How To Get Fired And Deserve It, By Washington Post Writer Fredrick Kunkle

I’m sure some will consider Washington Post writer  Fredrick Kunkle some kind of a hero, a whistleblower and a truth-teller. He isn’t.

Kunkle authored a frontal attack on his boss, Post owner and Amazon gazillionaire Jeff Bezos, in another publication, the Huffington Post. He doesn’t allege any illegal activity or genuine abuse. he just doesn’t like the way Bezos runs his business. His screed, and it is a screed, comes down to a labor vs management, anti-capitalist, crypto-Marxist bill of particulars arguing that Bezos has so much money he should spread more of it around to his employees.  Probably he should, but an employee who is being paid by such an individual is not ethically situated to make that accusation in public. This is disloyalty, and an intentional effort to harm his employer.

‘Bye!

What seems to have set Kunkle off was Bezos asking his Twitter follower how he should expand his philanthropic efforts:

But as Bezos, whose worth now exceeds $80 billion, loosens his pockets, it’s important to put his charitable giving — and the philanthropy of the super-rich — into perspective: Many people worked hard for Bezos to help make him so rich, and he has a record of treating them poorly. Amazon’s history of dodging taxes, its mistreatment of workers, and its ruthlessness toward even the smallest competitors have been well documented. It put ambulances outside distribution centers rather than install adequate air conditioning. It broke up a union organizing effort by closing the call center and dismissing everyone who worked there. The New York Times documented its punishing work environment in a front-page exposé. The company’s actions, as Forbes put it, hark back to an earlier time when workers were treated as “replaceable cogs in the machine.”  

“Replaceable cogs in the machine” means “if you don’t like it here, there are many equally qualified people who would love to have your job.” That is certainly true of the struggling newspaper industry. He calls his boss a tax dodger (if you avoid taxes using legally available means and laws, you aren’t “dodging” anything); ruthless, an abuser of workers, and most questionable of all, uses a New York Times  exposé as gospel. The Times is the Post’s rival. Its hit pieces on Bezos are hardly objective; heck, almost nothing the Times writes is objective (nor the Post, for that matter.) Continue reading

That Viral Google Diversity Memo

I’m going to vary a bit from typical Ethics Alarms practice, and ask for comments on the long, viral, controversial memo by a Google  software engineer named James Demore regarding the company’s diversity initiatives before I do a thorough analysis of it.  The author has been fired, of course. He had to know he would be.

The essay covers a lot more than diversity—gender stereotypes, the radioactive question on innate differences between men and women, ideology over reality, fairness, oppressive cultures, and much more. It is courageous; it’s also unethical. Ambushing an employer like this—it is fair to say that the essay has caused a PR crisis for Google—is never fair. He would argue, I suspect, that this was a form of whistleblowing, as well as taking a stand for other employees who feel as he does but who fear making their opinions known.

I have taught diversity seminars, often in conjunction with sexual harassment and bias training. The area is inherently dishonest. Of course all races, genders and creeds, ages and types should be welcome in a work environment. The claim that diversity is inherently valuable for its own sake, however, is nonsense, a phony “fact” declared to bootstrap other initiatives, such as affirmative action. The alleged innate value of diversity is cited to justify the and out-balance the inherent disadvantages and injustice of not hiring the best applicants for a job or position based on their demonstrated abilities and experience. This is a myth, and pretty obviously so. Diversity is not a virtue when it leads to incompetence, bias, resentment, and staffing that is less talented and effective than it might be. Diversity should never take priority over getting a job done as well as possible.

The bias in the news media’s coverage of the memo has been palpable, and would be very revealing regarding how ideological bias warps coverage, if so much evidence didn’t already exist. This particular biased reporting is likely to mislead more than it should, because the memo is long, and most readers will accept on faith (why? WHY???) the false characterizations of it. It is not a “screed” (The Atlantic), a “tirade” (TIME), or “sexist.” (Recode). The memo does not say that women are inferior,  or “genetically unsuited” for tech jobs. (Washington Post). Nor does he write that women are “biologically unfit” for tech jobs. (CNN). The memo isn’t even “anti-diversity” (Vanity Fair, Forbes). This is how ideological propaganda works: slap labels on inconvenient arguments that will pre-bias an objective or open-minded readers.

You should read the whole thing, which is below. As you read it, think about the fact that Google has stated that the content of the memo violated aspects of Google’s Code of Conduct. I find that incredible, and a greater indictment of Google than the memo itself.

The highlights in blue are mine, and reserved for what I regard as ethically significant sections. Continue reading