Ethics Quote Of The Month: Time Op-Ed Writer Bret Stephens


“It’s a compromise that is fatal to liberalism. It reintroduces a concept of blasphemy into the liberal social order. It gives the prospectively insulted a de facto veto over what other people might say. It accustoms the public to an ever-narrower range of permissible speech and acceptable thought. And… it slowly but surely turns writers, editors and publishers into cowards.”

Bret Stephens, intermittently conservative New York Times columnist, in an op-ed condemning the acceptance of censorship and self-censorship as norms by the modern Left.

Stephens is certainly on a roll lately. His previous column (effectively and accurately) condemning the pet Times race propaganda “1619 Project” for what it is (that is to say, cultural and historical toxic waste) was not his last, as many predicted, and apparently emboldened by his survival, Stephens is determined to “let it all hang out,” as they used to say in the Sixties. Once again, he is attacking his own paper, which has doubled-down in its determination to publish only the news it feels safe to let its readers know about.

It is telling that Stephens’ column was published in tandem this week with another attempt by the Times to hide the utter corruption of the Biden family from the public, at least until the election is over. Above the Stephens piece—also telling—is the poisonous Michelle Goldberg’s screed suggesting that the discovery of Hunter Biden’s incriminating (to both him and his father) laptop is more GOP “collusion.” The Times’ truly despicable headline: “Is the Trump Campaign Colluding With Russia Again?” Note “Again”: the Mueller investigation found no evidence of “collusion” by any American citizen, much less the Trump campaign (to be fair, it didn’t investigate the Clinton campaign’s Russian dealings), and yet the Times allows that lie to lead its Editorial page. Polls show (I know, I know: polls) that over 70% of Democrats still think the President won the election by colluding with Russia, and mainstream media descriptions like this is a main reason. And it’s intentional.

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A No Tolerance Rule For Cabinet Members: Don’t Threaten Reporters


I’ll make this simple, and get right to the point: any Cabinet member who threatens a reporter with physical violence for doing the job journalists are supposed to do should be fired. No exceptions. Moreover, that should be obvious and beyond debate.

Ken Salazar, the Secretary of the Interior, didn’t like a question he was asked by Colorado Springs Gazette reporter Dave Philipps. The investigative reporter had tried to reach Salazar for months through his press secretary seeking a comment on a story Philipps had written about how a Colorado man with business connections to Salazar had been sold hundreds of federally protected wild horses that have subsequently vanished. The man is under investigation, and one of his businesses is slaughtering horses, not that any of this is germane to how Salazar treated Phillipps.  When Philipps began asking Salazar about the program and possible personal ties he had to the wild horse buyer now under investigation, Salazar abruptly ended the interview. He then pushed The Gazette’s camera aside, got nose to nose with the reporter, and said, pointing, “Don’t you ever…you know what, you do that again… I’ll punch you out.” Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week: “Ethics Bob” Stone

Is Joe Scarborough the new Arthur Godfrey, as in "nice guy" revealed as "unethical creep"?

“It’s always upsetting when one of your heroes turns out to be an unethical creep.”

Ethicist and business ethics professor Bob Stone on his blog “Ethics Bob,” expressing his disappointment in the conduct of MSNBC talk show host Joe Scarborough, who persuaded guest and colleague Mark Halperin to “go for it” when Halperin suggested that his description of President Obama’s press conference was not appropriate for public broadcast, and then did nothing to accept responsibility for the uproar when Halperin referred to Obama as “kind of a dick.” Halperin was suspended indefinitely by MSNBC, following a complaint from the White House.

Bob had expressed hope, in a comment to the Ethics Alarms criticism of Scarborough’s role in the incident, that Scarborough would do the right thing by the next day. He did not. And Bob is correct: this is proof positive that Scarborough is an unethical, cowardly creep.

What should “Morning Joe” have done? Several things: Continue reading

Ethics Train Wreck on “Morning Joe”

Coincidentally, the previous VICE President was frequently called a "Dick"

Time Magazine editor Mark Halperin, a frequent contributer to MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program,  took one more chunk out of the tradition of gentility and civility in public discourse, not to mention broadcast journalism, by referring to the President of the United States as “a dick” Thursday morning. He was promptly suspended by the network, which was also the scene of Ed Schultz referring to conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham as a “right wing slut.”

Obviously the inhibitions supposedly bred into Americans about vulgar language in inappropriate places—like live TV—are crumbling fast, along with the tradition of respect for the office of President. What is more interesting about the incident, however, is how Halperin was egged into his gaffe by co-host Joe Scarborough, with an assist from Mika Brzezinski. Scarborough then took no responsibility for the incident at all. Continue reading