Addendum To “Stop Making Me Defend Chris Cuomo!”…

Cuomos

Apparently I wasn’t clear enough in the previous post, so allow me to address that.

Just as it is hypocritical in the extreme for any journalist, and certainly CNN, to tut-tut at Chris Cuomo for behaving exactly as biased, partisan, unethical and dead ethics-alarmed journalists do, it is absurd and self-defeating for alleged critics of our ethics-free journalism to stomp on Cuomo as if he did anything anyone paying attention should have known he would do without a second thought. (I assumed that the clip from “Casablanca” would make that sufficiently obvious. Guess not.)

The point is not to claim that Cuomo advising his high elected official brother in an official, if private, meeting of his aides is what an ethical journalist can or should do. Of course an ethical journalist shouldn’t do it. The point is that there are no ethical journalists; the journalism “profession”—the quotes are because professionals must be trustworthy, and anyone who trusts today’s fake journalists is a sucker—no longer has any ethical standards. Therefore a member of the “profession” who violates what are already dead letters cannot be said to have breached any “norm;” and we should not allow phony criticism of Cuomo to delude us into thinking otherwise.

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Stop Making Me Defend Chris Cuomo!

CNN’s most unethical, incompetent and dumbest journalist—yes, yes, I keep telling you, even worse than Don Lemon!— is once again in trouble, and once again it’s because of his conflict of interest in matters involving his brother, besieged New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Chris advised Andrew and senior members of his brother’s staff on how to respond to the sexual harassment allegations made earlier this year by various women, in a series of conference calls including the Democratic governor, his top aide, his communications team, lawyers and a number of outside advisers. It doesn’t matter what Chris’s advice was; you can read the Washington Post story if you’re interested, but that’s irrelevant to the ethics issue. First, anyone who would take the advice of a boob like Chris Cuomo on anything needs to have his mittens connected up through his sleeves, and second, the problem is that Chris was involved in the discussions at all, even if all he did was blow spit bubbles.

Journalists are ethically obligated to be objective reporters of the news, not participants in it, assuming journalists today even know or care what their professional ethics rules are. Chris Cuomo clearly doesn’t: he made that clear by repeatedly interviewing his brother on CNN, tossing him softball questions, and basically serving as his brother’s PR flack. The network let him do it, because it meant good ratings and “fun” TV.

Yet the Washington Post offers this knee-slapper:

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 5/20/21: Happy Birthday, John Stuart Mill!

Mill

John Stuart Mill (1806–73), was born on May 20, not merely the most important figure in ethics to have a connection to this day, but also the most important human being born on this day in the history of civilization—yes, even more than Cher, who turns 75 today. Mill’s refined the concept of liberty that required the freedom of the individual in opposition to state control. He was the most influential proponent of utilitarianism, the crucial ethical theory developed by Jeremy Bentham. He helped reform scientific inquiry and research, recognizing the pervasive risks of confirmation bias, by clearly explaining the premises of falsifiability as the key component in the scientific method.

Mill was also a Member of Parliament and a towering figure in liberal political philosophy. You have certainly heard or read his most famous quote: “A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will lose both, and deserve neither.”

A thorough biography and analysis of his work is here.

1. Justice Breyer doesn’t care about making sure the Supreme Court doesn’t get more conservative. Good. That’s not his job. Democrats realize that their control of the Senate is hanging by a thread, “thread” defined as a few superannuated Senators who could drop dead any second, giving the GOP a majority. Thus they are increasingly pushing Justice Stephen G. Breyer, 82, to retire now so Joe Biden can name an appropriately liberal replacement (who will also have to be female and black, vastly limiting the pool of possible choices without concern for actual legal competence.) “Breyer’s best chance at protecting his legacy and impact on the law is to resign now, clearing the way for a younger justice who shares his judicial outlook,” wrote Erwin Chemerinsky, the hyper-partisan dean of the law school at the University of California, Berkeley in The Washington Post this month. Got that? The 80+year-old Democratic Senators have to hold on to their jobs like grim death, but Breyer is being lobbied to retire. Hypocrisy, they name is Democrat! But it isn’t Breyer:

The Justice has been particularly vocal about the importance of not allowing politics to influence judges’ work, including their decisions about when to retire. “My experience of more than 30 years as a judge has shown me that, once men and women take the judicial oath, they take the oath to heart,” he said last month in a lecture at Harvard Law School. “They are loyal to the rule of law, not to the political party that helped to secure their appointment….If the public sees judges as politicians in robes, its confidence in the courts, and in the rule of law itself, can only diminish, diminishing the court’s power.”

I wonder if he’s read (or seen) “The Pelican Brief”…Meanwhile, research suggest that retirement tends to kill Supreme Court Justices. A paper in The Journal of Demography studied the effects of retirement by Supreme Court justices on their future longevity, and found that the effect of retirement was about the same as smoking two packs of cigarettes a day. The Democrats don’t care if Breyer dies sooner than later, though, as long as he does it when they can pick his successor, or after he’s quit.

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Unethical Quote Of The Month: CNN

“We generally do not get involved in the medical decisions of our employees. However, it is not surprising that in the earliest days of a once-in-a-century global pandemic, when Chris was showing symptoms and was concerned about possible spread, he turned to anyone he could for advice and assistance, as any human being would.”

—-CNN spokesman Matt Dornic, in a jaw-dropping defense of anchor Chris Cuomo after it was revealed that he used  his brother’s influence to “cut in line” to get Wuhan virus testing when it was unavailable to the general public.

Earlier this week, the The Albany-Times Union and The Washington Post reported yet another scandal involving New York’s Francis Ford Coppola-redolant governor, Andrew Cuomo. As if the deadly NY nursing home cover-up and the expanding sexual harassment allegations were not more than enough, we learned that…

“High-level members of the state Department of Health were directed last year by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker to conduct prioritized coronavirus testing on the governor’s relatives as well as influential people with ties to the administration. Members of Cuomo’s family including his brother, his mother and at least one of his sisters were also tested by top health department officials — some several times.”

The governor, in short, manipulated state resources to ensure that his brother, CNN’s Chris Cuomo, received Wuhan virus testing when tests were scarce and generally unavailable. “The CNN anchor was swabbed by a top New York Department of Health doctor, who visited his Hamptons home to collect samples from him and his family,” WaPo reported. The test specimens from Andrew and other Cuomo family members were then rushed, in some cases driven by state police troopers to a state public health lab in Albany, where they were processed immediately. Some employees in the state health laboratory worked overtime late into the night to process the results for Cuomo family members whose roles in society, while hardly essential to New York or the public, were favored by the Governor of New York.

In particular, the CNN anchor got specialized medical attention while “media reports were full of accounts from New Yorkers desperate to get tested — including some with symptoms and recent travel history who were turned away because of scarcity.”

Glenn Greenwald neatly sums up the import of this beyond the obvious fact that this is another example of elected officials using their power and influence for personal gain:

For more than a year now, CNN’s promotion of “interviews” conducted by Chris Cuomo of his own brother — in which the CNN host repeatedly heaped lavish praise on Gov. Cuomo and even hyped him as a presidential contender while the Governor was corruptly and possibly criminally covering up COVID deaths — was one of the most glaring breaches of journalistic ethics imaginable…it aggressively deceived CNN’s audience. That they knew it was corrupt was evidenced by the CNN host’s recent announcement that he would not cover his brother’s recent scandals: what conceivable framework makes it journalistically permissible for a news host to shower his own brother with praise, but then not cover his scandals?

But now Chris Cuomo is directly involved in a serious abuse of power scandal by his brother: in fact, he’s the prime beneficiary of that scandal. He sought special medical favors from his brother, depriving other sick people more in need of it than he, by exploiting the fact that his brother is Governor and thus rules the state. That’s a scandal by any measure — one involving not only the Governor but also the CNN host.

What’s even more remarkable is that on May 6 — just weeks after Gov. Cuomo provided special COVID testing and treatment for him — Chris Cuomo “interviewed” his brother and began the interviewing by noting that New York State lacks the resources to provide COVID testing to the public at large. So not only did they conceal that they had both just used state resources to get Chris that scarce testing, but they both acknowledged that there was a resource shortage to serve the general public, even as Gov. Cuomo was lavishing those resources on his own family.

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Mid-Day Ethics Alarms, 3/22/2021: A Wonderful Father And A Judge Sees The Light, Though Others Not So Much…

Alarms2

1. Spitballing ethics? When everyone is throwing out ideas—you know, “Just say whatever crazy thing pops into your head, don’t worry whether it’s a good idea or a bad idea, just let ’em rip!” is it fair later to hold someone to account because a discarded idea was offensive or politically incorrect? I tend to think not.

Hiroshi Sasaki, the creative director for Tokyo Olympics, was participating in a brainstorming session about the opening ceremony with members of a committee a year ago, and at one point suggested that a popular overweight female Japanese comedian and plus-size fashion designer, Naomi Watanabe, be costumed in pig ears, perhaps a snout and curly tail, and parachute out of the heavens as an Olympic messenger: “Olympig.”

No? OK, bad idea. Let’s move on. The inspiration received immediate negative reviews in the private meeting, but when the president of the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee, Yoshiro Mori, 83, resigned this year after saying that women talk too much in meetings, the year-old conversation about “Olympig” was recalled in an article on the website of “Shukan Bunshun,” a weekly magazine. Yes, one of Sasaki’s trusted colleagues had talked. (That’s an easy call: Unethical.)

So you know what comes next, right? Groveling. “Now many people know what I wrote. I cannot apologize enough to Ms. Watanabe,” he said, adding that he was a big fan of hers. “I have been trying not to hurt others by making fun of diversity, gender and physical appearances. But it was a great misunderstanding. I realized my low consciousness and insensitivity.” He resigned.

Now you know that at least for now, when someone says to just suggest whatever pops into your head, no filters, no fear, don’t.

On the positive side, it’s comforting to know that The Great Stupid isn’t just an American phenomenon.

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Sorry, I Can’t Let This Pass: The Number Of Women Accusing Gov. Cuomo Of Harassment Or Worse Just Jumped from 7 To 37

Cuomo billboard

Yesterday evening, noting the the “Love Guv’s” accusers had risen to seven, I wrote, I thought in jest, “Oooh…Bill Cosby must be getting worried!” Now the Cos, who has over 50 women who say he drugged and molested them, really might wonder if Cuomo is a threat to his record. For The Independent reports,

A New York Magazine report outlines 30 new women accusing Andrew Cuomo with a litany of various allegations. As a result, several say they had to go to therapy, take anti-depressants, and call a suicide hotline….One of Cuomo’s speechwriters accused him of “racialized abuse” and said that she was only hired to “fill a quota”. Accuser Ana Liss, 35, told New York Magazine “started pursuing mental-health services when I was there because I thought I was going crazy. My parents thought I was going nuts”. “I was angry and crying all the time, and I went on Lexapro,’ she added. ‘I did call in to a suicide hotline because I felt like such a friggin’ nobody.”

The sudden jump in accusers is a surprise, but not the mounting total. After accuser #2 came forward, I wrote, “[T] he acid test for sexual harassment (and worse) is whether there are additional victims who come forward after the first one breaks the silence. Cuomo is now up to two. It’s a safe bet there are more.” Mark that as one more fact that the mainstream news media withheld that readers here were alerted to.

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Ethics Dessert, 3/12/2021: Goodbye “Jimmies”

IceCreamJimmies

1. Have you been following the Taylor Lorenz affair? Let me see if I can bring you up to date without spending more time than is justified, since she is, all things considered, trivial. She is a New York Times culture and tech reporter who has botched things up enough to be fired under previous standards of journalism (which now has no standards.) She has been repeatedly caught fabricating claims about public figure: in the last six weeks she twice publicly lied about Netscape founder Marc Andreessen: once claiming she overheard him he used the word “retarded” in a Clubhouse room (he hadn’t, but so what if he had?) and later accusing him of plotting with a white nationalist to attack her, which also didn’t happen. She also often uses her platform with the Times to attack private citizens by accusing them of harboring non-acceptable beliefs. Last week, she took to Twitter on National Women’s Day to claim victim status, writing on Twitter,

“For international women’s day please consider supporting women enduring online harassment….it is not an exaggeration to say that the harassment and smear campaign I have had to endure over the past year has destroyed my life…No one should have to go through this.”

This, in turn, triggered Tucker Carlson, in his Fox News show, to refer to Lorenz in a segment on how powerful people like Meghan Markle got away with playing victim. He mocked Lorenz’s tweets in light of her position as a star reporter for the Times when much of the nation is out of work. “Lots of people are suffering right now,” Carlson said. “But no one is suffering more than Taylor Lorenz.”

The Times, incredibly, accused Carlson in a public statement of unleashing “a wave of harassment and vitriol” at “a talented New York Times journalist,” and concluded with, “Journalists should be able to do their jobs without facing harassment.”

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Tuesday/Wednesday Ethics Sandwich, 3/9-3/10/21: Movies, Megxit, Major And More

Dagwood sandwich

1. Worst “review” of the Year, and other Megxit Ethics Train Wreck developments :

  • I hate to end one day (and start another) with something so nauseating, but a Times “Critic’s Notebook” entry by Salamishah Tillet titled “Taking On Royal Life’s Racism” (online, “Prince Harry Finally Takes On White Privilege: His Own”) is both incompetent and dishonest. This is no review. It is a black studies professor with an agenda using a media stunt by Oprah Winfrey and the breakaway Royals to serve as her own soap box. Using a mixed-race American who achieves some success in a difficult profession (performing), then marries a British prince with the automatic money, glamor and influence that status confers as an example of racial persecution is ridiculous on its face. This is a confirmation bias classic for the ages: the black feminist activist saw what she wanted to see in one of the worst possible settings to see it. The “review” could have been written before the interview was broadcast; I bet most of it was.
  • The U.K.’s media regulator ( that is,censor and political correctness enforcer) Ofcom is investigating Piers Morgan because 41,000 people wrote to complain about the then-ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” host stating the obvious about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s joint whine with Oprah Winfrey. On “Good Morning Britain”, which Morgan quit mid-show after being attacked by his co-host, Morgan said he did not believe Markle’s statement that she had approached the Royal family for help because she had suicidal thoughts, and was turned down. “Who did you go to? What did they say to you? I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she said…I wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report,” Morgan said. Neither would I, especially when such tales were attached to no details whatsoever. Morgan is a media low-life to be sure, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t right in this case. It’s a problem, though, when the most vocal and accurate critic of a manufactured narrative is so easily discredited.
  • In the U.S., the Left will sanctify the Duchess of Sussex because she’s female and blackish, thus meaning that to question her word or character is per se racism. (She’s like a Kardashian with superpowers). The Right is mostly anti-monarchy, so any harm she does to the Royals is regarded as a plus. One poll indicates, however, that the British public is less gullible: Meghan is now the least popular Royal, even behind Jeffrey Epstein pal and likely defiler of under-age girls Prince Andrew.

It’s only because the Brits are racists, of course.

2. Is there a media critic in the United States that isn’t a partisan hack? David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun certainly fails the test. Imagine writing a column titled “If Fox News wants to be a political tool, it should be treated as such and not given access meant for journalists” after the performance of all the other news organizations from 2016 on and expecting to be taken seriously. Has the mainstream media ever committed itself to a single partisan political objective more brazenly than the propaganda campaign against President Trump? Zurawik’s claim is either delusional or a lie aimed at the deluded….of which there are many.

3. White House dog ethics. Apparently the mysteriously reported “incident” that resulted in President Biden’s two German Shepherds being banished to Delaware was more than a mere nip: the victim of a bite by Major, a rescue dog, was really hurt. “There Will Finally Be Dogs in the White House Again,” was the headline in Harper’s in January, over one of many stories cheering the fact that the new “normal” President would have a dog, unlike the weird, mean, non-animal lover on the way out. In truth, the modern White House is no place for a dog—too stressful, too many visitors and strangers— and many First Pets have been acquired as PR props rather than out of genuine love for canines. Getting a rescue dog is admirable, but they often come with behavioral problems and special sensitivities that must be addressed, or they can be dangerous. My sweet rescue dog Spuds, for example, has night terrors, and woe be to any human that wakes him up while he’s recalling past abuse.

4. Governor Cuomo is now up to SIX accusers! Who could have predicted…oh, right. I did. But I’m sure it was all just a misunderstanding, like the Governor says. Sarcasm aside, I doubt Cuomo is a threat to Bill Cosby’s total, but I didn’t expect the Cos to top 50 either.

Added: Various conservative blogs and commentators are chiding Kamala Harris, who led the unethical smearing of Brett Kavanaugh as a sexual predator based on a vague high-school incident, for not weighing in on Cuomo’s alleged conduct. Harris is a two-faced hypocrite for sure—she agreed to run with a serial sexual harasser whose wrongful conduct is a matter of photographic record—but it is not a VP’s place to get involved with state government issues.

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Monday Ethics Final, 3/8/2021: A Bad Day In The Revolution

GnadenhuttenMassacre

March 8 should be a day that “lives in infamy,” but it isn’t, in part because of this nation’s, and all nations’, tendency to forget episodes in their history that they would rather pretend didn’t happen. On this date in 1782, 160 Pennsylvania militiamen slaughtered 96 Christian Indians including 39 children, 29 women and 28 men. The Patriots killed their captives by hammering their skulls with mallets from behind, as the victims knelt praying and singing. The Patriots then piled the bodies in mission buildings, and burned the entire Moravian Mission at Gnadenhutten to the ground in the Ohio territory. . The Pennsylvanians claimed that the attack was revenge for raids on their frontier settlements, but the Native Americans they killed were not involved in any attacks. In fact, they were pacifists who had been assisting the Americans against the British by serving as scouts and performing other services.

There were consequences of the massacre, though not to the criminals responsible. Despite talk of bringing the murderers to justice, no charges were filed. But Native American tribes became less willing to trust the Patriots as the Revolutionary War continued. When General George Washington heard about the massacre, he told his soldiers to avoid being captured alive by Indian forces, as he feared the Americans would be tortured. Many were, and Native Americans had longer memories of the atrocity at Gnadenhutten than the citizens of the new nation. In 1810, Shawnee chief Tecumseh pointedly reminded future General and later President William Henry Harrison, “You recall the time when the Jesus Indians of the Delawares lived near the Americans, and had confidence in their promises of friendship, and thought they were secure, yet the Americans murdered all the men, women, and children, even as they prayed to Jesus?”

Theodore Roosevelt, a historian in addition to his other pursuits, called the atrocity “a stain on frontier character that the lapse of time cannot wash away.”

But it has, hasn’t it?

1. And they said Trump supporters were stupid! A group called Pro-Life Evangelicals for Biden feel betrayed:

Pro Biden

These people really believed that the Democratic Party was going to “engage” on the topic of abortion, and that electing Joe Biden President would lead to compromises and moderation on the issue. Let me write that again: These people really believed that the Democratic Party was going to “engage” on the topic of abortion, and that electing Joe Biden President would lead to compromises and moderation on the issue.As you know, I have constant difficulty accepting the principle that being stupid isn’t unethical. Outrageous stupidity makes me angry, and maybe that’s unfair. Episodes like this are difficult for me to put in perspective.

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Sunday Evening Ethics Reflections, 3/7/21: Two More For Cuomo, Too Late For Kasich, Too Stupid To Be Believed, And Too Cowardly To Be Of Any Use…

evening-reflections

1. Well, what do you know! Two more women have come forward to accuse New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo of sexual harassment, making a total of five now. The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post have the stories.

A former press aide, Karen Hinton, told the Post that Cuomo embraced her in a Los Angeles hotel room in 2000. Ana Liss, another ex-aide, said the governor hugged and kissed her and grabbed her waist in 2014. As we have discussed here often, true sexual harassers are habitual and incorrigible. It’s not a mistake or a lot of misunderstandings. These are powerful individuals who feels entitled to abuse that power with subordinates who are likely to be reluctant to resist or report the misconduct.

2. Where was she when John Kasich needed to be told? Ann Althouse has a post titled, Is there someone in your life who is annoying you with the conversational tic “Do you know what?” In 2016, desperately seeking some alternative to Donald Trump among the large and fatally flawed GOP field seeking the party’s Presidential nomination, I was so annoyed by Kasich employing that tic (or its equivalent, “Guess what?”) that I tuned him out every time he spoke. Why didn’t anyone tell him? I’m a stage director: I’ve corrected dozens of actor tics. Any politician who is so inattentive that he or she can’t acknowledge and address a bad communication habit (Kamala Harris’s laugh!) is intrinsically untrustworthy, inattentive and lazy. It’s a tell.

3. Look! A public “How stupid, frightened and gullible are you?” test! This ridiculous thing is a real product designed to wear all day and night to protect you from the deadly viruses, microbes and pollutants that threaten to kill us all.

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