Follow-Up: Guess Who Is Telling FaceBook Which “Disinformation” To Censor?

jen_psaki_hunter_biden_russian_disinfo_07-17-2021

With this post. a follow-up to this one regarding the hypocritical and ominous Presidential attack on vaccine-related “disinformation” on Facebook, Ethics Alarms ends the suspension of George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley, who writes the generally excellent “Res Ipsa Loguitur” blog and who has distinguished himself during the 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck for refusing to follow the unethical lead of his biased and Trump-Deranged colleagues in law and academia, and having the courage to point out many of their worst betrayals of the public trust. I suspended the professor at the beginning of June for carelessly advancing a favorite Democratic party Big Lie on his blog, that a media recount after the 2000 election showed George W. Bush had actually lost the popular vote in Florida, and thus Al Gore was the rightful winner of the Presidency. I wrote, “Ethics Alarms is giving him a month’s suspension, or until he fixes his error and apologizes.” Well, he sort of fixed the error but never apologized, so I made the suspension six weeks. I’m happy to be able to reference his blog again, and as a happy coincidence, one of his recent posts nicely supported what I had just written.

Turley pointed to White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki admitting that the Biden administration is working with Facebook to flag “problematic” posts that “spread disinformation” on the Whan virus vaccine and related matters. She had said that the Administration has created “aggressive” policing systems to spot “misinformation” to be “flagged” for the social media companies. He wrote in part,

Obviously, anyone can object to postings. There is a greater danger when the government has a systemic process for aggressively flagging material to be censored. The real problem however is with the censorship system itself. We have seen how there needs to be little coordination between political figures and the media to maintain controlled narratives in public debates and discussions.”

By “little” the sometimes obsessively cautious professor means “none.” He continues,

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Translation Of White House Message: “When Social Media ‘Disinformation’ Supports Our Policies, It’s Fine; When It Doesn’t, It’s ‘Killing People’.”

shhhh

The first ethics take-away from President Biden’s attack on Facebook for “vaccine disinformation” is that the Left’s totalitarian tendencies and embrace of censorship become more obvious and less hidden every day.

The second ethics take-away is that Joe Biden, of all people, has a lot of gall complaining about social media disinformation when he is in the White House in large part because of it.

The third is that the entire Wuhan Virus Ethics Train Wreck has been dominated by outright propaganda and intentional manipulation of public opinion by the news media, federal agencies, medical organizations and “experts,” and Democrats are particularly ethically estopped from complaining about the same process that they have been employing for more than five years to their advantage.

As he boarded Marine One for a weekend at the ol’ Presidential hide-out at Camp David in Maryland, President Biden was asked what his message was to social media platforms regarding vaccine disinformation.

“They’re killing people,” he said. “Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated, and that — and they’re killing people.”

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Twitter, Facebook, And Ethics

dc-mayor-lewd-anime-meme

First let’s do Twitter….

  • The image above was tweeted out by D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser. It really was. It was also deleted in seconds, but not before enough people and bots captured it to set the stage for her to get swamped by online mockery.

How much crap is it fair and ethical to give a public official who has this happen to her? My answer: an endless amount. Obviously Bowser didn’t do this; the incompetent she assigned to send out tweets in her name did. Too bad. If you delegate your identity, you are responsible for what goes out under your name. Should Bowser get more or less flack than, just to pick an example out of the air, Donald Trump, who sent out his own tweets and was widely mocked for every typo, poor chosen re-tweet, or dumb comment.?

Exactly the same amount.

  • This meme has been going around on Twitter…

True Story

Boy, I didn’t see that ending coming. I thought we would learn that the one hired was the interviewee who left first….which would have been me, after about 30 minutes.

Anyone who would agree to work for a manifest asshole like the employer in the story is such a pathetic weenie that he or she deserves the abuse that such a job would inevitably entail.

I sure hope it’s not a true story. And I hope only a tiny percentage of those seeing the meme are not so foolish and submissive as to think this was a test of “patience.”

These tweets have not made me regret my decision to get off of Twitter.

Now on to Facebook, which is evidently trying to make me quit that platform too…

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Unethical Tweet Of The Month And Ethics Dunce: ACLU National Legal Director And Georgetown Law Prof. David Cole

foot-in-mouth-header

David Cole, ACLU National Legal Director and Professor at Georgetown University Law Center, tweeted in response to the SCOTUS ruling striking down California’s law making it mandatory for non-profits to disclose the names of their biggest donors,

Cole tweet

Gee, that’s funny! The ACLU filed an amicus brief supporting the majority’s decision in AMERICANS FOR PROSPERITY FOUNDATION v. BONTA, ATTORNEY GENERAL OF CALIFORNIA.

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RETRACTED And Revised: “Scared Yet? Twitter Censors A Times Op-Ed Columnist For Calling Anti-White Racism What It Is”

silence

This is the revised part. The retraction is that despite the headline and what I wrote below, Twitter didn’t suspend New York Times columnist Bret Stephens account for violating Twitter’s rules with his recent op-ed calling anti-white measures showing up in the Biden Administration and elsewhere what they are: racism. The Daily Wire, a conservative website that was founded by right wing gadfly Ben Shapiro, wrote the post based on “a Twitter user” as its source,” and I foolishly assumed that the site would have checked out the claim before posting on it. It turns out the Stephens’ account says it’s “suspended” because he suspended it himself, in 2019.

Thus I am made an accomplice to this confirmation bias chain reaction, and I resent it. This is the kind of crap I experienced more than once from Breitbart and The Gateway Pundit, both of which are no longer cited as sources on Ethics Alarms, and whose stories I will not believe unless I find a credible source that independently confirmed it. Now I’m adding the Daily Wire to that black list. There are plenty of left-leaning sites on that list as well, but since it is virtually impossible to ensure that a story that reflects poorly on the allies of progressive propaganda hasn’t been obscured or deliberately distorted by the mainstream media, conservative media has to be trustworthy and professional, and far too often, it just isn’t. Situations like this make it easier for the mainstream media to call every report they wish would disappear “conservative disinformation.”

Meanwhile, The Daily Wire just notes (a few minutes after I’ve posted relying on its fabricated story) that the post had been “corrected.” It was originally titled, “Twitter Suspends NY Times’ Columnist’s Account After He Denounces Equity as ‘Racism.” NOW it is headlined “NY Times Columnist Denounces Equity as ‘Racism’” which is both inaccurate and not news, since Stephens’ column is three days old. He also never called “equity”racism. That’s like something they would say on MSNBC to distort what was written. I thought the phrasing was strange and sloppy in the first version, but since the topic was Twitter’s censorship, I didn’t bother with it. Now, the misrepresentation is the subject of the whole post. Then, in the body of the piece, it now says, “On June 30, a Twitter reader erroneously claimed that Twitter had suspended Bret Stephens’ Twitter account.” What it should have said is On June 30, a Twitter reader erroneously claimed that Twitter had suspended Bret Stephens’ Twitter account, and we, because we were looking for another reason to bash Twitter, believed him without checking. We apologize to our readers and any other websites, commentators or blogs who were misled due to our mistake.”

But I DO apologize (and thank to JutGory for the prompt alert). Confirmation bias also played a part in my gullibility: I do not trust Twitter, and what was represented is just a bit beyond what Jack Dorsey’s arrogant cyber-creature has done already. The last line of the post is still valid, though the rest was built on garbage: “Boy, am I glad I quit Twitter. But I’m ashamed that I didn’t do it sooner”

Like Bret Stephens.

The rest of what follows, except for that last part, is retracted.

***

I didn’t see this one coming, because I am an idiot.

Two days ago, I wrote in the morning warm-up, (Item #2),

“Today [The New York Times] allowed Bret Stephens , one of the endangered species in their op-ed stable, a conservative, to write an anti-antiwhite racism piece under the Times’ main editorial gaslighting those who see Critical Race Theory for what it is. (On the opposite page, one of the Times’ usual far-left shills has another op-ed defending the teaching of Critical Race Theory in the schools, so the Times makes sure that Stephens is shouted down by his own paper, 2-1.) Stephens’ op-ed is called “The New Racism Won’t Solve the Old Racism,” which one would think is self-evident, but in the Year of the Great Stupid, it certainly is not. His “money quote” comes at the very end:

“Thoughtful liberals who think this is much ado about nothing should spend some time pondering how perfectly people like [ Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who has announced that she won’t be interviewed by white journalists] are now playing into right-wing stereotypes. They should also spend time wondering whether the ideal for which they have long fought — a society that, if not colorblind, can at least see past color — is being jeopardized by progressives who apparently can see only color. Whichever way, it shouldn’t be hard to see that trying to solve the old racism with the new racism will produce only more racism. Justice is never achieved by turning tables.”

Obviously, he’s racist, or so the totalitarianism-enabling censors at Twitter decided. Yesterday, Twitter suspended Stephens’ Twitter account which now just says, “Account suspended.” His opinion, you see, violates Twitter rules, primarily the unwritten one that holds that any statements that in any way undermine the credibility and effectiveness of the Left’s efforts to undermine the Constitution and core American values will be censored so as few citizens get to ponder non-conforming arguments as possible.

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Unethical Tweet Of The Month: The Portland Police Bureau

Portland tweet

There are many Ethics Alarms categories the tweet above would fit neatly into, like Ethics Dunce, Unethical Quote of the Week, evidence of The rampages of the Great Stupid, res ipsa loquitur, signature significance and others. I wonder if it is something else as well, like coherent civilization’s death rattle.

The Portland police felt constrained to issue that announcement after a police officer in Portland opened fire at a deranged man who charged him with a screwdriver. The man was shot dead in what all reports indicate was self-defense. This was apparently a “suicide by cop.” Quickly, at least 50 protesters converged at the Motel 6 where the episode occurred, and what looked like it could quickly turn into a violent riot was looming. The mob “began yelling, throwing items at officers, and attempting to interfere with the investigation,” Portland Police Bureau said. Videos showed many black-clad protesters chanting the anti-police phrase “Fuck 12.” A officer’s baton was grabbed as she was pulled toward the crowd; another protester sprayed an officer with pepper spray. One police car had its tires punctured and a window broken. Meanwhile, the Antifa distributed flyers calling the incident another example of racist police brutality against the black community.

So, acting quickly, the Portland police issued the tweet, assuring everyone that it was a white man who was killed. No worries! The nation was made just a little bit better and less racist. one more whitey down!

Naturally, the mob dispersed, and there was no more threatened violence.

The officer involved in the shooting was black. “Our officer encountered a very difficult and dynamic situation that no officer wants to face,” Police Chief Chuck Lovell said at the scene.“I want to assure the community that we’re committed to a full, thorough and complete investigation.”

Hey, never mind, Chuck! The guy was white! Nobody cares.

When an officer shot a black teen preparing to stab another young woman with a knife, there was a riot. When police shot an accused black rapist who was armed with a knife and preparing to drive off with his alleged victim’s children, there were riots. When a black man resisting arrest was shot after trying to fire a taser at an officer, there were riots. When a black man who had tried to take an officer’s weapon away while resisting arrest was fatally shot as he rushed the much smaller officer, there were riots. When a black woman was accidentally shot in the cross-fire between police and her boyfriend began the exchange of bullets, there were riots.

But once the crack Portland Police made it clear that it was only some sick white dude who was killed, all was well.

Rueful observations:

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Ethics Nightmares, 6/23-24/21

I’m up at 3:30 am writing an ethics post because a nightmare woke me up. I don’t want to talk about it…

1. Breaking! American citizens are not as stupid as progressives think they are! At least in this instance…the first wave in the Democratic Party’s unethical push to eliminate safeguards agaiants fraudulent voting was the campaign during the Obama administration to label voter ID requirements as “racist’ and “voter suppression.” The argument that it made sense not to require voters to present the same level of identification necessary to rent a car, cash a check or get on an airplane when the integrity of our elections is involved was intellectually dishonest, but the with the degree to which the news media carried the message for their favorite party, I assumed this particular brainwashing exercise was a success. But in the wake of the failure of that party’s attempted take-down of election security last week, the Monmouth University Poll revealed that 80% of the public, approve of voter ID. I know, polls. But that’s a pretty convincing margin:

Even Democrats favor ID, though not by a large enough margin to generate any respect. The big surprise was that Monmouth shows whites splitting 77/21 in favor of ID and nonwhites favoring the measure even more strongly, at 84/13.

The American Left, wherein the One-Worlders dwell, always like to cite the United States’ failure to emulate European governments—which the U.S. decided at its origin not to follow by design—as an argument for various measures like banning capital punishment, nanny states, , and gun ownership restrictions, but have been adamantly mute on the fact that 46 of 47 European countries require government-issued photo ID to vote. The one exception has been Great Britain (although not Northern Ireland), and last month Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government said it would make photo IDs mandatory in response to a Royal Commission report.

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The Unethical Ingredients Of The West Point High School Valedictorian Fiasco, Part II: What’s Going On Here? [Corrected]

Valedictorian

Who are the ethics villains, heroes, fools and otherwise in the West Point High School graduation honors debacle?

Observations:

Number One, and nothing else is even close: If society were capable of looking at human beings as human beings and not as members of teams, groups and tribes, this would have still been a mess, but a much less toxic one. There are groups, political parties, activists, irresponsible scholars and race-hucksters of all kinds who benefit and profit by dividing the United States along racial fault-lines, and they will do it for as long as they can, no matter what harm it does to the nation, families, individuals, institutions, values and the enjoyment of life. This is an example of what we have to dread in greater frequency and damage if we don’t find a way to stifle these villains, for that is what they are.

Related to this are accounts that the president of the local NAACP was elated. This isn’t a team sport: two young women were honored for their achievements, not their race. If it would be offensive for a local group to express pleasure that two white students received an honor, it is equally obnoxious and inappropriate for the NAACP to be making racial comments.

2 If the school counselor was really the culprit who used the wrong standard, he or she needs to go. Yes, the whole school is responsible, including the principal, but if ever a scapegoat was called for, however, this is it. Because of the predictable chain reaction, it was an inexcusable mistake. In Mississippi? In a predominantly black student body? The ethics alarms should have been ringing at ear-splitting volume before the grade calculations ever started. Quite simply, this was a mistake that must not be made.

3. Suspicions that race was a factor in using the wrong standard are inevitable at a time when so many standards are being attacked, eliminated or changed for not yielding the “right” results by the measure of “equity and diversity.” The fact that two black students were elevated above the white ones by the “mistaken” use of the wrong standard under the rules and tradition could have been a coincidence, but the white parents, and objective critics, have every reason to wonder, just as the black parents have every reason to suspect racial bias when the value of their children’s honor was cut in half to satisfy two white families.

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Tuesday Afternoon Ethics Tunes, 6/8/21: The Mean Fundraiser, And More

Quite a while ago—I’m afraid to check—I asked readers to submit nominees for popular songs with an ethics theme or lesson. Lorne Greene’s one hit recording ( his vocal version of the “Bonanza” song did not fly off the shelves) was “Ringo,” a pretty blatant rip-off of Jimmy Dean’s “Big John,” was one of the first on the list. I received quite a few suggested songs but events overtook me, and I never finished the project. It is in a growing list of promised future content that I have yet to deliver, including missing parts to multi-part posts. I apologize to readers for all of them, but I also intend to make good on all of them, though the ethics songs compilation is understandably low priority. I was happy to finally finish the Ethics Guide to “Miracle on 34th Street” after it languished for a year. The top priorities on the catch-up list right now are Part II of Three Ethics Metaphors: The Rise, The Presidency And The Fall Of Donald J. Trump—that will be on the “Animal House” parade plot metaphor for Trump’s election—and, of course, the long-delayed Part III of The Pandemic Creates A Classic And Difficult Ethics Conflict, But The Resolution Is Clear.

Back to Lorne: I met him once, on a Santa Monica beach. He was in swimming trunks, and with his family, extremely friendly, tanned and wearing his hairpiece, which was fantastic. Like several other stars I have met in person, Greene was so strikingly attractive that he would make anyone turn their heads on a street even if you had no idea who he was. Unlike most of the others, he appeared to be a genuinely nice guy.

1. Proud to be off Twitter, Reason #569: After Twitter received notice of its noncompliance with India’s information technology laws, demanding that the company remove content critical of the government’s handling of the pandemic and about farmers’ protests, including tweets by journalists, activists and politicians, Twitter pulled itself up to its full metaphorical height, puffed itself up like blowfish, and protested in part, “We are concerned by recent events regarding our employees in India and the potential threat to freedom of expression for the people we serve.”

Twitter actually said that it cares about freedom of expression! Then, last week, after Nigeria blocked Twitter, it had the gall to tweet…

Twitter Nigeria

This, from the platform that censored the Hunter Biden laptop story and banned President Trump. The Hanlon’s Razor question of whether these are bad people or just stupid people now becomes irrelevant. It’s unethical to operate a powerful communications platform when you are so stupid.

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Saturday Afternoon Ethics Picnic, 6/5/2020

Giant ants

And what’s a picnic without ants?

June 5, the day before D-Day, is another date chock full of ethics history. It doesn’t count, but Ronald Reagan died on this date in 2004: I was just thinking that the Great Stupid would have killed him. In Presidential history, this was the day, in 1888, President Grover Cleveland vetoed a bill that would have given a pension to war widow Johanna Loewinger, whose Civil War vet husband died 14 years after being discharged from the army. He was discharged a little less than a year after enlisting for what the army surgeon’s certificate called chronic diarrhea. Loewinger received his pension until he cut his throat in 1876. When Johanna applied for a widow’s pension it was denied; his suicide was not considered to be caused by his military service. Johanna argued that the death was part of the insanity triggered by his war service, and appealed to a member of Congress to petition Cleveland with a bill. But the President declared all previous inquests into the former soldier’s unfortunate death to be satisfactory. Mrs. Loewinger got no pension.

I always thought this was gutsy of Cleveland (or something), since he had paid someone to serve in the Union army for him after he was drafted. But there were bigger ethics landmarks on June 5:

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