Note To Conservatives: If You Keep Making Ridiculous Complaints, Don’t Complain When People Can’t Tell When You’re Joking

Hey! Get that foot off of your own desk! Who do you think you are, President of the...oh. Right."

Hey! Get that foot off of your own desk! Who do you think you are, President of the…oh. Right.”

RECONSIDERED:  I have been persuaded by the comment thread that followed this post that my initial position regarding Andy Levy’s objections to Stephen Colbert’s use of his critique from “Red-Eye” was mistaken: Colbert was indeed unfair to Levy, and it was unfair as well for me to hold Levy accountable for some of his conservative colleagues’ serious versions of the argument he properly labelled as absurd. Read the comments of James Flood and Ampersand below for the rebuttal that carried the day. As always, I am grateful for the passionate and well-argued perception of Ethics Alarms readers.

If you need more proof of how toxic and infantile the partisan wars are these days, you need search no farther than the manufactured controversy over President Obama’s disrespectful treatment of his own desk. When I first started seeing posts on major websites complaining about the photo of the President putting his foot on his desk in the Oval Office, I decided the controversy was too idiotic to waste time with. But, as is their tendency and their talent, conservatives escalated this one with exquisite gall, and now I have to take note.

This month, and not for the first time, conservatives had the vapors over President Obama being overly casual in his own office and “disrespecting” a desk that was sent to President Garfield by Queen Victoria. (It sure didn’t do him any good) There is only one description of this preposterous complaint that does it justice, and that would be “utter bullshit.” Continue reading

Unethical Quote of the Week: Rep. Michele Bachmann

I think Hurricane Irene was sent by God to help the Red Sox. Hear me out! It makes mores sense than Michele's theory!

“I don’t know how much God has to do to get the attention of politicians. We’ve had an earthquake; we’ve had a hurricane. He said, ‘Are you going to start listening to me here?’ Listen to the American people because the American people are roaring right now. They know government is on a morbid obesity diet and we’ve got to rein in the spending.”

—-Rep. Michele Bachmann, GOP presidential hopeful and shameless demagogue, joining the discredited ranks of Pat Robertson, Glenn Beck and others to assert that weather conditions constitute proof that God agrees with her.

You can read my views on this arrogant, manipulative species of idiocy here, here and here.  I’ve written about it too much, and as an American living in the 21st Century, I’m embarrassed that I should have to write about it at all. Continue reading

God, Beck, and the Confirmation Bias Trap

Hurricane Irene proves that God agrees with Glenn Beck. Glenn Beck says so, and he must be right, because God agrees with him. Hurricane Irene proves it.

Policy makers, decision-makers, journalists, and indeed all of us have an ethical obligation to be on the alert for confirmation bias, that insidious human tendency to interpret all external phenomena as confirmation of our established opinions and beliefs. Why do we have the obligation? We have it because confirmation bias makes us dogmatic, inflexible, close-minded, incompetent, and, in a word, stupid. Life can make us wiser, but not if we misinterpret everything so as not to disturb our most cherished certainties. Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Fox

Now if you want to see a mad prophet on TV, you'll have to watch "Network." Thank you Rupert, Roger, Fox!

The Fox network, in ending its relationship with Glenn Beck after the expiration of his current contract as it announced yesterday, placed principle over profit. In today’s culture particularly, that is always a welcome development, an ethical one, and deserving of praise.

I can comfortably assign Fox Ethics Hero status and discount the braying from partisan Beck-haters like Media Matters, the shamelessly one-sided “media watchdog” that has declared “war” on Fox because it dares to deliver news from a generally conservative perspective. Beck was not brought down by their attacks, or by the boycotts against him by various interest groups. His show was still one of the most watched current events programs on cable, and Fox was still making money on it. The demise of Glenn Beck’s Fox show was not an example of successful suppression of conservative opinion by the Left. Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: Who Deserved To Be Fired—Beck or The Duck?

Tough quiz today, ethics fans. Be on your toes!

Our quiz for today: Who most deserved to be fired—Glenn Beck, Gilbert Gottfried (the voice of the Aflac duck),  neither, or both?

The Mad Prophet of Fox, Glenn Beck returned to his radio program with this reflection:

“I’m not saying God is, you know, causing earthquakes. I’m not not saying that either… but there’s a message being sent. And that is, ‘Hey, you know that stuff we’re doing? Not really working out real well. Maybe we should stop doing some of it.’ I’m just saying.”

Yes, Glenn Beck said that the devastation of Japan just may be a message from God. Continue reading

Egypt Ethics: Integrity Deficit on the Right

It has been fascinating and troubling listening to conservative radio talk-show host Mark Levin lambast fellow conservatives who have been siding with the revolutionaries trying to end the 30 year rule of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. Levin argues that such support is foolish and ignorant, because there is no way for the United States to be sure that the resulting new government, even if it is more democratic than the current one (hardly a difficult bar to clear), wouldn’t be worse for the interests of the United States. Continue reading

Glenn Beck vs. George Soros: Beck Cheats, Soros Wins

It is easy, and even enjoyable, to call foul when Fox News side-show barker Glenn Beck slanders a great American and personal hero like Theodore Roosevelt. It is less enjoyable when his target of abuse is someone I am far less fond of, George Soros. I don’t like to see billionaires use their checkbook to prop up juvenile Angry Left slime-artists like Move-On. Org, or to foist another family and  character-wrecking drug on society by pushing us toward the legalization of marijuana. But fair is fair, and lies are lies, and never the twain shall meet. The fact that Glenn Beck doesn’t agree with George Soros’s political activities can’t justify or excuse Beck’s use of falsehoods to paint him as something he is not.  Continue reading