Tag Archives: Buzzfeed

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 2/7/19: Kneeling Cub Scouts! Face-licking Politicians! Everything Is Spinning Out Of Control!

Good morning from Austin!

I really woke up in the Austin Marriott feeling pretty well for the first time in over a month. The bad news is that I might just have to stay here forever…

1. Tales of the double standard. The news media almost universally thinks that Nancy Pelosi’s sarcastic applause routine at the State of the Union this week was hilarious. Let’s keep this in mind the next time these people bemoan the deterioration of civic discourse and the toxic partisanship in Washington. It’s such a cliché by now that it is useless to repeat it, but I’ll say it anyway: imagine what the media reaction would have been if John Boehner or Paul Ryan had treated Barack Obama that disrespectfully during one of his speeches. They would have been up in arms in protest, and they would have been right. Or, if you like, imagine the fury from the news media if President Trump had responded in kind to Pelosi’s affront, and raised his middle finger right in her face.

At this point, he might as well.

2. Air Travel Ethics. I usually make sure that I have an aisle seat, but this time I was stuck at a window. When the plane reached the gate, the gentleman on the aside in my row just sat there, refusing to get up and allow me and the woman in the center to begin gathering our belongings from the upper bins. The woman in the center seat did everything short of saying, “Hey, ass, get up and let us out,” but he just sat there, chatting with his friend across the aisle.  In actual time, this probably delayed my exit from the plane a minute or two, but the feeling of being trapped is not pleasant. I’ve been on hundreds of flights, and this is the first time anyone deliberately blocked me in.

3. Northam-Fairfax-Herring fiasco updates!

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Character, Childhood and children, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics

Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 1/19/19: It’s Fake News Day!

Welcome to the Ethics Alarms Dead Zone!

Increasingly, almost nobody comes here on Saturdays. For me, Saturday is when I have time to catch up on ethics issues, and that’s fun for me. Everybody else doesn’t find ethics fun? How strange…

1. Another day, another fake news story designed to thrill and energize the “resistance.” BuzzFeed published a “bombshell” about Michael Cohen, that impeccably reliable witness, telling investigators that President Trump instructed him to lie to Congress about his pre-election hotel plans—odd that, since there is nothing illegal about planning to build a hotel in Moscow. Without checking sources, without considering the media source’s record of those of the reporters (one of whom has a well-documented pattern of making stuff up), the mainstream media was off to the impeachment races, with CNN and MSNBC in particular talking about almost nothing else all day.  Then, as the day edged into evening, the Mueller investigation dropped its own bombshell, taking the remarkable step of declaring the BuzzFeed story a lot of hooey.  Some pundits on the Right who trust today’s incompetent news media as much as I do even suggested that BuzzFeed knew its claim was false all along, but were confident that nobody could prove it except the Mueller investigation itself, and of course it would never speak up. The same logic was behind Clifford Irving’s Howard Hughes autobiography hoax (Irving assumed that the reclusive Hughes would never come forward to expose him—but he did.)

The Daily Caller quickly compiled a list of eleven previous botched news reports related to the “collusion” narrative, and it was not all of them by any means. I haven’t checked, but I am quite sure that there were not this many mainstream media headline-generating news stories that proved to be false in the past ten Presidencies combined. What will it take for the industry to declare its performance a crisis? What will it take for even the “resistance” to conclude that their pals the journalists are hacks? Blogger Ann Althouse is so disgusted that she has taken to drawing rat cartoons and diagramming the sentences in anti-Trump screeds. “How embarrassing for the Trump haters,” she writes. “I didn’t even write about the BuzzFeed story myself. I’m so jaded about the latest impeachment bait.”

Why isn’t everybody? It isn’t just bias that makes you stupid. Hate makes you stupid too. Worse than that, it makes you LOOK stupid.

Entertaining accounts of the BuzzFeed fiasco are here and here. Continue reading

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From The Ethics Alarms “Ethics Mysteries” Files: Explain To Me Again Why Public Employees Like Police Have A Right For The Public Not To Know They Should Have Been Fired…

Only three states—New York, Delaware and California–have laws specifically shielding police misconduct records from the public. How can this possibly be justified?

From BuzzFeed, which was working from leaked documents:

…from 2011 to 2015 at least 319 New York Police Department employees who committed offenses serious enough to merit firing were allowed to keep their jobs. Many of the officers lied, cheated, stole, or assaulted New York City residents. At least fifty employees lied on official reports, under oath, or during an internal affairs investigation. Thirty-eight were found guilty by a police tribunal of excessive force, getting into a fight, or firing their gun unnecessarily. Fifty-seven were guilty of driving under the influence. Seventy-one were guilty of ticket-fixing. One officer, Jarrett Dill, threatened to kill someone. Another, Roberson Tunis, sexually harassed and inappropriately touched a fellow officer…At least two dozen of these employees worked in schools. Andrew Bailey was found guilty of touching a female student on the thigh and kissing her on the cheek while she was sitting in his car. In a school parking lot, while he was supposed to be on duty, Lester Robinson kissed a woman, removed his shirt, and began to remove his pants. And Juan Garcia, while off duty, illegally sold prescription medication to an undercover officer.

In every instance, the police commissioner, who has final authority in disciplinary decisions, assigned these officers to “dismissal probation,” a penalty with few practical consequences. The officer continues to do their job at their usual salary. They may get less overtime and won’t be promoted during that period, which usually lasts a year. When the year is over, so is the probation.

Wait—that’s not how they show it on “Blue Bloods!” More… Continue reading

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/29/2017: Daring The Alt-Right

GOOD Morning, Everyone!

1 Ethics Alarms Holiday Challenge! report: You did not disappoint  me. I have not read all the comments in detail yet, but the various evisceration of NBC’s jaw-droppingly stupid call for an end to freedom of speech produced at least five strong Comment of the Day candidates. I won’t re-post all of them, because Noah’s inept screed doesn’t warrant that much space, frankly. Good job!

On a related administrative note, I’m really going to try to get all the Ethics Alarms Best and Worst completed this year (having fallen short the last two), and would appreciate nominations in all categories. (Some examples are here and here, but don’t feel constrained. New categories are welcome.)

Use this post, please, or e-mail me at jamproethics@verizon.net.

2. Doesn’t help…President Trump couldn’t resist tweeting this:

‘In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record,’ he tweeted from Mar-a-Lago Thursday night, where it is currently a balmy 78 degrees Fahrenheit Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up!’ 

Ugh.

  • These are the tweets that try men’s souls. It’s just never a good thing for the leader of the country to broadcast his ignorance and deficits of critical thought.
  • It would be a bit less annoying—but still unpresidential and self-destructive,  if the President were satirizing the climate change chorus, which despite the fact that the science they claim to revere so much says its nonsense to do so, still cite individual weather events as “proof” of global warming, most recently the 2017 hurricane season. Or if he were trolling his foes, which he is often masterful at doing, trying to lure them into hypocrisy. Predictably, journalists took the bait anyway, with many suddenly becoming sticklers for the key distinction between  climate change, and weather after years and years of intentionally blurring in in their interviews and reporting. Sadly, there is no reason to believe the President was doing anything but trumpeting his own scientific illiteracy.
  • I wonder what the President’s approval ratings would be if he had never sent a tweet after taking the oath of office?

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This Is The Heartbreak Of Anti-Trump Brain Loss…

We already beheld the sad spectacle of one of the nation’s most distinguished and respected legal minds beginning to crumble under the dual attacks of anti-Trump hysteria from his peer group, and the inexplicable power of social media to make wise men and women behave like idiots..here (my linking function isn’t working this morning: http://lawnewz.com/high-profile/in-dumbest-move-famous-law-prof-broke-ethics-rules-in-apparent-shot-at-trump/), when famed Harvard Law scholarLawrence Tribe breached a basic and legal ethics principle by issuing a tweet implying that Donald Trump had once asked him about a legal matter, and wouldn’t you all love to know what it was?  When I mention this to lawyers in my legal ethics seminars, they literally laugh and roll their eyes. They know lawyers can’t do this: why didn’t the famous Constitutional Law prof from Harvard Law School have his well-oiled  ethics alarms go off? It was because, I explain, Twitter often turns lawyers and other professionals into fools, and what brains social media hasn’t chewed up can be swallowed by anti-Trump madness.

That was before the election, and poor Tribe’s deterioration has  continued. Three days after the President was sworn in, Tribe joined a group of deranged lawyers and the early stirrings of the “resistance” to sue Trump for violating the obscure Emoluments Clause, which, sane and objective authorities agree, was not intended to apply to a President who has his name on hotels, making the claim that this unprecedented situation constitutes a government official receiving prohibited payments from foreign governments. The theory is not just a stretch, but an embarrassingly  partisan one that a respected Constitutional law scholar should have been mocking, not joining.

Now Tribe has really gone around the bend, and may soon be seen wandering aimlessly through Harvard Square, wearing a Red Sox cap, muttering to himself and carrying a crudely lettered sign. Continue reading

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Jesse Waters Reminds Us That The Misogynist Culture At Fox News Is A Lot Deeper Than Just Roger Ailes And Bill O’Reilly [UPDATED]

On the Fox News show “The Five,” in the course of a discussion of Ivanka Trump’s appearance at a conference in Berlin where  she was jeered  for defending her father’s record of supporting women, Fox News commentator Jesse Watters made the following comment in reference to the photo above:

I really liked the way she was speaking into that microphone.

Nice.

The degree to which Fox News is definitively exposed as a sexist, oppressive environment catering to over-aged sniggering frat boys where professional women both betray their gender and their self-respect by accepting paychecks to be abused, ogled and hit upon is inversely proportional to the time it takes for the network to fire this toxic asshole.

He made a fellatio reference regarding the President’s daughter, on the air, smiling broadly.  [Absurdly, news organizations are writing that “some commenters” are “interpreting Watters’ comment as a sexual innuendo.” Right: the commentators with eyes, ears, brains and integrity who aren’t paid by Fox News.] Then, after the predictable negative response (although Fox hosts apparently assume that all of their viewers are both mentally challenged and have been frozen in glaciers since 1956). Watters lied brazenly, telling BuzzFeed: “During the break we were commenting on Ivanka’s voice and how it was low and steady and resonates like a smooth jazz radio DJ. This was in no way a joke about anything else.”

Sure, Jesse. So now we know you think we’re all stupid, and you’re a disgrace to your profession. Continue reading

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“The Good Immigrant” III, or Fake News? The Incredible Sobbing 13-Year Old

A 13-Year-Old Girl Sobbed While Recording Her Immigrant Father Get Arrested By ICE Agent  is the headline at Buzzfeed. Wait, teenage girls weeping is news now? Was she the only teen sobbing this week? How is this news, by any standard?

Of course, it’s headline worthy if the objective is to provoke an emotional reaction rather than to inform the public objectively. In fact, nothing about the story is newsworthy, except as pr0-illegal immigration, anti-law enforcement, anti-President Trump propaganda and hate-mongering. Illegal immigrant and scofflaw Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez had dropped his daughter off at a Los Angeles school, and six blocks from the school his car was surrounded by immigration enforcement agents who took him into custody, just as law enforcement takes law-breakers into custody every hour of every day of the week.  Gonzalez had a 2014 deportation order against him issued by an immigration judge, and violated it every day he spent in the U.S., masquerading as a law-abiding citizen, since then.  He also had a 2009 DUI conviction. This wasn’t even a close call.

I’m pretty sure the children of gang members, drug dealers, muggers and serial killers also sob when daddy is taken away, and while I feel sorry for the children,  it doesn’t make me want to let their fathers go free, it doesn’t mean we should change the laws, and it isn’t news. 

ICE said Avelica-Gonzalez is scheduled to be deported to Mexico, where he was supposed to have returned three years ago. This isn’t cruel, this isn’t unfair, this shouldn’t be a surprise.

Brenda Avelica, a different daughter from the one heard sobbing on the viral video of her father’s arrest—YES! It really happened! The girl SOBBED! Film at 11!— said that her father has been in the US for 20 years and has four children, two of them adults.

So?

“It’s really hard what we’re going through,” Avelica told reporters. “I never thought we’d actually go through something like this. It’s terrible to feel and see your family being broken apart.”

Let me fix that for her. It’s terrible to finally have the law catch up to you when you are guilty as hell. The James brothers said that, I think. Maybe it was Bonny and Clyde. Or Bernie Maddoff. ICE agents are not the bad guys here. The elected officials, activists, and journalists who want us to think that, however, are. Very bad. Continue reading

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