Tonight’s 2020 Election Ethics Train Wreck Update!

steam train wreck

You see, no matter how much grandstanding and posturing and gloating performed by the Axis of Unethical Conduct (AUC), including its recent recruit, the social media platforms, and its Deranged zombie followers, your friends and mine, there is no avoiding these facts:

  • Joe Biden is not President-elect until the Electoral College elects him. The AOC itself proclaimed that sufficiently in 2016 when it was trying to steal that election.
  • The news media’s “calls” have no official role in deciding what states land in what column, and it has completely abused its position and influence this time.
  • There will be investigations, recounts and lawsuits, as well as appeals. These will happen. All of the premature chest-beating and the rest won’t stop them, and that’s wonderful. Democrats had a legal force ready to do the same thing in any states were as close as the five or six states the Trump team is looking at.
  • People can assume what will happen, but they do not know. The 2000 Florida challenge and recount should have taught that lesson. I’m sure it did, in fact.

Now here are some opinions that I am confident are accurate, but that do not quite reach the level of “facts”:

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

Saturday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/5/2020: Welcome To The No Nervous Breakdown Zone!

Apropos to this morning’s post: I just read a thread on Facebook entirely populated by people I knew, some of whom have befriended me. They are mostly lawyers, and after reading what was written, I could only comment that their conversation was deranged. I didn’t feel like arguing with people who could really write that if the Democrats didn’t win in November, Americans would lose their civil rights (when it is the ideological compatriots of these individuals who are stripping away the rights of free speech and association, championing race-based policies, and condemning the President for insisting that universities observe due process when a student is accused of sexual misconduct. How can they write that? What happened to them? Then there was the section of the thread in which they discussed that the President was certain to refuse to leave office if he is defeated, and my personal favorite, the assertion that those defending Kyle Rittenhouse are racists.

These are lawyers. They were taught about the requirement that every individual has a right to a fair trial, which means that he or she must not be pronounced guilty in the court of public opinion before all the facts are known, and proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. They should know, as I do, D.C. Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2 (b), which says, “A lawyer’s representation of a client, including representation by appointment, does not constitute an endorsement of the client’s political, economic, social, or moral views or activities.” Moreover, it is very likely that Rittenhouse, if he is ever tried, will be found not guilty. Did these deranged lawyer watch the video? I hope not, or they have really lost it. Rittenhouse acted in self-defense, and appears to be in the process of being railroaded by a racially biased justice system in Wisconsin, driven by the media and uninformed public opinion. I’ve seen the video. I’ve also been a prosecutor. I would not charge him, just as would not charge the officer who shot Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta. I’ve also been a defense attorney, and  I would take on Rittenhouse’s defense confident that I had a winning case.

I also was struck by the snide comment about those who object to “Black Lives Matter” signs being obvious racists. I flagged that group as being a racist hate group when it first raised its ugly, divisive head, and damn right I object to seeing signs extolling a group responsible for riots, arson, and terrorizing diners in D.C. by demanding that they raise their fists.

Finally, these formerly rational professionals—who were once even as you or I! —-had the gall to talk about how Republicans and conservatives were promoting violence and a civil war. Yes, the end of the spectrum that includes the antifa, the rioters, and a party that has worked for four years to undermine our democratic processes, is really accusing others of seeking division and violence. This warrants FOUR standard Ethics alarms clips: This one,

…this one, of course,

…I have to use this one, though these people one were not morons…

And finally,

Get well quick, friends. Please. Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: CNN’s Don Lemon

That’s a nice, objective, non-partisan chryon, don’t you think?

The rioting has to stop….it’s showing up in the polling. It’s showing up in focus groups. It is the only thing  right now that is sticking.”

CNN’s Don Lemon.

I could spend  the rest of this week filling Ethics Alarms with head-exploding accounts of the mainstream news media’s increasingly unrestrained partisan commentary. From an ethics analyst’s point of view, the current self-unmasking is slightly satisfying; I have been chronicling the unethical deterioration of journalism into near complete  commitment to progressive propaganda for a long time, and marveling at the number of once fair and discerning  people who scoffed that it was the product of my fevered imagination. They can’t do that any more without looking like lunatics (previously they just seemed like corrupted fools) so I’m not hearing that claim, here or elsewhere. They can’t deny that the news media is biased; now they have pivoted to the argument that it is right to be biased. Yes, biased people always think that; that was the argument of the New York Times in 2016 when the paper declared on its front page that ity would henceforth slant its coverage to defeat Donald Trump.The ethics of journalism has always held this to be unprofessional and a betrayal of journalism’s ideals, but ethics schmethics. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 7/8/2020: George Floyd Freakout Follies, Starring… Black Lives Matter!

This patter trio from “Ruddigore,” Gilbert and Sullivan’s follow-up to the phenomenal world-wide success of “The Mikado,” has a strange history. It was a much-loved highlight of the relatively under-appreciated operetta (though among my favorites) until the song was transplanted into Joseph Papp’s 1981 Broadway production of “The Pirates of Penzance.” That production  ran for 787 performances (longer than the original production), winning the Tony Award for Best Revival and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Musical, and spawning a 1983 film adaptation starring most of the Broadway cast, including Linda Ronstadt and Kevin Klein. Then the Broadway adaptation of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in 2002 also interpolated a version of  “It Really Doesn’t Matter” into the score, so two hit Broadway musicals included a once barely remembered song from a Gilbert and Sullivan show not regarded as one of the pair’s successes.

The version above is the one I learned the song from. Martyn Green, the best of D’Oyly Carte’s patter baritones, sings the first verse, and does so the only way it can be done properly, which is in a single breath. As you will hear, the other two singers are not quite able to  pull it off. (But I can!)

1. Wait, what matters? As with Colin Kaepernick’s original kneeling stunt, Black Lives Matter has made its agenda infinitely flexible, ranging from addressing “police violence” to “systemic racism” to “defunding police” to various Marxist nostrums, depending on their mood, the spokesperson, and the tolerance of the audience. African-American actor Terry Crews invited the enmity of the George Floyd mobs by opining that if Black Lives Matter’s message became “Black Lives Better,” it would spark division rather than support. Crews, who can hold his own in any debate, agreed to be interviewed by CNN’s Black Lives Matter shill Don Lemon. Crews said, Continue reading

Ethics Observations On CNN’s Don Lemon’s Irresponsible And Unprofessional Rant

Don Lemon’s whole career is a cautionary tale on too many levels to list.  Once a  promising  broadcast journalist blessed with screen charisma and valuable tribal connections (as a black, gay man), he could have evolved into a major positive figure in  his industry. Unfortunately for him, Lemon was indulged, and pampered, and allowed to fall back on cheap emotionalism, flawed critical thinking and demagoguery, because, essentially, his ratings were good.  His performance as a CNN anchor has now deteriorated to the level of a petulant child whose parents no longer have the sense or the power to rein in his outrageous behavior.

Last night Lemon reached his professional nadir, indeed a professional nadir for all of broadcast news. The closest analogy I can think of is the fictional Howard Beale’s famous rant in Paddy Chayefsky’s masterpiece “Network,” and that was satire. One of Don Lemon’s tragedies is that he takes himself so seriously, and yet his utterances are so utterly banal and devoid of wisdom or enlightenment.

I wish I could start with Lemon’s projectile logorrhea and give it the thorough deconstruction it deserves, but I doubt many readers will be able to last until the end of his unhinged gibberish and have the energy to do anything but take a nap, or maybe an overdose of strychnine.  A competent, professional news organization would suspend or fire a host who threw self-restraint to the winds and unloaded such offal on its audience, but then, this is CNN, which has abandoned journalism standards, particularly involving Lemon.

I think the other comparison I see with Lemon’s astounding outburst is the famous dying speech of gangster Dutch Schultz. It was stream of consciousness gibberish too, but Schultz had an excuse: he had been shot, and The Dutchman was none too stable anyway.

All in all, I’d rather listen to Dutch.

Lemon’s rant is signature significance for an individual of untrained cognition and inadequate education who thinks he has wisdom to convey but doesn’t. For anyone to regard it as anything else is also signature significance, for a weak and biased mind. Here are just a few of the features worth noting…Lemon’s masterpiece will be right along.

1. Wouldn’t you expect the host of a major network’s news show to have some knowledge of history?  Lemon refers to the riots as “unprecedented.” Of course, they aren’t. The civil rights riots of 1967 and 1968 were equally destructive. The Rodney King riots in Los Angeles. The riots during the 1968 Democratic National Convention. These riots may be even less justifiable than some of those, but the forces at work are similar. One of the primary tools of fearmongers and demagogues is to scream, “It’s never been this bad before!” It is a naked appeal to ignorance, from the ignorant.

Later, Lemon contradicts himself and references the Rodney King riots, which tells us that he has no idea what he’s trying to say. What a pro!

2. Lemon: “Perhaps this is some sort of mechanism for a restructure in our country or for some sort of change in our country for us to deal with whatever we need to deal with in this country.” Rioting and looting is a mechanism? “Some sort”? “Whatever we need to deal with in this country”?

If you can’t add anything more trenchant than that, a) what are you doing on a news desk?, and b) shut the hell up.

3.  Lemon: “I actually don’t know — I am at a loss for words as a person sitting here guiding you through this. I really don’t know what to say at this moment except for this is America. This is where our country — this is what it has come to right now.”

What is, you babbling fool? What? If you don’t know what to say, then get off the air and let someone with the wit God gave a tortoise and the professionalism of, oh, Jerry Springer take over.  This is the equivalence of a fire fighter standing by a burning building and crying, “Oh, it’s all so terrible!” “Oh, the humanity!” would be an upgrade. “Guiding” us through this? How is this pitiful blather guidance?

4. Lemon: “This is actually quite sad to watch and it is an indication and it’s indicative of the pain and sadness in this country of people who feel they have no other alternative but to exhibit this behavior in our country. No other option. When you have nothing to lose, you have nothing to lose.” They have no other alternative but to burn down businesses and loot? Lemon is actually saying that! More facile and indefensible logic would be difficult to imagine.

5. Lemon: “We all need to come together because if we can’t live together as Americans, then what do we have? Do we even have a country anymore? This is unbelievable what is happening here. Unbelievable.”

Oh, why don’t you just start screaming and tearing at your garments, you silly, petty, impotent man?

6. Lemon: “When did this country get out of control? When did we lose control of this country? When did we cease to be a country — a group of people who wanted to at least live together in spite of the differences? Because of our differences. Isn’t that the whole reason for the thing? That we are here because we want — because we are different. That we’re supposed to try this grand experiment and let’s not forget, if anyone judging this, I’m not judging this. I’m just wondering what is going on because we were supposed to figure out this experiment a long time ago. Our country was started because — this is how — the Boston Tea Party. Rioting.”

Ugh:

  • It’s not “out of control,” you hysteric. You are.
  • You, your network and your industry have been working around the clock to divide the country since the 2016 election. How dare you ask that question?
  • The Boston Tea Party was not a riot. It was a clear-cut example of civil disobedience with a specific point of protest. . About a hundred colonists destroyed about 45 tons of tea over three hours. No buildings were burned, and no establishment was looted. I am aware of no source, contemporary or recent, that refers to the protest as a “riot.” This is the level of historical perspective CNN feeds its viewers

7. Then, of course, we get the partisan fake news. Lemon actually says that no Republicans have called for calm, despite the sentiments expressed here, here, here, here, here, and here, among many others.

Well, that’s enough for me: the thing is self-indicting, a res ipsa loquitur for the ages. Journalism just doesn’t get any more useless, incompetent, self-indulgent or unprofessional than this.

Buckle up! Continue reading

Ethics Observations On The Great Central Park Dog-Walking Controversy

Oh, fine, another one of these.

Isn’t it fun how, thanks to the toxic combination of cell phone cameras and social media, a few minutes of what once would have been an isolated moment of bad judgment and rude behavior is now able to metastasize into a life and career-destroying catastrophe? Do you like that new reality? Awfully brutal and unforgiving, isn’t it?

The episode at hand involved the woman in the video above, Amy Cooper. She was walking her cocker spaniel off leash when  a bird watcher named Christian Cooper—no relation—told her the unleashed dog  violated park rules. When Amy refused to put her dog on a leash, Christian told her he was going to offer her dog a treat because this typically makes owners want to leash their dogs in response. That wasn’t the other Cooper’s response, however. She threatened to call the police and tell them that “an African American man” was threatening her life. She did too, as Christian recorded it all. Later, Christian’s sister, also named Cooper, posted the video, which got 33 million views on Twitter alone, and is now pushing 200 million views on other platforms.

Then, the deluge. Christian appeared on CNN with Don Lemon, where he accused Amy of trying ” to bring death by cop down on [his] head.” She got death threats, which Christian said was wrong, though his accusation would seem to have helped spark them. Amy Cooper, seeing what was coming,  told CNN she regretted calling the police, saying,

“It was unacceptable, and words are just words, but I can’t undo what I did. I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man and his family, I’m not a racist. I did not mean to harm that man in any way.”

Unfortunately for Amy, apologies don’t make a dent in the fervor of social media mobs. Some members of this one, after somehow tracking down her dog-walker,  contacted the Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, Inc. where Amy had obtained “Henry” several years ago, and the organization announced on Facebook that she had “voluntarily surrendered” her pet to the organization. “He is safe and in good health,” the group wrote.

Cooper had been a head of insurance portfolio management at Franklin Templeton, but her employer announced that she had been placed on leave while the incident was being investigated. By yesterday afternoon, she had been fired. “Following our internal review of the incident in Central Park yesterday, we have made the decision to terminate the employee involved, effective immediately. We do not tolerate racism of any kind at Franklin Templeton,” the company announced.

Now Christian Cooper is having twinges of regret. “It’s a little bit of a frenzy, and I am uncomfortable with that,” he said. “If our goal is to change the underlying factors, I am not sure that this young woman having her life completely torn apart serves that goal.”

He might have considered that before turning the video over to the mob.

Michael Fischer, president of the Central Park Civic Association, decided to pile on—heck, why not?—and issued a statement calling for Amy to be banned from Central Park:

“This disgusting display of intolerance is unacceptable and should never, ever be accepted in the City’s public domain like Central Park.The Central Park Civic Association condemns this behavior and is calling on Mayor de Blasio to impose a lifetime ban on this lady for her deliberate, racial misleading of law enforcement and violating behavioral guidelines set so that all can enjoy our city’s most famous park.”

Let’s all applaud the impeccable virtue of Mr. Fischer, since that’s obviously what he’s after.  I’m sure, if we think creatively, we can think of more ways to punish Amy Cooper beyond destroying her reputation, ending her career and taking away her dog. Make her change her name, move out of the country, have plastic surgery, end up pushing a grocery cart full of junk…after all, she was really horrible to a  stranger for about two minutes. What else? Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/30/2020: The “Let’s Have A Morning Warm-Up That’s Actually In The Morning” Edition

Good morning!

1. I have a theory on mainstream media bias deniers..Maybe it’s more sympathetic than they deserve, but I think people don’t notice how sloppy, incompetent and stupid reporters and pundits are because they don’t read newspapers carefully or consistently, and because other news sources are so packed with distractions and emotional manipulation (not that newspapers are not) that it’s hard to concentrate on the details. This is why I read the Times. I figure that it’s supposed to be the best, and if the best is stupid and biased (stupid makes you biased, and vice-versa), then we can be pretty sure that the rest are worse.

It is amazing how much disinformation the Times allows, or in many cases, promotes. Here’s a trivial but telling example: Sarah Lyall is a Times reporter who also writes a column reviewing thrillers in the New York Times Review of Books, wrote recently that she always wanted to be “the Henry Fonda” of a jury, “single-handedly” “exonerating” a “wrongly accused” defendant, like “Twelve Angry Men.” This is a factually and legally false description of Reginald Rose’s script. Juror 8 (Fonda) doesn’t “single-handedly” do anything except keep deliberations going. The defendant isn’t “exonerated”—all the jury does is collectively figure out that he wasn’t proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt–you know, like OJ. And he probably wasn’t wrongly accused. In fact., he’s probably guilty. The whole point of Rose’s screenplay is that “probably” isn’t enough.

Newspapers are supposed to enlighten readers, not make them dumber. I know most people think that “Twelve Angry Men” is like mystery where someone is accused of murder and is proven innocent by a relentless sleuth, but it’s not. Did Lyall not really watch the film, meaning she was lying, or did she not understand it, indicating that she should be judged too stupid to be a reporter? The same can be said of her editor. The Times can’t get the easy things right; why would anyone trust it to analyze more complex matters more reliably? Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/22/2020: Krugman, Whitmer And Lemon

Good morning, all!

1. Bad guys 1. Paul Krugman’s column yesterday had the despicable headline, “The Right Sends In The Quacks.” “The quacks” according to Krugman are the Americans who are protesting in public to send a vivid message to increasingly dictatorial mayors, governors and police departments that opening society and allowing people to live their lives like free citizens rather than inmates needs to be a priority, a concept many in office as well as much of the news media appear to have discarded.

Why are the protesters “quacks?” Well, for one thing, they don’t regard protesting government policy as a non-essential activity, as we were told last week by one of our courageous, first-responder police departments. Second, many of them wore MAGA hats, meaning they are per se racists and idiots. Worst of all, some of them carried guns, legally, but still. Guns bad.

Although if I were a protest consultant, I would advise against the guns, legal weapons symbolize the Second Amendments assertion that individual rights much not be squashed by government over-reach, and that citizens have a right to arm themselves as a matter of self-defense, against their own government if necessary. It may be a message that progressives and anti-Second Amendment fanatics are incapable of processing, but it is a crucial message nonetheless, particularly when Americans are witnessing things like this, or this.

2. Or this: Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, currently the face of Wuhan virus crypto-totalitraianism, told  Rachel Maddow last week that she was considering extending social distancing guidelines in response to Michigan  protests against her stay-at-home restrictions. “We might have to actually think about extending stay-at-home orders, which is supposedly what they were protesting,” Whitmer said.

“Supposedly.” Nice. Continue reading