Long Memory Ethics: Wait, NOW The Media Says The President HAS “Apologized”?

See what you want to see..."Faces? What faces?"

See what you want to see…”Faces? What faces?”

The Washington Post echoed the consensus of the news media by reporting that the White House has apologized for not treating the anti-terrorism march in Paris with the respect and attention it deserved. “I think it’s fair to say that we should have sent someone with a higher profile,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters.

Oh, that’s an apology now?

Interesting, given that the word “apology” was notably absent from the statement. I will await, then, an admission from the horde of Obama defenders, like Paul Krugman of the New York Times and many others in the “We come to praise Obama, not to critique him” brigade that has guarded the Presidents flanks for going on seven years now, an admission that our President did indeed go on an “apology tour” around the world, regretting past U.S. policy of every sort. Over at the New York Times where Krugman reigns, the then-public editor Arthur Brisbane declared in 2012 that Mitt Romney was lying when he called Obama’s various mea culpas apologies, writing.

[P]erhaps the next time Mr. Romney says the president has a habit of apologizing for his country, the reporter should insert a paragraph saying, more or less: “The president has never used the word ‘apologize’ in a speech about U.S. policy or history. Any assertion that he has apologized for U.S. actions rests on a misleading interpretation of the president’s words.”

Funny: if that’s the standard for what an apology is—actually using the word “apology”—then the White House hasn’t apologized for embarrassing the nation and insulting the world.  You just can’t have it both ways. Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Month: Arthur Brisbane

“I had taken up the public editor duties believing “there is no conspiracy” and that The Times’s output was too vast and complex to be dictated by any Wizard of Oz-like individual or cabal. I still believe that, but also see that the hive on Eighth Avenue is powerfully shaped by a culture of like minds — a phenomenon, I believe, that is more easily recognized from without than from within. When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism — for lack of a better term — that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.”

Arthur Brisbane, New York Times’ “public editor” (that is, ombudsman), in his final column in that role. Brisbane’s tenure has been characterized by his defensiveness over accusations that the Times radiated a political agenda, and the lack of a willingness to be critical of his employers that is the hallmark of an effective ombudsman.

“By George, you’re RIGHT! There IS a dinosaur here! How could I have missed it?”

Yes, Arthur, it’s called “pervasive liberal or left-wing bias,” and it is good of you to finally notice, and honest of you to say so, even though you can’t bring yourself to do so directly. But your insistence  that such bias could manifest itself in the coverage of issues that are central to the presidential campaign without affecting the Times’ coverage of the campaign itself is laughable, touching, idiotic or sad, depending on how charitable a reader is inclined to be to a supposed professional who waits until his last gasp in a job before acknowledging the reason he should have been doing that job differently, which is to say independently, objectively, and competently.

Better late than never.

I suppose.


Pointer: Volokh Conspiracy

Source: New York Times

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at  jamproethics@verizon.net.

NOW the New York Times Is Going To Be Fair And Objective?

I nearly entitled this “Jaw-Dropping Confession Of The Decade.”

Stop, you're killing me! My drink just came out my nose!

In his column today, Arthur Brisbane, The New York Times’ timid ombudsman (the Times calls him its “public editor”), writes a long post about widespread accusations that the Times has not applied the same objective rigor to Barack Obama that it could have, should have, and typically has done to other politicians despite its openly liberal tilt. Oh, Arthur’s defensive about it, all right, but his defense boils down to “it wasn’t intentional.” Brisbane appears to be convinced by an assortment of media scholars he respects that the accusations on the Right that the Times has been “in the tank” for Obama is not that far from the truth after all. Bias can be overcome, though, he concludes. Yes we ca…uh, well, you know.

Brisbane writes, Continue reading

Charles M. Blow’s Bigoted Anti-Mormon Tweet, Chapter 2: Ironies, Regrets, and Hypocrisy on the Left

Charles M. Blow, trapped in regret-apology hypocrisy. Fortunately for him, his paper doesn't care.

Charles M. Blow, the New York Times columnist who sent his followers an uncivil, unprofessional and bigoted tweet regarding Mitt Romney and his faith during Wednesday’s debate [“Let me just tell you this Mitt ‘Muddle Mouth’: I’m a single parent and my kids are *amazing*! Stick that in your magic underwear.”] issued a fascinating…something...today in response to criticism, which did not come from the supposedly bigotry-sensitive left. He tweeted:

“Btw, the comment I made about Mormonism during Wed.’s debate was inappropriate, and I regret it. I’m willing to admit that with no caveats.”

It is fascinating to me that this is being called an apology by Blow’s supporters and conservative critics alike. If it is an apology, and that is open to dispute, I’d like someone to explain to me how Blow can use “regret” as a stand-in for “I apologize,” and yet the same commentators who are interpreting the word that way have insisted that President Obama’s repeated use of “regret”to refer to past U.S. foreign policy actions was not the equivalent of apologizing, and have in fact stated that this interpretation by conservative critics is “a lie.”

Among those who have defended the President in this way, I believe, is Charles M. Blow. Continue reading

The New York Times Asks: “Should We Be Truth Vigilantes?” Ethics Alarms Answers: “No, Because You Can’t Be Trusted.”

Should Times reporters be like Wonder Woman's lasso of truth?

In an appeal to New York Times readers that is at once alarming, naive, arrogant and ominous, Arthur Brisbane, the Times’ “public editor” (Translation: ombudsman) asks whether the paper’s reporters should be “truth vigilante(s)… should challenge ‘facts’ that are asserted by newsmakers they write about.”

The answer is no, no, no, and for the obvious reasons. Times reporters are biased, and not inclined to challenge dubious statements they agree with or that come from political figures they like, and are inclined to find statements “non-factual” because of their own preferences and biases. Helpfully, the two examples cited by Brisbane are exactly the kinds of statements the Times, and most of the press, are completely incapable of handling fairly. Here’s the first: Continue reading