On Polls, Biden, Britney Spears, And”Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias!” Note #71, 546

Back when he was the lone moderate voice on Mediaite, Joe Concha had a brief set-to with Ethics Alarms that concluded with him writing some nice things about us. I hope he still checks in now and then. Concha’s with The Hill now, and one of the journalists who is fair to all sides while acknowledging his profession’s progressive rot.

In related but completely predictable news, the latest Rasmussen Report’s weekly White House Watch shows the President trailing Biden 44% to 47%, nearly within the margin of error, making up more than half of the alleged ten point deficit the same poll showed a little over a week ago.  The significance of this is not the numbers. As I keep pointing out, polls are generally unreliable, polls this far from a Presidential are especially unreliable, and polls involving President Trump and  phantom candidate Joe Biden are about as unreliable as polls can be.

Moreover, the news media has been using polls to demoralize Trump supporters, not to mention foes of open borders, speech suppression, racial and gender quotas, slavery reparations, presumption of guilt for males accused of sexual assault, government sanctioned riots, police defunding, drug legalization, the Green New Deal, manipulative news media, gun confiscation, airbrushing history, denigrating America, partisan coups, totalitarianism—you know, what the Far Left has pushed the Democratic Party into supporting, or at least pretending to. Continue reading

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

For A Respected Newspaper And Its Journalists, Denial Is Unethical

..and so is deceiving readers by 'burying the lede'...

…and so is deceiving readers by ‘burying the lede’…

Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!

In a spectacular example of doing everything possible to hide bad news (in its view and those of most readers…and me too), the Washington Post this weekend made it difficult to learn the results of its own poll, which showed the horrible result–in the Post’s eyes—that Donald Trump now leads Hillary Clinton 46% to 44%…not a lot, but considering that the margin was 11% just a little while ago, big news. Apocalyptic news.

The Post headline? I have the print edition before me now: “Voters accentuate the negative in poll,” with the section of the story (by Dan Balz and Scott Clement) visible on the front page describing how more voters dislike Clinton and Trump that like them. How is that news? Didn’t everybody know that months ago? It also teases that the candidates are in a “virtual dead heat,” but it takes (Mediaite’s Joe Concha actually counted: Thanks, Joe!) five paragraphs and 219 words to timidly admit what the public has a right to know: Trump is now leading Hillary in the Post’s poll (with ABC).

This is more than burying the lede; this is denial, and competent, responsible, objective journalists cannot ethically engage in denial. Bad or good, the news belongs up-front and headlined, because most people don’t read entire articles. Why did the Post do this? It’s emotional and juvenile, and that’s all it is. This is anti-Trump, pro-Hillary bias crippling news judgment and competent reporting. Balz and Clement can’t help themselves from spinning the poll story to make it sound like it’s really good news for Hillary, writing: Continue reading

Post-Debate Ethics Part 3 (of 4): Of Drumpf And Other Cheapshots

donald-drumpf-john-oliver

When there is so, so much of substance to justify criticizing Donald Trump, it is absurd for any critics to engage in manufactured scandals and cheap shots. It is also annoying, because it forces me to defend the guy, when I’d so much prefer to be, say, stuffing grubs up my nose.

Gawker, not surprisingly, may have set the low bar (or just put the bar on the floor) for anti-Trump tactics when it published anonymous excerpts from Trump’s answering machine to show that he was chummy with liberal media figures. This obviously made Mediaite’s Joe Concha’s head explode, as he wrote in part, in a post called “Even for a Toxic Waste Dump like Gawker, this Trump Voicemail Story is Truly Craptastic”:

Here’s a little background for anyone with an ounce of lucidity: Donald Trump once worked for NBC as host of The Apprentice….Newsflash: Politicians and media members, particularly those on the editorial side, are actually friendly with each other. Bill O’Reilly, for example, has gone to Knicks and Yankees games with Trump in years past. He doesn’t hide from it nor should he. Because before running, Trump was an A-List celebrity in New York… has been for 30 years. A-listers tend to hang out, you know, with each other from time to time…Am I missing something? Seriously. Because the next dot this comically bad story attempts to make mocks Trump for not securing his voicemail, and then has the audacity to call him hypocritical for criticizing Hillary Clinton for her use of a private server out of her home while she was Secretary of State… as if these situations are remotely on the same planet….You know what, I can’t even comment on this anymore. The genius authors, Ashley Feinberg and Andy Cush… who really have a big future ahead of them, don’t deserve any more free promotion. I’m not even going to link it here.

This Gawker scoop was so bad virtually nobody would touch it. This is not the case with HBO’s John Oliver riff on Donald Trump’s grandfather’s name, however. In an epic and generally funny take-down of Trump at the end of February, Oliver devoted part of his deconstruction to the fact that Trump’s original family name was Drumpf until it was changed by his grandfather. Continue reading

Jon Stewart Betrayal Update: Concha Gets It Right

Jon-Stewart-and-BarackLast night Jon Stewart finally commented on the reports of his meetings at the White House, and by his smug demeanor and evasiveness, confirmed the assessments of Ethics Alarms and many others.  Joe Concha of Mediaite nailed it:

“Well, I mean, I don’t know if they were secret,” the 52-year-old said last night while pointing out his name (which one?) was clearly on the visitor logs. It all sounds so much like Stephanopoulos explaining that his donations to the Clinton Foundation that were also there for all the public to see… buried on his tax forms. All I know is this: If I met with the president and hosted a program which primarily focuses on politics, pretty sure I’d let my audience know at the very least that what had happened. Unless, of course, I have to carry out my PR orders in a way no White House Press Secretary or Sunday talk show appearance ever could…Why attend a meeting with the most powerful person on the planet if you can’t report back what was said? In the end, these people are there not for an interview, but for instructions. And that’s exactly why Stewart took the Acela down to DC: To come back to New York and serve as the Baghdad Bob of arguably the most influential news program—forget that it’s billed as fake—on the dial right now…No matter…Stewart will get the Letterman treatment next week when he leaves The Daily Show, and rightly so. He didn’t earn $25-$30M a year for hosting a show four days a week for nothing. His timing, delivery and intelligence is something you don’t teach or learn.

In the end, Jon Stewart will be looked back on as one of the great performers of our generation. He’s also one of the more dishonest, and about as phony as they come.”

Exactly.

The Marco Rubio Traffic Ticket Story: Is The NY Times’ Anti-GOP Bias Finally Undeniable…and Unmanageable??

The New York Times thinks you need to know about this woman's driving record. Really?

The New York Times thinks you need to know about this woman’s driving record. Really?

The New York Times matters, even as newspapers continue their march to oblivion. Centuries of outstanding journalism tend to carry weight, so despite the fact that the paper has befouled itself with hypocrisy, dubious reporting, partisan bias and an inexcusable imbalance among its pundits, it nonetheless still functions as a news media role model and icon. The infuriating debate over whether the news media is overwhelmingly biased in its news coverage (that would be biased in favor of Democrats, progressives, and liberal policy objectives in case you haven’t picked up on it) has special importance now, as again we head into a Presidential election and most Americans—I hope?—would like to see the public’s opinions on the matter prevail, not the biases of journalists, operating through selective or slanted reporting

Last week’s Times investigative scoop that Marco Rubio and his wife had a combined 17 traffic citations since 1997 thus is important, not regarding Sen. Rubio, who is running for President.  Though the Times still defends it—and that’s significant too—pretty much everyone else, Left, Right, and  anywhere, has condemned the Rubio hit. The story told us nothing newsworthy about Rubio,  but told us a lot about the Times, and perhaps whether the U.S. news media plans on placing its heavy thumb on our campaign scales…again. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Mediate’s Matt Wilstein

logo-nbcnews

It’s so discouraging. What chance has Ethics Alarms to help people learn the art of sound ethical analysis and problem-solving when the web is teeming with prolific ethics dunces like Matt Wilstein?

On Mediaite, which is supposed to specialize in news media commentary, analysis and criticism, staff writer Wilstein has delivered an archetype of atrocious ethics reasoning, packaged as a rationalization-fest to save Brian Williams’ imperiled job. It’s called Why NBC Shouldn’t Even Think About Firing Brian Williams, and the title is the most ethical thing about it. After all, it fairly and openly informs anyone tempted to read this trash that the writer is addled. It’s bad enough to argue that NBC News shouldn’t fire the man who is its public face after he proves that he cannot be trusted to convey facts accurately, but to argue that a network shouldn’t even consider ridding itself of such a public relations and professional disaster requires a naive, cynical and illogical view of business, the media (Wilstein’s field!) ethics and life.  Anyone reading such a headline is duly warned not only not to read what follows, but to avoid any website that would allow such an author to pollute its pages and its readers’ minds.

Here are Wilstein’s reasons NBC should not fire Williams, and I’m not making this up:

1. His ratings have been good. (A non-ethical consideration)

2. He’s funny. That’s right: Viewers won’t care if they can’t believe the head of your news division and anchorman, as long as he’s amusing.

3. “Besides his “Slow Jam the News” segments and edited rap songs on Jimmy Fallon’s show, Williams has also leant his talents to other NBC properties by hosting Saturday Night Live and appearing on 30 Rock.” Translation: Versatility is what you look for in a journalist, not integrity or competence at reporting.

4. NBC has had to replace other key personnel lately, like David Gregory. In other words, convenience trumps trust. Or perhaps Wilstein is making the dubious argument that you shouldn’t replace your car’s defective engine right after you re-lined the brakes. It’s hard to tell.

5. Lots of people want to fire Williams, but lots of people want to fire most news anchors. Wilstein really writes this. He is arguing that 70% of his own website’s readers wanting to fire Williams for serious professional misconduct is meaningless because so many people want to fire other anchors for other reasons.

6. Maintaining  a network’s integrity alone is not sufficient reason to fire your news anchor. Well, I guess in today’s journalistic environment, where integrity means nothing, he has a point.

7. Here’s the jaw-dropper: Continue reading

Black James Bond Ethics

Fleming's Bond (l) and Bond-in-Waiting Idris Elba

Fleming’s Bond (l) and Bond-in-Waiting Idris Elba

There’s really no denying it: some conservatives have persistent hang-ups about race, and it undermines their more rational, perceptive views on other matters. A relatively trivial but revealing example occurred in the aftermath of the Sony computer hack by North Korea (or Hacker X). One of the revelations was that Sony, which owns the James Bond franchise, was seriously considering re-booting the character, currently played by the estimable, but aging, Daniel Craig, with a black  British actor (be sure to mock anyone who calls him an “African-American), Idris Elba.

If you are unfamiliar with Elba, you should watch the British series “Luther” on Netflix. He’s terrific: athletic, sexy, charismatic and passionate, not to mention his  aura of cold-bloodedness and danger—in short, perfect for James Bond. But Rush Limbaugh, apparently seeking to retroactively validate the title of Al Franken’s book, “Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot,” decided to use the threat of non-traditional casting to make liberal heads explode, his mission in life:

“That’s NOT who James Bond is, and I know it’s racist to probably even point this out: We had 50 years of white Bonds because Bond is white. Bond was never black. Ian Fleming never created a black Brit to play James Bond. The character was always white. He was always Scottish.”

It is hard to pack so much idiocy into five sentences, but Rush is up to the task. James Bond is a British secret agent: race doesn’t factor into the stories at all. We’ve had 50 years of white Bonds because that’s the conventional way of portraying the character, that’s all. Rush’s argument here is just “Everybody does it.” So what? James Bond movies are entertainment, and if an entertaining James Bond film can be made with Elba as Bond, and there is no reason in the world why not, then James Bond can be black. Continue reading

“It’s Unethical To Be A Weenie,” Part II: Our Craven, Terrorism-Validating Theater Chains

Or maybe not...

Or maybe not…

[Part I is here]

Regal Cinemas, Cinemark, Cineplex, Bow Tie Cinemas, Carmike and AMC Theatres will not show “The Interview” because the North Korea-based hackers that breached Sony Pictures Entertainment e-mail security threatened movie theaters and moviegoers who attend screenings of the satire. More theater circuits are expected to follow, because terrorism works especially well against weenies.

Leading the way for this disgusting weenieism display were first, Sony itself, which reportedly toned down the film in response to earlier threats from the group, and then the stars of the comedy, James Franco and Seth Rogan. They both cancelled all their publicity appearances and are evidently hiding under their beds, caving to the dictates of unknown critics who are almost certainly not in the country. Oooh, but they’re so scary!

First they stole emails from Sony executives to retaliate for the comedy’s story line, which involves an assassination attempt on the life of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un by two morons. Then the group issued a warning referencing 9-11 and warning Americans, to stay away from theaters showing “The Interview”:

We will clearly show it to you at the very time and places The Interview be shown, including the premiere, how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to. Soon all the world will see what an awful movie Sony Pictures Entertainment has made. The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2001. We recommend you to keep yourself distant from the places at that time. (If your house is nearby, you’d better leave.) Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY.”

Or All your base are belong to us.

Continue reading

Signature Significance Verdict: Lena Dunham Is An Awful Human Being

 UPDATED!

Yechh.

Yechh.

If her boasting about abusing her little sister in her memoir wasn’t enough, Lena Dunham’s revealed conduct regarding “Barry” in the same tome rings the signature significance bell. No human being with a sufficient amount of decency would do something like this, even once.

In case you have not followed the latest ethics scandal involving the over-praised creator and star of HBO’s “Girls,” what occurred is this:

In one chapter of Dunham’s memoir “Not That Kind of Girl,” the feminist actress describes as factual an episode of sexual assault or rape that she says she experienced while an undergraduate at Oberlin. Her assailant was a well-known campus “Republican,” she says, a conservative whom she refers to as Barry—without the conventional quotes that would indicate a pseudonym.

There was, as it happens,  a real Oberlin college graduate from the same period named Barry, then well-known as a conservative, which then as now, is a species about as common at Oberlin as velociraptors. Besides his name and campus reputation, Barry fit some of the other details given by Dunham, such as wearing cowboy boots and sporting a flamboyant mustache. Now the 28-year-old man (the same age as Dunham)  is being tarred as a rapist, and has been forced to take down his social media accounts. He has hired a lawyer named Aaron Minc, with the help of donations from GoFundMe to help pay his legal fees, and has promised that any money he receives from the suit exceeding legal fees will go to charities assisting survivors of rape and sexual assault.

Dunham has not had the courage or decency to say anything, to or about Barry. But yesterday Random House did, in an extraordinary statement and admission: Continue reading