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:
“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.
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.
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.
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….
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.
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.
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 →
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 theCrime 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 →
And it insults both unethical journalists and dunces.
Stelter is special. Consider that this mega-hack and shameless partisan shill was the media reporter for the New York Times before taking on the job for CNN, and you know all you need to know about the trustworthiness of both Stelter and the Times.
We already know about the the trustworthiness of CNN.
A little background on Stelter’s latest equivalent of hiring a skywriter to put “I am a the King of the Hacks!” in blue and white over every major city:
One of the many, many things Democrats are terrified of as the 2020 election campaign approaches in earnest is that they have as a presumptive nominee for President a man who was once a gaffe-prone mediocrity but absolutely adequate to serve as a Vice-President for a healthy young POTUS, but who, in his late seventies, has shown unmistakable signs of cognitive decline. This, it should be said, was screamingly obvious the second Biden announced his candidacy: I was alarmed the first time I saw him speak. It was irresponsible and cynical for Democrats to encourage him to run; cruel for his family to let him run, and proof of desperation that primary voters supported him.
It is an open secret that Biden and his party have allowed the pandemic and lock-down to minimize his public exposure this long, but that lucky circumstance is running out quickly. Biden will have to be interviewed by some non-generous journalists eventually. He also will have to debate Donald Trump, but some progressives and Democrats, and their media allies, are trying to find a way to let Joe avoid the debates, which have been a feature of every Presidential campaign since 1976. That’s 44 years and eleven campaigns. The public expects debates. If Biden refuses to debate while the President repeatedly calls him out, it will be a disaster for him. Even knowing this, Democrats seem to think that Joe engaging in debates will be an even greater disaster given the rate of Biden’s deterioration. Continue reading →
What Ethics Alarms terms the Axis of Unethical Conduct or AUC—the alliance of the Democratic Party, “the resistance” and the mainstream news media—reached a new low in hostility to democracy and new high in hypocrisy yesterday after it was confirmed that the turnout for President Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa had been undermined by Nixon-style “dirty tricks.”
Yesterday morning, the front page of the Times was gloating over the surprisingly small audience for the President. Written by a team including staff Trump assassin Maggie Haberman, the story, which yesterday had a headline stating that the rally “sputtered” and on line says it “fizzled,” said in part, “The weakness of Mr. Trump’s drawing power and political skills, in a state that voted for him overwhelmingly and in a format that he favors, raised new questions about his electoral prospects for a second term at a time when his poll numbers were already falling.” It quickly became clear that there were sinister factors at work, but the reporters allowed confirmation bias to suppress what should have been an automatic instinct: “Gee, what could have caused this?” Instead, they went with an analysis based on their desires and hostility to the President, and presented readers with fake news.
Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias.
It soon became clear that Tik-Tok and K-Pop users, mostly teenagers, reserved hundreds of tickets for the rally, without any intention of showing up. Brian Stelter, CNN’s risible “media watchdog,” happily reported Sunday morning,
“And it seems that one of the other reasons why there were so many empty seats is a no-show protest. A no-show protest. This all started with a video on TikTok created by Mary Jo Laupp, who is effectively being called a ‘TikTok grandma.’ So, she made a video more than a week ago urging viewers to go to Trump’s site, sign up to attend the rally, but pointedly not show up at the rally. And look, it did seem to work to some degree. We don’t know exactly how well but Trump’s campaign manager Brad Parscale was out there talking about how many people were signing up…..
In a tweet, Parscale had announced that there had been 800,000 requests for tickets.
Stelter then rewarded the organizer of this operation by bringing her on his show to interview. Her rationalization for the dirty trick was that black activists were angry because the President had scheduled his rally on the same week as “Juneteenth,” that revered annual holiday that virtually no one, including CNN, had ever talked about before the George Floyd Freakout. Continue reading →