Wanted, Desperately Needed, and Lacking: Professionals, Adults and Values in the Media

What? Is there something wrong?

There is not a lot to say about the graphic above, other than:

  1. It is crude.
  2. It is funny.
  3. It is intentional.
  4. It is inappropriate for a general audience newspaper
  5. A competent editor should have caught it, and
  6. The graphic artist needs a warning and a reprimand.

The media, its staff, celebrities and assorted vulgarians and boors seem to be determined to make public square America as uncivil as a locker room, as crude as a peep show, and as juvenile as a junior high school farting contest. Professionals, including USA Today editors and publishers, can either do their duty and discourage this intentional rudeness in their products and services, or shrug it away. Similarly, our culture needs to decide if we are going to just define our deviancy down some more, and accept gratuitous sexual innuendo that will gradually make the whole population into a bunch of snickering Beavises. Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week: “Ethics Bob” Stone

Is Joe Scarborough the new Arthur Godfrey, as in "nice guy" revealed as "unethical creep"?

“It’s always upsetting when one of your heroes turns out to be an unethical creep.”

Ethicist and business ethics professor Bob Stone on his blog “Ethics Bob,” expressing his disappointment in the conduct of MSNBC talk show host Joe Scarborough, who persuaded guest and colleague Mark Halperin to “go for it” when Halperin suggested that his description of President Obama’s press conference was not appropriate for public broadcast, and then did nothing to accept responsibility for the uproar when Halperin referred to Obama as “kind of a dick.” Halperin was suspended indefinitely by MSNBC, following a complaint from the White House.

Bob had expressed hope, in a comment to the Ethics Alarms criticism of Scarborough’s role in the incident, that Scarborough would do the right thing by the next day. He did not. And Bob is correct: this is proof positive that Scarborough is an unethical, cowardly creep.

What should “Morning Joe” have done? Several things: Continue reading

Ethics Train Wreck on “Morning Joe”

Coincidentally, the previous VICE President was frequently called a "Dick"

Time Magazine editor Mark Halperin, a frequent contributer to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program,  took one more chunk out of the tradition of gentility and civility in public discourse, not to mention broadcast journalism, by referring to the President of the United States as “a dick” Thursday morning. He was promptly suspended by the network, which was also the scene of Ed Schultz referring to conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham as a “right wing slut.”

Obviously the inhibitions supposedly bred into Americans about vulgar language in inappropriate places—like live TV—are crumbling fast, along with the tradition of respect for the office of President. What is more interesting about the incident, however, is how Halperin was egged into his gaffe by co-host Joe Scarborough, with an assist from Mika Brzezinski. Scarborough then took no responsibility for the incident at all. Continue reading