable for their civil disobedience, the Capitol rioters have been severely punished. After decades that should have made them wiser, the former students who never held any fantasies that their brief take-over of university offices would allow them to overthrow the Harvard administration now solemnly claim that a few hundred jacked-up idiots with bear spray and sticks thought they could take over the United States government.

Ethics Hero: Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch

The Supreme Court this week granted 19 states’ request to temporarily block a lower court ruling that ordered the Biden administration to end Title 42, and agreed to expedite review of the Biden administration’s effort to eliminate the use of an alleged continuing pandemic emergency to justify border officials skipping asylum processing details to quickly expel illegal immigrants. The end of Title 42 will create “a surge of [illegal immigrants] at America’s southern border,” says The Hill. That’s amusing, since there is already such a surge and has been since Joe Biden threw out a virtual welcome mat for those wanting to take the benefits of U.S. residents regardless of what our laws say. The proper phrasing would be “even greater surge than the unacceptable and irresponsible level being permitted already.”

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan had directed the Biden administration to end the policy this month, but the Court’s unsigned order put the ruling on hold and effectively kept the so-called Title 42 policy in place for now. This pleased opponents of the ongoing efforts by Democrats to allow as many illicit immigrants into the U.S. as possible, but many were surprised that the six Justice conservative majority didn’t follow the desires of Republican state attorneys-general en masse. The three-justice progressive minority dissented from the opinion in lock-step, as we would expect, and Justice Neil Gorsuch dissented from his conservative colleagues, based on law, principle, integrity and the Constitution. He wrote in part,

The States may question whether the government followed the right administrative steps before issuing this decision…But they do not seriously dispute that the public-health justification undergirding the Title 42 orders has lapsed. And it is hardly obvious why we should rush in to review a ruling on a motion to intervene in a case concerning emergency decrees that have outlived their shelf life….The only plausible reason for stepping in at this stage that I can discern has to do with the States’ second request. The States contend that they face an immigration crisis at the border and policymakers have failed to agree on adequate measures to address it. The only means left to mitigate the crisis, the States suggest, is an order from this Court directing the federal government to continue its COVID-era Title 42 policies as long as possible…For my part, I do not discount the States’ concerns. Even the federal government acknowledges “that the end of the Title 42 orders will likely have disruptive consequences.”

But the current border crisis is not a COVID crisis. And courts should not be in the business of perpetuating administrative edicts designed for one emergency only because elected officials have failed to address a different emergency. We are a court of law, not policymakers of last resort.

Well, bingo. Continue reading