From The “Res Ipsa Loquitur” Files: Harvard’s Press Release Announcing The Proud Addition Of Brian Stelter

Well, I don’t know what else I can do to express my shame and revulsion at having a Harvard diploma. I’ve turned it to the wall, and lowered it to the floor. I boycotted my class reunion this year, and wrote why in my class notes. This latest despicable breach of ethics and academic integrity is still baffling to me. Stelter proved himself over and over again to be an unethical journalist, a fake expert on journalism ethics, a transparently biased hack and a liar incapable of admitting either his misconduct or that of his employer, CNN. Even the title of his weekly show, “Reliable Sources,” was a lie: Stelter’s reports were reliably unreliable. He did not, as his show promised, cover and critique news media conduct, misdeeds and controversies. Increasingly, he focused his criticism only on Fox News, while his own network was lapping the field in scandals.

What does it tell us, then, about Harvard, its Kennedy School (which Bill O’Reilly constantly boasted about attending for a few months) and its Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy that they would issue this press release? I hope the answer is obvious to all:

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Weekend Ethics Loose Ends, 8/21-22/2022: Brian Stelter Does A Cheney

Now THAT was an insurrection! On August 22 in 1831, Nat Turner, an educated slave, killed his owner and escaped withe seven followers, planning on recruiting a slave army and capturing Virginia’s Southampton county armory. His strategy was then to march 30 miles to Virginia’s Great Dismal Swamp, where his army could hide out and strike at will. Turner and his recruits attacked homes throughout Southampton County, killing about 60 white men, women and children. The Virginia state militia, with greatly larger numbers, ended the rebellion while killing many of those who had joined him. The episode resulted in vengeful lynching of many slaves, even those who were not involved in Turner’s revolt

Nat Turner eluded capture until the end of October. Unrepentant, he  was tried, convicted, sentenced to death, and hanged on November 11.

I noticed, in researching this story, that apparently the word “slave” is now taboo, and the politically correct term is “enslaved people.

They were slaves. That is what I will continue to call them. Next we will be commanded to refer to them as “non-volunteer unpaid employees.” The only way to stop creeping Orwellian linguistics is to refuse to tolerate it.

1. Careful…whatever it is that Liz Cheney has might be contagious. Cheney’ s vainglorious self-celebration and presumption of martyrdom after being justly crunched by Republican primary voters in Wyoming was quickly followed by an even more outrageous display of imagined virtue by the ridiculous Brian Stelter, now looking for some other news organization to help pervert. Among a myriad of other flaws, Stelter’s fake journalism watchdog show, “Reliable Sources,” had finally tanked in the ratings (along with CNN in general), perhaps because it no longer even pretended to report informatively on how well (and ethically) the news media was doing its job, and was only repeating anti-Trump, anti-conservative talking points and attacking Fox News.

In his final show, instead of leaving in an ethical and dignified manner, Stelter decided to perform a Cheney on steroids. Among his gagworthy declarations was that “teachers use segments from this show all the time in classrooms, in lessons, guiding and teaching the next generation.”

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From The “Res Ipsa Loquitur” Files: Brian Stelter’s Response To A Question About CNN’s Bias And Dishonest Journalism

There is a lot to mock regarding University of Chicago’s “Conference on Disinformation and Erosion of Democracy,” dominated by Democrats, who are determined to continue eroding democracy in ways that will increase and guarantee the party’s power, and their allies in the mainstream media, or “the mainstream media” for short. The Federalist has one of many deft take-downs here, though it is a bit like shooting genetically-altered fish born with targets on their sides in a barrel.

To the event’s credit however, it has permitted University of Chicago students to ask questions that exposed the hypocrisy of the partisan exercise, as in the Anne Applebaum video clip I embedded here. This exchange was even better, as another student took aim at CNN’s fake media watchdog, the revolting and incompetent Brian Stelter.

Stelter has as much business as a featured authority in a conference on fighting “disinformation” as China has on the U.N. Human Rights Committee, The setting was a panel on “How Media Platforms Shape Consumer Realities,” , featuring moderator Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times (This tells you all you need to know about his perspective), The Dispatch’s Stephen Hayes, Lauren Williams of Capital B, and Stelter. His perambulations to avoid dealing with the substance of the question were the stuff of “Monty Python” satire:

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Ethical And Unethical Quotes In The Chris Cuomo Scandal

Chris Cuomo2

  • “The New York Attorney General’s office released transcripts and exhibits Monday that shed new light on Chris Cuomo’s involvement in his brother’s defense. The documents, which we were not privy to before their public release, raise serious questions. When Chris admitted to us that he had offered advice to his brother’s staff, he broke our rules and we acknowledged that publicly. But we also appreciated the unique position he was in and understood his need to put family first and job second. However, these documents point to a greater level of involvement in his brother’s efforts than we previously knew. As a result, we have suspended Chris indefinitely, pending further evaluation.”

—CNN’s official statement last night.

Verdict: Unethical, and signature significance for an ethically brain-dead organization. First, Cuomo should have been fired for cause, immediately. (He should have been fired years ago anyway, as I reminded readers yesterday.) The evidence was enough. Second, the statement that Cuomo was in a “unique position” is pure, rationalization-polluted crap. There’s nothing unique about conflicts of interest and family crises for a professional, which is what journalists claim to be (but seldom are). If one feels he or she must put family before duty to one’s employers and stakeholders, the ethical course is to disclose the conflict, respect the necessary ethical boundaries, and, if necessary, quit the job. Third, there is nothing to evaluate. Cuomo lied to CNN’s audience. That disqualifies him as a host, as a pundit, and as a broadcast journalist.

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“The Vaccine Is Too Risky To Take!” “No! The Vaccine Is Risk Free!” STOP! You’re Both WRONG! It’s TWO, TWO, Two Vaccines in ONE! [Corrected]

Ethics Alarms has to comment on the truly irresponsible and destructive ideological posturing by the two ends of the political spectrum regarding the Wuhan virus vaccine. The intellectually dishonest sniping from the Left and the Right would be humorous if it wasn’t so potentially destructive. Here is a brief summary of the situation, which nobody seems capable of stating clearly.

Because of many factors. the United States allowed a virulent virus to devastate its economy, education, politics and culture in ways that, like those old Chinese finger traps, make it difficult to back out of. This should not have happened, but it did, and that’s all that matters. The situation as it is cannot be sustained, so it is crucial to minimize the threat of the pandemic as quickly as possible. This means that either a cure or an effective preventive measure must be available, and since no cure seems on the horizon, a vaccine is the nation’s best shot (no pun intended.) The damage to the country and culture worsens every day, so the vaccine has been rushed into production and use far more quickly than usual health protocols would normally require. It is a utilitarian trade-off, and the appropriate one.

The more people vaccinated, the better. It’s as simple as that. And since all vaccines kill a small percentage of people, the more Americans who are vaccinated, the more people are going to die. It’s also as simple as that. AND because this vaccine (actually vaccines, plural) have not been as thoroughly tested as vaccines normally are, a higher percentage of those vaccinated for the Wuhan virus will probably die than with other vaccines. That’s simple too. Unfortunate, but simple.

So the responsible, patriotic, rational act is to get vaccinated.

Unfortunately, a lot of people have been unreasonably suspicious of all vaccines, and many more have become quite reasonably suspicious of the CDC and government health edicts, not to mention the hysterical news media, during the pandemic, because, to be blunt, their advice, statements and demands have been too frequently dishonest, hypocritical, mistaken or wrong. The Left—Democrats, progressives and the news media—being increasingly inclined to totalitarian methods these days and reliant on telling the peasants to trust them when they appear to be more untrustworthy than ever, are deliberately refusing to be transparent about the Wuhan vaccine risks in order to maximize the number of American willing to take it. The Right—including conservatives, libertarians, flat earthers and a lot of Republicans—are reacting to their ingrained distrust of the Left—not that it isn’t deserved— by resisting the vaccine and sliding into conspiracy theories. Conservative media, playing to their market, are encouraging this, because that’s how they get eyeballs and clicks….and money. All of this threatens to cause the damage wreaked by the pandemic to persist, or even get worse.

Yes, it’s an Ethics Train Wreck, a sub-train wreck of the Wuhan Virus Ethics Train Wreck, which I hereby dub the Pandemic Vaccine Ethics Train Wreck.

With that, here are eight ethics observations on Fox News provocateur Tucker Carlson’s’ recent phillipic about the vaccine. The full text of Carlson’s statement follows them.

Observations:

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This Is Signature Significance For A Lot Of Things, And I’m Not Sure I Want To Think About It…

I guess I have to. It’s my job.

Let’s consider this head-exploding moment from today on CNN by asking a few questions:

  • Is there any way a competent news organization doesn’t realize how ridiculous this “scoop” is?
  • Is a news host—here, Brian Stelter, running neck and neck with his colleagues Don Lemon and Chris Cuomo for the title of  “Most Embarrassing Excuse for a  Journalists in the Cvilized World—— who actually thinks this is a point worth making anything other than deranged and unfit for his job?
  • Has there ever been an instance when anyone under any circumstances had an ethical or professional obligation to take a selfie, much less share it? (Full disclosure: I have never taken a selfie, and I never will.)
  • Is there anyone who isn’t clinically ill that would find the Fox News “stars'” decision not to post selfies of themselves getting the Wuhan virus shots newsworthy in any way?
  • Could a news organization possibly have a lower opinion of the American public than to think it cares what selfies anyone on earth doesn’t take and share?

This network hasn’t just jumped the shark. It has set a new record for bias, stupidity, and journalistic lunacy.

High Noon Ethics Shoot-Out, 10/21/2020: Religious Bigotry Vs Anti-Gay Bigotry! “Whitewashing” Vs Anti-Semitism! Google Vs Trust!

As you may (and should) know, the classic Western “High Noon” was and is regarded by some conservatives as anti-American. I think it is, as excellent as it is. The ending, where the heroic law man (played by Gary Cooper in an Academy Award-winning performance) throws his star in the dirt in disgust (imitated by “Dirty Harry” for very different reasons in that conservative film years later), is widely seen as a rejection of American society as hypocritical. (The fact that the screenwriter, Carl Foreman, was a Communist doesn’t help.)

My favorite scene in the movie, where Cooper begs the church congregation to help, plays like a “Twilight Zone” episode, with the whole town rationalizing furiously to avoid helping the desperate law man minutes away from having to face, alone, vengeful thugs determined to kill him. (The whole scene is not on YouTube; I searched.) “Rio Bravo,” one of the best John Wayne Westerns and a personal favorite, was devised by director Howard Hawks as a direct rebuke of the selfish and craven America “High Noon” posits. In the Duke’s movie, the lawman, Wayne, constantly rejects the offers of help he receives, though he knows hired killers are massing to free his prisoner. Yet people go out of their way, at great personal risk, to help him anyway, time after time. “High Noon” is a better movie (maybe), but “Rio Bravo” is a fairer depiction of American values and history.

1. This is why I tell lawyers and government employees that it’s unethical to use Google for professional communication and client matters. Mac programmer Jeff Johnson has discovered that if you set Google Chrome to eliminate all website cookies and site data when you close the browser, the data remains un-erased for YouTube and Google itself.

What a coinkydink!

“Perhaps this is just a Google Chrome bug, not intentional behavior, but the question is why it only affects Google sites, not non-Google sites,” Johnson says. “I’ve tested using the latest Google Chrome version 86.0.4240.75 for macOS, but this behavior was also happening in the previous version of Chrome. I don’t know when it started.”

Bottom line: Don’t trust Google. Like I’ve been saying….

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Afternoon Ethics Jaunt, 10/5/2020: Our Unethical Journalists

Strolling

1. Multiple head explosion alert from the “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias” files. In the New York Times book Review section. Times business editor David Enrich reviews a book about Fox News by CNN’s fake news ethics watchdog Brian Stelter. The headline for the review is “Fox in the White House.” One would think a reputable book review editor would assign the reviewing of a book by CNN’s main shameless propagandist to a journalist who was at veery least sort of neutral, but no. Enrich is the author of “Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction, “ and apparently incapable of exploiting  the hilarity when a biased and partisan hack like Stelter writes that “Fox News has become little more than a propaganda organ.” That is exaggerated but close enough for journalism horse shoes. However the man who constantly and shamelessly covers for CNN’s pro-Democratic and  anti-Trump propaganda is ethically estopped from making such  criticism, and Enrich disqualifies himself as an objective and honest reviewer when he writes, after noting that CNN is hardly objective, by writing,

“To be clear, there is no equivalence between the occasionally inaccurate and misleading “liberal media,” which generally owns up to its mistakes, and the highly productive factory of falsehoods at Fox.’

Generally owns up to its mistakes? GENERALLY OWNS UP TO ITS MISTAKES!!!!! Enrich’s own paper is one of the primary offenders. Is the key word here mistakes? Maybe that’s the trick: the biased, partisan, untrustworthy news media Enrich is a part of doesn’t own up, because its distortion of the news, like Stelter’s, isn’t a mistake.

OK, I’m going to start the timer…NOW. It’s 2: 17 PM. How long before I find an item debunking Enrich’s characterization? I think I’ll try Professor Turley’s blog: he’s almost as disgusted with the news media as I am. Annnd, TIME! I found one. It’s 2:21 pm….

“The New York Times on Thursday published an opinion column by Regina Ip, the Hong Kong official widely denounced as “Beijing’s enforcer.” Ip declared “Hong Kong is part of China” and dismissed the protesters fighting for freedom in their city.  I have no objection to the publishing of the column. Ip is a major figure in Hong Kong and, despite her support for authoritarian rule and crushing dissent, there is a value to having such views as part of the public debate. Rather, my concern is that the New York Times was denounced by many of us for its  cringing apology after publishing a column by Sen. Tom Cotton (R, Ark.). and promising not to publish future such columns. So it will not publish a column from a Republican senator on protests in the United States but it will publish columns from one of the Chinese leaders crushing protests for freedom in Hong Kong.’

Of course, the apology for publishing an opinion that was not welcomed by the Left wasn’t a mistake. It was a reaffirmation of the Times’ deliberate bias.

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Observations On The Trump Tax Returns Dud

Someone at the IRS finally leaked the President’s taxe returns to the Times. That’s a crime, just as it would be if someone leaked my taxes or yours. Of course, this was inevitable, filled as the government bureacracy is with unethical employees who feel it is their duty to try to undermine their ultimate supervisor. Those who cheer on this per se wrongful conduct are enabers and rationalizers.

Other points:

1. In “An Editor’s Note on the Trump Tax Investigation,” the Times felt it necessary to remind readers, “Some will raise questions about publishing the president’s personal tax information. But the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled that the First Amendment allows the press to publish newsworthy information that was legally obtained by reporters even when those in power fight to keep it hidden. That powerful principle of the First Amendment applies here.” That’s right, the news media has a right to encourage others to break the law and to publish the results. It’s still unethical, except in the rare circumstances where the public interest is indisputably served by furthering an illegal act, as with (arguably) the Pentagon Papers. Publishing documents protected by law that show no wrongdoing only to encourage partisan attacks in an election year is not such a situation.

The Times can’t be punished, but whoever leaked the documents can, and should.

2. I guess this is the time to post this tweet by CNN’s Brain Stelter, which proves his stunning ethical deficits as well as anything he has ever said on CNN. He was responding to another tweet pointing out that leaking tax returns is a crime, as I just did.

Oh! So if Stelter knows he has received embezzled funds from a bank employee, Stelter can spend the cash on a hairpiece because the thieving employee had legal access to the cash!

Has any news network simultaneously employed three dolts as mentally deficient as Stelter, Don Lemon, and Chris Cuomo? Continue reading

Monday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/10/2020: Stelter Gaslighting, “Neither Rain Nor Snow,” A Good Lawsuit, And Orwellian Marketing [CORRECTED!]

Goooood Morning!

The song is from one of my favorite Broadway cast albums. The show (which I directed in college) is something of a mess, but the songs are terrific. Anthony Newley was a talented songwriter (with writing partner Leslie Bricusse) and a triple threat performer who was just a little bit too intense for some people. Among his best known songs with Bricusse are “The Candyman,” “Feelin’ Good” (from “Greasepaint,”) “Gonna Build A  Mountain” and “What Kind of Fool Am I?” (from “Stop the World, I Want To Get Off.” “On a Wonderful Day” is sung on the album by Cyril Richard, whom older readers will remember as the definitive Captain Hook, menacing Mary Martin in the live TV versions of “Peter Pan.”

1. This is wonderfully hilarious. Brian Stelter strikes again. From his CNN show yesterday:

STELTER: “When you see entire media companies essentially exist to tear down Joe Biden, is there an equivalent of that on the left, tearing down Trump?”

GUEST: “There really isn’t.”

Do any CNN viewers really believe this? How much gaslighting can a CNN talking head get away with?

2. Res Ipsa Loquitur. Running a small business trying to struggle through the lockdown when our main income is from live presentations, my wife and I are finding cash flow tougher than ever. Today we were alerted by the USPS that a large check we have been waiting for was delivered two days ago. (It wasn’t.) A few weeks back, we received what looked like an important letter addressed to someone in Spokane, Washington. Yet I will be encouraging voter suppression if I suggest that mail-in ballots are a disastrous idea.

It’s interesting: the same people who insist that the United States is out of step if it doesn’t emulate “other developed nations” in such matters as government health care and banning capital punishment are oddly silent about the overwhelming hostility to voting by mail in Europe. Paul Bedard points out,

Most developed countries, especially in Europe, ban mail-in voting to fight vast fraud and vote buying that had threatened the integrity of their elections, according to an exhaustive review of voting rules and histories in over 30 major nations. In the European Union, 63% have put a ban on mailing in ballots except for citizens living overseas. Another 22% have imposed a ban even for those overseas. And most of those that allow mail-in ballots require some form of photo ID to get one, according to the report from the Crime Prevention Research Center shared with Secrets. “These countries have learned the hard way about what happens when mail-in ballots aren’t secured. They have also discovered how hard it is to detect vote buying when both those buying and selling the votes have an incentive to hide the exchange,” said author John R. Lott, the center’s president.

Meanwhile, we don’t have to rely on Europe’s example to figure out this is a terrible and dangerous idea. From NBC:

More than 1 in 5 mail-in ballots were rejected in New York City during the state primary June 23, the city’s certified election results revealed this week. City election officials rejected 84,000 ballots — 21 percent of all those received by election officials. More than 403,000 ballots were returned to election officials, according to city data, but only about 319,000 absentee ballots were counted, the certified results showed… The U.S. Postal Service, unused to the deluge of prepaid mailers, reportedly left postmarks off ballots, leaving thousands of them to be rejected because it was unclear they were sent on time.

If I were conspiracy-minded, I’d suspect that Democrats want chaos in the November election–all the better to reject the results and take to the streets. Continue reading