Ethics Quote Of The Week: Ron Fournier

“In the 18 months since I began writing columns focused on the presidency, virtually every post critical of Obama has originated from conversations with Democrats. Members of Congress, consultants, pollsters, lobbyists, and executives at think tanks, these Democrats are my Obama-whispers. They respect and admire Obama but believe that his presidency has been damaged by his shortcomings as a leader; his inattention to details of governing; his disengagement from the political process and from the public; his unwillingness to learn on the job; and his failure to surround himself with top-shelf advisers who are willing to challenge their boss as well as their own preconceived notions.”

—–National Journal reporter Ron Fournier, in a post titled “‘I’ve Had Enough’: When Democrats Quit on Obama”

That's all right, Curley; we respect and admire you.

That’s all right, Curley; we respect and admire you.

What? They respect and admire a leader who displays “shortcomings as a leader” and  “inattention to details of governing”; who is disengaged  “from the political process and from the public;” is unwilling “to learn on the job;” and fails “to surround himself with top-shelf advisers who are willing to challenge their boss as well as their own preconceived notions”? That’s irresponsible and destructive. Good heavens, who else do these people “respect and admire”?

We ought to respect leaders who recognize the difficulty of the job they have accepted the challenge of performing on behalf of the entire nation, not just their supporters, and who don’t allow arrogance and ego to interfere with their acquiring the skills and expertise necessary to meet that challenge. We should respect leaders who have the courage to sacrifice and compromise to solve problems rather than make excuses and blame others because they are ideologically rigid and more adept at political maneuvering than governing. Continue reading

Celebrity Encounter Ethics

You're welcome. But now I'll never know what Eddie Murphy is really like!

I run into a lot of celebrities when I travel. I assume everybody does who travels very often; I know that I am better at recognizing them than the average person because my celebrity knowledge spans multiple generations, I have a good memory for faces, and I have always watched way, way too much television. And it happened again today: I was having my usual battles with an airport self-service check-in kiosk, this one in Atlanta, when I realized that the traveler enduring similar annoyances (“We have no record of your itinerary. Please enter the code that we call something other than what it is called on your ticket receipt before you get frustrated and have to wait in line to speak with an agent, because you know that’s what is going to happen.”) was the young actress-singer, Raven-Symone.

She was traveling alone, and it seemed clear that nobody around us had any idea who she was. Strange: doesn’t everyone watch “The Cheetah Girls,” “Dr. Doolittle 2” and re-runs of “That’s So Raven” on the Disney Channel? The encounter immediately sent me into Marshall Celebrity Recognition decision mode: what is the ethical way to treat the rich and famous if you are insignificant and lowly, and close enough to assassinate them? Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week: “Ethics Bob” Stone

Is Joe Scarborough the new Arthur Godfrey, as in "nice guy" revealed as "unethical creep"?

“It’s always upsetting when one of your heroes turns out to be an unethical creep.”

Ethicist and business ethics professor Bob Stone on his blog “Ethics Bob,” expressing his disappointment in the conduct of MSNBC talk show host Joe Scarborough, who persuaded guest and colleague Mark Halperin to “go for it” when Halperin suggested that his description of President Obama’s press conference was not appropriate for public broadcast, and then did nothing to accept responsibility for the uproar when Halperin referred to Obama as “kind of a dick.” Halperin was suspended indefinitely by MSNBC, following a complaint from the White House.

Bob had expressed hope, in a comment to the Ethics Alarms criticism of Scarborough’s role in the incident, that Scarborough would do the right thing by the next day. He did not. And Bob is correct: this is proof positive that Scarborough is an unethical, cowardly creep.

What should “Morning Joe” have done? Several things: Continue reading