Tag Archives: blogging

Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 7/16/2017

 Isn’t it a lovely morning?

1. This isn’t the first post of the day: I woke up around 4 AM and couldn’t get back to sleep (“As My Guitar Gently Weeps” was playing over and over in my head, don’t ask me why, and images from the Red Sox 16 inning loss to the Yankees was giving me the night terrors), so I went to the office and wrote this post. Charlie Green, critic and friend, properly pointed out that my comment in passing that incorrectly alluded to rumors about Joseph P. Kennedy being a bootlegger was exactly what my  post was criticizing David Brooks for doing in his attack on the entire Trump family, going back generations, a truly ugly op-ed.

What I was sorely tempted to say was that I’m just an ethics blogger, trying to focus attention on ethics standards in a daily blog from which I receive no income and intangible professional benefits if any. I mange to get 2000-4000 words published every 24 hours, working in short bursts while I try to earn a living, run a business, do research and be as good a father and husband as I can be. I have no editors, no researchers (except generous volunteers) and my blog is not a “paper of record” for journalists, seen by millions and paid for by subscribers. Is it really fair to hold Ethics Alarms to the same standards as David Brooks and the New York Times?

Make no mistake: my own standards are that no typo, no misstated fact, no misleading argument, are acceptable on an ethics blog, or any blog, or anything published on the web. Charles was right: using an unproven accusation of long-standing (Until Charles flagged it, I thought the bootlegging charge was a matter of public record) undermines my case against Brooks. Nonetheless, Brooks has absolutely no excuse. This is all he does, he has all week to produce a column or two, and he has a staff.

I’ve also corrected my error within hours of making it. What are the chances that Brooks and the Times will ever admit that they intentionally impugned the character of Fred Trump using rumors and innuendo as part of their ongoing effort to demonize the President of the United States?

My guess: Zero.

2. The big story this morning appears to be O.J. Simpson’s parole hearing. Will he be paroled and released after serving just nine years of the three-decade sentence he received for his participation in a burglary? Assuming that it is true that O.J., now 70 and unlikely to stab any more ex-wives and innocent bystanders to death, has been a model prisoner, yes, that would be the ethical result. O.J. got away with a double murder—he will not be asked at the hearing, “Once you’re out, can we assume that you’ll renew your relentless hunt for the real killer?”—but he wasn’t put in prison for that crime. Officially, he’s innocent. His fellow burglars were all put on probation, while the judge threw the book at the former football star, presumably to exact a measure of societal revenge for Nicole and Ron. The sentence was unethical. I don’t feel sorry for O.J. at all; I’m glad he had to serve hard time, just as I would have been happy if he had been squashed by a meteor. Justice, however, demands that he go free.

The bastard. Continue reading

47 Comments

Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Around the World, Arts & Entertainment, Education, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture

Brief And Rueful Thoughts Sparked By The Previous Post

This was yet another post on which the reactions of the dear departed Zoe Brain would be fascinating. I have to admit, I take it badly when a long-time commenter throws a snit and announces permanent departure. (The latest was Margie, a commenter here since 2010, who decided that I had become too “snarky.”) You try to nurture a relationship in the comments over time, and yet usually all it takes is a single comment, moderation choice, or issue disagreement to trash it all.  I remember vividly the angry exits of Ablativemeatshield, Liberal Dan, Ampersand, and Luke G. And those are  just the ones who announce their leave.

I really worry about the silently vanished. It’s stupid, but I do. Where’s Michael R,, the eloquent teacher, not seen in these parts since December, 2015? Whither Steven Mark Pilling, whose epic battles with tgt (also gone with the wind, with occasional sightings like the Ivory Billed Woodpecker) were worthy of a separate blog or a mini-series? Aaron Paschal? The nit-picking but mordantly amusing Brit, P.M. Lawrence? How about Karla Marie Robinett, who was gone for half a year, came back to say she was happy to be back, and vanished again? I liked it when The Ethics Sage dropped in for a scholarly chat.  Where did he go, and why? Rick Jones, “Curmie” of  “The Curmies,” is just a fond memory. FinleyOshea has been gone for more than a year: his last post just said, “test.” Ominous.  And its been almost four months since Ethics Alarms heard from Julian Hung, another reader from the blog’s beginning. Julian is an intermittent participant, but a sharp one. I’m officially concerned.

These and so many others are noticed when they go AWOL, and missed. New voices take their places, I know, and change is good, or can be. Still, even though I have never met most of these people, I feel their losses, and regret their departures. And that—I just erased a long list for fear of who I was forgetting—is why those loyal and passionate commenters who stay and ride out the storms and disagreements are so cherished and appreciated, even when I may sometimes not sound that way.

Carry on.

56 Comments

Filed under Romance and Relationships, The Internet

Ethics Hero: Popehat’s Ken White

sunshine-through-the-clouds

I can’t really say Ken White is a friend. We have never met, though we have spoken on the phone. I sent him a copy of my book. He has cited my posts and I have (often) cited his; we have disagreed and argued. I think he’s still ticked off at me for asserting here that well off, smart, educated professionals (like him) who argue for drug legalization share responsibility for the fates of the poor, uneducated or not so smart people who ruin their lives using the junk because the elite have proclaimed that the laws are foolish. (I still believe that, by the way, more today than ever.)

Ken also advised me wisely when I was being threatened with a lawsuit. I am eternally grateful for his kindness. We share a profession and the avocation of blogging, as well as a professional interest in ethics. We are both fervent believers in the First Amendment, but Ken is a true warrior on the front lines, while I just occasionally submit a dispatch from the battlefield. We both adopted children from overseas, and have some similarly warped strains to our humor. One thing I do not share with Ken is clinical depression, thank goodness. He suffers from it, I don’t. Continue reading

3 Comments

Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Health and Medicine, The Internet

Hypocritical Comment Of The Century

Today I received this:

“Hi there, i read your blog occasionally and i own a similar one and i was just curious if you get a lot of spam responses? If so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can advise? I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any support is very much appreciated.”

The commenter gave his name as “Ecig” and that “similar” blog is an e-cigarette advertising website. His comment about how irritating spam is is spam itself, one of the nearly 536,000 such comments that I have had to review individually since launching Ethics Alarms.|

A dishonest fake comment, purporting to complain about spam while constituting spam, sent to a blog about ethics.

Nice.

13 Comments

Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Quotes, The Internet

The Best Of The Ethical Ann Althouse

woman_falling_from_a_balcony

In a recent post, I criticized blogger Ann Althouse for an ethics commentary misfire, along with the error of not allowing readers to comment on it, and thus point out where her analysis went wrong. I would not want to leave the impression that this was typical of Althouse in any way, or discourage any reader here from sampling her generally fascinating and well-written observations. Luckily, today she delivered a post which I would put among her best, a measured and deft take-down of Slate’s often silly feminist blogger L.V. Anderson, for a classic diatribe dripping with manufactured accusations of gender bias in a news story where none exists.

This is the real Ann Althouse, and you should read the entry, here.

___________________

Sources: Althouse, Slate

Graphic: Oceansbridge

10 Comments

Filed under Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, The Internet

When Bloggers Screw Up

Hey, who said that? (It's a trick question!)

Hey, who said that? (It’s a trick question!)

Ann Althouse is a quirky, well-respected blogger, a Wisconsin law professor who is liable to write wittily and perceptively about anything from dogs to politics from her barely right of center political perspective. Recently she banned all comments from her blog, meaning that she now pontificates without the safety net of informed readers being available to tell her when she’s jumped the track of rationality, which, without exception, we all do. This means that on the rare occasions that the erudite and perceptive Ms. Althouse is full of beans, there is no way to let her or anyone else know.

So I’m letting her know.

For some reason, Althouse is indignant over the $800,000 the Interior Department is spending to erase the incorrect quote negligently carved into the Martin Luther King Memorial. She writes with a sneer,

“Martin Luther King said “I was a drum major for justice, peace and righteousness,” which we will remember, even through it’s now off the memorial. It’s off the memorial because, in the “drum major” speech, there were some other words around it — as is always the case with snappy lines in speeches — and Maya Angelou and others felt some shades of subtlety were lost, making the man sound arrogant.Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Health and Medicine, History, The Internet

Resolving An Ethics Alarms Ethics Conflict

poof-smallI just took down a post, something I have only done four times previously. This decision, unlike the others, was the resolution of a genuine ethics conflict, created in part by the recent discussions here.

Tonight I received a terse demand, phrased as a request but with a time deadline,* from a former commentary subject insisting that I remove a critical post here from nearly a year ago. The post was not factually incorrect, nor  did it make any factual assertions that could support a credible defamation claim. My commentary was pure opinion, though a fairly harsh one. I have pledged, following the inspirational example of Ken at Popehat and also attorney/blogger Marc Randazza, not to countenance web censorship involving bogus legal threats, and thus drafted and came within a finger-stroke of sending a rejection of the demand, and a strongly worded one.

Then I re-read the post at issue. It was a criticism of a tweet from a professional that I believed, and believe, had the effect of unfairly impugning an entire workplace and the identifiable colleagues of the tweeter. The tweet was wrong, but I realized that I was also wrong to highlight it here. I have been writing quite a lot lately about the inherent Golden Rule violation of web-shaming individuals for single and isolated unethical acts that fall short of illegality or such outrageous callousness or cruelty that there is a duty to warn others. I think there is a toxic cultural trend, fed by the power of the internet, that will soon make web bullies and assassins of us all, and potential victims as well. I want to fight that trend, not contribute to it. I think, in the case of that post, I was on the side that I now believe is the wrong one. It was a stupid and thoughtless tweet. It did not justify a web-shaming on Ethics Alarms. Continue reading

23 Comments

Filed under Law & Law Enforcement, The Internet, U.S. Society