The police-involved death of 20-year-old black man Daunte Wright, which on its apparent facts (“Oopsie!”) did not indicate either racism or police brutality, quickly demonstrated that this was yet another car on the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck, itself but an extension of the Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck, which emerged from the Trayvon Martin Ethics Train Wreck. All have converged to intensify The Great Stupid, as many parties have learned nothing from the previous fiascos, and too many have learned the wrong things.
Recent unethical developments:
1. Naturally, there was a second night of riots. This is stupid and unethical by definition. So are media accountslike this one, picked at random, from The Boston Globe, about the previous night’s disturbances: “Officials announced curfews, schools suspended in-person classes, professional sports teams canceled games and businesses boarded up after a first night that included peaceful protests – but also clashes between police and demonstrators, as well as looting of local businesses.”
It included peaceful protests, you see, but then there was the rioting and the violence and the looting. This isn’t journalism, it’s spin. It is like writing, “the mob contained reasonable, concerned citizens, but also those who burned down businesses and attacked police.” It sets out to minimize negative reader perceptions—out of what motive? Sympathy? Bias? Incompetence? Malice?
Added: Dr. Emilio Lizardo adds this on the topic of the news media trying to establish the “peaceful protest” narrative.
And as we bid farewell to April 7 and good morning to April 8, I want to wish my wonderful, kind, talented and tolerant wife of 40 years a happy birthday. I owe everything to her.
1. Well, you can’t accuse satellite radio of being politically correct…the Comedy Legend Sirius channel is a welcome oasis in the woke era humor desert, with routines old enough to remind one what it was like when comedians only had to worry about being funny to the audience at hand—and yet there are limits. At least, there should be. Today I heard an old Louis C.K. routine about his childhood. You recall how C.K. became a #MeToo arch-villain, costing him his show, bookings, and essentially his career, don’t you? He set a new low for celebrity sexual harassment by masturbating in front of non-consenting female visitors to his hotel room, and on more than one occasion. Ick. Also sick. In the routine featured on Sirius-XM, the comedian was reminiscing, to audience hilarity, how he showed his penis to a girl with Down Syndrome when he was nine. I don’t know that I would have ever found that story funny, but hearing C.K. tell it in light of his later revealed proclivities was an experience I could have lived my whole life without having. Since it is now clear to me that whoever programs that channel can’t be trusted to apply any discretion or common sense at all, I’m not sure it is safe for me to drive with it playing…
When I recently noted on Facebook the fact, and it is a fact, that Biden has intentionally told the public that the Georgia voting reform bill limits the times for voting when in fact it expands them, the Trump Deranged reacted predictably, immediately alluding to President Trump’s alleged lies as a justification for giving Biden a pass. First of all, a basic principle of ethics holds that an unethical act is not mitigated by similar or worse conduct by someone else. More importantly, however, when discussing leadership credibility, both quality and quantity matters. As Ethics Alarms pointed out early in the Trump administration, he had such a well-established proclivity for exaggeration, hyperbole, boasting, eccentric views of reality, selective memory and gibberish that it was difficult to take his assertions seriously. Moreover, the news media and anti-Trump fanatics refused to distinguish between actual lies—falsehoods designed to deceive—and Trump’s opinions they disagreed with or statements they deliberately misinterpreted—or lied about themselves, in some cases for years.
People, even lawyers, just do not interact much in remote seminars. It makes a three-hour session far more tiring, even though I’m sitting down, rather than stalking through the space. Thus I am blotto now, after a legal ethics session earlier today.
1. And THIS is the best paper in the U.S…Two headlines on the New York Times front page this morning my high school paper faculty advisor would have rejected…and he would have been right:
“Gaetz Said To Face Inquiry Over Sex With Underage Girl” The fact someone says it is not news. Is he “facing an inquiry” or isn’t he? “Three people briefed on the matter” isn’t a source: we’ve seen how accurate the Times anonymous sources are, especially when the subject is a Republican, a conservative, and a Trump supporter. Why the front page for a rumor? Slow news day? Hey, I’ve got an idea: How about an article about how Joe Biden called Georgia “sick” based on a complete misrepresentation?
“Taliban Believes The War’s Over And They Won.” This is psychic news again, my favorite fake news form. How does the Times know what the Taliban “thinks”? Who cares what it “thinks”?
1. Speaking of useless awards shows: Here are the winners of the NAACP Image Awards, presented by Black Entertainment Television, which raises questions all by itself. Now someone explain to me how such awards are helpful, productive, and justified in the United States of America in 2021. As hard as I try, I cannot think of any words but hypocrisy, apartheid, and double standards.
I’d really appreciate an argument from an African-American reader.
2. An ethical firing at USA Today. After Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa shot up a supermarket in Boulder, Hemal Jehaveri, who held the Orwellian post of “Race and Inclusion Editor,” proved her qualifications by tweeting “It’s always an angry white man, always.” This did not go over well, for several reasons.
First, “it” isn’t “always” a white man. Second, this particular shooting appears to be based on religious and ethnic hate, not race. Third, for a “race and inclusion” editor to announce racial bias of her own on social media would seem to be immediately disqualifying. Fourth, as a journalist, she needs to be trusted, and not tweet out false information on a whim.
Fifth, she’s a biased idiot.
She was fired. Good. Now she’s claiming that her firing was race-based:
Was Joe Biden’s nomination of Senator Joe Manchin’s wife to a $165,000 post in his administration a bribe or a pay-off? So far, there’s no way to tell, but there is also no question about whether it creates an appearance of impropriety, which undermines public trust in the government, assuming there is any left at this point. It does. In fact, I can’t think of a more vivid example. The ethics rules governing government employees and judges, as well as members of Congress, prohibit conduct that creates the appearance of impropriety. The President and Vice-President are not covered by the rules. The circumstances around this appointment create only, well, circumstantial evidence of corruption, but then that’s what “appearance” means. It is conduct that creates suspicion.
Boy, does this ever.
Two days after Sen. Manchin cast a last-minute deciding vote on the Senate Armed Services Committee’s that advanced Biden’s controversial Pentagon policy nominee, Colin Kahl, to the full Senate, Manchin’s wife Gayle was announced as the surprise nominee to be federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. The agency focuses on investing in Appalachia’s economic future by “providing grants, publishing research, and sponsoring learning experience.”
This, several news sources wrote, “raises questions about whether there was any connection between his vote and his wife’s nomination.” Ya think? The Biden administration has made it clear that if a nominee isn’t gay, trans, non-white, disabled, or a fire-breathing radical, there is no place for he/she/whatever. Why would a middle-of-the road, white woman from West Virginia qualify, other than the fact that she is, in fact, qualified for the job by those old fashioned, racist standards of yore?
And they said Donald Trump posted inappropriate tweets…
After that delightful ditty was taken down by Facebook, the Honorable Mayor posted the whole poem, of which she is apparently proud, on Twitter:
Either she is having a nervous breakdown, of the citizens of Charlottesville are the most incompetent voters in the nation. I’m desperately searching to find another example of an elected official publicly announcing that he or she hates the city she has vowed to serve. It is a per se breach of loyalty and civic responsibility.
She is ethically obligated to resign. I’m sure she can support herself with her poetry…
Ask them about the fact that Instagram is blocking posts including the video showing President Biden falling while boarding Air Force One. Ask them if this is acceptable to them. Ask them how they would have responded if platforms had banned publication of videos of President Trump that fed antagonistic partisan beliefs and attitudes.
If they try to excuse it, rationalize it or justify it, ask them when they abandoned integrity, if they ever had it.
Ask them when they began to support the destruction of our democracy.
Ask them how they became fascists.
As with the fact of Biden’s problems themselves, this isn’t a laughing matter.
When we last left the Washington Post’s fake quote debacle, the paper had identified Georgia’s Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs as the source of a false account of then-President Trump’s phone call to the state’s investigator into irregularities in the 2020 election. Both Fuchs and Post blogger Erik Wemple were channeling Dan Rather “ethics,” arguing that Fuch’s lie that the President said “Find the fraud!” was inaccurate but true.
Now we learn, after someone checked the record, that at least one of the media sources had in fact unwittingly allowed Fuchs to verify her own lie, and claimed it had received a confirmation of the Post fake news from “a source familiar with the conversation.”
NBC News has confirmed The Post’s characterization of the Dec. 23 call through a source familiar with the conversation. Georgia’s Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs told NBC News: “We can confirm the events in the Washington Post story.”