Ethics Pot Meet Ethics Kettle II: Apparently The Washington Post Really Thinks It Has More Integrity Than Fox News

Here’s the head-exploding quote from Washington Post political columnist Phillip Bump today:

Speak up, Bret Baier. Speak up, Chris Wallace. Join colleague Geraldo Rivera in making public your unvarnished thoughts about “Patriot Purge” and all the other non-journalism that somehow qualifies for prime-time airing at Fox News. Your insistence on addressing the network’s outrages “internally” is a cowardly approach and one that is, by all evidence, not working.

The Washington Post, and indeed Phillip Bump himself, are ethically estopped from attacking Fox News for “non-journalism.” In fact, the sudden escalation in attack on Fox News by the worst mainstream media Democratic propaganda purveyors—like the Post—appears to be just another tactic in the now desperate “We have to save Joe Biden!” push by the same people who should be fairly and critically documenting the unfolding catastrophe in D.C..

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Week-Launching Ethics Warm-Up, 10/4/2021: A Happy Ending To A Pit Bull Saga, A Congressional Leader Makes My Head Explode, And More [Updated]

launch

Singer Janis Joplin died of a heroin overdose on October 4, 1970. The anniversary prompts me to make an unkind observation that I was tempted to make after reading all of the tributes and expansive rhetoric praising “The Wire” actor Michael K. Williams after he died of an overdose of fentanyl and heroin on September 6. For at least a hundred years, anyone who takes heroin does so knowing that it is addictive and frequently fatal. My attitude toward Joplin, Williams, John Belushi, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Billy Holliday, and many other artists who have killed themselves this way involves more anger than sympathy. The world was robbed of their gifts because they were reckless. In the case of black artists, they endanger their admirers by creating a romantic aura for what is, in the final analysis, stupid and irresponsible conduct. How hard can it be not to start using an addictive substance that you know might kill you? The fact that the drug is illegal should be a big clue.

1. And speaking of the joys of recreational drugs...In a new study published in Psychological Medicine, researchers in the University of Birmingham’s Institute for Mental Health and the Institute of Applied Health Research found a strong link between “general practice recorded cannabis use” and mental ill health. Senior author Dr. Clara Humpston said: “Cannabis is often considered to be one of the ‘safer’ drugs and has also shown promise in medical therapies, leading to calls for it be legalized globally. Although we are unable to establish a direct causal relationship, our findings suggest we should continue to exercise caution since the notion of cannabis being a safe drug may well be mistaken.”

Continue to exercise caution? Who’s exercising caution? Popular culture and upper-middle class whites have been issuing pro-pot propaganda for half a century, while mocking government efforts to discourage widespread use and acceptance of another destructive recreational drug. Now nearly every state is on a path to legalize it, especially because they smell tax revenue.

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Of COURSE The United States Has To Spend Trillions On Infrastructure Renewal, And Of Course Ignorance, Incompetence And Dishonesty Will Screw It Up. Again.

Welcome to the first Russian doll Ethics Alarms post, in which a series of essentially identical essays are nested to shout out a truth that hasn’t changed in decades. That truth is that the infrastructure of the United States is getting progressively worse.

Sub-truths nested in that one include these:

  • This was an urgent crisis 40 years ago, and has only been getting worse since.
  • Both parties and all Presidents since—Nixon? Johnson?—are equally responsible, because they all  participated in “kicking the can” down the rotting road for political gain. This was and is political cowardice. Maintaining the infrastructure is one basic function of government, like national defense and law enforcement, that both Big Government and limited government advocates can agree on. However, since infrastructure rot is only a headline matter when bridges collapse, airliners crash or sewer pipes burst spreading disease and death, it’s a long term expense with benefits that the public won’t see immediately, if at all. Their grandchildren, however, will have better lives.
  • Politicians prefer short-term benefits, like sending checks directly to potential voters (and favored interest groups) under the fantasy of “economic stimulus.” This is a bi-partisan breach of duty and ethics.
  • As with everything else, the news media is stunningly incompetent in explaining the facts. I just heard two Fox News talking empty-heads arguing about whether sewer and water pipes were “infrastructure.” This is because much of the partisan attacks on Biden’s proposal has focused on the relatively small proportion of the financial requirements that will pay for  “roads and bridges.'” Of course sewer and water pipes are infrastructure, and indeed among the most dangerous parts of a nation’s infrastructure to let deteriorate, as ours have in too many major cities to count. You people (Dana Perino and Bill Hemmer in this case) are incompetent idiots, and should be working at a 7-11. Also included in the “infrastructure,” in case you care: canals, airports, railways, public transportation, barges, ferries, waterways, traffic signals, the power grid, and more. You are making the public even more ignorant than they already are. You’re a disgrace. I hate you.
  • Jobs are not infrastructure, but to listen to the advocates of renewal,  you would think that creating jobs is the main reason to undertake the effort. This is disinformation, and also unforgivable.
  • A rotting infrastructure hurts the economy in thousands of incremental, sinister, unavoidable ways, making goods more expensive, people poorer, limiting economic growth, and yes, costing jobs, with all of these effects getting worse over time.
  • No, the nation can’t afford to do what needs to be done–which is what will lead to national disaster if it is not done. That is because we have allowed the national debt to reach the red zone, and again, both parties are to blame, Republicans for irresponsible tax cuts, and Democrats for creating out-of-control social programs. However, whether we can afford it or not, we have to do it, spend the money, raise the taxes, be responsible…or we are dooming the nation. That is the situation cowardly, incompetent, venal and dishonest leadership has created.
  • I see little hope that President Biden’s efforts are any more serious or that they will be any more successful than the proposals that have gone before. It is true that even some infrastructure repair is better than none, but Democrats and progressives have painted themselves, and the nation, into a corner.

For example, the Biden administration has blocked a major highway expansion in Houston, Texas, claiming that the project is racially discriminatory and harmful to the environment. The state was about to begin a proposed widening of certain sections of Interstate 45 that has been years in planning when the Department of Transportation invoked the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to temporarily shut it down pending further review, Politico reported.

The department’s intervention is supposedly  a “test case” for Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, has claimed  “racial injustice” in highway construction and vowed to make “righting these wrongs an imperative” under his leadership. Local activists say that the highway expansion would disproportionately harm black and Hispanic communities by displacing more than 1,000 homes, hundreds of businesses, five houses of worship, and two schools along the stretch of highway.

If race, class and the environment are going to be the priorities, then essential infrastructure maintenance is impossible. It is that simple.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/23/2021: Shots

This morning served as a perfect example of how the news is now automatically politicized and prioritized for partisan ends. On CNN, a panel was discussing the mass shooting in Boulder. Colorado, and instantly transforming the segment into gun-control mass rant. On Fox, the crisis of the day was the chaos at the border, where the virtual open-borders policies everyone—including those planning to be illegal immigrants—knew would come in along with the Biden administration is having the predictable effects. That segment was a diatribe against the wink-wink, nudge-nudge Democratic enabling of uncontrolled immigration.

CNN wins in the closely contested dubious ethics category by having “contributor” Andrew McCabe on the panel. McCabe epitomized the FBI’s corrupt and partisan efforts to injure the Trump Administration from within; he leaked information to the media and lied about it; he was fired, and deserved to be. McCabe’s high-profile anti-Trump conduct was sufficient to get him a gig on CNN, where being part of “the resistance” is all one needs to endear oneself to the Trump Deranged.

McCabe should have lost his law license, as any attorney who leaks confidential information should, and personally, I wouldn’t trust him to walk my dog.

1. You want to be paid $15 an hour for doing a job this poorly? This morning, having been forced to get up and move my car at 7 am, I decided to drive to the local McDoanld’s for my favorite guilty morning pleasure, a sausage biscuit and some hash browns. For once I could understand the heavily accented woman on the intercom, and I made a clear and distinct order. But given false security by this unusual development, for the first time in a long while I didn’t check the bag—this McDonald’s bats about .500 in getting orders right—and sure enough, when I arrived home, I found an Egg McMuffin instead of a sausage biscuit. I hate Egg McMuffins.

This isn’t brain surgery. I know it’s a crummy job, but it is what they are being paid for. Don’t tell me someone who is that inattentive deserves “a living wage.” Pay them for not working, if you foolishly want to treat them as charity cases; at least then they aren’t getting rewarded for doing a job badly.

2. Why can’t McDonald’s work this efficiently? My experience getting my first Wuhan virus vaccination (in Alexandria, Virginia) was excellent. The elaborate process, staged at a middle school about five minutes from my home, was well-planned, cheerful, and quick, even on a Saturday with long lines. I must have personally thanked ten volunteers.

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Saturday Morning Ethics Update, 2/6/21: Day Before The Super Bowl Edition

CTE brain

This was a Friday morning warm-up that kept getting bumped, with my investigation of the TIME article that dropped yesterday finally bumping it all the way to now. As several have noted in the comments to that post, when real conspiracies rear their dark and slimy heads, it makes suspicion of other conspiracies not just more likely, but reasonable. In my case, for example, as Big Tech has joined social media in squashing news and opinions unpalatable to our rising progressive masters, Ethics Alarms, for no reason that I can see, is suffering through its worst non-holiday week in traffic in years. Meanwhile, I am suddenly getting email after email telling me that my blog isn’t turning up in Google searches the way it should. Hmmmm.

Stop it, Jack. “That way madness lies.

1. Sometimes the profit motive helps, sometimes it doesn’t. One more note about TIME’s piece: there have been many articles recently about how journalism ethics are a a myth and need to be regarded as such, because the major news organizations are chasing clicks, ads and dollars, not truth, justice, or the American way. This argument has some obvious truth in it, but it is often used to exonerate journalists from pushing the political agendas of the Left, which they obviously do. The country is still very conservative in many ways; the Fox News model was spectacularly profitable; why doesn’t the profit motive inspire more balanced coverage, especially since there is a market for it? Is it just a coincidence that news rooms (even Fox News’) are nearly exclusively made up of Democrats and socialists? TIME was the perfect candidate to break ranks: an iconic mainstream media name, quickly fading into irrelevance and obscurity. Desperation topped loyalty to the team, and, ironically, betrayal led to an ethical result, even though it was motivated by non-ethical considerations.

2. “Cancelled” or put out to pasture? Fox News has cancelled the Lou Dobbs show, even though it is the top rated show on Fox Business News. “There is only one-way to look at this announcement…. corporate U.S. media is in the tank for the cancel-culture policy against all things President Trump related” writes the conservative blog “The Last Refuge.  “P.e.r.i.o.d.” I’m not so sure. I thought Dobbs was losing it several years ago when he suddenly appeared on the air with his previously white hair died caramel brown, and his enthusiasm for Donald Trump has often crossed the line into unprofessional cheer-leading. He’s 75, and Fox New may well have wanted to get him off the air before he had to be pulled. (Why won’t any of these guys retire?) Dobbs is also one of the three Fox News hosts named along with the network after voting software company Smartmatic filed its $2.7 billion defamation suit.

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Inauguration Day Ethics Warm-Up, 1/20/2021: Welcome And Good Luck, President Biden!

Biden P

1. Too late! Fox News fired Chris Stirewalt yesterday. He is the veteran politics editor who was the prime onscreen face of the supposedly conservative-tilting network’s election night projections that Joseph Biden . had defeated President Trump in Arizona. Arnon Mishkin, a long-time Democratic Party pollster, was Fox News decision desk chief for the 2020 presidential election. He called the state of Arizona and its 11 electoral votes for Joe Biden at 11:20 p.m. Eastern time on election night, not long after the polls closed. Fox news anchor Bill Hemmer, standing at the Fox News election map, expressed surprise. “What is happening here? Why is Arizona blue?” he asked. “Did we just call it? Did we just make a call in Arizona?”

Stirewalt quickly came onscreen to defend the network’s decision, explaining that vote margins were too great in Arizona for the Republican candidate to overcome. He assured viewers that “We’re going to be careful, cautious, and earnest,” adding that “Arizona is doing just what we expected it to do and we remain serene and pristine. He dismissed voter fraud claims, “Lawsuits, schmawsuits — we haven’t seen any evidence yet that there’s anything wrong.” Mishkin also came on camera later to defend the call. I found him supercilious and obnoxious.

Reflecting on the decision to fire Stirewalt, the usual media suspects are pointing out that in the end, Fox’s call was correct. That’s pure moral luck. Fox News was the first news outlet to call Arizona for Biden, anmd when your brand is the news network that balances the hard progressive, Democratic, anti-Trump bias of 95% of the news media, that’s a stupid unforced error. Stirewalt has to be aware of the company’s brand and best interests. Why jump the gun to call a state Trump probably needed to win? Furthermore, Stirewalt’s “Arizona is doing just what we expected it to do” sounded like spin, because it was. The polls, including Fox’s, had already been proven wildly off, and the voting “expectations” were based on polling.

It would not have cost Fox anything to wait to call Arizona, especially since networks declaring winners in states is subjective, unnecessary, and arguably manipulative. Regular Fox viewers were alienated, and this was predictable. President Trump denounced the networkand urged supporters to watch Newsmax and One America News instead. He should not have done that, but it was also predictable. Stirewalt was substantially responsible for losing Fox News viewers and revenue, and accomplished nothing.

He deserved to be fired. I would have fired him too.

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Comment Of The Day: “Crowbar, ProBar, Whatever…”

poke the bear

Disclaimer:The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of Ethics Alarms or ProEthics, Ltd.

I probably should post that before every Comment of the Day. I don’t choose a COTD because I necessarily agree with it. In the case of Null Pointer’s Comment of the Day below, there are some conclusions I don’t agree with and some assertions I am dubious about, but the over-all thrust of the comment is spot-on.

There is also an Ethics Quote of the Week in there:

“I read this quote on some Lefty site tonight: “’Pretty funny, no? …On Fox & Friends, the nitwit anchors can’t even agree on what is wrong or right!'”

Journalists aren’t supposed to decide what’s “wrong or right,” but it is clear that progressives, and that obviously includes most journalists and their editors, do, and that’s exactly why they are tending toward totalitarianism and away from democracy.

Here is Null Pointer’s Comment of the Day on the post, “Crowbar, ProBar, Whatever…

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 1/15/2021: Tapper, AOC, Fox, And The Brick

Trump inaug riots

I don’t know about you, but I’m really looking forward to finding out how the media and Democrats distinguish the “mostly peaceful protests” in Washington around Biden’s inauguration next week and the equivalent in 2017, when the antifa was going around punching “Nazis” in the face. Funny, the fact that Hillary Clinton stated that she was part of “the resistance” and that the sainted John Lewis said that Trump was not a “legitimate President had no influence on that riot whatsoever…

1. I’m sure this is just a coincidence. During the shutdown which effectively killed the economy that was President Trump’s primary argument for re-election, I successfully fought off the nagging little voice in my head that said that this was a deliberate effort by Democrats to use the pandemic as a excuse to wreck the Trump administration’s record. I mean, who would be that Machiavellian to put millions out of work just to win an election? Then the teacher’s unions used their influence to keep the schools closed—but I still ignored that little voice.

And I’m still ignoring it now, but I have to say, the timing of this would support a conspiracy theory…

stephen_miller_lockdown_narrative_changes_01-15-2021

Nah. Can’t be.

2. Is it possible that Fox News doesn’t understand why it exists? Fox has had a catastrophic ratings crash since election night, when it called Arizona for Biden ahead of several other organizations, seemingly pointing to a Trump defeat. This, combined with Chris Wallace’s questionable fairness to the President when he moderated the first debate, caused an avalanche of conservatives to abandon Fox News for NewsMax, which is surging. Last week Fox News finished third behind MSNBC and CNN, which hasn’t happened since the Clinton administration.

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Sunday Ethics Infusion, 17/15/2020: “Run Away!”

1. To channel Scarlet O’Hara…If one more Trump-Deranged individual accuses me of  adopting right-wing media conspiracy theories, I will get angry, and they won’t like me when I’m angry. I accept analysis from no one, especially from the likes of (the former version of) Fox News, Breitbart, Mark Levin and others of note. If I like a legitimate authority’s analysis (like, say, Andrew McCarthy, Ann Althouse or Jonathan Turley), I will credit them for it. “It sure is suspicious that your points agree with theirs” I was told today. It’s no more suspicious than the fact that their stated analysis agrees with mine. I’m not tolerating this insult. I’m at least as informed, educated and intelligent as those I am accused of “parroting,” and I’m considerably more informed, educated and intelligent than the typical knee-jerk progressive water-carrier who tries to win arguments they have neither the wit nor the facts to support by calling me incapable of forming my own opinions.

2. An update! The original collection of movie clips that Ethics Alarms uses repeatedly to illustrate certain points has been expanded considerably.

3. “Run away!” I see that conservatives are “fleeing” Facebook and Twitter for the allegedly more accommodating and less censorious environs of Parler and MeWe. EVERYONE should bolt from Facebook and Twitter if they have any concern about the social media platforms manipulating public opinion and possible tilting the election by partisan censorship, not to mention the mendacity of both platforms’ CEOs and their basic lack of trustworthiness.

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Good Morning! Here’s Today’s 2020 Election Ethics Train Wreck Update…

Head Boom

I hate mixing Ethics Alarms metaphors, but the developments in the 2020 Presidential Election Ethics Train Wreck made my head explode—what we call a “KABOOM!” in these parts—more than once.

1. To put first things first, I had to make a major revision in yesterday’s update. After a couple of readers reported that the number of ballots in Michigan showing only votes for President was almost a third fewer than J.D. Rucker had reported, I changed the post accordingly and added,

The numbers J.D. Rucker used in the sources for this post can no longer be verified. Now HIS alleged source is showing numbers that don’t support his argument. I can’t imagine that Rucker, who has some credibility and writes for various conservative publications, would make up statistics wholesale for a post about statistics. I can imagine the statistics being altered after he called attention to their suspicious nature, since there is such a concerted effort to discredit any claims that the voting totals may not be accurate, but there is no evidence of that. This is the whole problem. There are no reliable sources.

2. KABOOM! #1. A team of Google monitors captured evidence that between Monday, October 26, 2020, and Thursday, October 29, 2020, Google sent “be sure to vote” reminders to liberal users but did not do the same with conservative users. On Thursday, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Ron Johnson (R-Wisc.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah) sent a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai demanding an explanation.

Do we need an explanation? Google has shown itself to be virtually principle-free and so biased that it’s a good thing it dumped its motto “Don’t Be Evil,” because the company risked being consumed like Sodom and Gomorrah. Robert Epstein, a psychologist,  started an election monitoring project employing a politically-diverse group of 733 field agents in Arizona, Florida, and North Carolina. “Through their computers, we were able to preserve more than 400,000 ephemeral experiences that tech companies use to shift opinions and votes and that normally are lost forever,” Epstein explained in a letter to Senator Johnson.

“One of our most disturbing findings so far is that between Monday, October 26th (the day our system became fully operational) and Thursday, October 29th, only our liberal field agents received vote reminders on Google’s home page. Conservatives did not receive even a single vote reminder,” Epstein reported. “This kind of targeting, if present nationwide, could shift millions of votes, in part because Google’s home page is seen 500 million times a day in the U.S.”

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