Ethics Hero: CBS’ Major Garrett

major_garrettDuring President Obama‘s Iran deal press conference,  CBS’ Major Garrett broke ranks with his softball lobbing colleagues  by asking, “Why you are content with all the fanfare around this deal to leave the conscience of this nation, the strength of this nation unaccounted for in relation to these four Americans?”

President Obama flared, reprimanding the reporter by snarling, “That’s nonsense, and you should know better.”

Garret was immediately criticized for being disrespectful. CNN’s Dana Bash criticized her colleague,  opining that “There’s a fine line between asking a tough question and maybe crossing that line a little bit and being disrespectful, and I think that happened here.” Bill Maher ran to fetch the typical weapon of last (first?) resort employed by Obama apologists since January, 2009: the race card. “Major Garrett is a huge asshole,” he tweeted.  “If U wanna “strike a nerve” with POTUS, why not just scream the N word? That should get his attention.” Garrett has been unapologetic.

No doubt: it was a hostile question. A decade or more ago, I might have thought it crossed a line. But the issue Garrett raised was an important and obvious one in the context of the President once again cockily taking a victory lap over a dubious achievement, and for this citizen, at least, it gave me hope that the mainstream media’s days of serving as a virtual Pravda to a leader’s every move might be slowly coming to an end. The media’s deference to this President has been disgraceful and has undermined our democracy, public discourse, trust in the press  and the right to know what our government is doing. CBS’s Steve Kroft actually admiited—proudly!—that his “60 Minutes” was a favored venue for Obama because he knew that he would be treated with kid gloves. Continue reading

Ethics Hero, “Even A Stopped Ethics Alarm Clock Will Be Right Twice A Day” Division: Bill Maher

Whenever shameless ideologues of any stripe graciously or grudgingly take positions against his or her camp’s official cant, they should be applauded or otherwise encouraged in the faint hope that they will prompt honesty and fairness from others of similar rigidity. Thus it is that I am forced to award the relentlessly uncivil, unfair and unethical comic Bill Maher, host of a rigged public affairs/ satire panel show on HBO, this Ethics Hero award.

Maher joined the small but growing group of pundits and politicians willing to admit that the Occupy movement they had  foolishly hailed as a legitimate exercise of the vox populi is an embarrassment, saying on his latest show  (in his trademarked gross fashion),

“…And as I watch them on the news now I find myself almost agreeing with Newt Gingrich. Like, you know what – get a job. Only because, you know, the people who originally started, I think they went home and now it’s just these anarchist stragglers. And this is the problem when you, you know, when your movement involves sleeping over in the park. You wind up attracting the people who were sleeping over in the park anyway. And I think that’s where we are now with the Occupy movement. They did a great job bringing the issue of income and equality to the fore, but now it’s just a bunch of douchebags who think throwing a chair through the Starbucks window is going to bring on the revolution.” Continue reading