In my early years (40s, 50s), there was racism aplenty. The small community I lived in, the schools I attended, the activities I was involved in, all were white and as WASPish as they come. My parents didn’t seem to be especially racist, but one comment I do remember was my mother saying that Negroes (the accepted term way back then, although ‘colored people’ was also used) were okay so long as they “stayed in their place.” Their place was the segregated part of the nearby rather large city.
Fortunately for me, my career path took me away from both that mentality and that kind of segregation, via a military that was integrated and a second career in education in a community even more thoroughly integrated. Times changed. I changed. And, now, I am supposed to accept segregation once again? Well, count me out. Continue reading →
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.” That quote, from Maya Angelou, inspired The Undefeated, an ESPN media platform that, from its start in 2016, has helped shape the national conversation by exploring the intersection of race, sports and culture from a Black point of view. On Monday, ESPN said it would rebrand and expand the operation, which will now go by the name … Andscape…
“It’s time to talk about Black and everything,” Raina Kelley, Andscape’s editor in chief, said in a phone interview. “Far beyond just sports and athletes.” She continued: “How do you be an individual as a Black person in America with your own unique set of interests, some of which are bound together by melanin, but not all of them? And how do you feel whole? We wanted to create a space where Black people could be Black people: Black led, Black P.O.V., absolutely. But also where there were no definitions and no rules about what being Black meant, what you had to talk about.”
1. There is hope! The new Amazon Prime Jack Reacher series, “Reacher,” has no mixed race couples in it whatsoever. I was amazed, and wonder if this means the thing was made in 2019, before Hollywood decided that the accidental killing in Minnesota of a black perp by a brutal white cop in an incident having nothing to do with race meant that the world film and TV present to America must be one where nearly 100% of all married and unmarried relationships consist of two races. Isn’t it amazing that a casting feature that was once not only routine but accurate seems remarkable by its absence, and it was completely benign then and would still be accurate now?
2. Just for curiosity, I’m going to keep getting these Harvard alerts. The unethical though famous institution I graduated from once is marking this big reunion year with special online events for participants. The first one, not surprisingly, deals with…climate change! You would think that such a university, with all the subjects it covers and all of the departments available, could put together a schedule that didn’t consist of partisan obsessions, wouldn’t you?
But no. I fully expect subsequent programs to include, “Systemic Racism,” “Protecting the Right to Choose,” “The January 6 Insurrection” and “Mainstream Media Conservative Bias.”
I’m getting enough propaganda on climate change, thanks. Today I learned that “Once considered comic relief to anchors, television meteorologists are making it clear to viewers that they are covering a crisis in real time.” The “news story” headline begins, “As Storms Intensify…” Intensify based on what? There is no proof that storms are “intensifying” that justifies stating this as fact.
But you can’t deny that Al Roker is an “expert” on climate science though! After all, he attended the State University of New York at Oswego where he received a BA in communications in 1976….
“We regret that this happened and have discussed it with Paragon, which secured the matchup and handles the majority of our high school event scheduling. They have ensured us that they will take steps to prevent this kind of situation from happening moving forward.”
What was “this kind of situation”? Oh, just a national sports network televising a high school football game between one of the the top teams in the nation and a fake team fielded by a fake high school. That’s all.
On Sunday, ESPN broadcast a high school football game between featuring Florida’s IMG Academy, one of the top rated teams in the country, and Ohio’s Bishop Sycamore, an obscure high school with a team nobody has written about or paid much attention to. ESPN had been assured by Bishop Sycamore—schools get compensated when their teams’ games are televised– that its football squad was stacked with top players. Uh, no. This was a primetime match-up on ESPN, but nobody there did any due diligence to check on the juggernaut IMG Academy’s competition. IMG won by the heart-pounding score of 58-0. The broadcasters were reduced to telling funny stories and expressing concern that the Bishop Sycamore players were at risk of serious injury.
“I wish Maria Taylor all the success in the world — she covers football, she covers basketball. If you need to give her more things to do because you are feeling pressure about your crappy longtime record on diversity — which, by the way, I know personally from the female side of it — like, go for it. Just find it somewhere else. You are not going to find it from me or taking my thing away.”
—-ESPN sideline reporter Rachel Nichols in a phone conversation nearly a year ago after learning that she would not host coverage during the 2020 N.B.A. finals, as she had been expecting.
The phone call, unbeknownst to her, was being recorded, and someone leaked it to the ESPN brass and the public. The ethical issues raised by that conduct are clear and have been discussed here often: it is a dastardly thing to do, a breach of basic Golden Rule ethics, and indefensible because it creates harm to all involved. But that’s not the issue at hand.
After the video was leaked, many black ESPN employees told one another that it confirmed their suspicions that outwardly supportive white people talk differently behind closed doors. Nichols, seeing the ominous handwriting on the wall, tried to apologize to Taylor with texts and phone calls. Taylor did not respond. Meanwhile, ESPN employees turned against Nichols, whom they perceived as indulging in a “common criticism used by white workers in many workplaces to disparage nonwhite colleagues” when she suggested that “Taylor was offered the hosting job only because of her race, not because she was the best person for the job.”
I guess I have to come clean: I thought I had posted this before noon. Guess not. So a Morning Warm-Up became a late night wrap up…
1. The trial was a sporting event? I did not know that! ESPN included the Chauvin guilty verdict in its list of important sports news today. Apparently, it’s sports news because a lot of athletes are going to shoot off their mouths about it, spreading ignorance far and wide.
2. Deranged Quote of the Day: “Where are the disabled, queer, poor, gender diverse, dogs of colour and single-parent dog families in Bluey’s Brisbane?” That comes from ABC Everyday’s Beverley Wang. The Disney+ program, we are told :
….is the award-winning, mega-hit animated series about the Heelers, a family of dog-shaped humans — parents Bandit and Chilli, four-year-old Bingo, and six-year-old Bluey — who live in a gorgeous Queenslander with city views, perched on a lush hilltop in sunny Brisbane.
The only way to handle people who poison minds and the the culture with ideas like this is to be merciless, and slap them down with the classic reaction of “Sidney Wang”:
Being nice just enables them.
3. From the False Narrative files: Yahoo! News correspondent Jon Ward authored a piece of counter-factual propaganda headlined, “Chauvin’s guilty verdict is a major milestone in America’s reckoning with racial justice.” As I have tried to point out repeatedly, there is no evidence that George Floyd’s fate would have been any different if he had been white, Asian-American or a Smurf. None. NONE. There is no evidence that Chauvin was a racist, or that race played any part in his brutal treatment of Floyd. The fact that activists, politicians and the journalists seized on the symbolic imagery of a white cop’s knee on a black man’s neck and exploited it shamelessly doesn’t change the facts. This was not a racial incident. If the jury convicted Chauvin thinking that it was, then they were misled.
Ward’s essay is a good starting place for anyone who wants to understand how far journalism has sunk.
1. Let’s start with some good news! In April of last year, I wrote about Massachusetts judge Shelley M. Richmond Joseph, who was charged with obstruction of justice, along with another court officer, for helping an illegal immigrant (and criminal) elude arrest by the ICE. The story is here. It looks like the judge is going to trial.
U.S. District Judge Leo Sorokin has now denied the judge’s lawyers’ motions to dismiss in a July ruling. “After careful consideration, the motions to dismiss are DENIED because the Indictment alleges the elements of the offenses and sufficient supporting factual detail,” he wrote . Joseph’s attorneys are claiming was that she is protected by judicial immunity, though that should only apply to actions a judge engages in under judicial authority and in the course of her duties. Instructing a court employee to help an illegal immigrant evade being taken into custody by ICE agents after his hearing on criminal charges, including drug possession, is not known as “being a judge.” It is known as “obstructing justice.” Even if the judge avoids punishment, her days as a judge are over.
2. What’s this? MORE good news? I have been looking for cracks in the monolithic mainstream media, with defections by individuals in the midst of the journalism’s abandonment of its duties to democracy in favor of news manipulation and partisanship. Less than a month ago, New York Timed editor Bari Weiss called out the oppressive culture of partisanship and conformity at the her paper, earning her Ethics Hero status.
Last month MSNBC producer Ariana Pekary quit the network, arguably the most unethical of all the broadcast news outlets, and yesterday she published a blog post explaining why. “I simply couldn’t stay there anymore.” She wrote:
“My colleagues are very smart people with good intentions. The problem is the job itself. It forces skilled journalists to make bad decisions on a daily basis….It’s possible that I’m more sensitive to the editorial process due to my background in public radio, where no decision I ever witnessed was predicated on how a topic or guest would ‘rate,’ The longer I was at MSNBC, the more I saw such choices — it’s practically baked in to the editorial process – and those decisions affect news content every day. Likewise, it’s taboo to discuss how the ratings scheme distorts content, or it’s simply taken for granted, because everyone in the commercial broadcast news industry is doing the exact same thing. But behind closed doors, industry leaders will admit the damage that’s being done…I understand that the journalistic process is largely subjective and any group of individuals may justify a different set of priorities on any given day. Therefore, it’s particularly notable to me, for one, that nearly every rundown at the network basically is the same, hour after hour. And two, they use this subjective nature of the news to justify economically beneficial decisions. I’ve even heard producers deny their role as journalists. A very capable senior producer once said: “Our viewers don’t really consider us the news. They come to us for comfort.”
She claims to want to be part of a solution to this dire situation. We shall see. I reached out to her in an email yesterday, offering my guidance and expertise, gratis of course.
3. On the theory that transparency is good news, it was nice to see Democratic Rep. Karen Bass, supposedly one of the top contenders to be Joe Biden’s running mate, demonstrate how dim-witted she is and unqualified to be President, though at this point even she could probably beat poor Joe Biden in a spelling bee. Over and over, on several Sunday news shows, she repeated her previous explanation for praising Fidel Castro , telling Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press,” for example, regarding calling the brutal dictator’s death a “great loss to the people of Cuba,” that she “wouldn’t do that again. Talked immediately to my colleagues from Florida and realized that that was something that just shouldn’t have been said.”
Astounding. She wouldn’t say that what she said was wrong, outrageous for a member of Congress and demonstrated inexcusable ignorance, but that she should have kept the opinion to herself. Todd, of course, being one of the worst hacks in captivity, didn’t bother to press her on the point for the benefit of members of his audience who can’t recognize signature significance when it’s right in front of them.
Biden, or whoever his ventriloquist is, is officially trapped in ethics zugzwang. The only reason Bass is even being considered is that Biden has to select a black (George Floyd!) woman (#MeToo!) as his VP, and all of his remaining options are horrible by any objective standard. This will be a flaming lesson in the foolishness of placing physical characteristics over ability, experience and character, a perfect example of why affirmative action doesn’t work and will never work. Bass is a light-weight, but Biden’s two other options are Kamala Harris ( whose ugly Ethics Alarms dossier is here), and <ack! choke! yecch! barf! gag!> the even more horrible Susan Rice, Barack Obama’s ethics-free acolyte. Her dossier is here. She would be the most sinister Vice-President candidate since Aaron Burr.
I have to poll this: Who is Joe’s best choice among this unethical trio?
I’m not going to allow “None of the above,” because I don’t think he has that option, or at least doesn’t have the integrity to insist on choosing a qualified candidate who has the wrong tint or chromosomes.
4. Finally, to end on a downer, the Unethical Non-Trump Tweet of the week. Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac was the only NBA player not to kneel during the National Anthem, and also refused to wear a “Black Lives Matter” warm-up like the rest of his teammates. In Sunday’s game, he tore his ACL, a season-ending and career threatening injury. ESPN radio host Dan Le Batard then ran a poll on Twitter asking, “Is it funny the guy who refused to kneel immediately blew out his knee?”
When the poll was pulled, about 45% of respondents said that it was funny, which tells you all you need to know about NBA fans and Black Lives Matter supporters—the genuine kind, not the grovelers. Le Batard issued a phony apology, Level 10 on the Apology Scale.
“We apologize for this poll question,” he wrote. “I said on the front and back end of the on-air conversation that I didn’t think it was funny. Regardless of the context, we missed the mark. We took the tweet down when we realized our mistake in how we posed the question to the audience.”
Lies and more lies. They took the tweet down when it was clear they were getting slammed for it. If he didn’t think a young athlete getting injured was funny because he dared to oppose the BLM mob, why would he think anyone else would? When is someone getting hurt who has done nothing wrong and who did not do something foolish to cause the injury ever funny?
2. Schadenfreude Alert! Seattle radio host Paul Gallant mocked President Donald Trump last month for suggesting Seattle’s riots were violent. Then, last night, the “mostly peaceful” demonstrations got his Starbucks. HIS STARBUCKS!!!
“I feel like I need to buy a firearm, because clearly this is going to keep happening. Enough is enough,” Gallant he added.
It was enough a long time ago, you pathetic jerk.
3. Boy, when you can’t even trust the sports reporters…ESPN tweeted a video over the weekend of players from the WNBA’s New York Liberty and the Seattle Storm leaving the court, and wrote, “As the national anthem was played, the @nyliberty and @seattlestorm walked off the floor as part of the social justice initiative.” For this display, the women were roundly criticized.
Then ESPN tweeted “Correction: Players left the court before the national anthem was played, not during.” That’s what I call a material mistake.
Nevertheless, at last checking, the original misleading tweet is still up.
4. This is presumably justifiable because all cops in New Jersey are racists, as proven by the fact that a non-racist cop in Minneapolis killed a black man. Kevin Trejo, 21, of Westwood, New Jersey has been arrested for spitting into the coffee of a police officer at Starbucks. Police have evidence that Trejo had done this repeatedly with officers. Trejo claims to have only done it just once. Oh! Well that’s OK, then!
Question 1: Is this a violent offense?
Question 2: Why would any police officer chance ordering a beverage at Starbucks? Continue reading →
1. When late is worse than never. Reports say that the Washington Redskins will officially announce that they are changing their name, to what nobody knows, not even them. The team’s obnoxious owner, Dan Snyder, who has run the once cultishly popular and successful NFL franchise into the ground during his incompetent stewardship, had memorably said that he would never change the controversial team name, unquestionably the most politically incorrect in all of sports. That pledge did not anticipate his league going nuts and supine before the George Floyd Freakout, to the point that there may be mandatory kneeling by the time the 2020 season opens.
The attack on the Redskins name was always about power, as has been the decades-long assault on all team nicknames with ethnic references. Survey after survey has shown that the vast majority of Native Americans don’t care; the idea is to bring corporate interests to heel, and then aim at the next, more substantive objective. The competent way for a team to handle this problem is to quietly retire a problematic name like “Redskins” (or a anachronistically provocative logo like the Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo) when the heat is off, making it clear that the change is volitional and not compelled. Then the social justice mob members can’t puff out their little pigeon chests with pride and think “I did this! What’s the next target?”
I don’t care what the D.C. team’s name is. I do care about dishonest and illogical arguments, which is what have been mounted against this name for as long as I can remember. That’s why the Redskins and related matters have so often been a topic here.
I did laugh yesterday when I read a comment predicting that Snyder would announce that the new name would be “the Washington Murderous Savages”… Continue reading →
(I decided that on a Sunday morning you need a break from the “Madness! Madness!” clip, since I could justify including that one with almost every post of late.)
The Mike Gundy “scandal” at Oklahama State—he’s the football coach who is paid more than any professor—anwers the question of whether there’s a weird variation on “The Naked Teacher Principle” called “The White Big Time College Football Coach Who Wears a T-Shirt With The Name of a Conservative TV Channel Principle.” The answer appears to be “There is, but there shouldn’t be.”
This Bizarro World plot started unfolding a couple of weeks ago. I apology for missing it. I think college football is an ethical blot on higher education; I was happily unaware of what OAN stood for (One America Network), and I pay no attention to the words on T-shirts, including my own. This, however, as the George Floyd Freakout and The Great Grovel go, was epic.
I all began when someone posted this picture of Oklahoma State’s football head coach Mike Gundy (That’s the coach on the right) during a fishing outing with his sons.
Gundy was wearing the dreaded OAN T-shirt. Nobody knows how long he wore it or why: some days I end up donning a particular T-shirt on it happened to be the easiest one to pick up off the floor. OAN, in case you’re as out of touch as I am, is a Fox News competitor for the conservative-tilted news market. It has been an enthusiastic promoter of President Trump, so naturally he likes it, he really likes it! Some of the network’s talking heads have also been critical of Black Lives Matter, especially lately.
Thus it was that when Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard, an African-American the Heisman Trophy contender, who was the nation’s leading rusher last season, saw that photo on social media, he retweeted it with an exclamation of outrage: