The Times Asks: “Is There a Future for Late-Night Talk Shows?” Ethics Alarms Asks: “Is There A Future For News Media That Has Been Made This Stupid By Bias?”

The New York Times John Koblin and apply all of their skill and experience to examine the apparent phenomenon of late night talk shows facing massive changes, and perhaps even extinction. “[A]s streaming has ascended, and network TV audiences and advertising revenue has dwindled, worries that late-night shows could be the latest genre affected by sweeping change are hitting virtually every corner of the entertainment world,” they write.

What’s going on here? Well, these career-long TV analysts conclude,  viewers no longer have a “deep bond” to single late night hosts. Ratings have been sinking because of streaming, and so many alternative options for late night viewing. The cost to produce some late-night shows”is no longer feasible in an era of sinking ratings.”Late-night shows have also struggled to make the transition to streaming video, another consideration weighing on executives,” we are told, in part because “the topical opening monologue, a staple of the genre, has virtually no shelf life in streaming libraries.” Current  late-night network hosts “don’t seem to want a lifetime appointment” unlike their predecessors like Johnny Carson, jay Leno and Letterman. “I think the Carson playbook of 40 years talking to celebrities is probably a thing of the past,” a former late night producer told the Times.

Is that it? I guess so: this long examination of factors and trens couldn’t find any other reason for the genre’s decline.

Funny…the reason I haven’t watched a late night talk show in almost eight years must be unusual: these media reporters don’t detect it. Funnier still, a substantial percentage of the readers who commented on the story seem to see the main reason for the rejection of such talks shows—the same reason I have—very clearly.

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It Looks Like Donald Trump Was Betrayed By Another One Of His Lawyers, Someone Else…Or Himself

Just because Trump is paranoid doesn’t mean almost everyone around him isn’t trying to stab him in the back.

From the New York Times:

Shortly after turning over 15 boxes of government material to the National Archives in January, former President Donald J. Trump directed a lawyer working for him to tell the archives that he had returned all the documents he had taken from the White House at the end of his presidency, according to two people familiar with the discussion.

The lawyer, Alex Cannon, had become a point of contact for officials with the National Archives, who had tried for months to get Mr. Trump to return presidential records that he failed to turn over upon leaving office. Mr. Cannon declined to convey Mr. Trump’s message to the archives because he was not sure if it was true, the people said.

The story was leaked to, naturally, Maggie Haberman, the full-time Trump Fury on the Times staff. She’s currently peddling a book full of anti-Trump tales, gossip and embarrassments. A lot of her stories over the last six years have been about what the President supposedly said behind closed door, or suggested, or asked others to do, none of which actually came to anything but the point is to make Trump look bad, dangerous or stupid. Of course, ethical aides, associates and lawyer don’t tell hostile reporters (or anyone at all) about such conversations because they are in the positions they are because the President trusts them. Donald Trump has been betrayed by such people more times, I would estimate, than all of the last six Presidents combined. Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Week: Ann Althouse

“If we — we individual Americans — can’t handle random snark from varied unknown sources, how can we live with the internet? Who cares if some foreigners are writing crap intended to deceive us into feeling more roiled up and divided than we’re able to do damned well on our own, often with the nudging of the New York Times?”

—Bloggress Ann Althouse, commenting on the strangely prominent front page New York Times story, “Russian Trolls Helped Fracture the Women’s March.”

The day after I complained about how often Althouse has been picking the same topics to write about as I am lately, she did it again. This time, I saw that front page story about 2017 and immediately thought, 1) “Who cares?” and 2) “Boy, I’m sure glad I stopped paying 90 bucks a month for the paper version of this full-time, declining, hyper-partisan propaganda rag.” And as I started to post about how the Times deems it front page worthy to go back five years and try to prove that Russian social media “disinformation” undermined an anti-Trump demonstration that was ridiculous to begin with, something made me check Ann’s blog.

Clearly, she was genuinely ticked off by the story. Althouse doesn’t really write that much in most of her posts, but she did this time, seeing this as entirely contrived and pretty obviously another stretch to swipe at Trump (and the legitimacy of his election): after all, Times readers (and reporters) all think that he was in cahoots with Putin regardless of what the evidence says. Two of Ann’s points,

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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

The Washington Post Found An “Expert” To Explain Why Trump Is “Semi-Fascist”…

Some Big Lies die hard…particularly if the mainstream media is committed to keeping them alive. The “Trump is a fascist” smear was one of the first out of the box when the Axis of Unethical Conduct (“the resistance”/Democrats/news media) reacted to being foiled in the glorious post-Obama re-making of America they had assumed was assured by setting out to cancel the verdict of the electoral system and sabotage a legally elected President of the United States. (Nah, nothing undemocratic about that!) The claim that Trump and his supporters are crypto-fascists has been nonsensical from the start (as President, Donald Trump eliminated many kinds of government control over individual liberties, and opposed others), and the absurdity has exploded as the Biden Administration and the Democratic Congress have embraced so many markers of totalitarianism, like legally favored groups, censorship by a captured media, political show trials, politically manipulated science and a “truth agency” (which, fortunately, never got off the ground. Then we have the attempted government intimidation of political opposition, lock-step partisan indoctrination in the universities and public schools, official disinformation (“Recession? What recession?”), the effort to punish judges for opinions that go against the party, demonizing the opposing party and, most notably, the targeting of political opponents for prosecution and imprisonment. Tonight, the President of the United States will give a national address accusing the opposing party of being a threat to democracy.

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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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And THIS Is Why I Do Not Trust “Philosophers”: Sam Harris, Ethics Villain

lf you are not familiar with Sam Harris, who has gained a fair amount of visibility (hear-ability?) as a result of his podcast, you might want to listen to the first 35 minute or so of the interview with him above, but the important part comes afterwards. As soon as your hear that, assuming you’re not Liz Cheney, Adam Schiff or George Conway, you will realize that you wasted your time, because the man is not worth taking seriously.

He is completely, thoroughly, through-and-through ruined by the hatred of Donald Trump, and so biased that his reasoning cannot be relied upon for anything. It doesn’t matter that he’s a neuroscientist, New York Times best-selling author, a genuine philosopher, and credentialed public intellectual. He’s useless. He’s a fraud. Trustworthy people simply don’t hold such opinions—not only hold them, but eagerly broadcast them. It’s a signature significance orgy!

The interview is outright scary, and should make people seek psychiatric attention when they sense they are nearing the point that Harris has, tragically, reached. Harris is honest and clear-eyed enough to recognize the (still running) 2016 Post Election Ethics Train Wreck for what it is [“Taking down the New York Post’s [laptop article]? That’s a Left-wing conspiracy to deny the presidency to Donald Trump. Absolutely it was. But I think it was warranted.”] but not ethical enough to realize that as an authority and scholar lesser mortals rely upon for enlightenment, he has an obligation not to sink into mob mentality just because he is surrounded by peers and friends who are consumed with unthinking fear, anger and hate.

After expressing his approval of Liz Cheney’s announced determination to use any means necessary to prevent Donald Trump from running for President, Harris is asked “You’re content with a conspiracy to prevent somebody being democratically elected President?” He responds with a flaming rationalization stew (and a terrible analogy) that belongs in the “Bias makes you stupid” Hall of Fame: “If there was an asteroid hurtling toward earth and we got in a room together with all of our friends and had a conversation of what we could do to deflect its course, is that a conspiracy?”

Ah! See, if Trump is the same as an extinction-threatening asteroid, so “Ethics is a luxury we can’t afford,” “It can’t make things any worse,” “It’s for a good cause,” “These are not ordinary times” and more rationalizations all apply. But Trump is just a politician and a human being, and even our politicized scientists cannot declare him an extinction event. Nor is planning a conspiracy: there are no laws declaring that blocking the path of an asteroid is wrongful. When someone as intelligent as Harris once was hears something that stupid leaping from his mouth, he must be able to recognize it, or something is seriously amiss.

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Unethical Quote Of The Month: Liz Cheney [Supplemented]

“I will do whatever it takes to make sure Donald Trump is never again anywhere near the Oval Office.”

—Rep. Liz Cheney (NeverTrump-MT) in her head-exploding, self-glorifying, beyond satire concessions speech after being crushed in the GOP state primary.

And there you have it: candor and saying the secret part out loud, though the anti-democratic motives of  the “the resistance”/Democrats/ mainstream media cabal (the “Axis of Unethical Conduct”)is hardly a secret at this point, and was stated on Ethics Alarms, beginning, oh, nearly six years ago.

This is a woman (a Republican official who is aping Democratic Party talking points) who claims to be trying to save democracy by interfering with democratic processes and institutions. Does “anything it takes” set off an ethics alarm? If you’re Trump Deranged, it probably doesn’t. Cheney’s mad logic is that Donald Trump is an exception to the laws, rules and principles of democracy: he doesn’t get the benefit of them because he’s bad….mostly because he’s not in lock-step with the entrenched elite political class like the Bidens, Cheneys, Bushes and Clintons, and also a bit because he’s an unmannerly boor. Another crazed Trump hater, the Washington Post’s self-parodying Jennifer Rubin, writes in today’s Post that “Taking the Fifth should disqualify a politician from taking office.” Continue reading

Still More Mar-A-Largo Raid Ethics…

The PDF of the unsealed search warrant and attachments is available here.

  • The central ethical conflict in this mess is between the danger of criminalizing politics, a warning sign of, as conservative talk show host Mark Levin says, creeping Stalinism, and appropriate revulsion at allowing anyone, including Presidents, ex-Presidents and would-be Presidents, to be “above the law.”
  • This inevitably leads to “whataboutism” arguments, and legitimate accusations of double standards. Hillary Clinton committed acts that other, lesser mortals have been prosecuted for, despite James Comey’s typically dishonest statements to the contrary. The Clinton Foundation, which operated–cleverly, creatively and mostly carefully—as a money laundering, pay-to-play and influence peddling operation for the benefit of Clinton family members in perpetual violation of basic non-profit practices and guidelines, mysteriously wound down to nothingness once Hillary had no influence left to peddle and no prospects for regaining any. An FBI raid of Clinton Foundation offices would have almost certainly turned up some fascinating documents, but the Trump Justice Department, which was, as we know, stuffed with Clinton loyalist holdovers, never went that far in its investigation, such as it was. There is a substantial distinction between crowds chanting “Lock her up!” and serious attempts to actually lock her up.

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The FBI Raid On Mar-a-Lago

Above are some of Andrew Yang’s tweets regarding the raid on Donald Trump’s resort residence in Palm Beach,Florida yesterday, executed by the FBI reportedly to find and retrieve classified documents that the former President improperly kept after leaving the White House. Yang is a tech executive and an amateur politician at best, but he’s smart and perceptive, and as the recent founder of a (doomed) centrist third party with national aspirations, is arguably more objective than most observers.

Except Ethics Alarms, of course…

Here is what we know: The Times reports…

Trump said on Monday that the F.B.I. had searched his Palm Beach, Fla., home and had broken open a safe — an account signaling a major escalation in the various investigations into the final stages of his presidency.

The search, according to multiple people familiar with the investigation, appeared to be focused on material that Mr. Trump had brought with him to Mar-a-Lago, his private club and residence, when he left the White House. Those boxes contained many pages of classified documents, according to a person familiar with their contents.

Mr. Trump delayed returning 15 boxes of material requested by officials with the National Archives for many months, only doing so when there became a threat of action to retrieve them. The case was referred to the Justice Department by the archives early this year….

The F.B.I. would have needed to convince a judge that it had probable cause that a crime had been committed, and that agents might find evidence at Mar-a-Lago, to get a search warrant. Proceeding with a search on a former president’s home would almost surely have required sign-off from top officials at the bureau and the Justice Department.

Trump’s statement regarding the raid was classic Trump:

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