Tag Archives: hearsay

Bias Makes The News Media Stupid, But It Makes Politicians Untrustworthy Jerks

Dad warned me about people like you, Al...

Dad warned me about people like you, Al…

The Stupid: Journalists

Let me begin by saying how happy I am that the mainstream news medias “fake news” gambit, where it attempted to blame President Trump’s election on ridiculous hoax stories spread on social media to distract from its own biased, dishonest and incompetent reporting, has blown up in its metaphorical face like those Acme booby traps do to Wile E. Coyote.

Here’s a new and especially stupid example of the biased, dishonest and incompetent reporting, although “dishonest” wasn’t in play.

The website Pop Suger posted an extremely inept and confusing story concerning U.S. Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who made history in the 2016 Olympics as the first female Muslim American to medal for the United States and the first American to compete in the Games wearing a hijab. The site and the reporter signal their untrustworthiness and Bias Makes You Stupid (BMYS) credentials by writing of the controversial immigration halt Executive Order,

“The executive order blocked thousands of refugees, immigrants, and visitors from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States before it was struck down by a judge many days later.”

No, you ignorant dolts, the order was not and has not been “struck down.” It has been subject to a temporary restraining order, which is absolutely not the same as being struck down, as any second year law student intern could have told you if you cared more about accurate reporting  than bashing the President.

The story described Muhammad’s statements when she took the stage at a conference last week  and answered a question about the “travel ban” by saying that she had been personally “held at Customs for two hours just a few weeks ago.”  The athlete is not as adept at time sense as she is at her sport, because she eventually had to clarify that “just a few weeks ago” meant “in December.”   The website followed  with an update, but never mind. TIME saw her statement, didn’t check the time frame or notice the update, and tweeted yesterday (remember, the story was clarified two days before, and was wrong to begin with) the headline in TIME’s “Motto.”

“Olympic athlete Ibtihaj Muhammad was detained because of President Trump’s travel ban”

The U.K.’s Independent went with a story titled, “US Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad says she was detained by Customs after Donald Trump’s ‘Muslim ban.’

The Hill published an article whose opening paragraph read, “A Muslim-American Olympic medalist says she was detained by Customs for nearly two hours without explanation after President Trump’s travel ban was instituted a few weeks ago.”

Sports Illustrated and ESPN also published stories implying that Muhammad’s Customs detention was triggered by Trump’s immigration order,  and other journalists and pundits expressed indignation on social media.

Remember,  Muhammad was detained in December of 2016. Barack Obama was President. Trump’s Executive Order was just a twinkle in his eye. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Family, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President

Comey’s Letter Ignites A Public Seminar On Spin And Disinformation

comey_letter_0_1477662300

From the New York Times (Note: the officially declared Trump  reviling/Clinton-favoring  Times is still a solid source on the matter of Hillary’s e-mails, because it broke the story about her private server in the first place.):

WASHINGTON — The presidential campaign was rocked on Friday after federal law enforcement officials said that emails pertinent to the closed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server were discovered on a computer belonging to Anthony D. Weiner, the estranged husband of a top Clinton aide.

In a letter to Congress, the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, said the emails had surfaced in an unrelated case, which law enforcement officials said was an F.B.I. investigation into illicit text messages from Mr. Weiner to a 15-year-old girl in North Carolina. Mr. Weiner, a former Democratic congressman from New York, is married to Huma Abedin, the top aide.

Mr. Comey’s letter said that the F.B.I. would review the emails to determine if they improperly contained classified information, which is tightly controlled by the government. Senior law enforcement officials said that it was unclear if any of the emails were from Mrs. Clinton’s private server. And while Mr. Comey said in his letter that the emails “appear to be pertinent,” the F.B.I. had not yet examined them.

That’s it, as of this morning. Anything else, at this point, is speculation or disinformation. However, this is undeniable: whatever was found on the computer was considered relevant enough to the question of whether Hillary Clinton knowingly violated federal law and endangered US security in her machinations to avoid FOIA scrutiny of her private dealings to mandate re-opening the investigation, which had been, as the Times notes, closed.

It seems fair to assume that this is all we will know until the election, which means that Hillary Clinton will face the verdict of voters while under FBI investigation. That isn’t good for her, but boy, does she (and the Democrats) deserve it. The Clinton way, as we learned from Whitewater and the other controversies during Bill’s administration, is that when one of their seamy deals provokes suspicion, the game plan is to deny, deny, stonewall, confuse, muddle the story, muddy the water, barely cooperate with authorities, count on the “friendly journalists” to assist, run out the clock, and wait for the public to become so frustrated and bored that the cry of “Let’s move on!” is effective. We have seen this time and time again, because it has worked. This time, her lies and delaying tactics backfired, and left the sword dangling over her head for all to see far too long. Now everyone will have to wonder if Clinton will be declared a felon while in the White House. I’d say that’s extremely unlikely, but you never know, especially with this bizarre election script.

What’s going on here?

What’s going on here is that James Comey played it by the book, and by book I mean the District of Columbia Rules of Professional Conduct governing the ethical conduct of all lawyers within its borders, including Comey.

Rule 3.3 in all jurisdictions (except California, but it has an equivalent rule) requires  lawyers to correct any material representations of fact or law that they have presented in a “Tribunal,” which is defined as an “ajudicative body,” usually a court. Congress and congressional committees are not adjudicative bodies for the purposes of 3,3. However, the most obscure and infrequently cited rule in all of legal ethics, Rule 3.9, says this:

Rule 3.9 Advocate in Non-adjudicative Proceedings

A lawyer representing a client before a legislative or administrative body in a nonadjudicative proceeding shall disclose that the appearance is in a representative capacity and shall conform to the provisions of Rules 3.3, 3.4(a) through (c), and 3.5.

I have met few lawyers in the government or out of it that have ever read this rule. I know for a fact that lawyers who testify before Congress almost never “disclose” that. However, lawyers—ethical ones, anyway—will correct misleading testimony as Rule 3.3, though 3.9, requires. That’s what Comey did.

It is disgraceful that the FBI’s investigation into a matter bearing on the fitness of a Presidential candidate was closed prematurely and that its recommendation to the Justice Department in the matter was based on incomplete evidence, resulting in the current uncertainty. Nonetheless, once new evidence was uncovered that agents felt could change the results of that investigation, the Bureau had no choice. It had to investigate, and Comey had to correct his testimony that the investigation of Clinton’s conduct was over. It’s not.

Now Democrats, partisan agents of the Clinton campaign and corrupted journalists are giving a spectacular public seminar on how they spin, and, if we pay attention, a demonstration of who is interested in truth and whose function in life is to mislead the public. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, The Internet, This Will Help Elect Donald Trump

Unethical Headline Of The Week: Gateway Pundit: No, Conservatives, A Clinton Advisor Did Not “Admit She Hates Everyday Americans”

Nice graphic, Gateway Pundit! Stupid post, though...

Nice graphic, Gateway Pundit! Embarrassing post, though…

Just because progressive blogs are playing this game doesn’t make it OK for you to do it to0.

Here’s the headline, on a breathless post  conservative blogger Jim Hoft:

WIKILEAKS BOMBSHELL: Hillary Advisors Admit She “HATES EVERYDAY AMERICANS”

Now here is the “bombshell”:

hillary-hate-americans-575x371

Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, The Internet

Unethical App Of The Month: Peeple

The co-founders of Peeple. I don't care which is which.

The co-founders of Peeple. I don’t care which is which.

(I’m officially adding this as an Ethics Alarms category. I don’t know why it too so long.)

The Washington Post reports that a greedy woman who never heard of the Golden Rule will be launching Peeple, “essentially Yelp for humans,” sometime in November:

“…you will be able to assign reviews and one- to five-star ratings to everyone you know: your exes, your co-workers, the old guy who lives next door. You can’t opt out — once someone puts your name in the Peeple system, it’s there unless you violate the site’s terms of service. And you can’t delete bad or biased reviews — that would defeat the whole purpose.”

Which is what, exactly? To pre-bias all future relationships by making sure they are colored by someone else’s judgment, emotions, or prejudices? Not only should no one want to be rated on such a service, no one should want to use it if they have a brain in their head. (No one should want to use Yelp, either.) Why should my standards, which are unique to me, be suppressed by the standards of other people I don’t know or respect? My ability to trust new acquaintances will be undermined by people I have no reason to trust, since a) I won’t know them and b) I won’t trust anyone so unethical as to smear someone like this.

As for positive reviews, what’s to stop someone from arranging to give positive feedback on a friend in exchange for a return rave? Nothing. The app will pave the way for sociopaths and con artists. Imagine what Bill Clinton’s reviews would look like.

Julia Cordray, one of the app’s founders, tells the Post, “People do so much research when they buy a car or make those kinds of decisions Why not do the same kind of research on other aspects of your life?”

Because it isn’t valid research, you moron. It is hearsay and opinion, neither of which would be admissible in court, for excellent reasons: they are unreliable.

The Post:

“A bubbly, no-holds-barred trendy lady” with a marketing degree and two recruiting companies”—“Trendy lady”? Great, I hate her already—“Cordray sees no reason you wouldn’t want to ‘showcase your character’ online”—I already showcase my character online, thanks. It’s called Ethics Alarms, but the difference is that I really do know myself, and I trust the standards of the reviewer implicitly. They are very close to my own…

“Co-founder Nicole McCullough comes at the app from a different angle: As a mother of two in an era when people don’t always know their neighbors, she wanted something to help her decide whom to trust with her kids.”

There we go. With any luck, there will be a few good, whopping law suits for defamation that will either reduce the user base of this App From Hell to four pranksters and a few mean and bored seniors with grudges, or drive the Trendy Lady to another scheme to make the world a little more unpleasant. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, U.S. Society, Unethical App

Incompetent Political Correctness vs. Amy Schumer

That Mel Brooks...what a racist!

That Mel Brooks…what a racist!

If you want a template for the argument that comedy and jokes should not tread outside the thick, forbidding red lines of political correctness, you cannot do better than the Washington Post op-ed titled “Don’t believe her defenders. Amy Schumer’s jokes are racist.” Two professors, Stacey Patton and David J. Leonard, made the argument that Schumer’s humor is racist, and did so in as forceful terms possible. For example, they write:

 Racial jokes allow white America to claim that race no longer matters, even as there’s talk whizzing in every direction about how blacks and Latinos are outbreeding whites, are criminals and welfare queens, are “stealing jobs” and victimizing whites through affirmative action policies and denying them the right to use the n-word. Comedy allows these comforting ideas to be shared with a built-in defense mechanism that protects white innocence. 

America’s soil of racism is fed by jokes and incendiary speeches, by stereotypical images and symbols like the Confederate flag. Just as Rush Limbaugh,  Donald Trump and other members of the Republican Party regularly disparage people of color and claim they are simply telling the truth, Schumer can use comedy as a protective shroud to deny the harm and hurt caused by her jokes. A joke is considered benign especially when told by a supposed white liberal feminist. We can distance ourselves from the anger, from the harm, from the ideology, and from the hatred of the “extreme,” but also find comfort in the same anger, ideology  and hatred that is “just a joke.”

The abuse heaped on Schumer, a young, clever, rising comedian that I only recently became aware of because of her hilarious—filthy, but hilarious—parody of “Twelve Angry Men,” is breathtaking. She is called the equivalent of Donald Trump (who himself is misrepresented as a racist who believes all Mexicans—he said some illegal Mexican migrants—were criminals and rapists); she is declared complicit in the Charleston shootings and the creation of Dylann Roof, encouraging gun purchases generally, and “a worldview that justifies a broken immigration system, mass incarceration, divestment from inner city communities, that rationalizes inequality and buttresses persistent segregation and violence.”

This is why Mel Brooks says that “Blazing Saddles” couldn’t be made today.  His brilliant seventies Western spoof, which many, including Brooks, believe is the funniest film ever made (I’d pick “Animal House,” but he’s not far from wrong) was immediately recognized as a devastating attack on racism, despite its frequent use of the word “nigger” and its employment of almost every black stereotype for maximum comedy effect. Schumer is no Mel Brooks, but her audiences aren’t stupid either. They understand that she, like Brooks, is spoofing both the stereotypes and the people who believe them, as well as properly zinging the individuals who craete the stereotypes by their own conduct. There is nothing racist about that at all, unless one has embraced the current, floating, broad and infinitely flexible definition of “racist,” which is whatever a progressive or African American critic thinks will be most harmful to his or her target at the time.

The reason “Blazing Saddles” was understood to be satiric and beneficial to the cause of racial understanding forty years ago, and Schumer’s far less harsh humor is being attacked now is simple: race relations are worse today, thanks to people like Drs. Patton and Leonard, who I would have banned at the box office if they ever tried to buy a ticket to a comedy I was directing, and civil rights establishment that has decided that hyping eternal victimhood is the way to power and wealth.  People like this are incapable of humor, because they have to analyze whether they should laugh before they do laugh. To them, Popeye and the Road Runner encourage violence, Eddie Murphy’s Gumby impression furthers racial stereotypes, and Woody Allen’s movies are anti-Semitic. I’m sure they find Mel’s “Hitler on Ice” completely bewildering.

The Post apparently invited the two clueless political-correctness obsessed academics to write this drivel. Asking them to write about comedy is like inviting  Mike Huckabee to analyze the rhetoric of Dan Savage (and vice-versa). In other words, it was a set-up.

Debra Kessler explored the origins of this strange essay on the comedy website The Interobang.

I spoke with The Washington Post‘s Outlook Deputy Editor Mike Madden …. “This is not the opinion of The Washington Post,” Madden told me, “this is the opinion of a couple of contributors to The Washington Post.”  Of course both articles are editorials and newspapers print conflicting editorials all the time.  But even op-ed pieces are edited and selected and subject to internal guidelines and even op-ed pieces enjoy the weight of The Washington Post banner– one which has a history of protecting journalistic expression feverishly.

Kessler also talked to Stacey Patton, who told her that the Post solicited the piece, and had to persuade her to write it. Apparently they couldn’t persuade her to write it fairly, responsibly, or competently, however:

Dr. Patton said a few things that surprised me. For starters, she said she’s not a specialist on comedy or humor. While she does enjoy comedy (she likes George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Martin Lawrence, the Queens of Comedy, and Bill Maher among others), she told me that watching comedy isn’t something she gets to do often. In fact, before the ‘Schumer issue’ came up, she had never seen Amy Schumer perform stand up, and she had never seen Schumer’s Comedy Central television show. Even more surprising, she said she didn’t watch any of Amy’s performances or shows while writing the article, not even as background for the piece. Her judgement was based on what she read, presumably in The Guardian, which had just published an article accusing Schumer of “having a blind spot for race.”

The Interrobang: Have you ever watched Amy’s television show… in preparation for the article?
Stacey Patton: Nope. Not at all.
The Interrobang: Her stand up set[s]? have you ever watched any of them?
Stacey Patton: Nope. None of them.

Wow. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Humor and Satire, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Race, Research and Scholarship

Trapped In The Land Of Liars

Liars“In a certain town there are two tribes—one  always tells the truth; the other always lies. A stranger arrived in the town and asked one of the natives whether he was a Truth Teller or a Liar. The native answered, but the stranger didn’t hear the answer. The stranger then asked two other natives who overheard this conversation, what the first man had said. The first replied, “He said he was a Truth Teller.” The second replied, “He said he was a Liar.”

—-Old Brain-Teaser

Senator Dick Durbin (D-ILL)  posted this on his Facebook page:

“Many Republicans searching for something to say in defense of the disastrous shutdown strategy will say President Obama just doesn’t try hard enough to communicate with Republicans. But in a ‘negotiation’ meeting with the president, one GOP House Leader told the president: ‘I cannot even stand to look at you.'”

Durbin, the #2 Democrat in the Senate, much like the #1, Harry Reid (and the GOP #1, Sen. Mitch McConnell, and…but I’m getting ahead of myself) is a serial shiv-master, adept at making explosive and unfair partisan accusations. This one is typically irresponsible and despicable, because he tells the tale of inexcusable disrespect to the President of the United States but does not attach it to any one individual. Unethical. Cowardly. If he’s going to blow the whistle, he has an obligation to blow it and point, so the accused can defend himself. The Golden Rule demands no less. Of course, this method indicts all GOP leaders, which is Durbin’s design.

The Illinois Senator is also not very bright, and thus his account, which is also based on hearsay so he actually cannot know if it is true or not, does not prove what he purports it to prove. The President’s obligation to negotiate and communicate is independent of what any one lawmaker thinks or how that lawmaker may act. Durbin’s argument is the Tit for Tat rationalization: bad conduct by Republicans…or just this one Republican…justifies the President not doing his job. Dumb. Unethical. Unfair.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Sen. Dick Durbin!

But wait, there’s more!

Republicans at the meeting Durbin referenced denied his charge, but we would expect that no matter what happened.  The amazing thing is this: Asked about the alleged incident at a press briefing, White House spokesman Jay Carney, who didn’t have to say anything, replied that he had investigated Durbin’s story, and “it did not happen.” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Government & Politics, Leadership

Justice? Michigan Prosecutors Say Davontae Sanford Can’t Get There From Here

Davontae Sanford is 18 and in prison. He was 14  when he confessed to shooting and killing four people in a drug house, but now Davontae says he confessed in order to please police.

Vincent Smothers is a professional hit man already convicted of eight murders. He now says that he killed the four victims Sanford took the rap for. There doesn’t appear to be any reason for Smothers to lie about it: the hit man  is not known for his compassion toward others. Smothers even waived his attorney-client privilege with former attorney Gabi Silver so  Silver could testify on Davontae Sanford’s behalf, and say under penalty of perjury that Smothers told her he was responsible for  the killings, and that Sanford didn’t help him.

Prosecutors, however, are trying to block Silver’s testimony, which could free a wrongly imprisoned teen, arguing that it would be hearsay. While Sanford’s attorney, Kim McGinnis, says she has done everything in her power to convince Smothers to testify himself, he refuses, leaving it up to her.

Continue reading

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Filed under Law & Law Enforcement, Professions