Mid-Weekend Ethics Warm-Up, 8/22/2021: It’s No Longer Illegal To Come Back Here After You Are Deported, And Other Surprises…


[I had to get up extra-early to wrote this, since there’s no point writing a warm-up once the thermometer tops 80.] Amusing historical ethics note: on August 21, 1980, animal rights advocates Ingrid Newkirk and Alex Pacheco launched PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. In the intervening 40 years, it has become the preeminent animal rights organization in the world, in part because it will do almost anything for publicity. It is also consistently the most ridiculous animal rights organization in the world, and on Ethics Alarms, in a lively battle with Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington as the most hypocritical and unethical non-profit with “ethics” in its name. The PETA ethics rap sheet is here. When last discussed on Ethics Alarms, PETA was protesting using animals as metaphorical insults because it perpetuates “speciesism.” Jackasses…

  1. From the suddenly overstuffed “Incompetence” Files…Mike Richards, the executive producer of “Jeopardy!” who made himself one of the show’s new hosts in a breathtaking display of conflict of interest contempt, lasted less than a week in his new job. Controversial comments he made on a podcast from 2013 “resurfaced,” officials at Sony Pictures Television confirmed. That means someone who didn’t want him to have the job did a maniacal search to find something that would force him to resign. This is, essentially, the Hader Gotcha, and a rotten, Golden Rule-breaching thing to do to anyone unless they are running for office and pretending to be someone they are not. At least Richards recognized that his duties as executive producer required that he dump himself once he became an anchor on the show he has a duty to protect.

The allegedly cancel-worthy comments Richards made came when he was trying to imitate Howard Stern—imagine that as a life objective—by hosting a podcast called “The Randumb Show.” Naturally, this involved saying sexist and racially insensitive things like Howard and Don Imus, who not too many years earlier were still considered witty and brave in their political incorrectness. He refered to a woman’s “boobies.” He said that he aspired to be a “white guy host” like Ryan Seacrest. Salon, which is always a barometer of just how nuts the far left has become, pronounced l such sophomoric banter “alarming.” I know I was terrified when I read them.

2. If this doesn’t prove that our news organizations are worthless, nothing will. U.S. District Judge Miranda Du, a federal judge in Nevada, struck down as unconstitutional a longstanding statute that makes it a crime to return to the United States after deportation. Here reasoning is that the law is racist and discriminatory against “Mexican and Latinx individuals.”

“The record before the Court reflects that at no point has Congress confronted the racist, nativist roots of Section 1326,” Du wrote in her ruling.“The amendments to Section 1326 over the past ninety years have not changed its function but have simply made the provision more punitive and broadened its reach,” Du wrote.

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The Category Is “Jeopardy Ethics”! And The Question Is: “Who Is Mike Richards?”

Mike Richards

If you need another bit of evidence about how social media wastes our time—and why would you?—consider the uproar over the search for a replacement for Alex Trebek. The original “Jeopardy!” host, Art Fleming, was popular too, and he hung around for 11 years. That was sufficiently long to be briefly legendary; the “Jeopardy!” announcer, Don Pardo, was familiar enough that Saturday Night Live! used him and his unique voice as a running joke for decades. But when Fleming retired, there was no controversy over his replacement, because, seriously, who cares who reads the questions and answers in a quiz show, unless they have a speech impediment or sexually harass the contestants, like Richard Dawson on “Family Feud”? But in the Age of The Great Stupid, everything is a big deal.

After months of celebrity tryouts, kind of like Presidential primary debates, “Jeopardy!” has finally chosen two replacements for the late Alex Trebek. The actress formerly known as “Blossom” and later as Sheldon’s girlfriend on “Big Bang Theory,” Mayim Bialik, will host the prime time version and its spinoffs. Can’t wait for those spin-offs! Bialik is legitimately smart and knowledgeable, and not just compared to other performers: she has a PhD in neuroscience from UCLA. She also, like most successful TV actors, projects a likable personality. And, of course, she’s a woman. I assumed a black host would be found, but Steve Harvey’s already taken.

The kerfuffle is over Trebek’s replacement for the main, daily syndicated edition, which has been around since 1984. The show’s current executive producer, Mike Richards got the job. Richards was not one of the more popular auditioners, but he had one thing the rest didn’t have: the power to choose who got hired. He thought, and thought, and chose…himself! This suggests that the process was rigged.

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Ethics Dunces: 500 Former “Jeopardy!” Contestants, Except “Dunces” Doesn’t Nearly Describe How Truly Despicable They Are…Or Dangerous [Updated And Corrected]

Ethics observations on the unbelievably idiotic Kelly Donohue “Jeopardy” controversy….

If you, like, have a life or don’t live on the web, you may have missed this story, which means you might still live in a place dominated by sane people. I’m almost hesitant to spoil your delusion…

Last week, Kelly Donohue, a 35-year-old state bank examiner from Winthrop, Massachusetts, fulfilled the Nerd’s Dream of appearing appear on “Jeopardy!” Somehow, the silly, naive man still thought there were safe places in the media where one was not at risk of becoming a victim of the vicious, left-wing outrage machine, which nourishes itself on the metaphorical splattered blood of those they destroy, just to demonstrate it can.

Kelly decided to celebrate each of his three wins by making hand gestures to mark them. (Jeez, man…) The gestures after his his first and second wins—you know, one finger, then two fingers?—were deemed acceptible, but when he made the symbol above signifying his third victory, some people set out to destroy his life. A reasonable response, don’t you think? An online letter supposedly signed by more than 500 former “Jeopardy!” contestants—nobody’s checked if they all are— called the symbol “offensive” and a “racist dog whistle.”

“What I can say is that it’s pretty well known that that particular gesture has become associated with white power,” said Emily Kelly, a contestant in 2012 who signed the letter.

Emily is an asshole, but then, they all are, whether they were ever on “Jeopardy” or not.

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Post-Thanksgiving Ethics Indigestion,11/26/2020: A Whole Lot Of Shaky Ethics Performances Going On

1. AstraZeneca! In Jurassic Park’s control center, as the first tour of the park begins having technical glitches, creator John Hammond turns with contempt to tech guru Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight, aka “Newman”) and spits, “Our life is in your hands and you have butterfingers?” That was the first thing that jumped into my head when I read this:

The announcement this week that a cheap, easy-to-make coronavirus vaccine appeared to be up to 90 percent effective was greeted with jubilation. “Get yourself a vaccaccino,” a British tabloid celebrated, noting that the vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, costs less than a cup of coffee.

But since unveiling the preliminary results, AstraZeneca has acknowledged a key mistake in the vaccine dosage received by some study participants, adding to questions about whether the vaccine’s apparently spectacular efficacy will hold up under additional testing.

Scientists and industry experts said the error and a series of other irregularities and omissions in the way AstraZeneca initially disclosed the data have eroded their confidence in the reliability of the results.

Competence. Diligence. Responsibility. The duty of care. Trustworthiness.

2. Butterfingers II: The case of the premature obituaries. Radio France Internationale (RFI) mistakenly published online the obituaries of about 100 public figures who were and are still alive.Among those declared dead were Queen Elizabeth II, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Carter, Yoko Ono, Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot. Google and Yahoo then picked up the fake news, which was, of course, spread on social media.

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Chris Matthews Gets A Lesson On The Golden Rule

Don’t forget…Cliff almost WON Jeopardy!

Chris Matthews, the MSNBC “Hardball” host, has frequently mocked Sarah Palin’s knowledge and intelligence, and often used an iconic TV game show to do it. Such as:

  • “Is this [vice presidential debate] about her brain power?… Do you think cute will beat brains?…Do you think she’d do better on the questions on Jeopardy! or the interview they do during a half-time?…My suspicion is that she has the same lack of intellectual curiosity that the President of the United States has right now and that is scary!”
  • “They find these empty vessels who know nothing about the world! Nothing about foreign policy! Who immediately begin to spout the neo-con line. I read her book — it’s full of that crap….It’s unbelievable how little this woman knows!…Don’t put her on Jeopardy!” Continue reading