Morning Ethics Warm-Up: Hoaxes, Hoaxes Everywhere…

Still thinking about today’s “factcheck” post...I have noticed that Snopes, which has endured some scandals of late and is fundraising to stay afloat, has been trying to signal objectivity by choosing some anti-conservative, anti-Republican falsehood to “factcheck.” This one was amusing: Snopes felt it had to factcheck whether this obvious hoax Christmas card was genuine…

trump-christmas-card-duty2warn

..writing, “In early December 2021, former U.S. President Donald Trump appeared in a Christmas card with a festive and quite phallic design. The image was shared heavily by left-leaning and anti-Trump social media accounts. The @duty2warn Twitter account claimed: ‘Yes, this is real.’” Of course, Snopes rules the assertion “False.” Only the most deranged of the deranged could think Trump would send out such a thing. Besides the badly photoshopped “phallic” tux, the card is dark, ugly, he’s scowling, the fonts don’t match, and the Santa sleigh drawing looks like a shower head spewing water on Trump’s head. Snopes’ partisan propaganda can’t work if nobody trusts it, so they have to try to throw in an occasional genuine factcheck that supports their usual targets now and then. Don’t be fooled.

1. On Bob Dole…Dole’s death and the (somewhat surprising) outpouring of praise from all sources for his long public service and wit made me retroactively happy and relieved that when I had a chance opportunity to pay Dole my respects, I acted. The story is here, from 2018. I will remember that encounter, and Dole, whenever the unexpected occasion arises to express personal thanks and appreciation to someone I don’t see very often. The lesson is to not hesitate, and do it.

2. There is hope…Jussie Smollett was convicted. Several commentators on Smollett’s ridiculously dishonest testimony in his fraud trial expressed worries that he would be acquitted, O.J.-style, because he is black and a celebrity. No, he was convicted, and pretty quickly too. Hate crime hoaxes are destructive, and if we are going to have special punishment for so-called hate crimes, then hate crime hoaxes should carry equivalent penalties.

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Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 4/20/19: Fighting Fake Hate Crimes, Mueller Report Spin, Journalism Incompetence, And Being Mean To Beto

Good morning!

1. Nah, there’s no mainstream media ignorance and stupidity…

Mecca!

These are the people we trust to keep us informed about the world, and explain what we don’t have the time to study.  Great. [Pointer: Instapundit]

2.  Please circulate to your tantrum-throwing Impeach Trump friends...Yet another sharp column by Glenn Greenwald cutting through the fog and wind, and explaining that, as he puts it, “Robert Mueller Did Not Merely Reject the Trump-Russia Conspiracy Theories. He Obliterated Them.”

Unlike the New York Times, which intentionally cherry-picked quotes from the Mueller Report to give solace to its Trump-Deranged readers, Greenwald reproduced the substantive conclusions that put the nails into the collusion fantasy. Like…

  • “The investigation did not identify evidence that any U.S. persons knowingly or intentionally coordinated with the IRA’s interference operation”
  • “[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”

Greenwald concludes,

In sum, Democrats and their supporters had the exact prosecutor they all agreed was the embodiment of competence and integrity in Robert Mueller. He assembled a team of prosecutors and investigators that countless media accounts heralded as the most aggressive and adept in the nation. They had subpoena power, the vast surveillance apparatus of the U.S. government at their disposal, a demonstrated willingness to imprison anyone who lied to them, and unlimited time and resources to dig up everything they could.

The result of all of that was that not a single American – whether with the Trump campaign or otherwise – was charged or indicted on the core question of whether there was any conspiracy or coordination with Russia over the election. No Americans were charged or even accused of being controlled by or working at the behest of the Russian government. None of the key White House aides at the center of the controversy who testified for hours and hours – including Donald Trump, Jr. or Jared Kushner – were charged with any crimes of any kind, not even perjury, obstruction of justice or lying to Congress.

These facts are fatal to the conspiracy theorists who have drowned U.S. discourse for almost three years with a dangerous and distracting fixation on a fictitious espionage thriller involved unhinged claims of sexual and financial blackmail, nefarious infiltration of the U.S. Government by familiar foreign villains, and election cheating that empowered an illegitimate President. They got the exact prosecutor and investigation that they wanted, yet he could not establish that any of this happened and, in many cases, established that it did not.

Precisely. Continue reading