Here’s A Poll That The News Media Must Take Seriously…But They Won’t. Too Bad. For Everyone.

Rebel journalist Sharyl Attkisson engaged pollster Scott Rasmussen to measure public attitudes about the political news media. His results, which he discussed on her show, “Full Measure”:

  • 78% of voters say that  journalists  use their media platforms to promote their own agendas.
  • 14% think that journalists fairly report what the news.
  • Focusing only on national news reporters, 57% of those polled said reporters slant their output to advance their own political agendas,
  • Only 26% of those polled believe that national reporters restrict themselves to the facts.
  • 52%  believe the problem has become worse compared to five years ago.
  • 42% of Americans believe national political news coverage is inaccurate and unreliable, while less— 38%—believe it’s accurate and reliable.
  • 36% of voters believe that a journalist would fairly report facts that would hurt their favorite candidate.

Observations: Continue reading

Insomnia Ethics Dump, 8/19/2019 (at 3:16 am): What Keeps Me Up At Night


So depressing to observe the reactions of the Facebook Borg to my post about Elizabeth Warren’s self-outing as a lying demagogue. They couldn’t process it; they put their metaphorical fingers in their ears and hummed; they attacked the messenger (me); they channeled the generally-derided Politifact whitewashing of the “Mike Brown was murdered” lie. One lawyer friend apparent deep-dived Ethics Alarms to try to  find a post that would contradict my position regarding Warren (and Kamala Harris). She couldn’t, but pretended she had by metaphorically waving an essay in which I applauded a man acquitted of murder by reason of insanity who later admitted to others that he had killed someone when he was younger and insane. (I can’t find the damn thing myself.)  She then called me a liar and a hypocrite, because I had described the man as a murderer when he was innocent in the eyes of the law. A lawyer made this argument, mind you. I explained, not too nicely, that her analogy was idiotic, since there was no murder and no crime in the Brown case, so law prof Warren’s calling it either was dishonest and indefensible, while in the case of the recovered madman, there was a murder, a crime, and a murder victim. Though the acknowledged killer he was fortunate enough to have committed his crime in a state that holds the insane unaccountable, that fact didn’t change the act or the  crime.

I don’t know why I bothered. Warren fans, like Bernie Bros, appear to be completely immune to facts and reality.

1.  Why is there such a compulsion to corrupt the innocent, even the fictional innocent? I was hardly an admirer of those late 60s and 70s Sid and Marty Kroft Saturday Morning TV shows with people dressed in huge, garish thing-costumes and being relentlessly cheery. You know the ones: “H.R. Puffnstuff,” “The Banana Splits Adventure Hour,” “Lidsville”—those. In addition to being assaultive and unfunny, they also inspired Barney, for which the Krofts should never be forgiven.

Still, lots of kids loved the shows and characters, and they should be able to cherish those memories. Hollywood, however, seems determined to debase everything it can, especially fond memories, either by sexualizing them or making them dark, or both. (The re-boot of “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” and “Riverdale,” the series based on the “Archie” comics, are cases in point.) Now we have the new in which are re-imagined as murderous psychopaths.

Nice. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/10/19: Insomnia Edition

Jeez, what time is it?

This stuff  kept me awake, gave me nightmares, or made me wish I was dreaming. Started this post before 5 am…

1. Idiotic meme of the week:

A lawyer friend whom I can vouch for having a brain actually posted this thing, apparently approvingly. In zombie movies, the equivalent is when a previously normal friend suddenly bites off your nose. Jules Suzdaltsev is hard left progressive journalist whose background is in film and psychology, and would be a fine example for teaching purposes of what someone sounds like who is so far on one side of the ideological spectrum that he is incapable of finding the center. He’s an ideologue and a Leftist incapable of objective analysis or non-compliant thought, who was steeped for seven years in the  rarefied politics of San Francisco, and who tweets deliberate misrepresentations like “There have been more MASS SHOOTINGS in 2019 than there have been DAYS in 2019” and such cliched “resistance” bile like “Hey do you guys remember when the generation that grew up breathing lead fumes ended up voting for this guy as President?”

The scary thing is not Suzdaltsev—he’s a professional left-wing echo chamber provocateur, and good luck to him, glad he has a career. The scary thing is that lawyers, trained in critical thought, can reach the point where they find extremist agitprop persuasive. Society relies on educated, trained professionals to steer us clear of such rot, not to embrace it. The 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck has seen one professional group after another abandon this duty for mob-pleasing expediency.

And how can someone post a statement that Bernie and Warren are barely left-of-center as anything but satire?

2. Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide, hanging himself in his cell. This was gross incompetence by the New York City jail, as well as federal authorities. If there ever was a prisoner who was a candidate for suicide (or murder), Epstein was it. He needed to be on a round-the-clock suicide watch. Epstein was allowed to cheat the justice system and his victims. He is now officially innocent of the crimes he was charged with.

Aside from all that, good. The world is better place without him in it. Continue reading

Meet The New APSA Editorial Team, George Orwell!

[For the second time in a week, reading a near-head-exploding ethics item right before bed has caused insomnia, necessitating this late-night post. My brain was already churning as I try to solve a work-related conundrum: this, I didn’t need. But this kind of stunning hypocrisy, dishonesty and lack of integrity the nation and the world don’t need, either.]

Behold a recent announcement from The American Political Science Association. Read carefully, now:

APSA Announces the New Editorial Team for the American Political Science Review for 2020

The American Political Science Association is delighted to announce a new editorial team to lead the American Political Science Review (APSR).  The APSA Council selected a team co-led by twelve political scientists from many institutions across North America. The new team’s term begins on June 1, 2020 and runs through May 31, 2024.

  • Sharon Wright Austin, Professor of Political Science, University of Florida
  • Michelle L. Dion, Associate Professor of Political Science, McMaster University
  • Lisa García Bedolla, Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and Dean of the Graduate Division and a Professor in the Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley
  • Clarissa Rile Hayward, Professor of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis
  • Kelly M. Kadera, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Iowa
  • Julie Novkov, Professor of Political Science and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, University at Albany, SUNY
  • Valeria Sinclair-Chapman, Associate Professor of Political Science, Purdue University
  • Dara Strolovitch, Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies and Politics, Princeton University
  • Aili Mari Tripp, Wangari Maathai Professor of Political Science and Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Denise M. Walsh, Associate Professor of Politics and Women, Gender, and Sexuality, University of Virginia
  • S. Laurel Weldon, Professor of Political Science, Simon Fraser University 
  • Elisabeth Jean Wood, Crosby Professor of the Human Environment and Professor of Political Science, Yale University

Vision Statement by the Editors

We are honored to have been selected as the American Political Science Review’s new editorial team. We thank the APSA Council and the selection committee for their confidence in our team and for their support for our vision. In entrusting the editorship of the association’s flagship journal to our diverse and all-woman team, the Council is demonstrating its commitment to promoting a wider range of voices and scholarship in the journal and the discipline.

Notice anything strange? Ridiculous, mayhap? Babylon Bee-worthy, you might say?

It’s this: “our diverse and all-woman team.” Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Monday Ethics Warm-Up, 7/29/19: Reverse Racism And Listening To Dead People,” Item #1

I can’t ignore the spate of apocalyptic or otherwise ominous predictions I am seeing in the comments; similar predictions and dire analyses are turning up in other forums as well. Here, for example. And here.

Then there is this Ethics Alarms comment (on the Big Lie #4 post)  by Steve Witherspoon, which ends,

The 2020 presidential election will be a defining moment for the 21st century political left, they have too much invested in their social justice rhetoric to let up or turn back now. They have defined all things that are tot he political right of the extreme political left as evil, it’s time to move ahead full steam. The political left MUST nominate a non-white person to run for President or they risk alienating the entire non-white community and all of the social justice warriors, plus if they were to nominate a “white” person they will prove beyond any doubt that their social justice rhetoric is a complete fraud. Either they practice what they preach or they become completely irrelevant, it’s all in, or it’s nothing.

Regardless if you agree with anything I wrote above or not; we saw the reaction to Trump winning in 2016 and the followup three years of growing hate and irrational behavior from the anti-Trumpers, do you think the hyped-up irrational anti-Trumpers will react with same kind of devastating sorrow this time around; I don’t. Seriously, what happens if President Trump gets reelected in 2020?

Now much maligned Alizia Tyler comes forth with this fascinating exposition. Here is  her Comment of the Day on Item #1 in the post, “Monday Ethics Warm-Up, 7/29/19: Reverse Racism And Listening To Dead People,” beginning with a quote from me:

“The gamble, I suppose, is that whites and men are really, really stupid and cowardly, and this divisive hypocrisy will prevail. I could be wrong, but I think it’s a bad bet.”

Well, there has been some interesting discussion on that topic. I mean, on what will happen when the ‘beast’ so-called is provoked. I am sorry to keep bringing this up — I say ‘sorry’ but I don’t quite mean that, I mean I regret that I have to keep repeating it — but it is important for thinking people to know the facts.

Here, Jordan Peterson talks about ‘masculinity’ as distinct from ‘femininity’ and the difference in their respective vision-quests (he is a Jungian of course!)

You want to know why I keep saying man? Because women do not have a hero’s journey. At best, women – you – are the goal of the journey. The prize, if you will. At worst, you are the temptress. For the true hero to achieve transcendence he must, as Joseph Campbell told us, ‘press beyond the woman, surpass the temptations of her call, and soar to the immaculate ether beyond.’ Today you have illustrated that point as well as any story I can think of. And let me tell you something else. You can consider this a prophecy. Inside the collective is a beast and the beast uses its claws. If you wake the beast the result will be violence. Chaos. I’m sorry to say that these continual protests by radical leftists are going to wake the beast. A beast that you cannot conquer but that will conquer you.

Now, Peterson has referred to the likely eventuality of ‘waking the beast’ (I guess he means Nietzsche’s ‘blond beast’) if the Progressive Leftists keep on with the ceaseless vilifications and reveals its power-mongering hand.

But Peterson is, after all, a Canadian centrist by-and-large: a conservative-leaning Progressive to put it bluntly. His notion of responsible adulthood is summarized in ‘keeping one’s room clean’. He can’t really speak about ‘preserving Occidental culture’ nor can he refer to the Grand Occidental Project. He steers people away from the more difficult and demanding definitions. And look how he labels what he terms the ‘violence’ of the beast: it is chaos. But wait! The entire Occidental process cannot be summarized as creating ‘chaos’. Thus he mistakes creative effort and creative effort — which is a form of violence if you think it through — as producing a negative state: chaos. Continue reading

The White Privilege Escape Room

The white privilege trope has raised its obnoxious head in some recent Ethics Alarms threads, so this  is timely. In “The Privilege of Escape,” a new public art project by Risa Puno at Onassis USA, the recent escape room fad (you know about escape rooms, right?), participants discover after their “escape” that some participants were given easier challenges than others. From the approving review by Times critic :

“As we reunite with the second group, we discover that they didn’t escape in time — not because their members lacked skills or intelligence, but because of the room they were in. Simply put, they were forced to play with a major handicap, whose challenges they were unaware of because it was presented as part of the game. (When asked for feedback, someone from that group jokingly called the experience “hell.”) Meanwhile, we had the privilege of perfect conditions, which allowed us to achieve our full potential and escape.”

Ah! I see! A perfect metaphor for life in the U.S., where social injustice and bigotry create uneven playing fields, meaning that those who are successful  haven’t earned their success, and those who fail never had a chance! More: Continue reading

The Great World War I Dogfight Photo Hoax

You are probably familiar with the famous Cottingley fairy photography hoax (there’s even a movie about it starring Peter O’Toole) in which two young British girls fooled much of the world—and credulous believer in the supernatural Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—into thinking that they had captured photographic proof that the fairy folk of legend existed. That hoax, however, was a mere bagatelle compared to this one.

In the early 1930s, a Mrs. Gladys Maud Cockburne-Lange said she was the widow of a Royal Flying Corps pilot. She presented  stunning photographs of scenes of aerial combat during World War I, apparently taken in the air from a combat biplane. Her late husband, she said, had defied the RFC’s regulations and mounted a camera on his plane, tying its shutter action to his machine gun. The resulting photos were the first  visual representation of British and German planes fighting each other taken from the air. They showed  bi-panes crashing into each other, being shot to pieces, catching on fire, and even pilots falling from the sky.

All previous photos of  WWI aerial “dogfights” had been taken from the ground, so this unexpected  trove of photographs caused a sensation.  The images were rapidly sold to newspapers, galleries, and publishers. Mrs. Cockburne-Langes sold 34 of the photos to one  publisher for  $20,000, a huge sum during the Great Depression, and they were later published in a popular book, “Death in the Air: The War Diary and Photographs of a Flying Corps Pilot.” by an anonymous author.

Unlike the fairy photo hoax, however, the truth about these photos took hald a century to uncover.  In 1984, the Smithsonian Institute received a donation of materials from Wesley David Archer, an American pilot who had served with the RFC and then…wait for it… became a special-effects technician in Hollywood.  Air and Space Museum curator Karl S. Schneide and Peter M. Grosz, an aviation expert, investigated the materials, and discovered  that in  some of the photographs, the wires holding up the model airplanes used to create the illusion of mid-air dogfights had yet to be airbrushed out. The materials also contained a diary entry that revealed the entire scheme. Continue reading