An ongoing theme of Ethics Alarms, not merely related to politics and the news media, is the unethical conduct of intentionally misinforming the public for partisan or ideological agendas. For professionals and those holding themselves out as experts, this is especially unethical conduct, and damaging. Academics, professionals and experts are obligated to use their knowledge to enlighten the public. Using their authority and credentials to deceive them, thus betraying the public trust, is unconscionable. Particularly since the elites in academia decided to help remove Donald Trump, this has become epidemic.
A signal of what was to come revealed itself on election night, when CNN produced once respectable historian Douglas Brinkley, now a shameless partisan hack of the worst sort, to explain to America that Hillary Clinton’s loss was really because Americans seldom vote for the same party to be in the White House three elections in a row. As I wrote in one of my posts about this lie, which no CNN talking head had the knowledge or integrity to challenge,
…esteemed Presidential historian Doug Brinkley, for reasons known only to himself, went on the air live on CNN and concocted a new alibi for Hillary Clinton and the Democrats. using fake history to do it. He said that there were powerful historical patterns at work in Hillary’s defeat, and that it is always hard for any one party to hold the White House for three consecutive terms. Then, as exceptions to the rule and to show how rare the exceptions were, Brinkley cited Reagan successfully pushing George H.W. Bush on the nation as his “third term,” and then went all the way back to 1836 for his other exception, when popular Democrat President Andrew Jackson got his acolyte Martin Van Buren elected to succeed him.
For days after this, I kept hearing Brinkley’s observation cited by talking heads and my disappointed Democratic friends, yet what he had said was wildly, unforgivably untrue. On election night, I ticked off the instances where one party has held the Presidency for more than two terms on the spot, right after Brinkley’s fiction (much to the annoyance of my wife):
After Van Buren, there were a bunch of one term Whigs and Democrats, but Lincoln’s two terms (the last finished by Andrew Johnson) was followed by Grant for two more, Hayes for one, and Garfield/Arthur for four more years. That 6 straight Republican terms, Doug. Then, three terms later, McKinley was elected to two, Teddy Roosevelt for one on top of the McKinley term he finished out, and Teddy anointed Taft as his successor just as Jackson had with Van Buren. That’s four straight Republican terms, or as we call it around my house, “More than two.”
But wait! There’s more! After Wilson and Mrs, Wilson served out two Democratic terms, we got Harding, Coolidge, and Hoover, another three Republicans in a row. Then the Democrats made up for those consecutive runs with five straight of their own, courtesy of FDR’s four and Truman beating Dewey. In short, Brinkley gave the nation fake history, which then became fake news.
And he made Americans ignorant. Spinning for Hillary, for example, Whoopie Goldberg told her audience, “You know, there have been very few eight years of one party and eight years of the same party. It doesn’t generally go back to back. The last time I think was Nixon and whoever came in after him was the last. Ford….That was the last time we had a long stretch. When it wasn’t Democrat, Republican, Democrat Republican. So given all the crap that Obama had to eat from his own party, I don’t think Bernie was going to — I don’t think any Democrat was going to–people were going to vote –”
This was regurgitated Brinkley—Hillary also cited him during her endless “It’s not my fault I lost!” tour–and not even accurately regurgitated. And it’s dead wrong. Imagine: an “expert” whose specialty is American Presidential history was paid to go on national television and used his authority to give out false information about American Presidential history.
The phenomenon has become frighteningly common as the Democratic Party/”resistance”/mainstream media collective has tried to trick, bully and incite the public into supporting its undemocratic cause. The academics recruited by the Democrats for the latest impeachment push have continued to assert outright falsehoods, adopting former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s theory that a lie is virtuous if “it works.” Continue reading