I Excuse Rob Reiner For Saying Something This Stupid Because He’s An Actor. For A Pundit Inflicted On The Public By The New York Times To Say It Is Journalistic Malpractice

Once again, Michelle Goldberg pulls into the lead for “Worst and Most Biased New York Times Columnist.” This is impressive, because so many Times columnists are unethical blights on national soul. Paul Krugman, Gail Collins, Charles M. Blow, Maureen Dowd, Jamelle Bouie…it’s an awful group; I could teach a “Bias Makes You Stupid” ethics course using only their columns as materials. I doubt that even these pundits would be foolish enough to claim Biden is a “great President.” Here I am, still comparing records to determine if he’ll be regarded as the worst President ever, and she claims that.

I try to rate Presidents by their own standards, and by his own stated standards, Biden has been a failure. He said he needed to bring a divided country together, and by fully placing himself in thrall to the most radical segments of the Left, he has made the partisan and ideological divide worse, and dangerously so. Like Obama, his policies and rhetoric have exacerbated racial tensions. Long a supporter of the military, he has overseen a brutal weakening of the Armed Forces, by making woke indoctrination a priority over national defense. A supposed women’s rights advocate, Biden has allowed trans-mania to undermine women’s sports. While giving lip service to Constitutional Rights, his administration has used its power and influence to illegally urge private entities to censor speech. He has allowed the National Debt to explode; he has presided over such extreme inflation that wage increases cannot keep up. The horde of illegal immigrants pouring over the border has never been more overwhelming, yet he allows his Vice President and Cabinet members to claim that “the border is secure.” He has openly endorsed racial discrimination in his appointments. After joining in the Democratic chorus that Trump “undermined democratic institutions,” Biden has used the “bully pulpit” institution to focus hate on political opponents. His Justice Department allowed illegal harassment of Supreme Court members. The FBI has been revealed as partisan and corrupt. Under his Transportation Secretary there have been more crises in the system than at any time since 9/11. His fecklessness in international relations allowed Putin to feel secure in invading Ukraine. Biden has harmed the nation with purely symbolic and otherwise useless climate change measures, like cancelling the XL Pipeline. Crime rates are soaring; and worst of all, he has indulged his party’s increasing thirst for constraining personal liberties, free expression and dissent.

I could go on, but it is exhausting and depressing.

And Michelle Goldberg says Biden is a great President, because… Continue reading

Two Unethical Headlines…

That’s a faked headline. No such op-ed ever ran in the Times, but it nearly got me. I saw it on several conservative sites, some quite reliable, but something in my softly pinging ethics alarms warned me that I should check it out before referring to it anywhere. Sure enough: “No such article exists. A fabricated headline about bullying was made to look like it came from an opinion piece by the outlet, a spokesperson with The New York Times confirmed.” It should be plain why any regular reader of the Times would assume that headline above was real. It is no more ridiculous than any number of Times op-ed headlines. A few years ago, one Times “expert” advocated allowing children—like sixth graders—to vote. A headline from 2021 read, “Yes, kink belongs at Pride. And I want my kids to see it.” Another: “Want to Get Rid of Trump? Only Fox News Can Do It.” Here’s one: “Trump’s Nacissiam Could Cost Us Our Lives.”

Add to the many examples of Times punditry bordering on lunacy the rampant Wuhan virus phobia and hysteria promoted by the Times itself (among others), and the widespread “ends justify the means” embrace the political Left has favored of late. In this context, a Times column advocating the position that we have to bully kids in order to save them is completely plausible. Continue reading

Incompetent Headline Of The Week: “Report: Joe Biden Realized His Mistake With Kamala Harris Very Early On” (Red State)

I’m sorry, but I can’t resist.

What’s “early” is a case like this? Anyone who watched and listened to and watched Harris during the Democratic Presidential debates could tell in an instant that she was a dolt, and obviously unqualified to run for President or be one, which means she has no business running for or being Vice-President either. The headline is the equivalent of “Early on as he attempted to shave using his power mower, he realized his mistake.”

What are we supposed to conclude from that statement? Admiration for Joe that he was so quick to pick up on what was wrong with his entirely race and gender-based pick for a running mate? That’s not quick. Someone who is competent, has good judgment and knows which end of the trumpet to blow on doesn’t make an epic mistake like picking Harris to be a heartbeat from the Oval Office.

I saw this story and couldn’t restrain myself.

Carry on…

Scary Headlines From “The Great Stupid”

I couldn’t resist a post in “The American Thinker” which listed 12 “headlines you never would have seen just a few short years ago,” because 10 of 12 had appeared on my birthday, December 1. That explains why my favorite recent Great Stupid headline didn’t make the list, “Shark Week Lacks Diversity, Overrepresents Men Named Mike, Scientists Say,” which sparked two Ethics Alarms posts yesterday, here and here. Eric Utter writes that taken together, the list “looks like a harbinger of chaos and disaster.” I won’t argue with that, especially since I see worse headlines than these every day and have time and gorge to write about only some of them. Here are nine of the twelve:

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Ethics Quiz Addendum: NBC’s Deceitful Headline

“Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!”

NBC’s current headline on the story discussed in today’s Ethics Quiz:

Texas teacher fired after telling Black students his race is ‘superior’

As so many are beating on Donald Trump right now (and deservedly so), it is only fair to point out that his statement that the news media were “the enemy of the people” was and is spot on, and quite possibly the most important and correct observation he has ever made in public. Naturally, it is also one of the statement he is most criticized for, especially by…the enemies of the people.

That headline by NBC is a prime example. It is pure deceit; indeed, I might use it to illustrate deceit in an upcoming ethics seminar. The first line of the NBC story immediately reveals the lie (deceit is lying): “A middle school teacher in Texas has been fired after a video posted on social media showed him telling students his race is “superior.” Other ways to distort the story for the edification of people who only read headlines, or to “poison the well” for those who do read on:

“Texas teacher fired after telling white students their race is ‘superior'”

“Texas teacher fired after telling black student her race is inferior.”

“Texas teacher fired after telling black students he regards their parents race makes them inferior.”

This is a distorted, manipulated, evil headline designed to misrepresent a complex incident into a knee-jerk confirmation of systemic racism and persistent white supremacy.

Is anyone going to call it out for what it is—unethical, biased, unprofessional, and typical of today’s journalism” other than Ethics Alarms?

We shall see.

(Don’t hold your breath.)

Quick Ethics Reactions To A Morning’s Headlines…

I woke up with a headache, I have to read a really boring document before an upcoming conference call, and I woke myself up with an anxiety attack. It’s a perfect time, in other words, to react to a typical batch of morning New York Times headlines. Like…

  • “Mary Peltola, a Democrat, Defeats Sarah Palin in Alaska’s Special House Election”

Comment: Good! Palin has a lot of gall running for office anywhere, but especially Alaska, after she quit as governor for no good reason, unless one considers cashing-in a good reason. I am still looking for a clear explanation of how the ranked voting scheme worked in this election. It seems that the system provides an edge to the hateful, and also allows the gaming of democracy.

  • “Lea Michele Is Well Aware That the Pressure Is On”

Comment: She should be. The former “Glee” star exploited her agent’s betrayal of another client, Beanie Feldstein, to snatch away the lead role in Broadway’s bombing “Funny Girl” revival. It was show-biz treachery worthy of “All About Eve.” (I hope she falls on her metaphorical face.)

  • “An Apple Watch for Your 5-Year-Old? More Parents Say Yes.”

Comment: More parents have money to burn, apparently, and an appalling lack of common sense. But the watch has proven largely useless for adults, so maybe 5-year-old is the right market.

  • “‘Defund the Police’ Is Dead. Now What?”

Comment: Now what? Oh, I don’t know, maybe progressives are slowly returning to sanity? We know Charles M. Blow isn’t (that’s the headline of his latest column, one that doesn’t mention Donald Trump at all, amazingly.). He ends his lament, “I fear that the signal we are sending to all the people who truly believed that there would finally be real change in policing and the possibility of more equity in our criminal justice system is that racial equity is a tertiary issue, that it is lower than people want to admit on the social hierarchy of policy priorities. We will regret that.”

  • “The Man Behind Our Public Schools Would Be So Disappointed Today”

Comment: Yeah, I’d say that’s a safe bet.

  • “Children Need the Whole Truth About America”

Comment: Because the “whole truth’ about America is so clear and settled. Translation: “Children need to be indoctrinated  before they have the critical thinking to analyze the complexities of their nation themselves.”

  • “The Pandemic Erased Two Decades of Progress in Math and Reading”

Comment: Not the pandemic. The disastrous, incompetent, ill-considered, destructive and quite possibly politically motivated lock-down in response to the pandemic. Lest we forget…




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The Drudge Report’s Lying Headline, And Related Attacks On The USA On Independence Day 2022

I wanted to keep all of today’s posts positive and appropriately celebratory of the official birthday of the greatest country on earth. It’s impossible, unless I just pretend “it isn’t what it is” out there, and I am distraught.

Let’s start with the shock headline that bannered the Drudge Report last night. Here is what it looked like:


The information is pure clickbait of the worst kind. The headline on the linked Gallup article is “Record-Low 38% Extremely Proud to Be American” (my emphasis). The piece goes on to say that an additional 27% were “very” proud to be Americans, making the “extremely/very proud” number 65%. In fact, only 4% of those surveyed said they were not proud to be Americans.

I found that part of the poll surprising. Not surprisingly, Democrats lead the not-very-proud group, and since the party’s entire thrust recently has been to try to transform the nation into a European-style socialist nanny state while denigrating the U.S. as racist to its core. I would have expected the un-proud, as in “ashamed,” to be much higher. Continue reading

Evening Ethics Illumination, 1/9/22: “Mister We Could Use A Man Like Thomas Paine Again…”

On this date in 1776, writer Thomas Paine published his pamphlet “Common Sense,” making his arguments in favor of American independence from England, thereby uniting a scattering of dissatisfaction into a movement. Only a few publications in our history have had such a profound effect on public opinion; another was “Uncle Tom’s Cabin.” Paine’s most ringing assertion may have been this one:

“Europe, and not England, is the parent country of America.  This new world hath been the asylum for the persecuted lovers of civil and religious liberty from every part of Europe.  Hither they have fled, not from the tender embraces of the mother, but from the cruelty of the monster; and it is so far true of England, that the same tyranny which drove the first emigrants from home, pursues their descendants still.”

Common sense today is in short supply. A sharp, clear explication and reaffirmation of core American values without the tarnish of partisan politics would be a godsend. But among a public in which a minority could even identify who Thomas Paine was, who would understand it?

1. I wonder if it’s even necessary to finish the post on the hypocrisy of Democratic propaganda about a threat to democracy when this kind of thing keeps happening…GovernorJay Inslee of Washington state called on lawmakers to pass legislation making it a gross misdemeanor for some to “spread lies”about election results. Naturally, he called this suppression of opinion and free speech necessary to protect democracy. Inslee spoke against what he called “a continuing coup” by former President Donald Trump. Wait, don’t we need a law criminalizing false claims of “coups”?

Part of the Democratic strategy to keep power is to use the criminal system to muzzle opinions and positions it doesn’t like. Robert Kennedy Jr. wants to punish “climate change deniers.” Many progressives want to punish vaccine skeptics (a group that includes Robert Kennedy Jr.!), and Democratic allies in social media and Big Tech have been increasingly brazen about banning conservatives, replacing the “more speech” remedy the Bill of Rights set out for dubious opinions with “no speech.”

Would it be fair to conclude that Inslee is an ignoramus? Not only have state laws making it a crime for a candidate for office to lie been declared unconstitutional (because they are,) the Supreme Court case U.S. v. Alvarez,  struck down the Stolen Valor Act, protecting a man who falsely claimed that he had received the Medal of Honor, declared that lying speech was still protected speech. Then there’s the little problem of deciding what is a lie and what is just dumb opinion, like, say, suggesting that a state could ban lying about elections.

If Inslee isn’t ignorant about his nation’s Constitution, then he is grandstanding, equating opinions with crimes to rile up the under-educated and the nascent totalitarians who his party has been courting for so long.

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Why Doesn’t Ethics Alarms Trust Breitbart? This Is Why…


Here is a headline that popped up on Breitbart, the conservative propaganda and opinion website:

“CNN Poll: Democrats’ Hold over Congress Has Grown Increasingly Fragile”

What would you assume that a poll justifying such a headline would show? You would think that it polled likely voters, and that it showed a majority of them currently planning on voting Republican in the upcoming 2022 elections, right?

“By far-left CNN’s estimates, congressional Democrats are not in very good standing for the 2022 midterm elections,” the article begins. Then we learn that “When asked, ‘If the elections for Congress were being held today, which party’s candidate would you vote for in your Congressional district?’ 45 percent of registered voters chose a Democrat candidate and 44 percent chose a Republican candidate.” The current partisan divide on Capital Hill has both the House and the Senate divided almost 50-50, with Democrats and Republicans being evenly divided in the Senate, and only holding a margin of 10 in the House, which has 435 seats. That’s a margin of 2.2%.

You can play with the figures, but essentially the poll shows exactly the same partisan split that currently exists.

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Our Lying, Propaganda-Spreading, Untrustworthy News Media: The Miami Herald Headline

herald headline

I have to regularly update my resolve to not respond to one of my ethics-rotted progressive friends when they say to my face, “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! That’s just a conservative conspiracy theory,” “You’re not only an idiot, you’re an enemy of democracy.” It gets harder and harder by the day. This has been my ongoing struggle at least since the 2008 Presidential campaign, when the mainstream media kept mocking Sarah Palin’s alleged lack of qualifications to be Vice-President while never mentioning that Joe Biden was a babbling fool or that Barack Obama was objectively less qualified than Palin was.

The Miami Herald headline above isn’t unusual; there are these kinds of lies and public manipulation to assist partisan agendas that appear in the news media every day, all day long, and from more influential sources (boy, I nearly wrote “respected sources,” and no mainstream media source deserves respect) than the Herald. Nonetheless, the headline is unusually brazen.

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