Saturday Ethics Nightcap,12/12/2020: Bad Journalism, Bad Governors, Bad Santas

nightcap

That’s just ginger ale, in case you’re wondering…

1. “Nah, there’s no outrageous, flagrant, shameless mainstream media bias!” April Ryan, arguably the worst, most unethical, most biased and most unprofessional of CNN’s reporters (but it’s such a lively competition), attacked the confidential sources responsible for leaking a recording of Joe Biden making weaselly comments about his stance toward the “defund the police” movement. Ryan demanded to know who was responsible for allowing the embarrassing comments to be made public, because, as we all should know by now, the job of the media isn’t to report the facts, but to empower and protect Democrats. (She didn’t come out and say the last part, but after her performance over the last four years, she doesn’t have to.) Jonathan Turley appropriately nailed this one:

The fact is that Ryan was just stating what has become the approach of many in the media. As we recently discussed, we are moving dangerously close to a de facto state media with the cooperation of Big Tech companies.  Ryan believes that it is outrageous to rely on unapproved material if it is critical of Joe Biden (despite her use of such material for the last four years against Trump)…CNN has not expressed any disagreement with Ryan’s view of the new journalism.

2. Santa Claus Ethics: If you can’t do any better than these Santas, you shouldn’t even try. But they do provide one reason to be grateful for social distancing. I think my favorite is this one…

Continue reading

“What Is It With Democrat Leaders And COVID-19 Hypocrisy?” They’re Assholes, Obviously; What’s So Puzzling?

Keillor

CNN anchor Brianna Keilar gave her audience a segment yesterday, in which she unequivocally called out Democratic mayors , governors and other officials by name and party for their stunning pattern of hypocrisy regarding Wuhan virus restrictions that somehow never seemed to apply to them.

“A number of Democratic leaders, apologizing or reversing course, after multiple occurrences of “do as I say, not as I do, she began. “They have been caught, not following their own coronavirus guidelines.”

Keillar then documented with video and narration the arrogant conduct and subsequent apologies of some (but not all) of the leaders she referred to: San Francisco, Mayor London Breed, California Governor Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, San Jose, California, Mayor Sam Liccardo, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock . She omitted, presumably for time considerations, D.C. Mayor Bowser, Chicago Mayor Lightfoot, New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio, Austin Mayor Steve Austin, Speaker of the House Nancy Peloisi, and others. There was another one caught today, as Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards confirmed the authenticity of a photograph taken of him socializing maskless and in close contact with others at the Baton Rouge Country Club in mid-November just before enacting stricter pandemic lockdowns for the state.

Keillar continued stating the obvious:

Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/1/2020: Satchel Paige Edition

Satchel

Why Satchel Paige? The legendary Negro Leagues pitcher and member of baseball’s Hall of Fame once said, “How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you was?” Satchel wasn’t fooling: having played most of his career when blacks were blocked from the Major Leagues, Paige was still good enough at 42 to join the 1948 Cleveland Indians as a relief pitcher, and was effective enough to be contender for Rookie of the Year. Then he became the oldest pitcher to start a Major League game, shutting out the Boston Red Sox for three innings at the age of 59.

In my case, the answer to Paige’s question would be about 18, or perhaps 10. Surely not the age my arithmetic tells me, which is depressing and a little frightening. Every December first since 2009 has been a day with bad connotations: I found my father dead in his favorite chair that year, when I checked to see if he was going to have dinner with me as we had planned. This year there are two. Well, Dad soldiered on to have 19 more productive and mostly happy years after he reached my age, and he was being treated for cancer by than, and I’m not. There aren’t many ways I can top my father, but at least that’s gives me something to shoot for.

1. Wow. You don’t get to see such naked bias and hate just put out there in the media like this very often…Just think: a Washington Post editor okayed this article attacking the White House Christmas decorations and using them to excoriate Melania Trump for existing. How petty and ugly can a writer be and still get published? I guess it depends on whether or not your target is the Trumps.

The “money quote”: “[T]he defenders of Melania have always insisted on comparing her to her predecessor, Michelle Obama, and it became hard to believe that “elegant” was a code word for anything other than “White.” Melania is “elegant” because she represented a very specific kind of White femininity: silent, lovely, delicately fingering the ornaments that her staff had assembled.” The author is Monica Hesse, the Post’s gender writer. She is a biased, vicious, jerk. It is so obvious that Melania Trump could design Michelle Obama’s White House decorations and Michelle could secretly design the Trumps’, and Hesse would pronounce what she thought was Michelle’s inclusive and brilliant, and would condemn what she thought Melania created.

You know, pretty much the way her paper covered the Obama and Trump administrations.

Continue reading

Wednesday Ethics Windstorm,11/11/20: Liars, Knaves, Fools And Birds

Great Tit

1. Incompetent headline dept. Someone at a newspaper has to be alert enough to catch a risible headline like this:

Great tits

A Great Tit is the pretty bird above.

2. Who believes that MSNBC didn’t know this? (I don’t.) MSNBC was shocked—shocked!—to discover that the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Jom Meacham, who had been a regular on MSNBC’s 24-7 anti-Trump barrage, never told them that he was working for the Joe Biden team. on speeches, including his victory address. Meacham appeared on MSNBC following the speech to comment on the speech he had written but didn’t disclose to viewers that the speech he loved cane from his own laptop as he said,  “Tonight marks — the entire election results mark — a renewal of an American conversation where we’re struggling imperfectly to realize the full implications of the Jeffersonian promise of equality,” said Meacham. “It’s taken us too long, our work has been bloody and tragic and painful and difficult and, Lord knows, it is unfinished, but at our best we try.”

MSNBC announced that due to this “discovery. Meacham would no longer be a paid contributor, but he would be welcome to appear on future panels, thus showing the high regard for integrity for which the network is famous. If Meacham lied to MSNBC and its viewers while withholding a crucial conflict of interest, why would he be allowed back on the air in any capacity? Why would anyone trust him?

I believe that MSNBC knew that Meacham was working for Democrats while he was bashing Trump. And this is yet another example of how unprofessional the profession of historian has become.

Continue reading

High Noon Ethics Shoot-Out, 10/21/2020: Religious Bigotry Vs Anti-Gay Bigotry! “Whitewashing” Vs Anti-Semitism! Google Vs Trust!

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….

Continue reading

Monday Ethics Lockdown, 9/28/2020: Wait, CNN Reporters Are Challenging Democrats Now?

I locked it down so securely that it took until Tuesday to open it…

1. Does the Democratic Party’s 2020 ticket constitute the most irresponsible nominations for President and Vice-President in U.S. history? I think a strong case can be made that it is. The patriotic duty of a political party is to give the American people the best possible choices of competent and trustworthy leaders to cast their votes for. In 2020, the nominee for President is mentally declining into incompetence, and the nominee for Vice-President appears to have no genuine objectives other than her own voracious ambition, and will say anything to achieve that. Recent evidence:

  • It was missed at the time, and the 77-year-old Biden had more marbles left then, but during a town hall event last October before the South Carolina Democratic primary, video shows Biden claiming, “I got started out of a HBCU, Delaware State,” he told pupils at Wilson High School in Florence, founded in 1866 by the Freedmen’s Bureau for black children seeking an education. Delaware State is a traditional black college. Yesterday, Delaware State University confirmed  that Joe Biden was never a student there.

Did Joe really misremember where he went to college? Does he think he’s black? Was he lying? Who knows?

  • Kamala Harris appeared at the virtual NAACP convention last week, and, CNN commentator Angela Rye asked Harris who was the best rapper alive. “Tupac!” she answered.

Tupac Shakur has been dead since 1996. Harris, as is her habit, tried to giggle the gaffe away, and then was given another chance. “There’s so many, you know?” she huminahumina-ed. “There’s some I would not mention right now because they should stay in their lane.”

Sure. You know, I have never listened to a rap station or to a single rap song all the way through,  and I can name at least six. Heck, just add almost any adjective to “Ice” and you’ll probably name one by accident. And I’m not even sort-of black.

It’s not that Harris is faking it all the time, it’s that she’s not smart enough to do a convincing job faking it.

2. Wait, another CNN reporter refuses to let a Democrat get away with spouting nonsense? Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Unethical Quote Of The Month: CNN’s Don Lemon”

I have so many Comment of the Day-worthy posts to choose from right now that  I could throw darts at the comments list to pick one and hardly go wrong. (Of course, that would be bad for my computer screen).  I decided that I wanted to see if I could get some perspective from Louisville, Ky., where my father grew up, while the Breonna Taylor Freakout is in full, embarrassing bloom. Luckily, I knew I had Glenn Logan as a resource.

The post Glenn was commenting on wasn’t even about the Breonna Taylor grand jury decision, but rather Don Lemon’s evident ignorance about how the government works. Ignorance, however, is the common theme. The George Floyd Freakout was and is a fraud, because the protests were about racism when the episode didn’t involve racism, and about “routine” police brutality when the brutality was sui generis rather than routine and, we now know, was probably not even the cause of Mr. Floyd’s (Or Saint Floyd’s, as BLM would have it) death. By the time Floyd died, Taylor’s unfortunate death was already part of the protesters’ mantra, just as other factually irrelevant episodes have been for years, like the demise of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin.

There’s a reason Black Lives Matter is really Facts Don’t Matter. If the United States had a less despicable opposition party and a barely responsible journalism profession, making certain the public understood little details like what constitutes a murder, what causation is, and—back to Dumb Don again— how the Constitution gets amended would be a prime directive.

I admit to being a bit obsessed with the rioting and grandstanding around the Taylor grand jury decision, because it is so indefensible on any logical basis, yet so many are so self-righteous about it, and so many assholes are showing their true colors.  How  warped do human beings have to be to threaten and harass diners in St. Petersburg over an incident in Louisville that they don’t comprehend?

And why don’t leaders of the Democratic Party condemn such mindless thuggery? Well, that’s a stupid question: we know why.

Ugh. Don’t get me started.

And if you are wondering why I started writing this at 5 am, it’s because my now healthy, lovable rescue dog is still so insecure that he has to sleep slammed up against me  like a hot, furry incubus, and I couldn’t bear to kick him off the bed, but couldn’t sleep either.

Here is Glenn Logan’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Unethical Quote Of The Month: CNN’s Don Lemon”:

Jack wrote:

“He clearly doesn’t understand how amendments actually get passed, and why this particular amendment will never, never be passed.”

Agreed. Actually, I doubt if he knows or cares how many hoops amendments have to jump through to become part of the Constitution. If he did, he wouldn’t have been so cavalier about his comment.

“It is also incompetent, irresponsible, nonprofessional, reckless and a breach of duty for CNN to allow someone who couldn’t pass junior high civics to pretend to be able to analyze the nation’s political scene.”

Heh. You could make that charge at virtually every TV or cable news outlet in America, and 98% of its newspapers. Which tells you that most of the public, who snoozed through civics and government classes in high school, don’t know anything about how the Constitution is amended, or if they did, have been convinced of some alternate reality. This lazy, feckless disinterest is the root cause of many of our current problems.

“Lemon has been immune from accountability because he is black and gay.”

Very nearly the trifecta. Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month: CNN’s Don Lemon

“You know what we’re going to have to do?… You’re going to have to get rid of the electoral college….And if Joe Biden wins, Democrats can stack the courts and they can do that amendment and get it passed.”

—Don Lemon, juvenile CNN host, in another one of his increasingly frequent whiny rants, this one about how unfair the  Electoral College is.

Because Lemon was talking to the dumbest broadcast journalist on television,  Chris Cuomo, and because if Lemon’s colleague realized how ignorant this statement was—never a sure thing when Cuomo is involved—he might have decided that it was better to mislead CNN’s viewers than to point out that Lemon doesn’t know the U.S. Constitution from an anchovy, nobody corrected this howler.

Lemon apparently thinks the Supreme Court “passes” amendments, or something. He clearly doesn’t understand how amendments actually get passed, and why this particular amendment will never, never be passed. Since he doesn’t know what he is talking about, it is incompetent, irresponsible and unprofessional for him to talk about it. Journalists are supposed to enlighten, not make the public more misinformed than it already is, a condition that poses a danger to democracy without being made any worse.

It is also incompetent, irresponsible, nonprofessional, reckless and a breach of duty for CNN to allow someone who couldn’t pass junior high civics to pretend to be able to analyze the nation’s political scene. Continue reading

Waning Day Ethics, 9/17/2020: An Unscientific Endorsement, A Frivolous Lawsuit, And Misunderstood Bomb-Throwers

1. Scientific American embarrasses itself. …like so, so many others. “Scientific American has never endorsed a presidential candidate in its 175-year history. This year we are compelled to do so. We do not do this lightly,” intone the magazine’s editors. Wrong. They are doing it to grandstand, and you can’t be more unserious than that. There is a reason SA hasn’t done this in 175 years—it’s a dumb thing to do. They don’t have any special expertise or perspective regarding national leadership, and scientific acumen is not a qualification for office. The alleged reason for the magazine’s endorsement of Joe Biden is its claim that the pandemic’s casualties would have been less had the President said and done things differently. This is total supposition, of course. “He was warned many times in January and February about the onrushing disease,” SA says, quoting juvenile anti-Trump source Axios. That’s odd, since those crack scientists in the CDC are on record as downplaying the seriousness of the virus, and even minimizing the need for masks.  More: “These lapses accelerated the spread of disease through the country—particularly in highly vulnerable communities that include people of color, where deaths climbed disproportionately to those in the rest of the population.” These people are scientists? The reasons for higher rates of infection among the poor and minority populations are many, and the interaction among them still undetermined. Lower levels of general health,  increased rates of illnesses like diabetes and conditions like obesity, more  crowded housing, a lack of the ability to stay at home—even a persistent rumor that blacks were immune have played a part, and nobody knows what measured would have changed anything.

“If almost everyone in the U.S. wore masks in public, it could save about 66,000 lives by the beginning of December, according to projections from the University of Washington School of Medicine.” Yeah, scientists have been doing really well with their projections in the pandemic, like the projections that 5% of the population would be infected. Since the research and pronouncements of scientists have been a) inconsistent and b) politicized from the start, it is disgraceful for Scientific American to pretend that any clear signals were being sent, or that there is any reason to believe another “projection, ” except as a useful way to attack the President. There is still  a strong argument that rejecting the scientists in favor of following the advice of economists would have placed the nation in a better situation.

The Scientific American endorsement is an example of the politicization of science, and explains why  scientists cannot be trusted. Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Reflections, 9/13/2020: “Hold On To Your Butts!”

1. Our aspiring leaders:

  • A 31-year-old female deputy and 24-year-old male deputy were shot while sitting in their patrol car at a Metro rail station in Compton, California. Protesters gathered outside the emergency room at the hospital where they were treated. The sheriff’s department found it necessary to tweet:  “To the protesters blocking the entrance & exit of the HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM yelling “We hope they die” referring to 2 LA Sheriff’s ambushed today in #Compton: DO NOT BLOCK EMERGENCY ENTRIES & EXITS TO THE HOSPITAL,. People’s lives are at stake when ambulances can’t get through.” President Trump tweeted in response to the shooting:

Incredible: flat learning curve. After all the uproar about calling people “animals.” And if the shooters are minorities…The only one who can lose this election for President Trump is President Trump.

  • The Times of Israel reports, based on a recording of a virtual fundraiser, that Joe Biden said that the recent development of Arab states normalizing relations with Israel was “something positive” President Trump is doing “accidentally.”

Stay classy, Joe. To be fair, that has been the narrative of the Democratic Party/”resistance”/news media alliance for four years: if something goes wrong, it is the President’s fault; if something goes right, it’s either wrong anyway because Trump is responsible, or it’s just luck or an accident.

2. And now, from the world of sports! Continue reading