Tag Archives: delusion

An Ethics Quote Of The Day From The Washington Examiner and A Jumbo From The Editor Of The Washington Post

light-on-the-truth

“[T]he mainstream media has dropped its standards since President Trump was sworn in. Rather then adjusting adeptly to Trump’s easy relationship with the truth and his tendency to abuse members of media, by dialing up their standards, a significant number of journalists have tripped over themselves recently to repeat every bit of gossip and half-cocked rumor involving Trump and his administration….Now this isn’t to say that all coverage of this new administration has been slipshod. Rather, it’s to say that there has been a disturbing and unusually large number of stories that have turned out either to be overhyped, inconclusive, half-true or flat-out incorrect. There have also been a number of reports whose sourcing is so thin, that to believe them would be to take a major leap of faith.The one thing that these reports have in common is that they fail to provide readers with a clear and indisputably accurate picture of what is really going on at White House. The press’s most important role is to shine a light on those in power. Bad reporting only muddies the waters, and it gives powerful people more room to do as they please. After all, whom are you going to believe: the guy at the top or the newsroom with a recent track record of botched reporting? We didn’t get to the point where people find the press less credible than the Trump administration by some freak accident.”

—-The Washington Examiner, in a story today called “Mainstream media errors in the Trump era: Your catalogue of the media’s bias-fueled failure-fest.”

What the Examiner calls its database of biased and incompetent reporting since January 2o can be found here.

It’s a fair list, and I will quote the exactly accurate point above when I get another comment that says, “Why do you think the mainstream media reporting is more important than Trump’s outrageous conduct?”  and “How can you say the news media is untrustworthy when the Times, Post and Wall Street Journal do excellent investigative reporting?”

President Trump is trying to do his job, as he promised he would, as well as he can. To have any chance of doing it successfully, he will require more than the usual amount of patience, support, and responsible criticism from the nation. He may well fail, but no respectable and patriotic American or organization, news or otherwise, should be trying to make him fail. ( I refer you to this post, For The Last Time: This Is Why The Post-Election Attacks On Trump And His Election Are Unethical)

(Yes, in case I haven’t made this clear before: The so-called “resistance” is undemocratic, unethical, and thoroughly despicable.)

Journalists, in contrast, are not doing their jobs, and indeed are doing the opposite of their job, which is properly and ethically to convey facts, not to distort them for their own political purposes. At this point in the post-election left-wing freak-out, the news media doesn’t even see its own obvious bias, just as  fish aren’t aware that they are in water. Continue reading

16 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Quotes, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Jumbo

Bill Cosby’s Rationalization: #14. Self-Validating Virtue

stuart-smalleyThe smoking gun Bill Cosby deposition took place over four days in September 2005 and March 2006, during which time the comedy icon answered questions in a lawsuit alleging sexual assault filed by Andrea Constand, a former basketball operations manager at Temple University. Cosby settled the case, we now know, to avoid the testimony of several women who were prepared to back Constand with similar stories of being sexually assaulted. The deposition did not become public until it was revealed this month by the Associated Press and the New York Times.

Here is a fascinating exchange from that deposition:

Constand’s lawyer:  Do you feel that you are a good person?

Cosby:   Yes.

With this, Bill Cosby illustrates one of the more common and troubling rationalizations, #14 on the Ethics Alarms list, Self-validating Virtue:

A  corollary of the Saint’s Excuse  is “Self-validating Virtue,” in which the act is judged by the perceived goodness of the person doing it, rather than the other way around. This is applied by the doer, who reasons, “I am a good and ethical person. I have decided to do this; therefore this must be an ethical thing to do, since I would never do anything unethical.” Effective, seductive, and dangerous, this rationalization short-circuits ethical decision-making, and is among the reasons good people do bad things, and keep doing them, even when the critics point out their obvious unethical nature. Good people do bad things sometimes because they are (or were) good people, and because of complacency and self-esteem begin with a conviction, often well supported by their experience, that they are incapable of doing something terribly wrong.

All of us are capable of that, if our ethics alarms freeze due to our environment, emotions, peer pressure, and corrupting leadership, among many possible causes. At the end of the movie “Falling Down,” the rampaging vigilante played by Michael Douglas, once a submissive, law-abiding citizen, suddenly realizes what he has done. “I’m the bad guy?” he asks incredulously. Indeed he is. All of us, no matter how virtuous,are capable of becoming the bad guy…especially when we are convinced that we are not.

Very few people can admit that they are not good people. Public polls suggest that over 90% of Americans think they are the most ethical people they know. I am certain Cosby was sincere in his answer. His complete absorption by this rationalization explains the apparent astounding hypocrisy between his words, public image and private life. Cosby doesn’t believe he has done anything wrong. How could he? He’s Bill Cosby, and Bill Cosby is good.

Indeed, Cosby embodies the kind of person described by Michael (Jeff Goldblum) in “The Big Chill”:

“Nobody thinks they’re a bad person. I don’t claim people think they do the right thing.They may know they do dishonest or manipulative things……but think there’s a good reason for it. They think it’ll turn out for the best. If it turns out best for them, it is by definition what’s best.You also come up against a question of style. My style may be too direct. Perhaps given my style I seem more nakedly……opportunistic or jerky or… – Whatever. All that’s happening is I’m trying to get what I want. Which is what we all do, but their styles are so warm……you don’t realize they’re trying to get what they want. So my transparent efforts are more honest and admirable….Don’t knock rationalization. Where would we be without it? I don’t know anyone who can go a day without two or three rationalizations. They’re more important than sex.”

Well, let’s say that for Bill Cosby they are exactly as important as sex.

 

 

17 Comments

Filed under Character, Gender and Sex, Law & Law Enforcement

What’s Really Wrong About The President Refusing To Say That Islamic Extremists Are Islamic Extremists

(Other than the fact that it’s ridiculous, of course.)

war_is_peace

Not THAT again…

As far as preventing terrorist organizations from destroying civilization is concerned, the proposition being repeatedly made by Republicans that “you can’t fight something if you can’t accurately describe it” is also ridiculous. Obama can call ISIS Late For Dinner if he wants to, and still take effective steps to contain the group and others. I can’t remember ever experiencing such a long and intense debate over what something should be called, unless you count the Republican insistence that water-boarding isn’t torture after decades of the United States saying otherwise  in legal documents, treaties and places where English is spoken, That, however, was obviously deceitful wordplay to get around the law, lawyering at it’s worst. This is something else…but what is it?

Yesterday, poor Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson did the rounds of the Sunday morning talk shows, and was asked to explain the Administration’s weird rhetorical line in the sand repeatedly. Presumably he was prepared beforehand, yet the best he could do was probably the version he came up with on Fox News, saying on the topic:

” [T]he thing I hear from leaders in the Muslim community in this country is, “ISIL is attempting to hijack my religion. Our religion is about peace and brotherhood and ISIL is attempting to hijack that from us.” And they resent that. Most victims of ISIL are, in fact, Muslims. So it seems to me that to refer to ISIL as occupying any part of the Islamic theology is playing on a — a battlefield that they would like us to be on. I think that to call them — to call them some form of Islam gives the group more dignity than it deserves, frankly.”

Wait..what? That’s it? So this is meant to, like, hurt their feelings? Why not go whole hog, and call them “Smoosh-Face Poopy-Heads,” then, or something similar? We’re officially denying what everyone knows to be true because moderate Muslims don’t like sharing a religion with the radicals, so to be nice, were speaking Fantasy rather than English? Continue reading

177 Comments

Filed under Around the World, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Leadership, Religion and Philosophy, War and the Military

KABOOM! or Unethical Quote of The Month? You Decide…I Can’t, Because My Head Just Exploded All Over The Christmas Tree

merry_bloody_christmas

“I actually think that it’s probably in its day-to-day interactions less racially divided.”

—President Obama on National Public Radio, giving his assessment of race relations in the U.S. today compared to when he was elected in 2008.

It’s kind of pretty, really.

That explosion (see Kaboom!) was based—I’m guessing now, since I don’t control when my brain blows—-on my shock that the President actually could be President and believe that, as well as not be aware how deluded he appears to assert such something so contrary to evident reality. Is he really that estranged from what is happening in the country he leads? Frightening. Is he really incapable of comprehending the single biggest, most damaging, most unexpected and most dangerous failing of his entire administration? Pathetic. Does he not watch TV? Read blogs? Does he exist in a separate, narcissist parallel reality where everything is as he wills it to be? Wow.

I know that the networks he watches and the newspapers he reads didn’t report them for the most part, but every poll shows that the public overwhelmingly believes that race relations have worsened. You can dispute the value and accuracy of polls with considerable justification, but these are the kinds of polls most likely to be accurate. How plausible is it that race relations, defined as how the races feel about each other and how they are getting along, could improve with the public believing they have worsened? Here’s polls from Pew, Gallup (“The percentage of Americans naming “race relations” or “racism” as the most important problem in the U.S. has climbed dramatically to 13%, the highest figure Gallup has recorded since a finding of 15% in 1992, in the midst of the Rodney King verdict.”), NBC, IDB ( “By an almost 3-1 margin, Americans say race relations have worsened under the man who was supposed to usher in a golden era of “post-racial” relations.”), Bloomberg, and Politico, and there are many others, all with the same message. Moreover, all of them were taken before the ‘killer racist cops ‘ campaign by Sharpton  and his cohorts culminated in the assassination of two police officers by a deranged African American seeking to take “two of theirs for one of ours.” Let’s see a show of hands: how many think race relations have improved in the last two weeks?

Other than the President, that is. Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Leadership, Race, U.S. Society

Are Democrats Deceiving Their Supporters, The Nation, Or Themselves?

Wave

I don’t want to pick on the Democrats in their hour of crisis, but I can’t let this pass.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Chair the Democratic National Committee, sent a video message to party loyalists stating in part,

“Your dedication is at the heart and soul of who we are as a party — but our party has a problem. We know we’re right on the issues. The American people believe in the causes we’re fighting for. But the electoral success we have when our presidential nominee is able to make the case to the country as a whole doesn’t translate in other elections. That’s why we lost in 2010, and it’s why we lost on Tuesday. We’ve got to do better.”

What???

1. “A problem”?

2. How can anyone “know they are right” on “the issues” ? All issues? It is enough that advocates believe they are right. Saying one knows one is right presumes a level of omniscience that is the mark of the arrogant and immodest—no wonder the parties won’t compromise with each other. The opponents of the religious right mock those who base their opposition to evolution, abortion and same-sex marriage on unshakable certainty based on faith. What’s the Democratic faith that justifies similar certainty?

3. “The American people believe in the causes we’re fighting for.” This is just factually false. The majority of the public thinks climate change is a crock. The majority wants tougher immigration enforcement, not less of it. The majority wants litigation reform, which the Democrats fight to preserve trial lawyer fees. Obamacare is wildly unpopular. So is affirmative action. The majority of the public thinks that there is an I.R.S. cover-up. The majority thinks Barack Obama is a weak and feckless President. The majority of Americans think there should be some limitations on abortion, and don’t want to pay for other people’s birth control. Six in 10 American think guns make homes safer, rather than, as the Democrats see it, endangering children.

Yes, the public is in favor of raising the minimum wage, and always is. It will be in favor of raising the minimum wage one minute after the minimum wage is finally raised. The public doesn’t understand the minimum wage, and never has, which is why it is always low hanging fruit for Democrats. If that is the “cause” Schultz is referring to—and since the President mentioned it first among his priorities in multiple speeches, who knows? It might be—see #1 above—then this really is a low ebb in Democratic fortunes. I just heard a liberal radio talk-show host talk about how progressives should be excited that some states approved a higher minimum wage. That’s not “progressive,” that’s traditional. Continue reading

51 Comments

Filed under Citizenship, Government & Politics

Proposed PSA: “This Is Matthew, And He Is The Face Of The Tragedy Called Confirmation Bias. Please Help!”

PSA

It is so easy—and tempting—to dismantle Matthew Lynch’s  jaw-dropping essay on the Huffington Post titled “12 Reasons Why Obama Is One of the Best Presidents Ever” that it is unethical, like shooting fish in a barrel. Nearly everything about the post is snicker-worthy, beginning with its timing: this is the equivalent of writing a paean to JFK the morning after the Bay of Pigs.

I have no similar reticence about slamming the Huffington Post for running such an embarrassing screed. If it was intended as satire (and I still think this is a possibility), the piece is incompetent, because when satire is so close to reality that readers can’t tell it’s satire, then it becomes a hoax. There is a possibility, I suppose, that the editors published this because Lynch’s glossy-eyed, alternate reality ravings were entertainingly absurd (they are not: they are tragic), but this would be cruelty, the equivalent of Sean Hannity’s practice of allowing an ignorant, usually poor and uneducated liberal caller to make a fool of herself, slyly impugning the intelligence of the entire American Left. Yet the Huffington Post is largely Obama-friendly: his obeisant  media may finally be moving away from the President, but not that quickly. I think “12 Reasons…” was run because the editors believed the article had substantive merit, in which case, they should all be sent to the Home for Bewildered Editors. (It also may have been planted as link bait.)

If the post was run on its substance, then the editors failed their responsibilities in another respect: they didn’t check Lynch’s facts. His opinions and justifications for them may be Oz-worthy and his alone, but when he writes a flat-out misrepresentation like this… Continue reading

19 Comments

Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Humor and Satire, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Love

The White House Is Lying To Us. Again. Why?

David Plouffe...or Dan Pfeiffer...it doesn't matter, really...the voice is the same.

David Plouffe…or Dan Pfeiffer…it doesn’t matter, really…the voice is the same.

Nobody of sound mind who listened to top White House advisor (he’s the current David Axelrod) David Plouffe spin like the Wheel of Fortune on ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos could continue to deny that the White House, a.k.a Barack Obama, is determined to obscure every thing and anything it can that might help us assign accountability for the Administration’s negligent oversight and management, if not outright abuse of power. The smoking gun was that this pre-programmed, trained and paid mouthpiece said this:

PLOUFFE: Well, I’d say first of all, you know back in the previous — or the prior administration, the NAACP was investigated after Republican members of Congress asked for it. But there’s been no suggestion — the independent — the prosecutor looked at this — excuse me, the inspector general, and said there was no politics involved in this. No one has indicated at all that the White House is involved. The IRS director was appointed at — under President Bush, served under both presidents attested. No one from — so, this was not a political pursuit.

I don’t know if it was “a political pursuit” or not, but I do know that when the people in power desperately don’t want their fingerprints to be found on something potentially sinister like this, I am more suspicious than I would be if they just let the facts out: Continue reading

27 Comments

Filed under Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership