Tag Archives: honesty

More Fourth Of July Ethics: PBS Deceives Its Audience, And Calls It A “Patriotic Thing To Do”

a-capitol-fourth-concert-fireworks03

I hate writing posts like this. I hate the fact that the culture’s appreciation of the importance of integrity, honesty and transparency has declined so much during the Obama Administration that I have to write posts like this.

PBS’s annual coverage of the nation’s Capital’s Independence Day celebration from U.S. Capitol was handicapped by the overcast and drizzly weather in the area.  At the point in the show where the National Symphony Orchestra plays the 1812 Overture’s finale while a spectacular fireworks display explodes over the Capitol dome, someone in authority decided that the obscured fireworks  partially blocked by clouds weren’t good enough, so  a video compilation of previous years fireworks were interspersed with them without any disclosure.

To be clear, what happened was this: PBS intentionally deceived its audience, and presented old footage while representing what was on the screen as live.

Social media noticed immediately. “PBS Aired Old Fireworks Footage This Year. Did It Make A Difference?” asked various media commentators, in various forms. Gee, that’s a head-scratcher!  Huh. Tough one! Does it make a difference when a government-funded station deliberately sets out to deceive its viewers? Do lies matter? Is it okay for a broadcast of a live event to be secretly altered with film from a different time and event? Does it make a difference if the news media lies to the public?

Of course it makes a difference. It’s wrong. It’s a lie. It makes public trust impossible. What’s the difference between faking a moon landing and faking a fireworks display? Ethically, they are exactly the same, what we in the ethics field refer to as lies. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

Revisiting The “Ten Ethics Questions For Unshakable Hillary Voters”

Hillary Rally

Less than a year ago, I responded to a series of what I regarded then (and now) as irresponsible expressions of support, bias and denial by Hillary Clinton supporters with ten questions designed to rescue them from corruption. At the time, the possibility that an even worse candidate would (or could) be nominated by the Republican Party never crossed my mind.

Although it was largely buried over the last week in the aftermath of the Orlando shooting, Clinton’s e-mail fiasco was further exposed as the deep evidence of  long-term Clinton corruption that it is.  One of the most damaging e-mails handled on her private server, for example, was not turned over to the State Department (Hillary has sworn repeatedly a that ALL State Department business-related e-mails were turned over, raising the rebuttable presumption that she had other State communications among the 30,000 or so that her personal lawyers had destroyed.) We also learned that State Department staffers struggled in December 2010 over a serious technical problem that affected emails from the improper server, causing State staffers  to temporarily disable security features on the government’s own systems, thus making them more vulnerable to attack.

In a deposition under oath, Clinton’s IT specialist Bryan Pagliano, a central figure in the set-up and management of Clinton’s personal server, invoked the Fifth more than 125 times.  Meanwhile, the shadowy Clinton Foundation machinations came to the fore once again. An Associated Press review of the official calendar Hillary Clinton kept as Secretary of State identified at least 75 meetings with longtime political donors, Clinton Foundation contributors, corporate and other outside interests that were not recorded.  The calendar omissions naturally reinforce suspicions that she sought to hide possibly improper or even illegal uses of her influence and position to raise funds for the foundation. While the news media tried to spin Donald Trump’s statement in his attack on Hillary last week that “Clinton’s State Department approved the transfer of 20% of America’s uranium holdings to Russia while nine investors in the deal funneled $145 million to the Clinton Foundation,” his statement was accurate. For a change.

What was striking about the ten questions, looking at them again, is how little I would alter them today. The major change is that the arguments of those who claimed that evidence of Hillary’s unethical conduct was partisan or inconclusive look even more desperate and dishonest than they did last August. For the same reasons, the passage of time makes Clinton’s shameless and insulting lies seem even more shameless and insulting. The Democratic Party also looks worse and more corrupt: it rigged the nomination for this woman of demonstrably untrustworthy and venal character, as well as of dubious skills. Nothing can surpass the complete abdication of its duty to the United States by the Republican Party and its voters, but this was a betrayal by the Democrats.

Here is the list. I’ll have a few observations along the way, in bold.

“Ten Ethics Questions For Unshakable Hillary Voters” Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, U.S. Society

Johnny Manziel’s Lawyer’s E-Mail Ethics Disaster

email mistake

In an article last year inspired by increased attention in the legal profession prompted by Hillary Clinton’s epic incompetence handling her e-mail, New York’s Legal Ethics Reporter last year published “Ethical Implications & Best Practices for Use of Email.” It began with a quiz:

Which of the following statements are true?

A. Email is a wonderful tool for the successful practice of law.

B. Email not only saves time and money, but also allows for prompt communication with clients, colleagues, and opposing counsel.

C. Email is overused, often results in incomplete or inaccurate responses to inquiries, and fills up your Inbox with useless information.

D. Careless use of email can subject the sending lawyer to embarrassment, unhappy clients, lost income, breach of the duty of confidentiality, discipline, or claims of malpractice.

E. All of the above.

The correct answer is E— All of the above.

One reason lawyers are, as a group, far less forgiving of Hillary’s nonsense (and lies) is that her conduct, if it involved a client, and not just a relatively minor institution like the U.S. State Department, would constitute a clear violation of  the ethics rules covering competence and confidentiality. (Let’s ignore, for now, the rules requiring honesty and the avoidance of conflicts of interest.). Work- and case-related e-mail must be handled with care, or disasters occur. One of the lawyers for disgraced ex-NFL quarterback Johnny Manziel just provided a lesson in how that can happen, and it is going directly into my next seminar.

Defense attorney Bob Hinton, representing  Manziel  in a hit-and-run case, accidentally sent an Associated Press reporter an e-mail intended for the athlete’s legal team. The misdirection appears to be the result of an auto-address feature that assumed whom Hinton wanted to communicate with based on the first few letters he typed.

In the memo, Hinton expresses exasperation at the extent of Manziel’s dependence on illegal drugs, and reveals that he has a receipt that shows Manziel may have spent more than $1,000 at a drug paraphernalia store just 15 hours after he was involved in the crash. “Heaven help us if one of the conditions is to pee in a bottle,”  the lawyer wrote. This is a problem, since Manziel is seeking a plea deal that almost certainly would require periodic drug tests. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Professions, Science & Technology, The Internet

Observations On The Redacted Orlando Terrorist’s 911 Call Transcript Fiasco

Lynch white House

Polls show that as citizens consider the horrors of Clinton and Trump, Obama’s approval numbers are going up. This makes sense, of course: competence and virtue are relative. I haven’t seen a poll but it would not surprise me if, after almost 8 years of Obama, Jimmy Carter’s poll numbers have risen too, as well as Herbert Hoover’s and, across the pond, maybe even Neville Chamberlain’s.

Just so we don’t get carried away with nostalgia for an arrogant and incompetent leader as we anticipate his corrupt or unhinged successor, I feel obligated to use Bon Jovi’s “turn back time” device to return to last weekend, when Obama gave us perhaps the most damning evidence yet of how cynical, dishonest, contemptuous and inept his”transparent” leadership has become. Mea culpa: I passed over it last week in my concentration on the mad flare-up of anti-gun hysteria.

As all but the most denial prone Democrats will acknowledge, President Obama has gone to ridiculous and dangerous lengths to avoid formally citing radical Islam as a terror threat, because it requires acknowledging that a large (okay, large enough) component of the Muslim population abroad and maybe here as well wants to kill us. Truth is the enemy to liars, frauds, totalitarians and the deluded: take your pick here. Either way, for Attorney General Loretta Lynch to say of Omar Mateen in a press conference, as she did Tuesday, that “I cannot tell you definitively that we will ever narrow it down to one motivation. People often act out of more than one motivation,” is an insult. This is blatant equivocation. Yes, I’m sure Mateen may have gotten up on the wrong side of the bed, and maybe there were some people among the hundred or so he shot that he didn’t like, but he was a Muslim, his father was an anti-American, pro-Taliban zealot, he had pledged himself to ISIS, he launched a one -man terrorist attack, and his religion persecutes gays. Gee, what could his motive have been? I’m stumped. Are you stumped? Loretta is stumped.

No, Loretta has been told to be officially stumped.

Just two days before her transparently dishonest statement (Maybe this was the kind of transparency Obama promised in 2008?), Lynch toured all five Sunday talking head shows (ABC, Fox, CBS, NBC, CNN) to lie about the transcripts of Orlando terrorist Omar Mateen’s calls. This is known at Ethics Alarms and elsewhere as “doing a Susan Rice.[It’s fun to go back to that 2012 post and read the comments from the denial brigade, like now-self exiled far-left blogger Ampersand, who defended Rice and the administration. “For your statements to make sense,” Barry wrote, “we’d have to believe that US Intelligence had determined with certainty what had happened either while the attack was ongoing or within hours afterward, neither of which is true.” We now know both are true. Thus Hillary told her daughter shortly after the attack that it was an organized terrorist plan. Later, with the election in mind, the YouTube video cover-story was concocted, and Rice was dispatched to spread it.]

President Obama wanted to make the Orlando massacre about gun control rather than Islamic terrorism. His post attack speech did not mention ISIS or Islamic terrorism at all, but quickly pivoted into exploiting the tragedy to call for gun controls, knowing that his lap-dog, gun-hating allies in the mainstream media would let him get away with it. There was a problem, however: Mateen’s phone calls made it clear to anyone paying attention that this was an ISIS-related terrorist attack (not just an “act of terror”—the same equivocation used after Benghazi.)

Here were the redactions:

Mateen: “I pledge of allegiance to [omitted]. “I pledge allegiance to [omitted] may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of [omitted].”

The dumbest Wheel of Fortune contestant in the world could fill in those blanks, especially after many of the news reports.

Nevertheless, our Attorney General was willing to humiliate herself trying to justify the withholding of facts from the public, saying on ABC’s “This Week”: “What we’re not going to do is further proclaim this man’s pledges of allegiance to terrorist groups, and further his propaganda.” How lame is THAT? Not as lame as the excuse she gave the same day on CNN’s State of the Union,  where Lynch said:“The reason why we’re going to limit these transcripts is to avoid re-victimizing those people that went through this horror.” What? I’m sure that blatantly censoring information that the public has a right to know will make the victims’ families feel much better. How do the facts that our government thinks the public is made up of gullible idiots, that the President is in denial over Islamic terrorism, that the Attorney General is willing to lie repeatedly on national television and act as a political tool, and that the administration is as transparent as slate make the victims’ families feel? It sure scares the hell out of me.

Occasionally the news media declares, as a friend of mine is fond of saying, “There is some shit I won’t eat,” or at least eat and say “Yum-yum!,” so the censorship of the obvious was roundly mocked and condemned by both the media and Republican leadership. (Oddly, no Democrats stood up for transparency. Democrats: please explain, and explain why this is fine with you.)

So the Obama Administration and the Justice Department caved the next day,  and released a full, uncensored transcript of tMateen’s 911 call on the night of the massacre, and referred to the controversy over omissions in the document “an unnecessary distraction.” (And whose fault was that?)

Omar Mateen made the 50-second 911 call in which he claimed responsibility for the terror attack and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State’s leader at 2:35 a.m., about  a half hour into the June 12 murder spree. Now, with the blanks filled in, the transcript read…

“I pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may God protect him [in Arabic], on behalf of the Islamic State.”

Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Rights

Not Surprisingly, The Marines Pass An Integrity Test

Marines pull-up2

In 2013, I wrote about what appeared to be a retreat by the Marines in the face of pressure to admit more women into the Corps. At the time, it looked like the Marines would be joining a shabby parade.

For example,  some fire departments have allowed political correctness, feminist threats, irrational diversity ideology and fear of “disparate impact” lawsuits  to lead to their lowering of fitness standards to allow more women to be firefighters, if weak and dangerously unqualified ones.

The USMC is having none of that, apparently, despite itys tactical delay in 2013. Accepting the new policy that now allows women to qualify for combat duty, the Marine Corps has established new fitness requirements that have weeded out six of seven female recruits as well as forty out of about 1,500 male recruits who failed to pass the new regimen of pull-ups, ammunition-can lifts, a 3-mile run and combat maneuvers required  to be certified combat-ready.

That’s fine. It would be fine if 6 out of 7 male recruits failed. There should be no affirmative action when diversity for diversity’s sake results in a less effective work force regardless of the tasks involved, but especially when putting thumbs, fists and feet on the scales will get people killed.

In fact, in a decade or so, when gene splicing, changing cultural norms, elective breeding and the unconditional surrender of the male gender in the War Against Women results in the average American woman being 6’2 and looking like this… Continue reading

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Filed under Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, U.S. Society, War and the Military

Seven Facts About News Media Bias, And Yet Another Smoking Gun That Reaffirms Them

smoking gun

Here are seven facts about mains stream news media bias. People deny them, some even sincerely, but they have been well proven over many decades. 

FACT: The U.S. mainstream news media is partisan and biased.

FACT: It is shockingly shameless about this.

FACT: The results of this bias include slanted news, withheld information, warped priorities, and discrediting new sources that cover stories thye intentionally ignore, all with the collective and intentional result of misleading the U.S. public.

FACT: This is arrogant, unfair, incompetent, unethical, and harmful to the proper functioning of democracy.

FACT: The news media employed this bias to make certain that Barack Obama was elected President in 2008, and has already made it obvious that it intends to be at least equally biased in its efforts to make certain that Donald Trump is not elected in 2016.

FACT: Among the techniques the news media employ is holding Republican candidates and elected officials to different standards than what it applies to Democratic candidates and officials.

FACT: Journalists, pundits, and Ethics Alarms readers who continue to deny that there is a mainstream media bias favoring Democrats and progressive policies are either lying, not paying attention, or in denial.

I must say, the last is very frustrating, and often infuriating. I have a good friend who really does believe that the mainstream news media is outrageously biased toward conservatives, because he is so far at the end of the ideological spectrum that everything is too far right for him. I have a business and a life-style that both compels me to follow many news sources on all sides of the political spectrum, and my profession and training requires me to work hard at achieving objective analysis. (I know I don’t always succeed.) I know my biases and preferences, and have to say that all seven of the facts I presented above are facts, not opinions, and because they describe a very dangerous situation, the fact that so many progressives refuse to acknowledge them makes me wonder if their ideology is inconsistent with basic integrity.

All American citizens should want and demand as objective, unbiased and fair a national news media as possible. We won’t get one until progressives admit that even though their President, elected officials, candidates and policies are the beneficiaries of unethical journalism, it is still wrong, still unhealthy, and still has to stop.

This is why I must salute Joe Concha, Mediaite’s thoughtful conservative reporter, for his excellent work in finding one of the most powerful smoking gun proofs of this bias I have ever seen.

Last week, Donald Trump horrified the pundit class when he announced that he was stripping The Washington Post of access to his campaign, announcing,

“Based on the incredibly inaccurate coverage and reporting of the record setting Trump campaign, we are hereby revoking the press credentials of the phony and dishonest Washington Post.”

Of course this was a petty, cowardly and anti-democratic move by Trump. I didn’t post on it because the ethics  position here on Trump is clear and immutable, and because if I covered all of the unethical things this crude, reckless idiot says and does, I’d have no time for anything else. The man has little judgment, few values, no restraint, and an arrested (at about age 10) ability to distinguish right from wrong. We know this, or should. Nobody should be surprised, and this incident should not change anyone’s opinion of him.

The news media, however, reacted to it as if Trump had leaned in to kiss a baby and bitten its head off:

The Post’s Chris Cillizza “Barring reporters from public events because you disagree with what they write is a dangerous precedent.”

Slate: on Trump’s decision: The revocation “marks an unprecedented escalation in his war” against media.

WaPo executive editor Marty Baron: Trump’s decision is “nothing less than a repudiation of the role of a free and independent press.”

  CNN Contributor Bakari Sellers: It was “fascism at its worst.”  Also on CNN, Sara Murray opined that Trump’s revocation of The Washington Post’s press credentials was “alarming.”

Give Concha credit. Although his own opinion of Trump’s actions were as low as those of his Trump-hating colleagues, the spark of a memory stirred. He went back into the archives. What’s this? In 2008, candidate Barack Obama kicked reporters from three papers that had endorsed Republican John McCain off his campaign plane! Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Heroes, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media

I Can’t Decide Which Is Worse, That “Hamilton” Is So Greedy, Or That They Won’t Admit It

 

Hamilton

 

Producers of the smash hit Broadway musical “Hamilton,” soon to sweep the Tonys in historic fashion, have raised the top premium seat price to a record-obliterating $849.

The previous high for Broadway show’s ticket prices was $477 for the best seats to “The Book of Mormon.” The producers are taking advantage of the fact that the show has reached mania status, something like the Dutch tulip craze. Waiting lists for tickets are months long. The show is a cultural phenomenon, but it is still a show.

This musical, reinventing the genre with a hip-hop score and an intelligent, challenging book, could be that rarity, a popular musical that matters, and one that draw young…even straight!…young people back to a genre that has been rapidly declining and increasingly irrelevant to modern popular culture. So given that opportunity,and already making money hand over fist, what does the production do?

Raise tickets to an obscene level. Ensure that the tickets to other shows will rise too. Make live theater, which is already too expensive for any family to attend not named Pritzger or the equivalent, even more elite and even more inaccessible to normal, working Americans. Continue reading

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