Notice Of Retraction: No, Nora O’Donnell Did NOT Use A Photo of A Trump Rally To Falsely Show Enthusiastic Hispanic Biden Supporters [UPDATED]

Item #2 in today’s warm-up was wrong, false, and based on bad information that was, I believe, deliberately posted by others on the web to deceive. As you can see by viewing the entire context of the report, O’Donnell and CBS did nothing unethical or misleading.  This screenshot

..shows a chyron that had been up  through several video clips, and at the second the screen above appeared, the voiceover referenced Trump’s Hispanic support.

There is no way anyone who had watched the segment could have concluded that the shot was intended to fool viewers into thinking those were Biden supporters.  The claims to the contrary were deliberate disinformation, and they hooked me, in part because of confirmation bias, as I believe the news media is capable of even the most dastardly lies in their campaign to mislead the public, and in part because I didn’t think anyone would claim something this easily checked  if it wasn’t true.

Well, @AZ GOP LD 25, a ” Trump Victory Field Organizer Realtor/Owner of Tracy DuCharme Group” did: she’s a liar. Then The Last Refuge, a right wing website did, and its false story was picked up by The Citizens Free Press, the news aggregator.

Then I spread the lie further.

Careless, and stupid. Continue reading

Ethics Warm-Up, 9/18/2020: Boy, It’s Hard To Write About Ethics When What You Really Want To Do Is Run Amuck With A Bloody Sword

I don’t even want to talk about the last two days, except to note that what has me proto-homicidal has nothing to do with anything we’ve been discussing on Ethics Alarms.

1. Now THIS is incompetent phishing: “Verizon” contacted me to say,

Dear User :Your incoming mails were placed on pending status due to the recent upgrade to our database, and also exceeded the storage limit of 1 GB, which is defined by the administrator, are running at 99.8 gigabyte. You can not send or receive new messages until you re-validate your mailbox.

  • I no longer have any relationship with Verizon.
  • Verizon no longer runs an email service. It sold its email users to AOL.
  • The letter is ungrammatical.
  • I received that email, along with about 50 others at the same time, telling me I was no longer getting email.
  • “Verizon’s” address was “bavaria2@centurylink.net”
  • The “letter” was signed “VeriZon.”

If you fall for something like that, you are a walking, talking mark, and incompetent at life.

2.  Why doesn’t the public trust the news media? It must be all those Trump “fake news” lies!  CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell used a photo from a “Latinos for Trump”  event in Phoenix to accompany a report on Joe Biden’s Latino event in Florida. The CBS’s chyron read, “Biden pitches crucial Latino voters during Florida campaign stop.”

Here was what viewers saw: Continue reading

“The Horror. The Horror.” How U.S. Journalism Descended To These Unethical Depths Is A Mystery, But It’s There.

I made the mistake of perusing collections of the mainstream media’s fueling of the George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck, and now I have to write about them. Actually, just quoting them is enough, because they speak for themselves.

1. Just to stoke the truly unhinged, CNN featured Lt. Gen. Russel Honore (Ret.), who apparently escaped from the cutting room floor of “Dr. Strangelove.” His enlightenment: President Trump might drop nuclear weapons on U.S. cities to stop the riots, saying, “Our troops need to stand steady. The Congress and the Senate need to understand, this man has control of over 3,000 nuclear weapons…”  The only responsible response to such a statement would be, “What? How did you get loose? You’re a lunatic! Get off the line!”

But this was CNN, and Anderson Cooper was in charge, so CNN just allowed this nonsense to be broadcast without objection or contradiction.

2. Guess what network featured this rant!

“I would like to tell people, man, if you gonna point a finger at the looters, the protesters, rioters, whatever you wanna call them, before you point finger at them, point every single other finger you got back at America. This is what happens when a country promises liberty and justice for all, but only gives you liberty and justice for white folks. This is what happens when one of the wealthiest countries in the world doesn’t understand the plight of the poor and the have-nots. You got 40 million people out of work, unemployment the highest it’s been since the depression era, people cooped up in the house the last few months waitin’ on stimulus checks. Yet during this whole process we continue to watch the rich get richer in this country.

“And not to mention, ain’t no good gonna come to America until they do right by black folks. Period. You can’t continue to brutalize and kill descendants of God’s children that built this country. Understand what that does to us? You know, mentally and emotionally? All this country needed was a reason. America has given black people 400-plus years of reasons to go crazy. I’m actually shocked that we didn’t snap a long time ago. 

“This country continues to deny us equality, justice and just plain decency. You know … what you have in this country right now is a perfect storm of people who are ready to burn this society of white supremacy to the ground and America earned every bit of this. …”

Give up? ESPN!

Radio host Lenard Larry McKelvey, aka “Charlamagne tha God,” of whom I was blissfully unaware until Joe Biden went on his program to announce that blacks could magically change their race by deciding not to vote for him,  was a featured guest on the “First Take,” program. That’s where ESPN stuffs its Leftists and race-baiters so they’ll do minimal damage during actual sports reporting. To be fair, there is no sports reporting, so I guess these Disney corporation outbursts of anti-white racism are, if not excusable, predictable.

3. CNN’s infantile Don Lemon continues to spew self-contradictory, hysterical gibberish, this time suggesting that by announcing that he will not tolerate rioters terrorizing our communities,  the President is declaring “war on America.”There’s really nothing further negative I can say about this epic blot on our culture, other than to  quote him: Continue reading

I Don’t Think The Mainstream Media Can Get Away With This: The Tara Reade Blackout

Today’s coverage of the sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden.

None of the major Sunday morning news talk shows mentioned Tara Reade’s increasingly credible allegations against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden today, April 26. CNN’s “State of the Union,” NBC’s “Meet the Press,” ABC’s “This Week,” CBS’s “Face the Nation” and, yes, even Fox’s “Fox News Sunday”—See? It’s trustworthy after all!— all gave their audiences the impression that Reade did not exist, or that her claim that Joe Biden—who has stated that all female accusers should be presumed credible and have their accusations taken seriously—harassed, assaulted her and, indeed, raped her while he was a U.S. Senator, wasn’t newsworthy. 

This, even though there were new developments regarding her more than month-old claim. A transcript obtained by The Intercept, as well as a video uncovered by the Media Research Center two days ago, showed that someone from Reade’s mother’s city called into CNN in 1993 and asked for advice about her daughter’s problems with a “prominent senator.” Even CNN ignored the story today.

How can anyone justify this, or explain it except as a flagrant, partisan, stunningly unethical effort by the networks to keep the public in the dark to serve a political agenda? Continue reading

It Isn’t Easy Being FDR, And Other Early Morning Musings…

FDR at State Capitol, Topeka KA 9.14.42. Source: FDRL

After the requisite grandstanding and obstruction that the Democratic Party’s hard left base demanded, a deal was finally struck for a Wuhan pandemic rescue bill. Some complexities in getting it done remain, but it looks like there will be vital government support for the most vulnerable in this bizarre disruption.

Observations:

  • Nobody is going to talk about it now, but this is why the irresponsible spending presided over by both parties throughout the past many administrations was spectacularly wrong. The nation will suffer for it too. The debt was already unsustainable; the reason political leadership has to address that problem when there isn’t a crisis is because it’s impossible to address it when there is one. The new “stimulus” bill now inflates that debt by 2 trillion dollars. It isn’t that the amount may not be worth it: sure it is, psychologically if for no other reason. The problem is that we can’t afford it. Nor will any party have the guts to raise taxes to pay for the bill any time soon.

Meanwhile, our roads, bridges, waterways, railroad tracks, sewer systems and water pipes need urgent repair and expansion that will also cost a couple of trillion dollars or so. Adding Medicare for All, college loan forgiveness and free tuition to that…well, it’s fiscal fantasy land, and wildly dishonest and irresponsible for any political leaders to imply it can be done without making a dire situation worse. Continue reading

Wasted Day Evening Ethics, 2/10/2020: As Your Host Tries To Salvage Some Productivity In A Messed Up Monday [CORRECTED]

I don’t want to talk about it.

1. Is it ethical to point out that the candidate my desperate progressive friends are trying to justify supporting in the arid Democratic field is really a jerk? Sure it is! In a deft call that I missed, Rolling Stone writer Tim Dickinson found yet another striking example of Pete Buttigieg’s hypocrisy. He writes,

For much of the presidential campaign, Pete Buttigieg has championed the importance of the popular vote. In a town hall nearly a year ago, Buttigieg proclaimed: “One thing I believe is that in an American presidential election, the person who gets the most votes ought to be the person who wins.”

Yet after the Iowa caucuses, where Bernie Sanders clearly got thousands  more votes, Buttigieg has been trumpeting victory — on the basis of a metric that can subvert the popular vote, the state delegate haul from Iowa’s equivalent of the electoral college.

To be plain, the actual tally in Iowa seems to matter less to the Buttigieg campaign than building a perception of victory. On the night of the caucuses, long before any of the official tally had been reported, Buttigieg dubiously declared he had won..the Iowa Democratic Party has now released 100 percent of the state results. The current tally shows Buttigieg trailing Sanders by 2,631 votes, yet leading by 2 “state delegate equivalents” — a margin of 0.1 percent on that metric. Yet the official tally includes many documented and uncorrected errors and what the state party deems “inconsistencies in data.” The Associated Press has refused to call the election, and Democratic party chair Tom Perez has demanded a “recanvass” or recount. Despite the tenuousness of these results, the Buttigieg website now proclaims: “It’s official: Pete won the Iowa Caucuses!”.

President Trump’s election, however, was illegitimate. Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Round-Up, 1/5/2020: “Day After Cosmic Justice Eliminates The Patriots From The NFL Play-Offs” Edition

Greetings!

Last night the New England Patriots and their habitually unethical coach and star quarterback were eliminated from the NFL play-offs in the first round by the Tennessee Titans. Good. I say this despite being from Boston, where my Dad and I once routed for the AFL Pats of Gino Capelletti, Babe Parilli, Nick Buoniconti and Jim Nance. The modern day Patriots made me embarrassed to be a New Englander, even before I realized what a sociopathic organization the NFL was.

1. Noted with amusement: A while back there was a kerfuffle over some conservative publication using a photo of Rep Elijah Cummings (D-Md) when the story was about Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga), or vice-versa. This was, of course, attributed to racism of the “all those people look the same” variety.

I pointed out that while it was of course the kind of mistake that a publication shouldn’t make, the two House members were about eh same age, both heavy-set, both African-Americans, and both hyper-partisan Democrat race-baiters whose careers rested on civil rights protest creds many decades old. Thus it was satisfying to see that “CBS Evening News” accidentally used a picture of the now deceased  Rep. Elijah Cummings while reporting on Lewis’ recent cancer diagnosis.

2. Signature significance. If you want definitive proof that an elected official or a pundit is untrustworthy pond scum, mark those who claim that President Trump  ordered the hit against Iranian terror master Qasem Soleimani in order to distract from Trump’s impeachment trial. The latest self-identified hack: Elizabeth Warren, who today said on CNN’s “State of the Union,”

“Next week, the President of the United States could be facing an impeachment trial in the Senate. We know he’s deeply upset about that, and I think people are reasonably asking why this moment…Why does he pick now to pick this highly inflammatory and highly dangerous action that moves us closer to war? I think people are reasonably asking about the timing, and why it is that the administration seems to have all kinds of different answers.”

This “Wag the Dog” theory made some sense when it was first applied to Bill Clinton, who launched a failed strike against Osama bin Laden in the middle of his impeachment drama, since Clinton was guilty and knew it. Trump’s impeachment has raised his poll numbers and further exposed Democrats as abusing the impeachment process: there is no reason for him to try to distract from it.

Warren’s question about timing is also absurd. Why now? Gee, do you think it might be that the murderer of many Americans who had just engineered an attack on our embassy and who was planning more deadly attacks happened to be in Iraq, where the U.S. has an approved military presence, and was virtually asking to be brought down?

Warren’s poll numbers and fundraising are sinking fast (Good!), so her demagoguery is shifting into high gear. Once again, her likely fate proves Lincoln right: you can’t fool all of the people all of the time. Or enough of them. Continue reading

Thank God It’s The Friday Ethics Warm-Up, 8/23/ 2019

(Dreary, gloomy day outside; working on having a brilliant day inside.)

1. Feeling guilty about the Red Sox. I haven’t watched or listened to a game in over two weeks. The reason is that it’s just not fun, it’s too stressful, and I am already stressed to the max with non-baseball matters. I’m fairly sure this is the longest voluntary sabbatical I have ever taken from my team, and it is my team, throughout 80% of my life, a constant presence, inspiration and source of enlightenment. I have never relied on the team winning to justify my interest and loyalty. I just love the game, the suspense, the players and the endless supply of unpredictable stories and surprises.

BUT…this season has been uniquely frustrating. The Red Sox won 108 games last season on the way to the World Championship, and it was, especially by historical Red Sox standards, an insanely enjoyable ride. Virtually everything went perfectly, over the season, in the play-offs, in individual games.Whatever was needed to win, somebody always came through: it was like a movie. Baseball isn’t usually like that (well, except for the Yankees for about 50 years). I even said at the time, as my wife reminds me, “The Sox are going to pay big time for this one.”

Boston was confident coming into 2019 with virtually the exact same sqaud that had been unbeatable in 2018. Regression to the mean, however, is a force of nature, and especially with this team, for some reason. Since 1918, every single time the Sox have won the American League pennant, the next season was a bust, and often a horrible bust. Devastating injuries, unexpected bad years, clubhouse dissension, astoundingly bad luck: I’ve seen it all, and before, I’ve endured it all as a fair price to pay for the joys of the past and to come. This season, for some reason, I can’t take it, and I feel like an ungrateful wretch.

2. Got it: slavery is the cause of everything bad in the United States, and all whites want black people to get sick and die. Does anyone who can think clearly think this latest bit of dishonest guilt-tripping propaganda is going to help Democrats prevail, rather than  just harden racial and partisan divisions? Continue reading

Early Memorial Day Weekend Ethics Warm-Up, 5/24/19: Movies And Women, Real And Imagined

Good Morning!

My father loved Sousa marches. So do I. Sousa was a genius in a very narrow range, but a genius he was. The Liberty Bell was one of my dad’s favorites. Here is a great website to familiarize yourself with the great march-master’s creations; it has instant links to each march.

1. Since it has done such a superb job ensuring world peace, the U.N. moves on to the important stuff… Unesco has issued a report claiming that having female voices in machines like GPS’s, smartphones and personal assistant devices reinforces gender stereotypes and enables the oppression of women. From the Times:

“Obedient and obliging machines that pretend to be women are entering our homes, cars and offices,” Saniye Gulser Corat, Unesco’s director for gender equality, said in a statement. “The world needs to pay much closer attention to how, when and whether A.I. technologies are gendered and, crucially, who is gendering them.”One particularly worrying reflection of this is the “deflecting, lackluster or apologetic responses” that these assistants give to insults. The report borrows its title — “I’d Blush if I Could” — from a standard response from Siri, the Apple voice assistant, when a user hurled a gendered expletive at it. When a user tells Alexa, “You’re hot,” her typical response has been a cheery, “That’s nice of you to say!” Siri’s response was recently altered to a more flattened “I don’t know how to respond to that,” but the report suggests that the technology remains gender biased, arguing that the problem starts with engineering teams that are staffed overwhelmingly by men. “Siri’s ‘female’ obsequiousness — and the servility expressed by so many other digital assistants projected as young women — provides a powerful illustration of gender biases coded into technology products,” the report found.

Gee, that’s funny: I thought the reason a woman’s dulcet tones were used in such devices is because they were easier on the ear than, say, HAL. Nor would it occur to me that a woman was being subservient or submissive when the female voice was coming from a lump of metal and plastic on a table.

FACT: Yes, a consumer should have the option of having a device speak in a male or female voice.

FACT: If the owner of such a device wants to insult it, make sexual comments to it, or crush it with a hammer, that’s none of the U.N.’s business.

FACT:  Programming AI to be adversarial to its owner, whatever voice the device is using, is unethical, and, obviously, bad business.

Unesco’s report is the epitome of manufactured offense. Continue reading

A Note On The Mainstream Media Practice Of Making Facts Vanish By Pretending That They Never Existed…[CORRECTED}

On CBS This Morning, yesterday, the hosts interviewed comic Sandra Bee, host of the almost entirely Trump-bashing cable show, “Full Frontal.”  Oprah sock-puppet  Gayle King asked  Bee about the upcoming White House Correspondent’s Dinner, this year to be hosted by a non-comedian, with the plaintive query, “Don’t we need fun, too, Samantha? The country is so divided and so nasty and so mean…So, how do you navigate those waters? How do you know how far you can go to the line without crossing it?”

What a fascinating question to ask a comedian who called Ivanka Trump a feckless cunt on the air! Not only that, but Bee never apologized to the First Daughter for doing so; she just issued a stunning non-apology apology that I wrote about here. Bee has also called  Fox News viewers  Nazis and racists, and derided  Kirstjen Nielsen, ex-Department of Homeland Security Secretary, a “lying ghoul.”  She doesn’t navigate these waters, Gayle, you unforgivable, pandering hack. She has, in fact, explicitly stated that she has no interest in civility, in the course of not apologizing to Ivanka for calling her a cunt in public: Continue reading