Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/4/2020: Meltdown In Iowa Edition [CORRECTED]

Good Morning!

As I write this, there are still no final results from the Iowa Caucuses. The cause seems to be some faulty software and generally poor planning by the Iowa Democrats, resulting in chaos. There is a lot of schadenfreude going on at the conservative websites, and it is unseemly. Much as the Democrats deserve to fall on their faces, this is botched democracy in action, and nobody should be gloating about it.  It’s unfair to all of the campaign workers and supporters of the various candidates—even though the supporters of some candidates should hide their heads under a bag—and chaos in the process serves nobody’s interests. What are the odds President Trump sends out a mocking tweet about it this morning?

Here’s Nate Silver explaining what a catastrophe this is for Democrats.

The bon mot turning up in comment sections and social media over and over again last night was “The Democrats can’t handle a caucus, and they want to run the whole country?”

Until the real vote totals are in  it’s all speculation, but it looks like Joe Biden crashed and burned, with his vote totals missing the 15% threshold required to win any delegates.

1. Pete being Pete. Remember what the Ethics Alarms verdict was on Pete Buttigieg a while back? It stands. Mayor Buttigieg declared himself the winner before any useful vote totals were in. Mediaite: “All this dumpster fire of an Iowa caucus was missing was a candidate who declared victory without a single vote being reported. But shortly after midnight eastern on Tuesday morning, Mayor Pete put the cherry on top of this hideous sundae with a confounding speech in which he seemed to proclaim himself the winner.” He has been sharply criticized by just about everybody, and deserves to be. It’s a jerk move.

Meanwhile, the Sanders camp, remembering the underhanded treatment he received from the DNC in 2016, is suggesting that this may all be a plot by the Democratic Dark lords to rob him of a big victory and the proverbial “Iowa Bounce.” I don’t blame them.

2. Stop making me defend Joe Biden! Biden is getting “Ew!’s and “Ick!”s as a result of this photo..

..taken when he gave his 19-year-old granddaughter s peck on the lips during an Iowa rally. Granted, this wouldn’t be an issue if Joe didn’t have a well-deserved reputation for  inappropriate public behavior with women and girls, but this is one of the best examples I have ever seen of how a photograph, contrary to the old saying, can and do lie. The kiss lasted a nanosecond, but the photo makes it look like Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway in “The Thomas Crown Affair.” Continue reading

Headed Straight Into The Ethics Alarms Massive “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias!” File: Bloomberg News Provides A Smoking Cannon

Let’s give credit to Bloomberg News for this at least: it isn’t trying to hide its capitulation to a conflict of interest and its abandonment of journalism ethics.

2,700 journalists working at Bloomberg L.P., the financial data company primarily owned by newly minted Democratic Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, were thus instructed  in a memo sent by John Micklethwait, Bloomberg Editorial and Research’s editor in chief:

“We will write about virtually all aspects of this presidential contest in much the same way as we have done so far. We will describe who is winning and who is losing,. We will look at policies and their consequences. We will carry polls, we will interview candidates and we will track their campaigns, including [Michael Bloomberg’s] We have already assigned a reporter to follow his campaign (just as we did when Mike was in City Hall). And in the stories we write on the presidential contest, we will make clear that our owner is now a candidate.”

However, the memo went on to say, Bloomberg’s outlets, including Bloomberg Businessweek and several industry-specific sites, will not perform in-depth investigations of  Bloomberg or any of his Democratic rivals.

Let’s be clear about what this policy means by looking at it from another angle. Bloomberg media outlets will only be seeking damaging news and creating critical “in-depth” analysis on one party’s candidate, that being the Republican party and its candidate, President Trump.. They will operate during the next year like Charles Foster Kane’s newspaper, the New York Daily Inquirer operated when the corrupt Orson Welles character was running for governor in “Citizen Kane.” Continue reading

Unethical Website of the Month: Bloomberg News

Seldom does any news media organization make its absence of fairness and objectivity on a topic so obvious that there isn’t some room for argument, but Bloomberg managed to scale the heights with its headline to a story by reporter Heidi Przybyla. Her report covered the results of a Bloomberg poll designed to create a profile of the members of the Tea Party movement, which has been holding multiple demonstrations across the country to protest passage of President Obama’s health care reform bill.

The poll results themselves were unremarkable, given what we already have learned about the Tea Partiers’ objectives and objections. Over 90% of those polled by Bloomberg said that they feared that the nation was turning to socialism, with the federal government trying to control too many aspects of  Americans’ lives. In answer to another question,  70% felt that Obama’s Administration needed to put more resources into job creation. So Przybyla, her editors and Bloomberg’s management chose to headline the report with this:

“Tea Party Advocates Who Scorn Socialism Want a Government Job” Continue reading