Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 7/17/17 [UPDATED]

Good morning, everyone!

1. President Trump is upset about an ABC-Washington Post poll that among other things indicates that 70% of those polled believe that he has acted “un-Presidential” since being elected. Several analysts have suggested that pollsters have slanted their polling pools toward Democrats (remember the election?), but my question regarding this poll is, “What the hell is the matter with the other 30%?”

How in the world could anyone conscious argue that Trump is “Presidential,” other than on the rather technical basis that since he’s President, what he does is by definition Presidential? It would be mighty nice if an aide, a Cabinet member, a daughter, a White House chef or someone would explain this to him, but I’m convinced: he doesn’t get it, he won’t get it, and what weve  seen is what we’ll continue to get.

2. ALERT! The forgoing was written after I was fooled by a fake news site, aided and abetted by Instapundit, which either was also fooled or linked to the site as its own joke.  Thanks to reader Tom Adams for being  more alert than I was and quickly flagging this.

And by the way, screw them. I’m taking off the link, and I will probably give the site an Unethical Website designation. The only hint that the site is a hoax site is the other stories (“GOP Adopts Christie’s Sad, Bewildered Face As New Party Mascot”), but I read dozens of stories every day, and if i stopped to check all the other boxed and highlighted pieces I would never have time to do my job. There is nothing on the home page designating the site as satirical. Unethical.

I apologize to anyone I led astray. Somebody alert Instapundit. I’m not speaking to it.  Here was the original post…

That said and mournfully accepted, he won, he’s President, and the fevered efforts to somehow turn back time (I would not be surprised to see a new Bon Jovi Direct TV ad on the subject)  by “the resistance,” the Democrats and the news media are profoundly anti-democratic. This is what Jake Tapper was alluding last week with his tongue stuck so firmly in his cheek that it almost broke through his face. “The conspiracy goes much deeper than anyone expected,” Jake Tapper said on his news segment “The Lead.” “We’re talking tens of millions of people involved in this secret plot to make sure Hillary didn’t make it into the White House and to prop up Donald Trump as the winner….It’s far more sinister than we thought.”

Yes, some conservative websites and others took Tapper’s pointed gag seriously. This tells us…

…how little trust CNN has left with many Americans..

…how dumb a lot of conservatives are…

…why broadcast news hosts and reporters, even fair and clever ones like Tapper, should avoid sarcasm, satire, or facetious statements, and stick to the facts.

…Jake Tapper should get away from CNN before its toxic culture ruins his reputation. Continue reading

Unethical Website Of The Month: AWD News

My best guess: "AWD" stands for "Assholes Wanting Destruction."

My best guess: “AWD” stands for “Assholes Wanting Destruction.”

You might think that AWD News gets this coveted Ethics Alarms Honor by having one of its hoax news stories prompted a threat of nuclear retaliation against Israel by Pakistan’s Defense Minister.

You would be wrong. That embarrassing response from a Pakistan official with a penchant for saber rattling is just moral luck. The story that “The former Israeli Defence Minister has threatened to “destroy” Pakistan-after Pakistan said on Thursday it will send Sunni fighters to Syria” was a hoax, and since no other news source was reporting it, the fact that Pakistan’s defense minister, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, allowed his confirmation bias to take over his brain, and leaped to the assumption that it was accurate just shows that Pakistan has an irresponsible fool in a key government position.

Imagine that. Continue reading

Unethical Website Of The Month: NBCPolitics.Org

This may be the editor of this web site. The evidence points that way...

This may be the editor of this web site. The evidence points that way…

NBCPolitics.org is a special variety of fake site. Its stories appear to be genuine—but since the site is unethical and a lie, you can’t assume every one is—and it does not appear to be attempting satire or to fool mainstream news sources. To be frank, I don’t know what the hell the site’s operators think they are doing.

Nonetheless, it is a fake site, an unethical one, and especially nasty. It is, to start with, stealing NBC’s logo and name, as well as the new stories it posts, which come from other sources, at least until the site posts its own fake story with the real ones. Don’t put it past them. You cannot trust a fake site.

NBCPolitics.Org is also written by illiterate morons. Here is a description of the site from one of the links:

This is a representing website for nbcnews.com only posting about politics from and outside the United States.All the article are used from big websites based on politics.Source information is included in every post.

Unless NBC has declined even beyond what watching MSNBC would have one believe, this is a smoking gun. So is the “About” page: Continue reading

Unethical Website Of The Month: News 4 KTLA

NOT breaking news; web hoaxes like this are the scourge of the web...

NOT breaking news: Web hoaxes like this are the scourge of the web…

Yet another despicable news hoax site—they are all despicable—News 4 KTLA crossed into especially vile territory with this headline yesterday:

Massive Bumble Bee Recall After 2 Employees Admit Cooking A Man And Mixing Him With A Batch Of Tuna

First, the headline even doesn’t match the story under it, which mentions nothing about  “mixing” human remains with tuna, or a recall. The story, a little checking reveals, is based on an genuine tragedy, company employee José Melena’s accidental death in October 2012. His remains were not “mixed with a batch of tuna,” however, and has absolutely nothing to do with the Bumble Bee tuna recall announced this month.

So let’s see…these lying, irresponsible low-life pranksters,

  • … think its hilarious to turn a man’s tragic death into a hoax for their own juvenile amusement,
  • …risk doing gratuitous and malicious tangible financial and reputation damage to a food company, endangering investments and jobs, and
  • …induce gullible, trusting social media users to spread these “humorous” lies and become unwitting accessories to the hoaxers’ irresponsible act of misinformation and web pollution.

I’ve searched: News 4 KTLA has no disclaimers to warn readers that it’s a fake news site, and even includes real stories to make sure as many people are deceived as possible. Snopes was on this one lightning fast—bravo.

Every time I flag one of these miserable websites, someone writes in that I have no sense of humor and it was obviously just a harmless joke that only gullible fools fell for, and they had it coming. New policy: I’m going to just ban those commenters from now on. They are responsible for encouraging scum like the jerks behind The News Nerd, this site and the rest. They don’t belong on an ethics site, and are not welcome here.