Ethics Hero: CNN’s Jake Tapper

tapper-rhodesIt is tragic that it takes bloody murder to raise the press out of its journalism ethics torpor, and force it to ask tough questions of the administration it helped put in power and  has pampered,  pimpeda nd covered for ever since.  Still, progress is progress. CNN’s Jake Tapper, probably the closest thing to an objective journalist in captivity, has obviously had enough of the seven-year pattern of pretending that all Obama policies are working just marvelously thank-you, even as the stench of fakery, dishonesty and incompetence fills the air.

Over the weekend, Tapper was having none of the spin offered by Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), both sent out by the White House for damage control, after the President’s statement that “ISIS has been contained” was rendered ludicrous by the deaths in Paris.“If this is what ISIS looks like contained, I shudder to think what ISIS looks like uncontained,” Tapper told Rhodes.

Bazinga!

President Obama ended the war on terror, put tepid measures in place in Syria, dismissed ISIS as “the junior varsity, ” and in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack, coordinated a campaign of media disinformation to blame it on a YouTube video rather than admit that Al Qaeda was not “decimated” as he had puffed, all while taking unseemly personal credit for the killing of bin Laden and feeding the public what has been called a “narrative of success.”

Maybe the news media will finally insist that he accept accountability for his inept and feckless terrorism strategies. I doubt it, but at least Tapper gave us a reminder of what unbiased journalism looks like, lest we forget.

KABOOM! Sen. McCaskill Disgraces Herself On National Television

head blowsWhat a horrible thing for a U.S. Senator to inflict on her state. Brains must have been splattering all over ceilings, furniture, family members and TV screens during her excruciating live interview with Martha Raddatz on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopoulos.”  There she was, a member of the U.S. Senate representing the great state of Missouri, grinning like a zany and spewing the Clinton campaign’s desperate talking points—from March!—falsely and insultingly insisting that in maintaining a secret and non-conforming private e-mail server while Secretary of State that, as Democratic hack Donna Brazile said later on a truncated round table, that Clinton did nothing wrong.

Just violating policy, being irresponsible, placing official data in jeopardy, destroying potential evidence, and lying about it, but nothing wrong...

“This is a partisan witch hunt!” said Senator McCaskill. Hillary has been forthcoming and complied with every request! She wasn’t the first Secretary of State to use private e-mail! The materials weren’t classified when she had them! There’s no indication she had a motive to expose national secrets! (This is a new one on the talking points list and an audacious straw man. Nobody has argued that Clinton was a spy or committing treason; what she did was place State Department communications at risk to hackers and exposure for her own protection and advantage.) Then McCaskill paraphrased the “let’s change the subject” talking point we have heard now almost verbatim from Clinton and her surrogates: “Hillary Clinton is a fighter, and she will fight through this and continue fighting for Americans”—all while smiling madly as if the whole thing was a big joke, since it all is “nonsense.” Continue reading

The Clinton E-Mail Scandal, Part One: Ethics Corrupter For President! Her Campaign’s “Nonsense” Memo

I'm just making an analogy here--I'm not saying those tentacle-shooting vamps in The Strain are Clinton supporters. That doesn't mean they aren't, though...

I’m just making an analogy here–I’m not saying those tentacle-shooting vamps in The Strain are Clinton supporters. That doesn’t mean they aren’t, though…

Portraying the currently developing scandal regarding Hillary Clinton’s e-mails while Secretary of State as just politics and the “kind of nonsense” that “comes with the territory,” Clinton flack Jennifer Palmieri  sent out a detailed message to Clinton supporters and Democrats. It is designed to mislead them about the critical issues raised by this matter, which are certainly not nonsense, to coordinate with the news media, which is trying desperately and unsuccessfully to embargo this story because it is damaging to Democrats (more on this in Part Two), to make the public dumber about how leadership and government works, and to provide slick rationalizations to those Clinton supporters inclined to be part of the disinformation campaign.

This is sinister and disgusting stuff, the essence of ethics corruption. For an unethical leader, like Clinton, to gain power, she must make a large proportion of the public insensitive or outright ignorant of basic ethical principles, and, if possible, as unethical as possible. The effort to trivialize this serious example of what’s so wrong with Hillary Clinton as just another “vast right wing conspiracy” is part of this process. Continue reading

Ethics Observations On NYT Columnist David Brooks’ Astounding Quote

scandal

Amazingly, Obama hasn’t had any.

Here is the quote:

“President Obama has run an amazingly scandal-free administration, not only he himself, but the people around him, not only he himself, but the people around him. He’s chosen people who have been pretty scandal-free. And so there are people in Washington who do set a standard of integrity, who do seem to attract people of quality. And I think that’s probably true of the current group.”

Yes, it was almost a Kaboom!, causing my head to explode. Yes, I think it is stunning thing for anyone to say, but especially a pundit who is respected–by some, anyway—for his careful thought and moderation. Yes, it is ridiculous on its face.

Fascinating and enlightening though!

1. Brooks, though he has wavered occasionally, has always had a man-crush on Obama. Acknowledging this as he has, it shows remarkable lack of bias-control to let it run wild to this extent.

2. It is a terrific example of how linguistics can warp ethics, and vice-versa. The only possible way someone can make such a statement honestly—yes, I do believe Brooks really thinks this, as plainly counter-factual as it is—-is to consciously or sub-consciously define “scandal” so extremely that it omits anything connected to the Obama Administration. If Brooks believes that “scandals’ only involve theft, criminal activity and sex, he has a barely supportable thesis. Barely. Well, not really even then.

3. Not just scandal-free, but “amazingly” scandal free! This gets into Big Lie territory; perhaps “Big Hyperbole” is a bit more accurate. To be “amazingly scandal free,” we would hold up this Administration as the ethics model for all future administrations. Be still, my expanding head…

4. Is this clinical denial? I have mentioned here before that a disturbing number of Democrats and progressives, as well as African Americans, defend Obama by just asserting that everything is wonderful, no matter what goes wrong, and that Obama himself is a great President, despite near complete incompetence in every sphere. Some of these are professional liars and ideological warriors, of course; some are also just not too bright. Brooks, however, doesn’t fit in those categories. Continue reading

Cover-up: Successful

Somebody tell Rep. Gowdy that his committee's investigation is futile. The news media and the public just don't mind being lied to any more.

Somebody tell Rep. Gowdy that his committee’s investigation is futile. The news media and the public just don’t mind being lied to any more.

From USA Today:

One day after the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded the assault had been planned 10 days earlier by an al-Qaeda affiliate, according to documents released Monday by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch. “The attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman,” said a preliminary intelligence report by the Defense Intelligence Agency, obtained through a lawsuit following a Freedom of Information Act request.

Wait…I thought that Hillary Clinton, State, President Obama and Susan Rice were all laboring under the misconception that the attack was spontaneous and prompted by a YouTube video, and the claims that the Obama Administration was stalling the revelations of what they already knew so Mitt Romney couldn’t challenge Obama’s carefully manufactured narrative that he had terrorism on the run were just partisan sour grapes. That’s been the spin the liberal press has been accepting from the White House for over two years.

What’s going on here? Well, the “narrative” carefully shifted away from the most transparent administration in history lying to the American public to excessive Republican claims that the outpost wasn’t given proper security, wasn’t rescued when it could have been, was the product of criminal incompetence. As soon as those accusations failed, Democrats and the news media promptly adopted the official Obama line: Benghazi was a “nothingburger,” in the contemptuous words of Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank. It was a manufactured scandal of no substance designed to discredit Hillary Clinton.

But no evidence proved that Obama, Clinton and Rice weren’t lying about the attacks being spontaneous and not organized terrorism, and all the evidence has demonstrated the contrary, with this latest piece of the puzzle simply filling in some of the blanks. Of course, the latest story wasn’t even covered by most of the mainstream media; I was shocked to see it in USA Today. Judicial Watch is a conservative organization, you see. To be fair, it’s a whack job conservative organization. That means it could legitimately discover cold fusion and the news media wouldn’t pay attention.

Maybe it isn’t news. After all, the Obama cover-up worked. As Harry Reid said, after admitting his part in the organized effort to make sure that the 2012 Presidential elections was based as much on smears, lies and slight of hand as real issues, “Romney lost, didn’t he?” Hillary’s famous dismissal of the issue in the Benghazi hearings was on the mark: “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Continue reading

More On The Smoking Gun Jonathan Gruber Video

Yup, that’s the same video that led off the previous post. Be warned: I may write about this video until everyone here is sick of it, because I might keep writing about it until I see it on MSNBC , discussed on the Daily Kos and examined by Talking Points Memo. I try to keep emotionally detached from the issues I write about (though my favored style of expression may suggest otherwise), because emotion is not conducive to careful and dispassionate ethical analysis. This video, however, enrages me.

It enrages me because it betrays the thinking of an arrogant elite so certain that its wisdom regarding the best policies for the nation that it justifies abandoning the promise and the integrity of democracy as our nation’s Founders devised it. The need for a fully and fairly informed citizenry is at the core of Madison’s structure, and the root of many of our enumerated rights. This is why free speech is essential, and why an unfettered, uncensored press has been given unlimited license. If our elected leaders, however, decide that the proper and effective way to govern is to deceive the public, to hide the truth, to garner public support of measures that the public misunderstands by design, and to gain and retain power through fraud, artifice and lies, there is no democracy, no genuine republic. Such a  government reflects the cynical and anti-democratic values of Lenin, Mao, Hitler, and Big Brother. And like these dictators and liars real and metaphorical, Jon Gruber—and make no mistake: his words reflect exactly the culture of the those he worked with in the White House—sees nothing wrong with this. The ends justify the means, you see, and after all, they are better than us. We’re stupid. They need to deceive us for our own good. Continue reading

With More Evidence Of Pre-Election Obama Administration Sleight-of-Hand, I Ask Again: How Do Democrats React To This?

Somebody?

Somebody?

The post is intended to follow-up on this one, asking supporters of the President who are unbiased, fair and honest, how they continue to trust this administration in light of the repeated pattern of hiding negative developments as long as possible, assisting the compliant news media in burying them, and intentionally delaying admissions, disclosures and bad news until after elections.

It is not a partisan question, but a legitimate ethics inquiry. As I explained in discussing the recent election eve Fast and Furious document dump, there is not any legitimate question about whether this is ethical conduct by the Obama Administration, or whether it is in any way consistent with the pledge of transparency made by Candidate Obama in 2008 and currently posted on the White House website. It isn’t, on both counts. There is no argument about that—I know that. What I don’t understand, and very much want to, is why anyone—Democrat, progressive, Federal worker, journalist, MSNBC hack, Markos Moulitsas, Harry Reid, anybody at all—would excuse or try to justify it sufficiently to say “Yes, I trust these people.” I asked, and nobody took up the challenge.

Is it because everyone actually realizes how inexcusable and sleazy this is, and nobody trusts the Administration any more? That can’t be it: otherwise, I wouldn’t be reading all these amazing blog posts about columns about how stupid the American voting public was to send an emphatic “We’re sick of the Democrats” message at all levels of government, across states of all political persuasions. Is it because all the Obama supporters are in the throes of  DODD (Desperate Obama Defense Derangement)? I suppose that’s possible. It is also possible that Obama defenders are gun-shy here, since their standard refrains of “Republicans are obstructing everything,” “it’s all Bush’s fault,” “everybody does it,” “it’s because he’s black,” and “nobody’s perfect” not only fail to persuade but attract well-deserved derision.

I don’t know the answer, but I want to understand, Trust is the basis of democracy, and trust must work both ways. The Obama Administration consistently shows that it does not trust the American public to approve of its policies and conduct if the public has timely information about what the facts are. Why do so many people trust a leader who doesn’t trust them, and has contempt for its trust?

It happened again, you see. Continue reading

KABOOM!! Dana Milbank’s New Record For Flagrantly Dishonest Punditry

Exploding head

I am through with Dana Milbank, and also with anyone who quotes him, relies on him, believes him or—take note, Washington Post—employs him. There must be some level of insulting, dishonest, toadying, intentionally misleading punditry that qualifies as intolerable, and Milbank’s latest column for the Washington Post—syndicated elsewhere so the maximum number of weak minds can be polluted—defined it. I’m not going to reprint a word of it for fear that it will poison the blog, or cause your head to explode like mine just did—but I can describe its thesis. Get this: Milbank decries a “crisis of the week political culture” in Washington, and blames the news media, Republicans and Congress for the shifting attention. I am suppressing a scream as I write this.

There is a “crisis of the week” political culture because the incredibly inept and incompetent President of the United States has mismanaged every conceivable aspect of the government’s policies, domestic and foreign, while maintaining incompetents and political hacks in key positions and sending the message that there will be no accountability for abject failure, and because, despite pledging unprecedented transparency, the standard operating procedure for this group of ideologically doctrinaire and skill-challenged group has been to posture, obfuscate, stall, mislead and lie until various ugly chickens come home to roost, and then to rely on the news media to accept absurd excuses, explanation and blame-shifting theories, chaos has been percolating beneath the surface in dozens of vital areas—oh yes, more bad news is coming—and the full measure of various disasters are finally becoming known.

There is a crisis of the week mentality because a new catastrophe caused by the epic incompetence of this Administration is being uncovered every week, and sometimes every day.

And Dana Milbank blames the political culture, as if it is making this stuff up.

And he expects readers to agree with him.

And a lot of them will.

Kaboom.

Continue reading

The News Media Giveth, The News Media Taketh Away…Now If Only We Could Trust Its Motives

Today, Johnny's old quiz show would have to be re-titled, "Who CAN You Trust?"

Today, Johnny’s old quiz show would have to be re-titled, “Who CAN You Trust?”

When the remains of hundreds of children were found in what appeared to be a mass grave under an Irish orphanage, another Catholic Church scandal seemed to be rising. Last week, the Associated Press, which broke the story, released this amazing “correction”:

DUBLIN (AP) — In stories published June 3 and June 8 about young children buried in unmarked graves after dying at a former Irish orphanage for the children of unwed mothers, The Associated Press incorrectly reported that the children had not received Roman Catholic baptisms; documents show that many children at the orphanage were baptized. The AP also incorrectly reported that Catholic teaching at the time was to deny baptism and Christian burial to the children of unwed mothers; although that may have occurred in practice at times it was not church teaching. In addition, in the June 3 story, the AP quoted a researcher who said she believed that most of the remains of children who died there were interred in a disused septic tank; the researcher has since clarified that without excavation and forensic analysis it is impossible to know how many sets of remains the tank contains, if any. The June 3 story also contained an incorrect reference to the year that the orphanage opened; it was 1925, not 1926.

Or, to summarize, “Never mind. We rushed this story onto the newswires because of  preexisting biases of our reporters and editors, and breached the basic fact checking standards of our “profession” because, come on, only saps do that stuff any more. Sorry if this gave Catholic-bashers and anti-religion zealots false ammunition—we’ll work on digging up more dirt that will stand up to scrutiny. Besides, most people who saw the original story won’t see this correction, so it’s no big deal.”

How can we trust a news organization that could misrepresent a story this badly? We can’t, that’s all, and it isn’t just the Associated Press. All aspects of the news media have abandoned any pretense of objectivity, fair reporting and professionalism. Even when they do something right, one has to wonder why….for  they might not really be doing it ethically after all, no matter how it appears.

Case Study #1: Faking Hillary’s “town hall” Continue reading