Tag Archives: fake news

Ethics Quiz On A Story I’m Betting Is A Hoax: The “Identical Twins” Married Couple

I have now read three accounts in borderline news sources about a Mississippi married couple who went to a fertility clinic and discovered to their horror that they were “identical twins.” I’m assuming it is a fake news story, perhaps planted through collusion with the Trump campaign by Russian government operatives, and not just because identical twins cannot be different sexes. (Hey! Maybe one of them had  gender reassignment surgery! Now that would be a story!)

I suppose it’s possible; Robert Ripley found odder coincidences for decades, but never mind: let’s assume for the sake of ethics problem-solving practice that the story is true. (I’ll be stunned if it is.)

Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day is…

What is the couple’s most ethical course now that they know they are siblings, or is there one?

Key question: Is this ick rather than ethics?

Trap: I’m not asking what’s moral.

It’s all yours…

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Filed under Bioethics, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Family, Gender and Sex, Health and Medicine, Law & Law Enforcement, Quizzes

The Washington Post’s Very Bad, Very Revealing Day: How Often Does This Have To Happen Before Journalists Decide Their Bias Is Making Them Stupid…And Untrustworthy?

Yesterday, the Washington Post, one of the three alleged standard-bearers of U.S. print journalism, published gossip and lies as news, got caught and humiliated..twice!.., and again illustrated vividly why the distinction between hoax stories, what the mainstream media condemns as “fake news,'” and their own false reporting due to incompetence and bias, is illusory.

First, the Post published a weird and alarming story about how Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was behaving like a sultan and ordering subordinates to lower their gaze in his presence:

“Many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact”

This, of course, sparked widespread ridicule by the Left’s bloggers, commentators, journalists and other tweeters, despite the fact that no sources were named to back up the claim. We have here an example of confirmation bias at its most foolish,  on the part of the reporter, the editor, the paper, and the eager partisan bigots who think businessmen are monsters and the Trump administration is made up of freaks and creeps.  The Huffington Post happily published a collection of celebrities, politicians and random social media users reacting to the  story, including Democratic Congressman Ted Lieu , who said he found the article “disturbing.”

So do I. I find it disturbing that the Post, like the New York Times, cannot be trusted to check out inflammatory slurs against public official before declaring them facts. Note that the quote says the diplomats SAY they have not met him, but that some HAVE been instructed not to make eye contact. The Post stated what sounds like obvious holdover-staff rumor-mongering and sabotage as truth, opening the door for widespread contempt and disrespect of the Secretary of State without justification. Yes, that’s disturbing.

It was fake news. I didn’t believe it. I assumed this was the Post’s anti-Trump bias once again seeping into its deteriorating organizational brain. To his credit, Associated Press reporter Mike Lee immediately called foul, B.S., and fake news. Lee said that he had heard the allegation about employees being forced to avert their gaze in the presence of the Secretary of State two weeks before the Post’s story was published, and after checking into the claim,  determined that it was a rumor without basis.

“It’s compelling gossip. I have looked him  in the eyes and not turned to stone. At least not yet…This is not true and people repeating it are making it more difficult to address very real issues.”

When challenged to back up his statement that the story was false, Lee replied,

“Because I have covered State since 1999. Because I know people who didn’t start in 2009 [that is, Obama era partisans].”

Can anyone defend this Post sliming as anything but biased hackery?

But wait, there’s more! Continue reading

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Religion and Philosophy

Portrait Of A Really, Really Stupid Ethics Train Wreck

This is the incredibly ridiculous United Airlines/dress code/ leggings story. I don’t want to write about it: there are no good guys, lots of miscreants, and I have a well-earned bias against United already.

Fortunately, the travel site One Mile At A Time did a thorough and ethically astute analysis, here, ending like this:

I see non-revenue passengers asked to follow different rules nearly every time I fly — you probably do too. Nothing about two non-revs being asked to change clothes and/or take a later flight is shocking or newsworthy or even interesting to anyone with an ounce of perspective.

Exactly: not even interesting. So how did this become a hot story on cable news and social media? Well..

1.  Two employees of United didn’t follow company policy regarding proper dress when they fly free. They were Wrong.

2. A family behind the two employees in line and who didn’t understand what was happening leaped to conclusions, and made their daughter change what she was wearing too, completely unnecessarily. They were Wrong.

3. A prominent  publicity-seeking social justice warrior, Shannon Watts, was an observer of all this, and began furiously tweeting, misrepresenting what was going on, and claimed that United was engaged in sexist and discriminatory conduct, when it was not.  She was Wrong.

4. United’s Twitter team responded by referencing the §21 of the company’s Contract of Carriage, stating that passengers can be denied boarding for being “barefoot or not properly clothed”. This was confusing, since that provision had nothing to do with why the two non-revenue passengers were told to change. Typical of the crack United staff, however. Incompetent. Also Wrong. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Social Media

How To Rehabilitate An Ethics Corrupter

I guess most people no longer even notice this kind of thing, but it drives me crazy, and will continue to until I am, in fact, crazy.

There is no doubt: Donna Brazile is an ethics corrupter. With the complicity of mainstream media elite and her cocktail party pals, she has for years been falsely represented to audiences on various public affairs shows and “round tables” as an honest and trustworthy political analyst, when in fact she is a paid operative of the Democratic Party. This has been true since she was the campaign manager for Al Gore’s failed Presidential bid. It is deception every time she is introduced on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” as anything else but a paid agent of the Democratic party. Since her opinion isn’t merely biased but paid for, presenting her as an authority or a pundit is misrepresentation, and intentionally so.

During the last campaign, Brazile revealed her character by using a position with CNN (that never should have been offered, given her known loyalties) to help Hillary Clinton cheat in a town hall and a debate against Bernie Sanders. She cheated. Her cheating was revealed in the e-mails hacked on John Podesta’s e-mail account, but Brazile lied about it when confronted with the evidence, implying that the e-mails were fabricated. Later, after that deception flopped spectacularly, she said that she was “proud” of cheating for Clinton, and regretted nothing.

To sum up, we know, and the media knows, that Donna Brazile is a corrupt partisan, who is eager to misrepresent herself and reality, and cheat when necessary to win for her clients. She should never be presented as an independent, objective, honest or trustworthy commentator or authority. Never. Her presence stands for the unethical propositions that the ends justify the means, and that the Left must prevail even if doing so requires cheating and lies.

Ah, but Donna is one of the gang in Washington, good people, don’t you know, so her journalist pals and the news media are working hard to make Donna acceptable again. Thus I see this headline at “The Hill”:

Brazile: Sending Clinton town hall topics ‘mistake I will forever regret’

Drudge takes the hand-off, and links to the story like this..

DONNA SEEKS REDEMPTION: REGRETS LEAKED QUESTION…

ABC, next to CNN the network that has most shamelessly passed off Brazile as trustworthy commentator, headlined the story,

Donna Brazile: Passing debate questions to Clinton camp ‘a mistake I will forever regret’

FACT: Donna Brazile has never said, implied or stated that she regrets cheating on Clinton’s behalf. Never. Yet these are the headlines of stories that desperately attempted to convince the public that the opposite is the case.

Continue reading

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Character, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

You Want Smoking Gun Proof That The Mainstream News Media Is Promoting Illegal Immigration And Intentionally Deceiving The Public To do It? Here It Is!

Observe. The headline above was the one first published by the Washington Post. Note the absence of the word “Illegal” before “immigrants.” The fact is that immigrants have nothing to fear about using food stamps. The headline is fake news–it’s false. It is literally untrue. (The story does suggest that some legal immigrants may be avoiding food stamps out of ignorance, but no evidence is presented to show it.)

That’s not the only thing wrong with the headline, and the story beneath it. This is more “poor, abused illegal immigrant” propaganda. How terrible it is that people living in this country illegally after breaching our borders and immigration laws have to fear being held accountable for living in this country illegally after breaching our borders and immigration laws! The outrage!

A nation of laws enforces its laws.  Not enforcing them so as to encourage law breaking is the real outrage.

The Washington Post wasn’t troubled by any of that, though. What caused the paper to change the headline was that highlighting the use of taxpayer funds to pay for food stamps to benefit people who have no right to be in the U.S. might, you know, sort of undermine the intended message of the article, which is to create sympathy for illegal immigrants while seeding opposition to the Trump administration.  Can’t have that. So the headline was changed to this… Continue reading

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

“The Good Immigrant” III, or Fake News? The Incredible Sobbing 13-Year Old

A 13-Year-Old Girl Sobbed While Recording Her Immigrant Father Get Arrested By ICE Agent  is the headline at Buzzfeed. Wait, teenage girls weeping is news now? Was she the only teen sobbing this week? How is this news, by any standard?

Of course, it’s headline worthy if the objective is to provoke an emotional reaction rather than to inform the public objectively. In fact, nothing about the story is newsworthy, except as pr0-illegal immigration, anti-law enforcement, anti-President Trump propaganda and hate-mongering. Illegal immigrant and scofflaw Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez had dropped his daughter off at a Los Angeles school, and six blocks from the school his car was surrounded by immigration enforcement agents who took him into custody, just as law enforcement takes law-breakers into custody every hour of every day of the week.  Gonzalez had a 2014 deportation order against him issued by an immigration judge, and violated it every day he spent in the U.S., masquerading as a law-abiding citizen, since then.  He also had a 2009 DUI conviction. This wasn’t even a close call.

I’m pretty sure the children of gang members, drug dealers, muggers and serial killers also sob when daddy is taken away, and while I feel sorry for the children,  it doesn’t make me want to let their fathers go free, it doesn’t mean we should change the laws, and it isn’t news. 

ICE said Avelica-Gonzalez is scheduled to be deported to Mexico, where he was supposed to have returned three years ago. This isn’t cruel, this isn’t unfair, this shouldn’t be a surprise.

Brenda Avelica, a different daughter from the one heard sobbing on the viral video of her father’s arrest—YES! It really happened! The girl SOBBED! Film at 11!— said that her father has been in the US for 20 years and has four children, two of them adults.

So?

“It’s really hard what we’re going through,” Avelica told reporters. “I never thought we’d actually go through something like this. It’s terrible to feel and see your family being broken apart.”

Let me fix that for her. It’s terrible to finally have the law catch up to you when you are guilty as hell. The James brothers said that, I think. Maybe it was Bonny and Clyde. Or Bernie Maddoff. ICE agents are not the bad guys here. The elected officials, activists, and journalists who want us to think that, however, are. Very bad. Continue reading

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Childhood and children, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Rights, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

Breaking Ethics Thoughts: The White House Bars The NYT And Others From Its Press Briefing

accessdeniedWASHINGTON (CBS SF/AP) — The Trump administration ramped up its war against the press Friday, blocking several major outlets from a scheduled White House press briefing.The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, CNN and Politico were among the news organizations excluded from the meeting, reportedly an untelevised gathering with the press instead of the usual on-camera briefing with White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.

I am not aware of the specific reasons for the action, but:

1.  I read the New York Times daily. It is routinely making every effort to present the actions of the Trump Administration in a negative light, often engaging in outright deceit to do it. It is behaving, as it has for years, as a Democratic Party organ.

2. CNN simply teems with anti-Trump hostility, in the tone of panel discussions, in the framing of the news, in the sneers and body language of its talking heads. This is not ethical journalism.

3. Politico is left-biased, but I haven’t followed it closely. The LA Times has conditions for use that I can’t meet. I’m not sure how biased they have been.

4. There is nothing per se unethical about a Presidential administration deciding that a news source it considers untrustworthy, unreliable and allied with groups that want to literally bring it down should be treated accordingly. Competent, unbiased, fair and ethical journalism is not an excessive requirement.

5. The response to Trump’s very clear warning to the news media last week was, “You can’t stop us, and we will be as hateful as we please.” This is his response to that. Hubris has its consequences. After MSNBC’s “Morning Joe’s” co-host Mika Brzezinski ‘s comment this week, some attitude adjustment seems to be mandatory. She said of the President,

“He is trying to undermine the media and trying to make up his own facts. And it could be that while unemployment and the economy worsens, he could have undermined the messaging so much that he can actually control exactly what people think. And that, that is our job.”

No, Mika, actually leaders always  lead, which always means trying to persuade the public.  That is their job. You job is to keep the public informed without telling them what to think, since as this statement proves, you don’t think all that well. At all.

6.  I am surprised that the Washington Post wasn’t shut out as well, especially after a slime job like this story.

7. Would I recommend this action by Trump? No. But it is a defensible response to a real threat to his ability to govern, and an informed democracy. It may not be a responsible or prudent response.

8. The best response would be for journalists to start doing their real job, and report the news fairly and competently without aligning themselves with political agendas.

____________________________

Pointer: Zoltar Speaks!

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Filed under Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Professions, Rights, U.S. Society