Tag Archives: fearmongering
I know. I could spend all of my time on Ethics Alarms finding absurd pieces of biased punditry and fisking the hell out of them. It’s amazing how many incompetently argued and badly reasoned pieces get published on the web, and how often their awfulness is rendered at the expense of basic ethical principles. I’m trying to cut down on fisking excercises, but now and then a column turns up that exemplifies a broader phenomenon. This column by Jennifer Finney Boylan, a professor of English at Barnard College, was deemed worthy of publication in the New York Times op-ed page. It is called, despicably, but increasingly Times columns are headlines as flat-out ad hominem insults to the President, “Trump, the Monster Who Feeds on Fear.”
I read the column, which compares the President of the United States to a list of horror novel and movie monsters and villains, to see what the well-reasoned (well, at least it should be well-reasoned) and factually supported argument would be to justify such a hateful headline. There is literally neither. Read it: you’ll see. These are nothing but general and unsupported assertions. I don’t let comments on Ethics Alarms get out of moderation when they are like this. “Trump is an idiot,” “You’re wrong,” “Obama was a great President,” “Trump colluded with Russia”—DING…DING…DING…DING. That kind of comment won’t make the cut, not without a substantive argument, not without some facts. Yet the New York Times deems Boylan’s fact-free attack on the President worthy of publication.
The piece is one more example of the Big Lie methodology that the Left has not just embraced of late, but is having sexual relations with. Just stating an assertion is enough. State it often enough, and people believe it. Continue reading
Saturday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/13/18: The Mob, Bizarro World, Mid-Air Pedicures, And Robert E. Lee [UPDATED!]
1. Things fearmongers say...A Facebook friend, smart, a lawyer, good guy, wrote this: “The confirmation of Judge Kavanaugh will go down as one of the darkest days of the American experiment.” He really wrote that, and an astounding number of the Facebook leftist echo chamber “liked” the statement. Apparently Kavanaugh is going to resuscitate the Dred Scott decision, Korematsu v. United States, child labor and end women’s suffrage. He’s going to engineer from the Supreme Court chambers the equivalent of the American Civil War, or Pearl Harbor. Right. If Kavanaugh turned out to be a stealth combination of Jack the Ripper, the Marquis de Sade and Dr. Fu Manchu his confirmation couldn’t possibly rank in the top hundred “darkest days.”
That kind of rhetoric is hysterical and irresponsible, an abuse of free speech designed to make gullible and intellectually lazy people irrational and ignorant.
2. “Stop making me defend Donald Trump…AND Robert E. Lee!” Last night, as President Trump was speaking in front of a rally, NBC News tweeted out,
WATCH: President Trump says “Robert E. Lee was a great general” during Ohio rally, calling the Confederate leader “incredible.”
A few points to note on this: How is that observation and opinion news by any definition of the word? Lee was regarded as a “great general” well before the Civil War: that’s why Lincoln offered him the command of the Union army when the war started. There are many, many books written by military experts that express and justify that assessment. Ghengis Khan was also a really great general, along with Julius Caesar and Curtis LeMay. This is a rare variety of fake news, joining more common varieties that have become routine of late like potential news, future news and psychic news,called past news, a new oxymoron. As for “incredible,” this, everyone conscious should know by know, is generic Trump-speak like “great,” “tremendous,” and “sad.” Who knows what it means here? It doesn’t mean Lee was an incredible human being, or at least there’s nothing in the context of NBC’s tweet that suggests that. He had an incredibly good beard for that period, at least compared to say, Longstreet, who looked like a member of ZZ Top. He was incredibly conflicted over which side to fight for. He had incredible guts.
Incredibly, though not really, because the mainstream news media has established that there are no depths to which it will not stoop in its unethical bias and incompetence, NBC tweeted that to bolster the long-running false narrative that President Trump is a racist, which he must be to extol Robert E. Lee, the object of a particularly vile historical airbrushing and statue-toppling movement, a part of the Left’s Orwellian indoctrination and mind control effort as it slowly but surely embraces totalitarianism.
But if one actually knows the context of Trumps’ remarks, he was not praising Lee, though there is no reason why he shouldn’t, but making the point that despite Lee’s credentials and reputation, it was unheralded Ulysses Grant, denigrated as a joke when the war started, who defeated Lee. Trump was, as he usually does, talking about himself, and NBC’s tweet was intentionally misleading, and just more pandering to Trump-haters, attempting to further divide the country.
3. Floss! Floss! One of the very first posts on Ethics Alarms was about the ethics of people flossing their teeth in public. Having read this story, about a woman who began giving herself a pedicure during an airplane flight, I hereby officially proclaim that the conclusion in that post applies:
Manners and public etiquette are always evolving, and society determines what it will and will not endure. The passive, “mind your own business” theory always espoused by the least respectful, rudest and least considerate among us is a prescription for an endless deterioration in the quality of public life, and a greased slide into culturally-endorsed bad conduct. Every citizen has an obligation to his and her community to confront conduct that he or she feels does not belong in public, confront the offender, and support others who do so. Doing otherwise is not “minding one’s business,” but endorsing and entrenching bad conduct, abdicating the public duty of cultural preservation.
Oh, NOW I Get It! People Are Furious At The Kavanaugh Confirmation Because They Believe Divisive Fear-Mongers And Partisan Liars Like David Leonhardt! [Part II]
5. “publicly sought“; Lower and lower: Trump needled Hillary about her missing e-mails, and facetiously suggested that Russia should hack them so we could find out what was in them. This has been a disgraceful trope in the Trump-Russia conspiracy theories, and citing it identifies the writer or speaker as an untrustworthy hack.
6. “When national security officials raised alarm with Congress, before Election Day, leaders of the candidate’s party refused to act.”
It is nice that the columnist supplies the news links so we can read what he is falsely characterizing. This is a good example: a typically slanted post by anti-Trump Fury Jennifer Rubin blaming Mitch McConnell for not agreeing to sign “a bipartisan statement of condemnation.” If there is anyone who thinks that the Obama administration was prevented in any way from taking measures to protect the election from the Russians because McConnell wouldn’t sign a statement, raise your hand. It’s like the old telephone game: Rubin makes a highly dubious claim, and Leonhardt cites it to mean something more dubious still.
7. “The foreign assistance appears to have been crucial to the candidate’s narrow victory.” Appears to whom? There is absolutely no evidence that Russians played a crucial or even significant role in Trump’s upset. This is now Democrat cant, and wonderful example of bootstrapping: obviously Hillary’s loss proves the case, because they are sure that she shouldn’t have lost.
8. “He won with only 46.1 percent of the popular vote, less than 16 losing candidates over the years had, including Mitt Romney, John Kerry, Williams Jennings Bryan and the little-remembered Horatio Seymour.” Yes, the Left is still complaining about the Constitutional rules of the system that all parties have played by from the beginning, and which has worked out extraordinarily well. What is Leonhardt trying to say? Apparently that Trump isn’t legitimate, so everyone should be angry that they are being governed by an evil pretender.
Psst! Idiot!! 46.1 % is also more than some prominent Presidential winners, like Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and Bill Clinton (twice), as well as some not so prominent, like John Quincy Adams and James Buchanan In other words, the statistic is cherry-picked trivia, and proves nothing whatsoever.
9. Sigh. The Supreme Court seat was not “stolen,” which falsely implies something illegal. The GOP was within its legal rights not to allow Obama’s nomination come to the Senate floor. The plan was unethical, unfair and a ridiculous gamble that easily could have backfired, but “stolen” is a falsehood.
10. ” A brutal, partisan process that was made into the norm by Democrats during the Bork and Thomas hearings, and sent plummeting to new lows by the outrageous conduct of, again, Democrats, this time.” There, I fixed it for you, Leonhardt. Continue reading
Oh, NOW I Get It! People Are Furious At The Kavanaugh Confirmation Because They Believe Divisive Fear-Mongers And Partisan Liars Like David Leonhardt! [Part I]
I know: I could spend all my time debunking unethical columns like Times pundit David Leonhardt’s piece a few days ago. However, since I noted in the previous post that I was puzzled by the fury of so many people regarding what was, in any objective assessment, a fair and competent—and, thank god, successful—effort by Republicans to prevent Democrats from shredding basic principles of justice and fairness in their desperate effort to preserve a favorable ideological balance on the Supreme Court as if they were entitled to it (They weren’t, because elections have consequences), I am obligated to inform the assembled that my puzzlement was cleared by his screed.
There are pundits like Leonhardt who are actively trying to foment fury and division, they are using false narratives, deceit and lies to do it, and newspapers like the Times and news networks like CNN and MSNBC are actively promoting the effort. I won’t waste my time and yours on the whole column, fun as it would be, but just this section:
If you’re not angry yet, you should be.
Let’s review: Decades ago, a businessman built a fortune thanks in large measure to financial fraud. His corrupt gains helped him become famous. He then launched a political career by repeatedly telling a racist lie, about the first black president secretly being an African.
This lie created an audience in right-wing media that made possible a presidential campaign. During that campaign, the candidate eagerly accepted — indeed, publicly sought — the illegal assistance of a foreign enemy. When national security officials raised alarm with Congress, before Election Day, leaders of the candidate’s party refused to act.
The foreign assistance appears to have been crucial to the candidate’s narrow victory. He won with only 46.1 percent of the popular vote, less than 16 losing candidates over the years had, including Mitt Romney, John Kerry, Williams Jennings Bryan and the little-remembered Horatio Seymour.
Having won, the new president filled a Supreme Court seat that his party had stolen with an unprecedented power grab. This weekend, the president finished filling a second seat, through a brutal, partisan process. During it, the president, himself an admitted sexual molester, mocked victims of abuse.
Together, the two new justices have cemented an extremist Republican majority on the Supreme Court. It has already begun acting as a kind of super-legislature, throwing out laws on voting rights, worker rights, consumer rights and political influence buying. Now, the court is poised to do much more to benefit the wealthy and powerful at the expense of most Americans — and the planet.
This is not how democracy is supposed to work.
That’s right: democracy doesn’t work when journalists are complicit in fomenting public division and violence to advance a political agenda. Continue reading
Morning Ethics Warm-Up, April 9, 2018: Experiment Results, Flowering Trees From Hell, And Ominous Signs From The Left..
…Mrs. Calabash, wherever you are…
1. Apologies for a lost Sunday. I was never able to get back to my computer yesterday. The combination of my responsibilities to the Georgetown Gilbert & Sullivan Society as it celebrated its 46th year of operation against daunting odds, some pressing client matters and important family matters just overwhelmed my schedule, plus I was wiped out by the early evening. Of course, based on the blog’s traffic this month and the continuing ethics rot, I console my self in the message of the most famous song from “Ruddigore,” GG&SS’s student production for the anniversary…especially the final line…
“This particularly rapid unintelligible patter isn’t generally heard, and if it is, it doesn’t matter.”
Ethics commentary in a nutshell.
2. However: The regulars came through in a pinch. The free swim produced at least four Comment of the Day quality posts, including a history of the Gettysburg address. Thanks everybody. The experiment was a ringing success, and I will have more open forums in the future.
3. This kind of thing is why I have a hard time taking environmentalist doom-saying seriously. We planted Bradford Pear trees, which are now blooming beautifully as is their wont, in front of our house almost 20 years ago. They have their downsides, to be sure, and you have to trim them back or they are likely to split or fall over. However, here is an environmentalist claiming that they are trees from hell, and who writes in part: Continue reading