Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/9/2020: Whining, Lying, Slipping, Faking, Scaring….

Good morning.

I detest that sappy Ray Stevens song, and have since the first time I heard it. But I have to try something…

1. There’s no whining in baseball! Note to MLB players: heroes and role models don’t whine.  Players have been making excuses for their flaccid play—of course, only the players who aren’t playing well are complaining—that the lack of a crowd makes it difficult to  bear down during games. The Red Sox broadcasters, including two former players, keep talking about this over and over again. Two games ago, Red Sox newcomer Alex Verdugo, in his second season, made a great catch to take away a home run, and the only cheering to be heard (I’m not including the fake crowd noises) was coming from Verdugo himself.  “In a normal game, he’d be getting  a standing ovation! A curtain call out of the dugout!” said Dennis Eckersley.

Oh, cry me a river. These guys are supposed to be professionals, and they get millions of dollars to play a game for living, one they supposedly love. I don’t believe they need crowds screaming to “get up” for big moments, and if they do, something’s wrong with them. Every kid who played sandlot baseball manged to perform at his or her best because that’s what competitors in any game do.

Then there’s Red Sox slugger J.D. Martinez, who is off to a miserable start. His excuse? Part of the MLB protocols during the pandemic prohibits players from in-game use of video equipment. Martinez is used to looking at videos of his at bats during games to pick up on any flaws in his swing, so he has complained that not being able to have access to the usual devices  is contributing to his slump.

Not surprisingly, the former players in the booth have not been particularly sympathetic to his plight, having played in those dark ages when baseball players just played baseball during the games.

2. Telling us all we need to know about “Defund police,” the current Democratic Party, Minnesota,  the former co-chair of the Democratic National Committee, and the mainstream media…MN Attorney General Keith Ellison recommended last month that women not call police to report when they’ve been raped. Ellison, who coincidentally has been accused of rape himself, said,

“If you’re a woman who’s been a victim of a sexual assault, and the assailant ran away, wouldn’t you rather talk to somebody who is trained in helping you deal with what you’re dealing with, as opposed to somebody whose main training is that they know how to use a firearm? Right?”

That’s the kind of  statement I would expect from a teenage social justice warrior like David Hogg. Ellison is the top law enforcement official in the state, and his definition of a police officers is that that their main skill is using a gun? Continue reading

From The “Stop Making Me Defend The Washington Post!” Files: The Sheriff’s Threat

“Nice little library you got there…”

Like the New York Times, the Washington Post engages in fake news and unethical journalism virtually every day. For a critic to strain to find example of the either paper exhibiting its bias is not only unethical, its unnecessary. Be patient: the Post and Times will be lying if you just wait a minute.

The link bait I fell for was “The Washington Post Can’t and Won’t Stop Lying” from something called Front Page Mag. The Post headline the writer felt was an example of the paper “[churning]  out social justice clickbait that it knows to be false”  was…

A Nevada library wanted to back Black Lives Matter. The sheriff said he wouldn’t respond to 911 calls there.

Quoth Front Page: “As anyone who can read, a category that probably includes even Washington Post hacks, can see that’s not what Sheriff Coverley said. Sheriff Coverley did not say that he wouldn’t respond to 911 calls, but suggested that the library should live up to its principles by not calling 911.”

I can read, and I rate the Post’s analysis far more accurate than that spin. Who wrote this, Bill Clinton? Here’s what the sheriff communicated  to the Douglas County Public Library Board of Trustees: Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 6/3/2020: Rationalizations #1 And #64

Well, maybe the Nicholas Brothers will cheer me up….

I wrote about Fayard and Harold here. Talk about victims of systemic racism: the only reason these guys aren’t as famous as Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly is that Hollywood wouldn’t let them be. Justice would be making sure every single American kid sees this routine before they are 18.

1. Of course rioting is domestic terrorism. What else would you call it? It’s calculated violence against innocent citizens to promote fear and to advance a political objective. That’s terrorism.

If the truth hurts, tough. Boy, Rationalization #64. Yoo’s Rationalization or “It isn’t what it is” has had a work-out this year!

2. New York Times priorities: Here’s the top front page headline in the Times today: “How Trump’s Idea For Photo Op led To Havoc in the Park.”  Riots, looting, attacks on police and deaths from the George Floyd riots, and that’s the story the Times believes should be first today. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias. Continue reading

Ethics Warm-Up, 5/13/2020….Oh, So WHAT If It’s Morning Or Not? Who CARES? Who Cares About ANY Of It?

1. I miss Ken. Ken White used to troll people who would ask him to post their sponsored content on Popehat. Now that he’s writing for The Atlantic, which morphed into a “resistance” organ and which I refuse to read on principle unless a particular screed is brought to my attention, I no longer get to chuckle at his nonsense mockery post about ponies and the rest. Now I’m getting this junk too. Faith Cormier writes,

I was visiting your website, ethicsalarms.com, and it had me wondering: do you accept outside submissions? If so, we’d love to create an original piece for you!Because it would include a totally natural reference to one of our clients, we’re prepared to pay you $100 for your time and effort. (Payments made through PayPal.) Shall we send you a draft, Jack? Alternatively, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

Yeah, I have a question, Faith. How could you read this blog, with the title “Ethics Alarms,” and make a proposal like that? “Totally natural reference” means a promotion, and that this would be deceptive marketing.  My integrity may have a price some day, but if it does, it will be a hell of a lot higher than a hundred bucks.

2. Ethics movie spoiler.  “Standoff,” is a 2016 film that critics mostly slammed because critics don’t understand ethics movies. A hit man (Lawrence Fishburne) who is chasing a 12-year-old girl who took a photo of him while he was executing people tracks her down to a run-down house where a depressed and alcoholic veteran (Thomas Jane) is living. The veteran, who has some facility with firearms (and who lost his own young son, sending him into his tailspin) decides to protect her, though the hit man demands that he turn her over to be shot. The veteran faces several ethics conflicts after making the altruistic decision to risk his own life to try to save a child who showed up on his doorstep by random chance. The hit man captures a police officer and tortures him to force the girl’s surrender. He then threatens to kill the officer, and does, as the veteran rejects the proffered exchange. Finally, the hit man captures the veteran’s ex-wife, and says he will kill her if he doesn’t get the little girl. (“How do I know I can trust you?” the vteran asks as they are negotiating. “You can’t!” the hit man replies.)

Now that’s an ethics conflict! Continue reading

Hump Day Ethics Hunches, 4/29/2020….There Must Be An Ethics Analogy For A Five-Headed Shark

1. Idiotic movie ethics. Last night I watched “Five-Headed Shark Attack,” hoping to discover a new all-time bad horror movie. First, it wasn’t that terrible, meaning that it was a total waste of time. Mainly, however, the title was a shark bait-and-switch. The preview (and the posters) said the shark had 5 heads and was shaped like a starfish. No, it had four heads, and looked exactly like a Disney cartoon character’s glove.

Late in the movie, we saw that the monster’s tail had a mouth (once we saw it gobble a foot that slipped by the four heads), but it had no eyes, guided the shark like a tail, and no character in the film ever saw it, so the creature was never once called a “Five-Headed Shark.” My wife and I had an argument over my contention that just because a tail has teeth, that doesn’t make it a head.

2. I think we can fairly conclude now how serious progressives and Democrats are about standing up for women and fighting against sexual assault and harassment: They’re not . #MeToo and #TimesUp are clearly political weapons to be used against conservatives, Republicans and abortion opponents, real or otherwise, and certain groups, like black Democrats, are immune, even from adverse opinion.

Nice. A lot of women are going to suffer because of this, and they can blame their own alleged advocates.

In Maryland, right next door to Virginia where African-American Lt. Governor Justin Fairfax is still in office despite having been credibly accused of rape and sexual assault , Democrat Kweisi Mfume easily won a special election yesterday to finish the term of the late Elijah Cummings, retaking a Maryland congressional seat he held for five terms before leaving to lead the NAACP.  Mifune had to leave the NAACP after it was revealed that he dated one staffer while its president, and another alleged she had been sexually harassed by him and was passed over for a promotion after she rejected his advances, according to the Baltimore Sun. She then threatened to sue the organization, so the NAACP paid her a $100,000 hush money payment in 2004 to avoid the lawsuit. This was the sort of scandal that drove Bill O’Reilly off Fox News. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Unethical Headline Of The Week, ‘Nah, The News Media Isn’t Promoting Fear And Panic” Division'”

It’s not often that I post a comment that is mostly links and quotes as a Comment of the Day, but Dr. Emilio Lizardo (That’s his real name, by the way..KIDDING!) performed a real service by gathering this information in one place as a follow-up to the “Unethical Headline” post of last night.

II fear I buried the lede in that one, so some more follow-up is coming. Just two points, and I’ll turn it over to the doctor. Comparing the Wuhan virus outbreak deaths to greater numbers involving routine, yearly, largely unavoidable deaths in the US is a dishonest way to minimize the significance of the current threat. This device is used by the “save the economy, let ’em die” advocates, who are multiplying among conservative commentators. It was also the despicable strategy used by apologists for the terrorists after 9-11, like Michael  Moore, though comparing the number of  weekly auto fatalities with bomb attacks that murder 3,000 Americans is self-evidently moronic.

On the other side, comparing the current epidemic deaths to wars is an equally dishonest strategy of those trying to make the  current situation as terrifying as possible to promote fear and facilitate political gain.

These are two sides of the same unethical coin. (And now you know what the graphic above means)

Now here’s Dr. Lizardo’s Comment of the Day—his first, I think– on the post, “Unethical Headline Of The Week, ‘Nah, The News Media Isn’t Promoting Fear And Panic” Division’.”

I’ll be back for one comment at the end.

Unethical? Nah! And, of course, it’s not personal; it’s business. Not.
And this narrative has been taking place for a week or so:

NYT “News Analysis” – 1 April

“Under the best-case scenario presented on Tuesday, Mr. Trump will see more Americans die from the coronavirus in the weeks and months to come than Presidents Harry S. Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Richard M. Nixon saw die in the Korean and Vietnam Wars combined.

The lowest estimate would claim nearly as many Americans as World War I under President Woodrow Wilson and 14 times as many Americans as Iraq and Afghanistan together under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/01/us/politics/coronavirus-trump.html Continue reading

Unethical Headline Of The Week, “Nah, The News Media Isn’t Promoting Fear And Panic” Division

What possible excuse can there be for this? There is none.

Let’s start with the “six wars combined” stat. That doesn’t count the  top six wars in  US history in combat deaths, each of which  also happen to have  had more than 10,000 deaths. The “battlefield” modifier is also a cheat: the headline actually calls deaths from the disease “battlefield deaths”! They aren’t battlefield deaths.  Meanwhile, the two earliest major wars in our history both had more than 10,000 military deaths, which is the usual way we tote up such things. The next three combined, The Iraq War (#9), the Philippine-American War (#10), and the Spanish American War (#11) add up to more than 10,000, so to  get to six you have to  carefully work around the list and drop in some wars nobody remembers.

But who thinks like that? We have have over 40,000 suicides every year. Almost 40,000 die ever year from car accidents. About 35,000 die every year from falls. 10,000 is less than the typical year’s deaths from fire, choking and drowning, and so what?

The headline is yet another cognitive dissonance trick: war is something we regard as especially horrible, so the idea is to get the public to associate the epidemic with wars, which involve violent death. Yeah, let’s really scare them .But the Wuhan virus has nothing to do with wars. The comparison doesn’t belong in the story, much less the headline. Comparing it with other pandemics and epidemics would be misleading enough.

The news media’s coverage of the Wuhan Virus epidemic  has been uniformly despicable: sensational, politicized, unreliable. At a time when a competent, objective press and broadcast media is essential—it always is, but in a national emergency especially so—journalism has dived to a new low.  None of the news media is beyond reproach: Fox News has frequently taken the opposite approach to the rest, hyping skepticism about the seriousness of the outbreak and various doomsday models, and spreading rumors and speculation as fact. Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 3/28/2020: Well, In At Least One Respect, WW II Must Have Felt Like This…

“This” being that almost every single news item and media article related in some way to a single topic, the war then, the pandemic today. That’s one reason President Roosevelt asked major League Baseball to keep playing on, despite the fact that most of the game’s stars had enlisted or were about to,  leaving the teams to field old players, players who came out of retirement, minor leaguers, and such curiosities as Pete Gray, the one-armed outfielder. 

Wait: the baseball season was supposed to start two days ago, and is postponed at least until May. In that regard, at least, this is worse than World War II…

1. Speaking of baseball: Red Sox ethics! Major League Baseball approved a pool of 30 million dollars (That’s $1 million per club) to compensate ballpark employees during the enforced suspension of games. That left out the employees of subcontractors like Aramark, the company that supplies Fenway Park with food services, among other things. The Sox announced that it would add a half-million dollars to the $1 million for Aramark, a move that is expected to shame the other 29 clubs into similar moves.

2. You wonder why America’s children are growing up to be Marxists? Well, this doesn’t help: The following articles appeared this week in Teen Vogue:

3. From the front page of the Boston Herald:

I’m not going to track down the article; it would just ruin the wonderful picture in my head. Continue reading

Well What Do You Know! The New York Times Decided To Play It Straight This Time And Passed An Integrity Test….Well, For A While, Anyway. [UPDATED]

Maybe they decided they had arrived at a moment when unified resolve was essential and the national interest was at stake, and the paper had no choice but to stop spinning for the Democrats.

Tonight’s just breaking story is headlined, Coronavirus Live Updates: As State Pleas Mount, Trump Outlines Some Federal Action; Senate Democrats Block Stimulus Package.

It says in part,

Senate Democrats on Sunday blocked action on an emerging deal to prop up an economy devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, paralyzing the progress of a nearly $2 trillion government rescue package they said failed to adequately protect workers or impose strict enough restrictions on bailed-out businesses.

The party-line vote was a stunning setback after three days of fast-paced negotiations between senators and administration officials to reach a bipartisan compromise on legislation that is expected to be the largest economic stimulus package in American history — now expected to cost $1.8 trillion or more. In a 47-to-47 vote, the Senate fell short of the 60 votes that would have been needed to advance the measure, even as talks continued between behind the scenes between Democrats and the White House to salvage a compromise.

The failure to move forward shook financial markets and threatened an ambitious timeline set by the Trump administration and leading Republicans to move the rescue package through the Senate on Monday and enact it within days.

In voting to block action, Democrats risked a political backlash if they are seen as obstructing progress on a measure that is widely regarded as crucial to aid desperate Americans and prop up a flagging economy.

Continue reading

New Week Ethics Jolt, 2/24/2020: Uncivil Gravestones, Conflicted Zamboni Drivers, And Unintelligent Intelligence Experts

Hello, mates!

That hilarious novelty song, a big hit in the same year Kennedy was shot, is now too politically incorrect to play in the U.S. Is it also song non grata Down Under?

1. Unethical Headline of the Day. From the Washington Freebeacon, a conservative news site: Dem Megadonor, Gun-Control Activist Harvey Weinstein Convicted on Rape Charges. This unethical device is used a lot now, though seldom this flagrantly. It’s Cognitive Dissonance Scale gamesmanship, attempting to smear positions that the headline-writer opposes by linking them to conduct that they have no relationship to.  There is no logical reason why gun control or the Democrats should be implicated in a headline to Weinstein’s rape conviction. I’m not even sure the connection belongs in the news story at all.

2. Gee, I wonder why the President doesn’t trust his intelligence specialists. The Russian collusion conspiracy theory flared up again among the Trump Deranged after Shelby Pierson, the official in the intelligence community charged with election security, apparently botched her briefing to Congress.

Three national security officials told CNN that the briefer falsely (wrongly, mistakenly) said that Russia was planning to help Trump win re-election:

The US intelligence community has assessed that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election and has separately assessed that Russia views Trump as a leader they can work with. But the US does not have evidence that Russia’s interference this cycle is aimed at reelecting Trump, the officials said. “The intelligence doesn’t say that,” one senior national security official told CNN. “A more reasonable interpretation of the intelligence is not that they have a preference, it’s a step short of that. It’s more that they understand the President is someone they can work with, he’s a dealmaker.”

Since this comes from CNN, otherwise known as Bash The President Central, it cannot be dismissed as administration spin. My Facebook Friends reacted to the original story with utter glee, gloating that they knew Russia viewed Trump as a Russian asset.

If Trump fired her, and I wouldn’t blame him, he’ll be accused of a “purge.” Continue reading