One More Time: It Is Unethical For The News Media To Present Idiots As Commentators

In the case at hand, the appellation “idiot” is neither unfair nor ad hominem. For some mysterious reason, CBS News anchor Lana Zak decided to feature former U.S. professional soccer player Lori Lindsey as an authority on the issues involved in transgender participation in female sports. Lindsey rapidly demonstrated that she lacked the knowledge, analytical skills and rhetorical ability for the role, as she defaulted to woke buzz-words that had nothing to do with the topic. Asked about various bills being considered around the country that would ban transitioning biological males from competing against girls and women, Lindsay babbled,

“These bills do uphold white supremacy under the guise of protecting women’s sport when we actually know that women’s sport, protection of it, would be to have more funding and to have more women in leadership positions and equal pay. But the reality, though, is that these youth just want to participate with their friends and play sports like everyone else.”

What? How is “white supremacy” involved in trying to keep trans competitors out of women’s sports?

Not able to resist endorsing this gibberish, Zak asked, “I want to circle back to something you said earlier about these bills are trying to perpetuate supremacy. I imagine that there are parents at home who have genetically, or who have daughters who were assigned a female gender at birth, and that are concerned that their child is not going to get a fair shake in competing against other people, against a trans girl and they’re not thinking this is a supremacists position. How do you appeal to that parent that feels it is just about the sports to see that there’s actually a greater debate that is a proxy for?”

Feel that pressure building in your skull yet? The reason such parents don’t feel that it is a “supremacists position” is that the issue has nothing to do with race, other than the fact that race is the default argument for every progressive position when it runs out of legitimate arguments.

Answering like the 10-year-old she reasons like, Lindsay’s reply was this:

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“Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias”: Roll Over, Ed Murrow!

CBS News, once symbolized by iconic journalists like Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite and Fred Friendly, is now more appropriately defined by disgraced partisan hack Dan Rather. The past week has demonstrated how far the ethics rot has progressed, or, perhaps, how illusory CBS’s reputation for integrity really was.

In truth, CBS has had a bad month, marked by the Sharon Osbourne debacle on “The Talk.” In that mess, the network allowed the reality show figure turned pundit to be tarred as a racist for not agreeing that Piers Morgan was one when he dared to doubt the sincerity of Princess Meghan, a pretty obvious self-promoting celebrity sociopath. But she’s “of color,” so criticizing her is per se racism according to Woke Law.

Ethics Alarms also flagged the current level of CBS’s trustworthiness in news reporting yesterday, noting,

“…CBS News recently ran a report titled “Asian Americans Battling Bias: Continuing Crisis” in which it stated,  “Nearly 4000 crimes against Asian-Americans have been reported since the start of the pandemic, an increase of about 150 percent in major U.S. cities.” Then it showed  videos of former President Trump calling coronavirus the “Kung Flu.”….In order to inflate the numbers, ratchet up hysteria and attack Trump, [CBS] used numbers from Stop AAPI Hate, led by Arizona State University Professor Aggie Yellow Horse and San Francisco State University Professor Russell Jeung, an “incident” tracker launched in March 2020….The “tracker” counted anonymously reported  incidents, which of course could not be checked or verified. The latest report showed nearly 4,000 of them, most consisting of “verbal harassment” and “shunning.” Those are not “hate crimes.”

But CBS was just getting started. On last night’s “60 Minutes” deceptively edited an exchange that reporter Sharyn Alfonsi had with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis (R) two weeks ago about how Florida was handling its vaccination program. Here is how the exchange was presented:

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Don’t Be Lulled Into Apathy Because It Involves A Silly Daytime Talk Show Watched By Idiots And A Reality Star Of Negligible Importance: CBS Pulled A TV Show Because Someone Dared To Criticize A Black Woman. It’s Time To Draw A Line In The Sand…

Osbourn

This makes two frightening ethics stories involving the media in a row, the worst back-to-back Ethics Alarms concerns that I’ve seen in ten years here. The seriousness of the previous story is easy to grasp: multiple news organizations deliberately misled the public to suggest misconduct by President Trump that never happened, and “coincidentally” they did so with perfect timing to affect the crucial special Senate elections in Georgia. This second horror is trickier, because it involves what to normal people is trivia layered on trivia. However, it may be the more terrible of the two.

Try to follow this without getting disgusted and turning on “Three’s Company” re-runs, or you can jump to the bottom of this nauseating account for the reason why the episode is important despite all evidence to the contrary…

1. It began with the Oprah interview of the narcissistic and manipulative Duchess of Sussex and her dominated husband last week, during which Meghan absurdly played poor little rich girl and poor princess while accusing conveniently un-named members of the Royal family of being racists. Even the fact that the couple sold the interview to O didn’t dissuade the celebrity-addled Princess Di cult from swallowing every whooper served up by the former actress like it was a culinary masterpiece. Tellingly, the interview went over like a lead balloon, as my father used to say, in Great Britain, where Meghan Markle and Harry are even less popular members of the royal family than Jeffrey Epstein pal Prince Andrew.

2. Then, on a British morning talk show the next day, celebrity muckraker Piers Morgan announced that he didn’t believe the couple’s tale of abuse, and thought it was outrageous for two entitled (literally) individuals of unearned wealth and power to present themselves as victims, and particularly offensive for Markle to be posing as a victim of “systemic racism.” For this he was accused of being biased—he’s white after all—and Morgan, who bottom-feeder though he is does not grovel or back down, quit his co-host job on the spot, walking off the set.

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“Nipplegate” Revisited

nipplegate

Today is the anniversary of Nipplegate, which, you probably recall, is when Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake executed their juvenile plot to get cheap publicity by flashing her breast during the 2004 Super Bowl XXXVIII half-time show (back when I watched the Super Bowl in my ignorance of just how vile the NFL was) and began lying about it. By the time the dust cleared, the Federal Communications Commission had received 540,000 complaints about the incident. Viacom, CBS’ parent company, received the maximum fine the FCC could issue for such offenses, and paid $3.5 million to settle indecency complaints about the broadcast.

Ethics Alarms has featured two reflections on that incident. One was a rebuttal, an easy one, of pop culture pundit Emmanuel Hapsis’s ridiculous analysis, declaring the episode as exemplifying America’s “patriarchy,” “racism” and “sexism.” I wrote then, tongue piercing my cheek, that “obviously no white singers flashing ten-year-olds in TV land would be criticized, and no male singer who decided to let Mr. Wiggly make a guest appearance would be similarly pilloried.” I received a wave of really nasty comments on that one, highlighted by someone named Troy whom I honored, sort of, with a Comment of the Day in 2018. I’ll revisit it with pleasure now, since it’s short, funny and stupid. He wrote,

Madonna’s white ass has been showing her boobs, coochie and anything else that is of a sexual nature all through the late 80’s up until today…and though she got criticized for her antics, even pissing off the Catholic Church with her attention seeking ways, as soon as a black woman gets’ exposed by a this privileged white boy, then the whole white world screams OMG, OMG, hang her, nail her to the cross…blame her, blame her…this whole fiasco is reminiscent of how whites back in slavery times would lynch blacks for solely being black and then again in modern times how white people can cuss a police officer out, spit in their face, fight them and get taken to prison to cool off with only a slap on the wrist…but a black person get’s pulled over and by a white officer for having expired license plates or a busted tail light and they never make it to jail, they are taken straight to the morgue, because like what White Boy Privileged Justin did to Janet, it becomes a black issue and she was the only one who got blamed, black balled and even her apology was not enough for the privileged whites, she had to PAY and pay dearly. So for all those white privileged reading this article, and saying she does not deserve an apology, I GET IT, you all want her HANGED…It’s what you all believe to be punishment to the full extent for this black woman, who has NEVER, EVER been in any trouble, caused any drama and had been low-key, and private all of her life until that one millisecond to be torn to shreds by the white privileged…well for those of us who are WOKE, we see What Madonna has made a career of doing, Janet should get the death penalty. So white privileged of you all.

“Madonna’s white ass has been showing her boobs” might be my favorite phrase to appear on this site in ten years.

It’s also disturbing to realize that Troy could probably be elected to Congress today with that level of analysis. But I digress.

The unexpected reappearance of The Ethics Scoreboard online now gives me the opportunity to re-post the commentary there about “Nipplegate” written shortly after it all occurred. So, in commemoration of that ethics train wreck, and also because I wouldn’t change anything I wrote then, here is an encore, slightly edited, of “The Breast,” from February 11, 2004.

***

The Breast

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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