Quick Note: You’re Incompetent, Parler. Count Me Out. [Corrected]

Your big chance, and you fall flat on your face…

I believe it is essential that social media platforms emerge to challenge the left-wing censorship of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the rest. Since I am preparing to quit Twitter as a matter of principle, I attempted to register for the new service, Parler. It purports to allow free speech without censorship.

I failed. Why? The sign-up process is not only ridiculously complicated, it’s flawed. The process asked for my phone number…not my cell phone, just my phone. Then it sent the last stage of the process, my verification code, via SMS. But my office phone doesn’t receive SMS’s. The kids starting this service just assumed that everyone lives on cellphones. That’s arrogant and stupid. Do some market research.

One good thing about Twitter: a marmoset could sign up in less than five minutes.  If Parler can’t even develop a user-friendly sign-up process, and worse, makes a tyro mistake like the phone botch, it can’t be trusted. Heaven knows what else they will screw up.

Parler won’t get a second chance with me.

There are few things worse than accepting an important challenge ahead of others, and blowing it by ineptitude and carelessness.

_________________________

 One more point: it is already nearly impossible to contact the platform to address issues like this. This is a problem with too many tech firms, Facebook being among the worst. It’s possible to do better: WordPress will give you a live chat with an agent in minutes.

Comment Of TheDay: “’The Horror. The Horror.’ How U.S. Journalism Descended To These Unethical Depths Is A Mystery, But It’s There.”

Arthur in Maine attempts to diagnose what happened to the news media, and where they turned off the road  of ethical journalism, never, apparently, to return.

His ethics verdict is, essentially, incompetence, though he frames it as “a self-inflicted wound.” Of course, self-inflicted wounds are the essence of incompetence. You can’t get much more inept than shooting yourself in the head.

My own theory is that, whatever the immediate cause—AIM identifies the internet—this fate was always in the cards because of a structural problem in the institution of journalism, similar to what we are now seeing in government and politics. The institution is critical to democracy, and thus demands intellectual rigor and outstanding character among its guardians. However, nothing about the business of journalism nor its craft is constructed to attract the best and the brightest, or even the better than dull. As with our political class, the profession of journalism has always lacked the necessary talent and integrity to discharge the vital function the Founders intended it to fulfill.

Here is Arthur in Maine’s Comment of the Day on the post, “The Horror. The Horror.’ How U.S. Journalism Descended To These Unethical Depths Is A Mystery, But It’s There.”

Actually, how the media descended to these unethical depths is no mystery at all.

In the early- to mid-90s, the news media was at an all-time high. Newspapers were welling for fabulous multiples; there was really only one cable news network (the acronym that must not be named) and the alphabet channels still dominated broadcast news.

The press caught wind of this newfangled Internet thingie. They started covering it, even to the point of hyping it. People became interested. As did much of the country, the news media became besotted by the potential of this new medium. Remember how many so-called “dot com” companies sprang up? The news media, too, drank the kool-aid, figuring that online production would be cheap and they could move the display ad concept that had kept them beautifully profitable for centuries over to the Web.

And they made their content available for free. Continue reading

Monday Morning Warm-Up, 5/4/2020: Six Reasons To Be Cynical [Corrected]

“May The Forthe be with you!”

As Daffy Duck would thay…

1. Following a familiar unethical pattern...Eva Murry’s allegation about Joe Biden making a remark about her breasts at a political even when  she was 14 seems to have been decisively debunked. Biden’s schedule shows he didn’t attend the event, and the chair at the time confirms he wasn’t there.

What would possess someone like Murry to be so vocal and self-righteous about something that didn’t happen? As with the Kavanaugh mess, subsequent fake stories undermine the main one. Even though they have nothing to do with each other, Murry’s fiction, if Biden really didn’t attend the event, increases cynicism about Tara Reade’s account.

2. What a surprise…Harvard’s dedication to feminism stops at the bank vault. Harvard, while it was violating the constitutional rights of male students by punishing them if they belonged to men-only clubs off-campus, was also giving aid and comfort to convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein. The regime of first female Harvard President Drew Faust was full of dubious and virtue-signaling measures to ensure the esteemed university was sufficiently woke, including discriminating against one ethnic group (Asian-Americans) to elevate another ethnic group (African-Americans). Yet when it came to its attitude toward an infamous sexual predator, what mattered to Faust and Friends was, you guessed it, money.

Epstein, who was provided his own office at the school following his 2008 sweetheart plea deal that incredibly allowed him a quick release from prison to continue his <cough!> hobby, visited the campus more than 40 times between 2010 and 2018 often accompanied by young women who acted as his assistants, according to a report on the Harvard-Epstein alliance released last week. Apparently Epstein’s primary value to Harvard was connecting academics and scholars with financiers, VIPs and other sources of contributions, including Wall Street wheeler-dealer Leon Black, the founder and chief executive officer of Apollo Global Management Inc., one of the world’s largest private equity funds. Epstein also provided access to his pal Bill Clinton and retail billionaire Leslie Wexner. Continue reading

Going Right Into The Signature Significance Files: The President’s Claims His Blather About Light And Disinfectant to Cure The Virus Was “Sarcasm”

Ugh.

President Donald Trump told reporters and the country yesterday that he was only testing the media when he suggested that using disinfectant and light to fight off the coronavirus was worth exploring. “I was asking a question sarcastically to reporters like you just to see what would happen,” he said.

Does anyone believe that? Anyone? It’s not quite a Jumbo—“What? I didn’t say that!”—but it’s almost as outrageous. Now, the “Trump is a liar!” tropes are re-energized (that’s no big lie, but it’s exaggerated and hyped), and the President has nobody to blame but himself. My sister, who actually participates in a Hate Trump neighborhood group, sent me a musical parody, “The  Liar Sleeps Tonight” (it’s not bad) yesterday.

I know what he was thinking: the news media did distort and misrepresent what he said, so “It was a test, and you flunked!” might have seemed like a good gambit. The flaw in that strategy is that the president’s  demeanor when he’s riffing is unmistakable by now.  The sarcasm excuse was desperate, and more importantly, needless.  Trump easily could have said that he was thinking out loud about some possibilities, and that most listeners understood that. What he said instead was stupid (and insulting), and, for what feels like the millionth time, handed a club to his critics.

For the record, the rationalization the President chose in this case is #64, Yoo’s Rationalization or “It isn’t what it is.”

Continue reading

And Now Chris Cuomo Scores A Jumbo!

When we left CNN’s quarantined (when he feels like it) anchor, he was telling SiriusXm listeners how sick he was of his job, among other complaints.

Now he’s doing his Jimmy Durante impression (“Elephant? What elephant?”) and denying , Bart Simpson-style…

… that he did what he did when there is absolutely no question that he did it. The Clinton version of Bart and Jimmy’s tactics is “Deny, deny, deny.”

From the Hollywood Reporter:

“It’s not true,” Cuomo said today. “I never said it. I never meant it…I have never been in a better position, professionally, than I am in right now. They’ve been so good. They’ve been so supportive of me in ways I could never have imagined. … I’ve never had a group of people professionally care about me the way they have shown. I’ll never be able to repay them, but I’ll try hard to do so. I’ve never been more grateful. I’ve never been on a better team….I love where I am, I love the position that I’ve been given, and I love who I’m doing it with. Those are all matters of fact for me. No place has ever been better to me. No place has ever given me the opportunities that [CNN president] Jeff Zucker has.”

Well, which is it, Chris, not true, something you didn’t say, or something you didn’t mean?

Cuomo is ridiculous. How CNN expects any sentient being to trust a reporter, pundit or whatever he is who would deny he said what he said on the air the day before, and quite flamboyantly too, is unfathomable.

Ethics Lunch, 4/14/2020: The Bad, The Ugly, And The Yummy

Abundunza!

1. Remember when Joe Biden said that the President needed to stop saying whatever popped into his head? This is the kind of thing he was talking about.

He suggested last week during the White House briefing that insurance companies should pay out business interruption claims related to the pandemic, even if coverage for such an event  is not explicitly included in their policy. Trump said regarding insurance for an interruption of business,

“If I had it, I’d expect to be paid. All of the sudden they need it … and I don’t see the word pandemic mentioned. Now in some cases, it is. It’s an exclusion. But in a lot of cases, I don’t see it. I don’t see reference and they don’t want to pay up. I would like to see the insurance companies pay if they need to pay, if it’s fair….You have people that have never asked for business interruption insurance (payouts) and they’ve been paying a lot of money for a lot of years for the privilege of having it. And then when they finally need it, the insurance company says ‘we’re not going to give it.’ We can’t let that happen.”

Ugh. Insurance doesn’t work like that and can’t work like that, though I’m sure, as a businessman, Trump would take a shot at trying to make such a case. It is irresponsible, however, to misinform the public that such a claim would be reasonable. Insurance companies should have to meet their contractual obligations; Trump’s theory would cause premiums to explode. Continue reading

Fredo Snaps

Chris Cuomo is a fascinating case. Maybe someone will write an opera about him.

He’s the younger, less ambitious, less accomplished son of a popular and (in some circles) revered governor of New York. If the term privileged has any meaning at all, it applies to him. He graduated from elite schools, including law school, but as he has proven again and again, he neither acquired any skill at critical thinking, nor at legal reasoning and the basic principles of law. He’s emotional, and not very bright. The younger Cuomo was blessed with good looks, a usually amiable nature, and charisma, and these, along with some excellent contacts, were enough to get him an anchor’s position on CNN. In this position he has embarrassed himself repeatedly; fortunately for him, the news organization he works for has become immune from embarrassment, as evidenced by the fact that it also  employs Brian Stelter and Don Lemon, among others.

Every now and then his amiability is cracked open to reveal the traditional frustration and anger of the lesser son. Cuomo erupted a while back when he was first referred to as “Fredo,” alluding to the elder but mentally deficient son of Vito Corleone in the “Godfather” saga. The nickname is mean but apt, and frankly, as long as CNN allows someone of Chris Cuomo’s limitations to pretend to inform its audience, it is also useful. Cuomo is a fraud, and by presenting him as a trustworthy journalist, CNN is mistreating its audience. Yes, I’m sure Cuomo does the best he can, but then, so did Fredo Corleone.

Cuomo is ill with the Wuhan virus, and quarantined. I’m sure this is hard for him, but his stresses are still less than those of most Americans. He’s broadcasting (and making a fool of himself) from home; he’s getting a 7-figure salary; his ordeal is relatively minor.

Apparently a confrontation with  someone Cuomo considers one of the little people  on Easter Sunday caused the CNN anchor to snap and reveal the turmoil within, much like Fredo in his famous lament to Michael in “Godfather II.” On his Sirius-XM  satellite radio show, Cuomo vented about the incident, in which a stranger on a bicycle confronted him on Easter Sunday for being outside his Southampton home with his family despite the positive Wuhan virus diagnosis. Continue reading

Now Entering The Ethics Alarms “Bias Makes You Stupid” Hall of Fame: James Hohmann

His bio says that Hohmann is a Stanford University grad and a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, as well as  the author of The Daily 202, the Post’s political newsletter. Here is his recent tweet:

I wonder if he had the same math teachers as Mara Gay and Brian Williams (Item #2)?

The reporter was so eager to mock the President that he concocted a  cheap gotcha! and made himself look foolish. Or maybe not at the Post: this is similar to a lot of the alleged “lies” on the Post’s Trump Lie list, and about as well reasoned: “The President said that he had seen gas selling for 91 cents a gallon, when the average price was $1.94.”

Again I ask, how can the public trust journalists like this to do political analysis? Why would they, unless readers want biased reporting?

_____________________________

Pointer: Instapundit

Aside: A commenter at the Instapundit link above writes,

I may have shared this story on here before, but I remember in my Latin American History course at college, a journalism major raised her hand and asked the following:

“I’ve been doing the reading like you assigned, but there’s one thing I don’t understand. They keep talking about the Andes, but they never say what that is. Are they like some sort of political group?”

True story.
I got more, too.

 

Incompetent Elected Official Of The Month Who Is Exactly As Incompetent As Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, New York Mayor Bill De Blasio

I think I’ll seed this post with intermittent direct quotes from this one, about the ridiculous Governor of Georgia who told his state last week that he just learned that asymptomatic people could infect others with the Wuhan virus. Such excerpts will be identified by being set in italics, with the replacement for Kemp’s name,  “Georgia”  or other words in bold, like this one:

Mayor De Blasio should resign over this.

Yesterday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio  said he had just learned “in the last 24 hours” that the virus could infect others before people see signs.

When WNYC NPR host Brian Lehrer said that the U.S. knew “weeks and months ago that asymptomatic people can spread this disease,” the mayor contradicted him, insisting, “[O]nly in the last really 48 hours or so do [experts] feel they’ve seen evidence around the world, particularly a new study coming out of Singapore, that shows more evidence that this disease can be spread by asymptomatic people.”

Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month: Dr. Deborah Birx

“The next two weeks are extraordinarily important. This is the moment to not be going to the grocery store, not going to the pharmacy, but doing everything you can to keep your family and your friends safe and that means everybody doing the six-feet distancing, washing their hands.”

—Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House’s pandemic response coordinator, at today’s briefing, after explaining the deaths were expected to “spike” in certain hot spots.

Huh?

It would be difficult to compose more incompetent and irresponsible statement. Continue reading