Unethical Website of the Month: Opinion-NYTimes.Com

Yes, it is also an extremely well-done unethical website, a clone of the New York Times editorial pages, even featuring links to the real Times.

It is, however, a web hoax that presents a defense of Wikileaks, itself an unethical position, under the by-line of a real person, former Times editor Bill Keller, who didn’t write it, in order to mislead and fool people. One of those fooled was Times technology editor Nick Bilton, who passed on the link on Twitter. Keller eventually used a tweet to expose the hoax.

What a riot.

Hoaxes like this are constitutionally protected, but they are the news and commentary equivalent of the scene in “The Naked Gun” in which Leslie Nielsen throws  ten baseballs into the air as a catcher is trying to catch a foul pop-fly. They are information vandalism, and until the media and the public stops regarding them as newsworthy or funny, they will proliferate, and some will cause tangible harm

The technical term for the purveyors of web hoaxes like this is “assholes.” Once that is agreed upon, unequivocal and clear, we might have a chance of discouraging them.

Update: I had just finished writing the post when I  learned that Wikileaks itself has taken responsibility for the hoax. You see? The technical term was accurate.

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Facts: Yahoo!

Source and Graphic: Care 2 Make a Difference

 

 

Ethics Hero: Marvin Kalb

The so-called mainstream media have an obvious leftward political bias, and have had for decades. Either disingenuously or naively, publishers, editors, network heads and reporters deny this, although the evidence is overwhelming. Sometimes, as when supposedly objective reporters are openly adversarial to conservatives while covering news events and there is no discipline by their bosses, the evidence is also embarrassing.

Fox News, which was launched to counter balance this tendency, has at least been relatively open about its conservative slant: “fair and balanced” was always intended to convey Fox’s efforts to balance the scales, not to suggest that Fox News by itself was balanced.

Nonetheless, it is rare to see any of the liberal-oriented news organizations, even the most undeniably biased of them, like NPR, admit its objectivity problem—never mind surveys that show that journalists are far more liberal than the U.S. population, and regardless of the media’s repeated tardiness in covering legitimate “conservative news stories” like the New Black Panthers controversy and the ACORN “sting”( CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC are in the process of ignoring the similar Planned Parenthood videotapes). The journalistic establishment has closed ranks on this issue, consistently arguing that the “myth” of liberal bias arises from a right-biased perspective.

Thus it was striking and refreshing to see Marvin Kalb, a member-in-good-standing of the liberal journalists’ club confronting the most prestigious and perhaps the most egregious of left-biased media, The New York Times, with the truth it routinely denies. Continue reading