That’s impressive: Facebook’s “quasi-independent” review board is even more unethical than I thought.
That board’s membership was in my print version of the New York Times yesterday. If it’s on the web, it’s too well hidden for me, but here is the disturbing part: on the 20 person board, 15 of the “‘experts” don’t live in the United States of America.
Let’s make this clear: as Tom Slater of “Spiked!” correctly points out, Facebook’s banning of Trump ‘represented one of the most terrifying corporate interventions into democratic politics in recent memory. In removing Trump from its platform, used by around 70 per cent of adult Americans, Facebook was effectively standing between a president and his people, depriving him of access to what now constitutes the public square. This is an assault on democracy that makes the surreal storming of the Capitol pale into insignificance.”
Exactly. And to review a decision with massive consequences for our nation and its public, Facebook turns to distant arbiters who 1) have no stake in the fate of the United States at all and 2) lack the cultural values unique to this country of treasuring and protecting free speech and expression.
Once again, I am 90% certain, maybe more, what the right answer should be, but also again, I’m close enough to the cusp to have “reasonable doubt,” or as they would say in the Chauvin trial, “Never mind!”
Chris Malone, an offensive line coach at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga (UTC), , was fired two days after he tweeted,
“Congratulations to the state GA and Fat Albert @staceyabrams because you have truly shown America the true works of cheating in an election, again!!! Enjoy the buffet Big Girl!! You earned it!!! Hope the money is good, still not governor!”
The school responded, through its athletic director,
“Last night, a totally inappropriate social media post by a member of our football staff was brought to my attention. The entire post was appalling. The sentiments in that post do not represent the values of our football program, our Athletics department or our University. With that said, effective immediately, that individual is no longer a part of the program.”
Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quizfor today (as I head to my oral surgeon for the latest emergency…):
From the Boston Globe this morning: “The social network’s quasi-independent Oversight Board voted to uphold [Donald Trump’s] ban from the platform after his account was suspended four months ago for inciting violence that led to the deadly Jan. 6 Capitol riot.”
That tells you all you need to know about the fairness of any such decision involving any organization with “media” in its description. Let’s see:
What—THE HELL—is a “quasi-independent” board? Is it independent, or isn’t it? Oh, it’s “kind of” independent, is it? Right. It’s not independent then, and no decision by any body that allows itself to be used in corporate deceit like that can be trusted. Gautam Hans, a technology law and free speech expert and professor at Vanderbilt University, commented that “If any other company decided, well, we’re just going to outsource our decision-making to some quasi-independent body, that would be thought of as ridiculous.”
Yes, that’s because it is ridiculous, for Facebook or “any other company.”
President Trump was banned for “inciting violence” when any objective analysis of his words and what happened shows that he did nothing of the kind.
The gratuitous use of “deadly” is more of the news media’s attempt to bias public perceptions of the event to Trump’s detriment.
The CYA board—I think that’s a fair description—then said, contradicting itself, “It was not appropriate for Facebook to impose the indeterminate and standardless penalty of indefinite suspension,” although the board is allowing the penalty to stand. It gave Facebook (of which, remember, it is quasi-independent! Don’t forget that! ) six more months to reexamine the “arbitrary penalty” it imposed on January 7, and then decide on another penalty that reflects the “gravity of the violation and the prospect of future harm.”
South Carolina Republican Senator Tim Scott delivered a rarity, an opposing party “replay” to a Presidential address that was eloquent, powerful, and relevant. However, Scott also fell into the ethics abyss by demanding that Twitter take down tweets that included the hashtag “Uncle Tim.” Scott called the trend “upsetting” and “so disappointing” this morning, saying that it shows the left “are literally attacking the color of my skin.”
Well yes, they are. That shouldn’t be surprise, since they have also been attacking the color of MY skin.
The conservatives, as the mainstream media likes to say when Republican point out hypocrisy, “pounced”:
1. I can’t mount the intestinal fortitude to even visit Facebook lately.I’m afraid I’ll snap and write something like, “You people are all such hypocritical assholes, at least 90% of you! For four years, you barfed out post after post mocking the President of the United States, attracting boats of “likes” and “loves” for every misspelled word, every exaggeration, every off-the-cuff dumb remark, and when the mentally-failing President you elected completely blows all trust and credibility in less that three months with material lie after lie, deliberate racially inflammatory statements, and outright stupidity “on steroids,” as he would say, your response is ‘Yeah, but what about Trump?’ You’re all a disgrace to your nation, your society, your various institutions of higher education, and basic principles of logic. To hell with you.”
This week, making a case for a fake infrastructure repair bill that appears to be just another pork-laden giveaway to favored Democratic constituencies, Biden said, among other things, “We’re going to talk about commercial aircraft flying at subsonic speeds, supersonic speeds, be able to figuratively, if you may, if we decide to do it, be able to traverse the world in an hour, travel at 21,000 miles an hour…Imagine a world where you and your family can travel coast to coast without a single tank of gas or in a high-speed train, close to as fast as you can go across the country in a plane!”
The speed of 21,000 miles an hour is about Mach 28, or 28 times the speed of sound. The fastest commercial airplane flies at less than Mach 1. Remember the Concorde? A single fatal accident at that plane’s high speed was enough to kill its commercial use. All it would take is one crash of Biden’s miracle plane, where every soul on board was vaporized, and no one would buy another ticket. Think Hindenburg.
To cope with centrifugal force, train tracks tilt on curves; the problem is that the train can only tilt so much before either it or the passengers inside tip over, so the curve must get larger and more gradual to safely carry a super-fast train. “Tracks rated for fifty miles per hour need almost no banking and can have a curve radius of fifteen hundred feet, while a train traveling at a hundred and twenty miles per hour needs a track with significant banking, and a minimum curve radius of more than a mile and a half.” A train track designed for a train going 550 miles per hour would have to have an absolutely gargantuan curve radius. Our current system and routes of train tracks would be completely unsafe for a train moving at that speed; it would fly off the tracks at the first curve.
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…
You can’t blame me for featuring this ethics landmark today: On April 3, 1948, President Truman signed the Economic Assistance Act, commonly known as the Marshall Plan, which authorizing the a program to help the nations of a war-torn Europe to rebuild. The effort was designed to stabilize Europe economically and politically so that the Soviet Union would not be able to spread communism further. U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall gave the plan its name with a speech at Harvard University on June 5 of the previous year. He proposed that the European states meet to agree on a program for economic recovery, and that the U.S. would would help fund it. The same month Britain and France invited European nations to send representatives to Paris to follow-through with Marshall’s formula. The USSR, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland declined the invitation. The resulting Committee of European Economic Cooperation eventually presented its plan to Congress, which authorized the “Marshall Plan” on April 2, 1948. The next day, it was signed into law.
It’s that time again! The Cecil B. DeMille classic “The Ten Commandments” airs at 7 p.m. tonight on ABC. I recommend renting it for a few bucks on Amazon Prime: commercials now add a full hour to the movie, which is already one of the longest U.S. films ever made. I watch the 1956 jaw-dropper at least once every year. No movie ever blew my mind like that one did when I saw it as a child, and, I noted with amazement last week when I watched it again, certain scenes still blow my mind now, like the Exodus, easily the greatest crowd scene that ever had been or ever will be. My top ethics notes:
The screenplay’s direct condemnation of slavery in Moses’ early speech is remarkable for the period, and gutsy for the most expensive movie ever made (to that point) that needed big audiences from the old Confederate states during the middle of a growing civil rights movement.
Like Ted Williams’ home run in his last at bat, DeMille bet everything on his biggest challenge at the end of his career when he had already made Hollywood history and was a living legend….and he succeeded. I admit, I’m a sucker for that. The movie killed him, essentially: CB suffered a heart attack while directing the huge scene where Moses leads the Jews out of Egypt, and never recovered. I’m sure he’d say it was still worth it.
As a director, I have learned that the greatest and most frightening challenge is trying to top yourself. I admire the artists who attempt it, and especially those who succeed. DeMille had already made a silent movie version of the story that stood as the top-grossing film of all time until his own talkies broke its record.
I cannot think of a better example of the ethical principle that if you are going to do something that matters, do it right and don’t cut corners. Like David O. Selznick’s “Gone With The Wind,” TTC is filled with astounding grace notes and details that are the mark of a perfectionist. On this week’s viewing, I noticed for the first time that when we see Egyptian princess Nefertiri primping in a mirror, her image is dark and indistinct. That’s because glass mirrors were unknown in ancient Egypt: the mirror is polished metal.
The 1957 Oscars , which largely snubbed De Mille’s masterpiece, show how bias makes you stupid, and how little the movie community understands its own medium. “The Ten Commandments” was the movie of the year and everyone knew it: it was the top grossing film and had scenes that were immediately recognizable as likely to become legendary (like the parting of the Red Sea.) But most of the Oscars, including Best Picture, went to “Around the World in 80 Days,” the over-stuffed “spectacular”—unwatchable now— made by industry darling Mike Todd. DeMille didn’t even rate a Best Director nomination. He was considered a conservative pariah and a dinosaur, and the “new Hollywood” wouldn’t bring itself to recognize an old pro doing his best work.
2. And now, speaking for the arrogant, biased, not as smart as they think they are people who lie to you daily, Lester Holt! At the 45th Edward R. Murrow Symposium at Washington State University, Holt received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication, presumably because they had to find a black journalist to give the thing to. Among his comments, which generally proved the stunning lack of self-awareness of himself and his industry, he said, .
Once I would have headlined this post with “Stop Making Me Defend Donald Trump!” But this is no longer about Donald Trump, and readers who can’t figure this out, frankly, are too dense and gullible to read here.
Earlier this week, former President Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump posted on Instagram: “BIG SHOW TONIGHT – I will be joined by President Donald Trump on The Right View!!”
Then, when she posted her “big show,” Facebook took down the video of her interview with the ex-President after sending her an email stating that content with the voice of former President Trump “is not currently allowed on our platforms (including new posts with President Trump speaking).” The Facebook spokesman said the video was not permitted on Facebook and Instagram because of the former president’s indefinite suspension. Facebook also warned that any future posts featuring Trump would also be removed “resulting in additional limitations on accounts that posted it.”
I wouldn’t walk down my stairs to watch Trump be interviewed by Eric Trump’s wife, or just about any interviewer, frankly. Nonetheless, he is a recent President, a former President, a political leader, and an important historical, cultural and political figure in the United States of America, which is allegedly a free country. Millions of members of the public are interested in his words, beliefs and activities, and access to information about those should not be impeded by powerful private companies.
The news media’s embargo on facts and events for its partisan objectives created this slippery slope, and this slide is accelerating. Tech companies and communications corporations are actively controlling what Americans can see, hear, think about, and think. An entire political party and its corrupted “base” are perfectly satisfied with this distortion of democracy. Others are just quietly being misled, and are now the apocryphal slowly boiling frogs, doomed to have teeth ripping at the flesh of their legs before they understand what has happened to them.
Meanwhile, anyone–like me—seeing something ominous in this is a “conspiracy theorist”—you know, liars and wackos. Why would anyone see a conspiracy at work when a major political figure approximately half the nation voted for to be President less than four months ago is erased from the public eye and ear by a joint campaign stretching across the airwaves and the internet? Crazy!
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:
I attended my first Zoom memorial service today. Ethics tip, if you are considering doing this for a loved one: set an end time and stick to it, for God’s sake. This event today was to honor a great presence in my childhood and a friend of both my parents, and I was grateful for the chance to pay my respects. I don’t even begrudge the fact that her one child who has a serious stutter carried the duty of the eulogy, But as we got to the dreaded open mic for the assembled to share memories of the departed, one ancient attendee after another droned on with no discipline or relevance, often just trading niceties with others present and generally repeating what had already been said.
One more tip: if you had never even met the person being memorialized, shut up. One guy went on and on about how he always hoped to meet her, “but we were never invited to her house.”
I bailed when we hit the one hour, 15 minute mark and I saw no sign of a conclusion.
1. I don’t understand this at all. The Biden administration is restricting press access to the mess at the boarder. How can the news media allow it to get away with that? Is there anything the Democrats dishonestly accused the Trump administration of doing that they aren’t happily attempting to do themselves? I just know I’m going to get sick of the mantra, “Imagine if President Trump did X that the news media is accepting from Biden…”—in fact, I’m sick of it all ready,
Until I get a better suggestion, I’m just going to abbreviate it as IIPTDXTTNMIAFB. It has a ring to it…