Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/8/2019: A “Bias Makes You Stupid” Spectacular! [UPDATED!]

Good Morning!

The first appearance of Donald, Debbie and Gene in the New Year!

1. “A Nation of Assholes” update: Conservatives being ugly. The comments and even the posts around the conservative blogosphere regarding Ruth Bader Ginsberg are repulsive, and  reveal a deep mean streak, a lack of compassion and basic respect. Ginsberg, it was announced yesterday, will miss oral arguments–that means she won’t be able to vote on the cases she doesn’t hear—for the first time in her long career. It also may well mean that she isn’t long for this world, or the Court. The gleeful tone of the jokes, sarcasm and mockery being aimed her way by those salivating at the prospect that she will soon be replaced by a right-leaning justice is palpable. (Yes, some of the mean jokes are funny. The blog referring to her illness as a “belated Christmas present” isn’t.)

2. A classic bad argument for illegal immigration in response to an emotional one against it. The advocate? Geraldo Rivera. On a Hannity segment with conservative Dan Bongino [Correction notice: I mistakenly identified Bongino as African American in the original post. He is apparently Italian-American.]  Rivera tried to defend illegal immigration while condemning the use of individual episodes of violent crimes by illegals to justify stronger border enforcement. As Bongino and Hannity shouted around and over him, Rivera objected to Hannity’s featuring the grieving parents of 22-year-old Pierce Kennedy Corcoran who was killed in a head-on car crash with illegal immigrant Franco Cambrany Francisco-Eduardo. Francisco-Eduardo was charged with criminally negligent homicide and driving without a license or insurance,  was turned over to ICE. (Good!). Hannity lit the fuse when he began his panel by saying,

“Their son is dead. Or the people that also aid and abet these people with their sanctuary cities and sanctuary states, criminal aliens in our custody that are not handed over to ICE. You always say it’s about both parties, it’s not,” Hannity stated. “It’s about one party now that refuses to protect the American people…”

Said Geraldo at his most Geraldo-ish: Continue reading

ABC News’ Unethical, Dishonest and Biased “What Would You Do?”

ABC’s News’ periodic segment “What Would You Do?” is public opinion manipulation crossed with bad social behavior research, seeking the entertainment value of hidden camera shows. The segments stage outrageous public scenarios—a caretaker mistreating a wheelchair-bound senior, for example, to see how bystanders will react. Any potential benefit of the segments—might they encourage people to consider intervening when they see blatantly unethical  behavior?—is swallowed whole by the more likely negative results. One is that the existence of a hidden camera show that stages such charades creates inevitable cynicism and skepticism. Most witnesses to crimes and other shocking public conduct have enough mental and social hurdles to clear before they can reach the decision to take action without ABC News giving them another. The thought “I wonder if this is fake?” may be just enough to still someone’s ethics alarms and cause them to discount the duties of rescue and confrontation. Indeed, several of the scenarios stages for the show have been unconvincing. “What Would You Do?” also provides a convenient rationalization for those who are inclined to ignore fellow human beings in peril: “This must be set-up.”

In addition, “What Would You Do?” often carries a more sinister feature, courtesy of the biased journalists at ABC. Sometimes the simulated conduct appears to be designed to portray the worst of human values, with the clear implication that such conduct is common in America. And sometimes, like last week, this is driven by a political agenda. Continue reading