Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/20/22: ” Seeing Bad Stuff In September” Edition

Stop making me defend Scott Pelley! The conservative news media is beating on “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley for what they are calling a “softball” interview, as if every “60 Minutes” interview of a sitting President hasn’t been just as tame, or even tamer. At least Pelley asked Biden about Hunter. The truth is that Americans still prefer to see their Presidents treated with respect and some degree of deference, unless the President is Donald Trump.

It’s funny: the same outlets that are condemning Pelley as a Democratic ally and hack are wondering why Biden’s “handlers” allowed the blithering POTUS to do an interview at all. Of course the conditions demanded for the interview included no follow up questions, and a softball session. And it didn’t matter! Biden’s performance was frightening anyway, and unlike the 2020 interview with Trump, when Leslie Stahl’s clear objective was to attack throughout, the White House couldn’t complain afterwards that the President was sabotaged by a biased journalist. Pelley asked about Joe’s mental fitness, and Biden replied, “Watch me!” And so we did, and have. He continued,

And it ma—, honest to God, that’s all I think. Watch me. If you think I don’t have the energy level or the mental acuity, then — then, you know, that’s one thing. It’s another thing, you just watch and — and, you know, keep my schedule. Do what I’m doing….“I — I think that, you know — I don’t — when I sit down with our NATO allies and keep ’em together, I don’t have ’em saying, ‘Wait a minute, w— how — how old are you? What are you — what say?’ You know, I mean, it’s a matter of, you know, that old expression: The proof of the pudding’s in the eating. I mean, I — I — I respect the fact that people would say, you know, ‘You’re old.’ And — but I think it relates to h— how much energy you have, and whether or not the job you’re doing is one consistent with what any person of any age would be able to do.”

Whether it was Pelley’s intention or not, he ended up doing what ethical journalists are supposed to do: he let the facts speak for themselves.

1. On the topic of social media viewpoint censorship, this:

It takes a lot of chutzpah for YouTube to demonetize a channel because it violates YouTube’s “values” and then sell ads on the same content.

2. Oh please, please let this happen to me! In an open thread at Althouse, a commenter tells this tale,

A friend’s brother lives in Florida. They recently got new neighbors from NY, a husband and wife. A few days after moving in the wife stops over and sits down. She says, “OK, let’s get this out of the way. I am a Democrat and my husband an Independent. What are you?” Non-plussed, he says he is Republican. For the next 15 minutes he was called every expected name- Nazi, racist, etc. IN HIS OWN F-ING HOME!

It’s my contention that the left now knows its flaws are becoming obvious and are overcompensating to hear themselves repeat their failing worldview…

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On John Fetterman’s Speech Problems…

..and neck problems? What the hell is that thing?

I have tried to find the full video of Pennsylvania Democrat John Fetterman’s “John Fetterwoman” speech that is supposed to show how bad his speaking problems are post-stroke, but so far I’ve failed. I was going to post one of the  edited videos that highlighted his problems, but decided that I couldn’t trust any of them.

Now the mainstream media, and notably NBC News, is (predictably) trying to rescue Fetterman and their clients, the Democratic Party. NBC wrote, “The videos include slight edits, such as cutting out the sound of the audience to make it appear as if he had abruptly stopped speaking (some of the stops occurred when he was pausing during moments of applause and crowd reaction, according to unedited videos seen by NBC News). Other edits cut Fetterman off mid-sentence, to create the perception that what he was saying was nonsensical…. The videos could run afoul of Twitter’s rules against political misinformation, even though they are still available…. Experts have warned that such lightly edited videos, also sometimes called ‘shallow fakes,’ can be particularly effective pieces of misinformation.” Continue reading

From The “Res Ipsa Loquitur” Files: Harvard’s Press Release Announcing The Proud Addition Of Brian Stelter

Well, I don’t know what else I can do to express my shame and revulsion at having a Harvard diploma. I’ve turned it to the wall, and lowered it to the floor. I boycotted my class reunion this year, and wrote why in my class notes. This latest despicable breach of ethics and academic integrity is still baffling to me. Stelter proved himself over and over again to be an unethical journalist, a fake expert on journalism ethics, a transparently biased hack and a liar incapable of admitting either his misconduct or that of his employer, CNN. Even the title of his weekly show, “Reliable Sources,” was a lie: Stelter’s reports were reliably unreliable. He did not, as his show promised, cover and critique news media conduct, misdeeds and controversies. Increasingly, he focused his criticism only on Fox News, while his own network was lapping the field in scandals.

What does it tell us, then, about Harvard, its Kennedy School (which Bill O’Reilly constantly boasted about attending for a few months) and its Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy that they would issue this press release? I hope the answer is obvious to all:

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Look! The Washington Post Realizes That The John Fetterman Senate Campaign In Pennsylvania Is A Threat To Democracy!

Wow. CNN starting to criticize Democrats is remarkable enough, but the Washington Post biting the metaphorical hand that feeds it?

Theories abound. Maybe, as my freind Tom Fuller says, the Post editors have concluded that “there is some shit I will not eat.” Maybe Biden’s Speech From Hell that had fascist techniques all over it while calling half the nation fascist was too much even for these long-time accessories. I don’t know, but yesterday the Post editors erupted with rare disgust over the unethical machinations of Democrat John Fetterman, who is, essentially, trying to cheat his way to a victory in the crucial Pennsylvania U.S. Senate race.

Maybe what aroused the Post’s dormant sense of ethics was Fetterman’s absurd pandering to the pro-abortion crown in a 9/11 campaign rally—kind of appropriate, since 9/11 was about taking innocent lives just like abortion is—in which he shouted, “My name is John FetterWoman!” to a cheering crowd of idiots.  Fetterman reiterated his support for abortion until  birth, and pledged that he would vote to codify Roe v. Wade, which makes no sense since Roe outlawed most abortions after the first trimester.

“Women are the reason we can win. Let me say that again: Women are the reason we win.” Fetterman told the crowd. “Don’t piss women off!”

To quote Olson Johnson in “Blazing Saddles,” “Now who can argue with that?” Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Warm-Up: “Soul Of The Nation” Hangover Edition

Hey…is that a rising sun or a setting sun? Ben Franklin is asking…

On this date in 1886, the legendary Apache leader Geronimo finally surrendered to U.S. government troops. I was thinking about Geronimo last night as I watched “Hot Shots, Part Deux” (the first one is much, much better), by the “Airplane!” guys. In one of the better gags in the film, a special ops team is parachuting into Iraq. Two soldiers shout “Geronimo!” and jump out of the plane, then Geronimo, in full Native American regalia, jumps out shouting “ME!” I found myself wondering if any film maker today would dare to put that into a movie. Isn’t that sad?

In related news, Fox pundit-comic Greg Gutfield is beating all the cookie-cutter all-progressive pandering all-the-time late night comics in the ratings. Imagine: he makes fun of both parties and their supporters! What a ground-breaking concept! He does have a great group of writers, I hear—Mark Twain, Will Rogers, H.L. Mencken, Mort Sahl, Stan Freeberg, Tom Lehrer…

1. Oh, let’s start with the post-Biden Reichstag speech. (My favorite meme inspired by this debacle : that already iconic photo of Biden with his fists raised against the blood-red background with the legend: “It was better in the original German.)

  • Last night, Trump called Biden “the enemy of the people” at his rally. Close one: I actually wrote that description of Biden is a post yesterday, and decided that it was too Trumpy. Not that Trump was wrong…he was also correct to call the mainstream news media “the enemy of the people,” and they are substantially responsible for inflicting Biden on the nation. Their lapdog reaction to the speech is also evidence.
  • Ann Althouse has been in rare form in her blogging about the speech. A liberal Democrat by inclination and belief, she was obviously genuinely offended and angered by it. Apparently progressive historian (well, they are almost all progressives now) Jon Meachum (“American Lion,” which I read and liked very much) had input into the rant, which Politico called the “Democracy speech.” Althouse: “Democracy speech”? Is that what they want it called? The speech where he demonized half of American voters?…Ugh! Warning us about our fellow citizens. Accusing us of “assault.” Claiming to represent “democracy”….it was horrible.” Here, writing about Trump’s rally, she quotes the Times today—“The former president described Mr. Biden’s address as ‘the most vicious, hateful, and divisive speech ever delivered by an American president.’—and comments, “I don’t think the NYT wants us to think Trump is right about that, but I think he is.”

Of course he is. Continue reading

Further Notes And Observations On President Biden’s “Soul Of The Nation” Speech

No, this doesn’t rate “ethics train wreck” status. The horrible episode was already hooked up to two ongoing ethics train wrecks: the extinction level  2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck, and its subordinate Biden Presidency Ethics Train Wreck. Moreover, Biden’s speech has some very positive aspects to it which are becoming immediately apparent. Those who praise it are outing themselves as hopelessly, cripplingly biased, ethically short-circuited and ready to embrace totalitarianism. Journalists who rationalize it are proving the critics of their rotted profession correct. This is all useful information, if depressing.

The speech also exposed the desperation and complete corruption of the Democratic Party for anyone to see who isn’t in an ethics coma. The smoking gun: the fact that Biden and Democrats began denying that Biden said what he said less than a day after he said it, and said it in a carefully (if stupidly) prepared and choreographed production framed as a major Presidential address. This exchange…

Fox News’ Peter Doocy: “Do you consider all Trump supporters to be a threat to the country?”

Biden: “I don’t consider any Trump supporter a threat to the country.”

…was not only a Jumbo, as Ethics Alarms declared last night, but as Professor Jacobson points out, one that makes the vocal knee-jerk supporters of the speech look like the unprincipled toadies they are. He writes, “I bet you thought there was nothing so pathetic as Joe “Wartime President” Biden’s hateful, lunatic, insane, demeaning, and otherwise civil-warish speech last night….Biden was categorical – “MAGA Republicans are a threat.” Immediately, the usual media and Never-Trump sychophants jumped on board with high praise of this eliminationist rhetoric. Guess what? Joe “Where Am I?” Biden just threw them all under the bus by walking back his comments. No, of course he didn’t mean to say that all MAGA-voters were a threat to the nation….” Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Month: Ann Althouse On Biden’s Speech Last Night

“I can sum it up in 7 words: We the People, but not you people.”

—–Allegedly non-partisan blogger Ann Althouse (she’s a Democrat), providing a preview of her soon to be posted review of Biden’s “soul of the nation” speech.

As soon as I read that Biden was going to give a prime-time speech on the peril to the “soul of the nation,” I knew exactly what was coming, what motivated it (panic and desperation, plus terrible advisers), and what it would be: the ultimate IIPTDXTTNMIAFB.

And wildly unethical, of course: irresponsible, disrespectful, unfair, and un-American, as well as hypocritical, indeed a betrayal, from a leader who promised on his Inaugeration Day, “We can join forces, stop the shouting and lower the temperature. For without unity there is no peace, only bitterness and fury. No progress, only exhausting outrage. No nation, only a state of chaos. This is our historic moment of crisis and challenge, and unity is the path forward.”

Was I wrong?

I haven’t read the various pundits about the speech yet, and I haven’t read the text yet; I have a doctor’s appointment and I don’t want to be nauseous. I am curious about whether any of the usual Biden cheer-leaders will have the integrity to state the obvious, and what was obvious the second the speech was announced. This is deliberate divisiveness. It is the essence of totalitarian messaging; it is more fascist in intent and substance than anything Donald Trump ever did or said.

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UPDATE! “Wait: Why Did It Take A Congressional Commission To Point Out That A KKK Plaque Wasn’t Appropriate At West Point?” Answer: Because It Was Completely Appropriate…

I don’t like to reflexively blame the news media and it biases for my blog’s misinformation and wrong turns, but in this case, it’s justified. In yesterday’s post “Wait: Why Did It Take A Congressional Commission To Point Out That A KKK Plaque Wasn’t Appropriate At West Point?”

I expressed amazement that a Congressional commission had to protest the presence of a bronze artwork apparently commemorating the Ku Klux Klan that had been hanging in a West Point building for decades. “Finding out that a Klan plaque was on display all this time at West Point is like discovering that St. Paul’s Cathedral had a statue of Satan hanging around for centuries without anyone objecting,” I wrote, endorsing the commission’s clear belief that the plaque should be taken down.

My source was the New York Times, which yesterday professed that the origins of the plaque were shrouded in mystery, and which also provided no context or explanation for why the Klan made it into halls of the academy at all. Nice reporting there, Times! Today, in the same article, this appeared:

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Breaking News On The Stolen Election “Lie”

I still see it almost every day: a reference to Donald Trump’s stolen election “lie.” Trump, as is his wont, makes this slur too easy by his usual sloppiness of expression. First, he employs the language of certainty to express a belief that cannot be verified, and second, he keep focusing on voter fraud. However, as Ethics Alarms had indicated on many days in in many ways, there is a substantial likelihood that Trump’s second term was stolen from him (and the nation), not by fraud but by the continuous series of deliberate and unethical acts of sabotage committed against his Presidency, administration and campaign by Democrats, progressives, the news media, social media, popular culture, Big Tech, NeverTrump Republicans and the “Deep State.” (As an aside, the denials by the Left that the Deep State exists remind me of the once commonplace denials by Italian-Americans that the Mafia existed.)

This week, two bits of evidence supporting this position emerged:

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What Do You Call Those Who Deliberately Encourage Hate And Division?

A much-esteemed member of the Ethics Alarms commentariate alerted me yesterday that he would be eschewing the blog indefinitely because it was making him anxious and depressed. I’m glad he won’t be reading this post. It made me anxious and depressed.

Fresh off of yesterday’s note about the woman who asked “The Ethicist” whether she was ethically obligated to “out” a friend at work who harbored horrible conservative opinions—you know, like not believing that there is a Constitutional right to kill human fetuses—and news of another study showing that Democrats increasingly don’t want to associate with anyone not buying into their progressive, crypt-totalitarian world view (I can’t locate the recent one right now; a similar study from last December found that “5% of Republicans said they wouldn’t be friends with someone from the opposite party, compared to 37% of Democrats,” and “71% of Democrats wouldn’t go on a date with someone with opposing views, versus 31% of Republicans.”), comes more evidence that hate-mongering and Big Lies are working for the Left. They will destroy the democracy in order to save it, and promoting incurable divisiveness and distrust is just the way to do it.

The tough conservative blogger who writes The New Neo reported on a Washington Post opinion piece from last week headlined, “No, Trump voters aren’t incapable of changing their minds about him.” I confess: I saw the article and jettisoned it after this section in the third paragraph:

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