Tag Archives: hype

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/13/17: Mansplaining, More Climate Change Hype, And Shut Up And Sing, Stevie…

Good Morning!

1 Keep it up, you ignorant exaggerators, liars and hypers. Keep it up. Eventually people of good will and functioning brains will figure out that you and whatever movements you crave lack integrity and decency, and rely on manipulation and fake news from a news media that decries fake news.

2. Yesterday, Stevie Wonder began yesterday’s Hand In Hand Telethon to raise money for hurricane recovery by  by saying, “Anyone who believes that there’s no such thing as global warming must be blind or unintelligent.”

Good-bye, Hand In Hand Telethon! In fact, good-bye all such telethons, forever. The last one featured professional asshole Kanye West announcing that President Bush was deliberately leaving blacks unrescued, while weenie Mike Myers stood there next to the rapper like gutless tool he is. I switched off Stevie and his ignorant pals and watched the Red Sox slaughter the Oakland As and reruns of “Criminal Minds.”

I know you aren’t especially educated or astute beyond your musical genius, Stevie, but that means that you should keep your half-baked opinions off national live TV and out of the ears of people who admire you and are as ignorant as you are (See here). Since global warming cannot credibly or definitively be blamed for any single weather event, Stevie’s inappropriate outburst was a complete non sequitur. The existence of two big hurricanes isn’t evidence of climate change. We could have experienced two hurricanes of the same or greater power if there were no climate change, or if the world were cooling. We know this because we have experienced stronger hurricanes long, long before anyone was arguing about global warming. Thus it would have been equally appropriate for Stevie to declare, “Anyone who doesn’t think Barry Bonds belongs in the Hall of Fame is an idiot,” or “Anyone who doesn’t think Brussels sprouts are yummy is an idiot.” Thanks for sharing, but what exactly does it have to do with helping hurricane victims?

Sensing an opportunity, many celebrities, elected officials and pundits have been  acting like blind, under-educated pop singers. The proper analogy would be the periodic attempts to use mass shootings by unstable people who obtained guns in ways that wouldn’t be blocked in any way by proposed gun policy changes to create a wave of emotion, polls and blind (sorry, Stevie, but you started it) anger that would force new restrictions on individual rights.

When this happens, my personal reaction, as it was to gun control mania after the Sandy Hook shooting, is to say, “OK, that’s it. I was generally in favor of some reasonable policy measures to respond to this problem, but since you advocates for them keep lying, spinning, and using misleading statistics and false arguments, I’m out. I don’t trust you to draft or implement such policies, and as long as liars, cheaters and fools like you are on that side, I’m on the other. Get back to me when you stop lying.” Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Environment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Philanthropy, Non-Profits and Charity, Science & Technology, Social Media

Hyping “Extreme Weather”=”Untrustworthy”…Also “Al Gore”

sharknado

In their effort to create enough climate change hysteria to rally the public in support of scientifically dubious and possibly futile—but expensive!— regulations, some media outlets have resorted to censoring commentary that is hostile to current global warming cant, even though few if any of the editors involved  comprehend the data, research, or models. I propose that they would do more to bolster the push to accept  man-made climate change if they stopped publishing blatant and misleading hype, and they could begin by not quoting Al Gore.

Stipulated: both sides of the climate change debate are guilty of misrepresentation, lies, exaggeration and nonsense. The difference is that most of the news media adopts and legitimizes the pro-climate change misrepresentation, lies, exaggeration and nonsense, with this year’s model being the claim that climate change is already increasing “extreme weather events.” Continue reading

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Filed under Education, Environment, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Research and Scholarship

Slow Loris Ethics: Great, Now Even The Smithsonian is Hyping!

Slow Loris

If we can’t even trust the Smithsonian not to lie to us, what hope is there?

The February issue of the Smithsonian magazine arrived, full of articles about origins and evolution. I immediately gravitated to the essay about komodo dragons, whose bite, as those of you who have been bitten by one, is poisonous. In a colorful sidebar to the main article was a smaller note about the wide range of other animals that poison their victims, titled “Pick Your Poison.”

“The komodo dragon may be the newest addition to the elite corps of predators that kill with chemistry, but the venomous world is already more diverse than people realize,” it began. The note was illustrated by photos of a duck-billed platypus (owner of a leg spur with a poison gland that gives the thing quite a kick); the Pacific cone snail, which can kill a human; the black mamba, the snake that had a co-starring role as an assassin in “Kill Bill, Part 2,” and…a slow loris???

The little, big-eyed, furry, cute Asian primate is poisonous? That was surprise. The article included no details, just noting that the slow loris was the only “venomous primate.” I managed to pass along this information as fact to my wife and two friends before bedtime (it takes so little to excite me these days!), and this morning dived into the web to learn the details of the slow loris’s poison. What I discovered was even more shocking than the original note. “Smithsonian” was hyping, and badly at that.

To begin with, there is a difference between venomous animals and poisonous ones. “Poisonous” means that the creature injects toxin into its prey, through a sting, a bite, or other means. “Venomous” means that the animal carries some kind of toxin that the prey ingests, absorbs or inhales, occasionally fatally. The Smithsonian article ignores this distinction for sensational purposes, as the title “Pick Your Poison” suggests. It did correctly use “venomous” to describe the slow loris, which is definitely not poisonous. As it turns out, it isn’t really venomous either. Continue reading

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Filed under Animals, Around the World, Research and Scholarship, Science & Technology

Unethical Website of the Month: “Make Presidents’ Day Super”

The degradation of America’s values continues in seductive and incremental ways.

Take the online petition “Make Presidents’ Day Super,” described as…

“A plan to move Presidents’ Day to the Monday after the Super Bowl. For football. For hangovers. For America.”

The proposal is unethical in many ways, beginning with its dishonest presentation.  “We the people, in order to form a more perfect holiday, seek to take what should be one of our most patriotic holidays and actually give it more meaning, make it more American,” the argument begins. Make it “more American”? How, exactly, does moving a holiday that already minimizes the national recognition of the birthday of George Washington by making it a floating annual date to manufacture a three-day weekend make that holiday “more American”? Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Citizenship, Government & Politics, History, Leadership, The Internet, U.S. Society, Unethical Websites

An O. Henry Story Comes To Life

James Verone, a.k.a. " the Rosa Parks of health care," a.k.a. "Soapy"

The media thoroughly disgraced itself by hyping the stupid story of James Verone, an out-of-work 59-year-old man with health problems who robbed a bank in Gastonia, N.C., for $1,  and then  waited patiently for the cops to arrest him.“When you receive this a bank robbery will have been committed by me. This robbery is being committed by me for one dollar. I am of sound mind but not so much sound body,”read the note that Verone handed the bank clerk.

Verone grabbed his 15 minutes of fame with gusto, telling the local TV station that he became a thief out of sheer desperation. He needed health care, he said, and had no other way to get it than through the free care provided in jail. The problem with this is that he had plenty of better options than turning to intentionally unsuccessful crime. A hospital in Gastonia, Gaston Memorial Hospital, offers discounts up to 100% to low-income patients. There is also a free health clinic five miles from the bank Verone robbed, and more in nearby Charlotte. Or Verone could have received treatment from of the state-of-the-art medical facilities at the University of North Carolina, whose mandate is to provide “medically necessary health care to the citizens of North Carolina, regardless of their ability to pay.”

Naturally, few of the media reports, calculated to use this idiot’s stunt to shill for government-financed health care, bothered to report any of this. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Government & Politics, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Literature, U.S. Society

“Hyping,” Reporting, Responsiblility, and Race

On Aug. 6 in Washington, D.C., a violent brawl broke out among  70  people, most of them teenaged or close to it, at the Gallery Place Metro Station.  There were arrests, and several people landed in the hospital. Pitched battle in the usually staid D.C. subways are not daily occurrences, yet the Washington Post apparently found itself short-handed, faint of heart, or both: its initial and follow-up stories on the event had little information. What started the fight? What happened? Who were the combatants? How long did it last? Continue reading

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Filed under Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Race