Ethics Quote Of The Week: Prof. Jonathan Turley

“Not only could Chauvin be acquitted or left with a hung jury, but the impact could be the collapse of all four cases. That will be up to the jury. But if there is violence after the verdict, it will be far worse if the public is not aware up front of the serious challenges in proving this case.’

—Prof. Jonathan Turley in a column for The Hill, explaining that a conviction for Derek Chauvin in the George Floyd murder trial in Minneapolis is far from certain despite the news media refusing to inform the public of that fact.

As is too often the case, Turley professorially states a critical fact without appropriate indignation regarding its implications. Not only has the news media, in Turley’s words, “failed to shoulder their own burden to discuss the countervailing evidence in the case, ” it has done so because “there is a palpable fear that even mentioning countervailing defense arguments will trigger claims of racism or insensitivity to police abuse.” What are these, children? Journalists are supposed to be professionals. Yet Turley says—correctly, unfortunately—they they are deliberately misleading the public, and making a violent reaction to the eventual verdict in Chauvin’s trial more likely by feeding a false narrative rather than conveying essential facts.

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Journalism Ethics: The Washington Post Enables Disinformation Regarding Hillary’s Email Machinations

Lies2

In an article for the Washington Post column “The Plum line,” Paul Waldman wrote, after noting that reports on the FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified materials suggest that the F.B.I. has found no intent on her  part to violate classification rules,

“That point about her intending to break classification rules is important, because in order to have broken the law, it isn’t enough for Clinton to have had classified information in a place where it was possible for it to be hacked. She would have had to intentionally given classified information to someone without authorization to have it, like David Petraeus did when he showed classified documents to his mistress (and then lied to the FBI about it, by the way). Despite the enormous manpower and time the Justice Department has devoted to this case, there has never been even a suggestion, let alone any evidence, that Clinton did any such thing.”

This continued a process, begun and fed by Clinton herself, to mislead the public about the investigation, the law, and Clinton’s conduct. It is the insidious “narrative” tactic again, and it apparently almost impossible to fight. For example, an old friend, a smart and informed former journalist, recently posted on Facebook to the effect that he wondered if the F.B.I. would investigate Colin Powell and Condoleeza Rice, since they also used personal e-mail for official business while Secretary of State. He wrote this in good faith, because this has been a central defense from Clinton for more than a year. It is harder to kill than the Hydra, despite the fact that it is pure deceit, for two reasons.

The first is that what was considered responsible and acceptable use of technology nine years ago is not responsible and acceptable use of technology now. What was considered responsible and acceptable use of technology nine weeks ago is often not responsible and acceptable use of technology now. The acceleration of technology development was well underway when Clinton was appointed, and new security measures and best practices at all the major agencies reflected that. If she intentionally ignored this, she was irresponsible and reckless; if she negligently failed to follow them, she was incompetent. No matter how Rice and Powell handled their e-mail, it was a different time, and the comparison is invalid and misleading. No one who understands technology and the speed with which it evolves, with accepted practices becoming dangerous and incompetent virtually over-nigh, could hear Clinton’s “They did it too!” excuse without rolling their eyes. But of course, this spin isn’t intended for those who understand the issues involved. They are designed for people like my friend, who are relatively uninformed regarding technology, and can be converted into an effective disinformation agent without his consent or knowledge. Continue reading

Help! Hillary Clinton And Her Media Apologists Are Trying To Kill Me!

exploding-head5

You know, my head can only explode so many times. It is already a callenge chore getting through the day without a ceiling clean-up when I have to listen to otherwise smart and reasonable friends and relatives justify their defense of Hillary Clinton’s corruption and dishonesty by resorting to rationalizations and selective memory, but the cranial pressure becomes unbearable when Hillary herself provides another example of her ethics corruption wizardry and reporters applaud.

As has been thoroughly explained here and elsewhere, Clinton decided to duck Bernie Sanders’ accusation that her Wall Street contributors expect something in return and that her pose as a tough Wall Street reformer was inherently incredible by changing the subject and playing the 9-11 card. Her entire explanation for why Wall Street firms were throwing millions her way:

“So, I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.”

Somehow, I missed what happened next, which is why I didn’t mention it in the two debate posts. Maybe I was stricken with a merciful moment of deafness. Maybe Clinton’s answer caused me to black out temporarily. Or maybe that was the moment I was screaming at my sister, “THAT’S WHO YOU THINK SHOULD BE PRESIDENT??? WHAT THE HELL’S WRONG WITH YOU???” For whatever reason, I just learned about this now.

After Clinton’s 9-11 spin, a rueful tweet from a law professor arrived during the debate: “I’ve never seen a candidate invoke 9/11 to justify millions of Wall Street donations until now,” wrote Andy Grewal, a law professor at the University of Iowa.

CBS passed it on to Hillary.  “And Secretary Clinton, one of the tweets we saw said this,” said CBS’s tweet-mistress Nancy Cordes.  “I’ve never seen a candidate invoke 9/11 to justify millions of Wall Street donations until now.” The idea being, yes, you were a champion of the community after 9/11, but what does that have to do with taking big donations?”

Hillary’s answer—Let me strap down my head after wrapping it in duct tape—there— “Well, I’m sorry that whoever tweeted that had that impression because I worked closely with New Yorkers after 9/11 for my entire first term to rebuild.”

KABOOM!

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Ethics Observations On The Second Democratic Candidates Debate, Part 2 of 2

Dems three

The transcript is here.

Part I is here.

6. Sooner or later, a Democrat is going to have to answer a question about the “safe places,” microaggressions,” college campus meltdown that is, I think, just gathering momentum, and choose between alienating the young black base that elected Barack Obama, or horrifying people who believe in free speech and thought, presumably a few iconoclast Democrats and a lot of independents. Significantly, CBS didn’t ask Sen. Sanders that question.

Well, it’s significant if you  believe that CBS is protecting the Democrats. As we saw in Bernie’s coddling of Black Lives Matter, and know from the fact that he’s a Marxist at heart, he doesn’t really expect to be nominated and has no spine (see Part I), Sanders was a good bet to fully endorse the anti-free speech position taken by the students at Yale, Amherst and Mizzou. That would have put the whole Party, which right now is Hillary, on the spot. Surely CBS would never do that. The alternative is to believe that last night’s journalists were inept.

Only Hillary was asked the question, and she ducked it with something akin to what Olson Johnson called “authentic frontier gibberish”:

DICKERSON: Secretary Clinton, you told some Black Lives Matter activists recently that there’s a difference between rhetoric in activism and what you were trying to do, was — get laws passed that would help what they were pushing for. But recently, at the University of Missouri, that activism was very, very effective. So would you suggest that kind of activism take place at other universities across the country?

CLINTON: Well, John, I come from the ’60s, a long time ago. There was a lot of activism on campus — Civil Rights activism, antiwar activism, women’s rights activism — and I do appreciate the way young people are standing up and speaking out. Obviously, I believe that on a college campus, there should be enough respect so people hear each other. But what happened at the university there, what’s happening at other universities, I think reflects the deep sense of, you know, concern, even despair that so many young people, particularly of color, have…You know, I recently met with a group of mothers who lost their children to either killings by police or random killings in their neighborhoods, and hearing their stories was so incredibly, profoundly heartbreaking. Each one of them, you know, described their child, had a picture. You know, the mother of the young man with his friends in the car who was playing loud music and, you know, some older white man pulled out a gun and shot him because they wouldn’t turn the radio down.Or a young woman who had been performing at President Obama’s second inauguration coming home, absolutely stellar young woman, hanging out with her friends in a park getting shot by a gang member.And, of course, I met the mothers of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin and so many of them who have lost their children.So, your original question is the right question. And it’s not just a question for parents and grandparents to answer. It’s really a question for all of us to answer, every single one of our children deserves the chance to live up to his or her god-given potential. And that’s what we need to be doing to the best of our ability in our country.

DICKERSON: All right, over to Kevin Cooney.

Hilarious.

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10 Ethics Observations On The CNBC Republican Presidential Candidates Debate

cnbc_moderatorsnew

The transcipt is here.

1. Seldom are the  verdicts on a presidential debate as near unanimous as those on last night’s CNBC affair, in which Gov. John Kasich, Mike Huckabee, Carly Fiorina, Gov. Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Donald Trump, Dr. Ben Carson, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen.Ted Cruz, and Sen. Rand Paul took loaded questions from the CNBC panel of Becky Quick, John Harwood, and Carl Quintanilla. The questions and interjections from the moderators were so hostile, so disrespectful, so obviously concocted from a biased perspective, that the criticism came from all sides of the political spectrum.

Mostly the work of the CNBC trio was just unprofessional. The rules seemed arbitrary, the three talked over each other, they neither commanded nor deserved the participant’s cooperation. It was, correctly, called the smoking gun of news media bias, and a terrific honesty, fairness and integrity test for anyone watching. If you did and still say that it didn’t stench of a hostile exercise in media bias, then you lack all three. It was an embarrassment for CNBC and journalism.

2. Ironically, though the moderators were terrible, it arguably was the best debate yet for the Republicans. The hapless trio actually gave Sen. Ted Cruz a chance to show that you tangle with him at your peril, and to display his impressive mind and speaking ability. He said…

“Let me say something at the outset. The questions asked in this debate illustrate why the American people don’t trust the media. This is not a cage match. And you look at the questions — Donald Trump, are you a comic book villain? Ben Carson, can you do math? John Kasich, will you insult two people over here? Marco Rubio, why don’t you resign? Jeb Bush, why have your numbers fallen? How about talking about the substantive issues? The contrast with the Democratic debate, where every thought and question from the media was, which of you is more handsome and why? Let me be clear: The men and women on this stage have more ideas, more experience, more common sense, than every participant in the Democratic debate. That debate reflected a debate between the Bolsheviks and the Mensheviks. Nobody believes that the moderators have any intention of voting in a Republican primary. The questions being asked shouldn’t be trying to get people to tear into each other, it should be what are your substantive solutions to people at home.”

Bingo. Cruz’s perfectly delivered reprimand is being sloughed off by many in the press as a repeat of Newt Gingrich’s trick, in the 2012 debates, of routinely beating up on moderators regardless of what they asked. This, in contrast, was fair, accurate, as perfectly delivered as it was impressive. I had followed the debate closely, and I wouldn’t have been able to run down the list of hostile questions like that without checking notes. Cruz is probably the smartest candidate in the race. Too bad he’s a rigid ideologue and a demagogue with the charisma of a chain saw.

3. CNN’s comment on the Cruz slap-down: “Here’s an attack all Republicans can love.” This means, I suppose, that only Republicans care about having a news media that isn’t trying to manipulate national elections. That conclusion should offend all Democrats—unless, of course, it is true. The desire to have an unbiased and competent news media should not be a partisan issue. Continue reading

It Looks Like Ahmed’s “Cool Clock” Was A Hoax After All. Now What?

Ah, Barack, Barack, Barack.  I keep telling you that responsible leaders don’t inject themselves into local matters and trivial issues, warping attention and priorities, politicizing issues that shouldn’t be political, making things worse. But your learning curve is still, on this as regarding so much else, flatter than a Jeb Bush’s poll numbers. Why? Why?

It is increasingly looking like Ahmed Mohamed didn’t build a clock after all. Whatever he brought with him to school, it shouldn’t have gotten him arrested, and whatever got him arrested, it shouldn’t have gotten him a White House invitation when so many other worse examples of school abuse of kids, some spurred by your own excessive rhetoric about guns, didn’t even cause a momentary hitch in Obama’s golf swing. As it stands now, what may have been a  dishonest stunt by a smart Muslim kid has paid off big time, and either the kid is trapped in a lie that keeps getting worse, or enjoying the fact that he is making a lot of people look like  fools, including the President of the United States. This is increasingly looking a real life version of the famous Simpsons episode in which Bart’s practical joke involving an imaginary child named “Timmy” who has fallen down a well causes a media frenzy that traps Bart.

Ahmed is a child: his conduct can be forgiven. The adults in the episode, however, shouldn’t be.

Let’s catch up with the narrative, which I last visited here. It always looked like an example of confirmation bias gone wild, with just another example of school administrators showing no judgment and being cruel to students  appropriated by Democrats, progressives and the media to serve their agenda of framing legitimate distrust of radical Islam as racism and bigotry. Now, however, it appears that all of them were taken in by a stunt of the sort that most of us, if we think back, can recall from one or more of our own classmates: the faked science project. Continue reading

Inexcusable Political Reporter Incompetence: “Inalienable Rights? What Inalienable Right?”

Quick, Will, Meredith: Who is this guy? Is he a} Harpo Marx b) Bruce Jenner or c) Thomas Jefferson?

Quick, Will, Meredith: Who is this guy? Is he a} Harpo Marx b) Bruce Jenner or c) Thomas Jefferson?

This isn’t about bias, although a good case could be made that bias is at the root of the problem. It is about supposedly experienced political reporters not knowing, understanding or respecting the Declaration of Independence.

Lat week, the Associated Press’s Will Weissert wrote AP’s report on Texas governor Rick Perry’s announcement of his candidacy for President, and included this:

“In a nod to the tea party, he said: ‘Our rights come from God, not from government.'”

This is ignorant, embarrassing, and wrong. He should be sent back to school, fired, or suspended, and so should the editor that let this pass. That our rights (our “inalienable rights”…ring any bells, Will?) come not from government but from God (“their Creator”…Will?), or, if you will, nature, innate humanity, the cosmos, or however you roll, is not the invention of the Tea Party, nor is citing the concept pandering to conservatives. Perry’s statement simply shows that he is familiar with and has proper reverence for the mission statement and founding document of the United States of America, as this AP reporter clearly does not.

Here, Will, you dolt, let me refresh your recollection:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Got that? Your inexcusable, factually, legally and philosophically mistaken idea that governments grant rights is in direct contradiction with the basis of this nation’s founding, and the Constitution created to enable the mission as stated by Thomas Jefferson and the Continental Congress in 1776. The segments of the news media and the progressive community that make assertions like Weissert’s–call them the Ignorant Left—are arguing for a system in which government dictates what rights we have or don’t have—you know, like the King of England. This is specifically un-American, because it was the exact basis on which the United States declared that being part of the British Empire was intolerable.

Meredith Shiner at Yahoo Politics did the same thing in March, tweeting in reaction to Ted Cruz’s announcement of his candidacy:

“Bizarre to talk about how rights are God-made and not man-made in your speech announcing a POTUS bid? When Constitution was man-made?”

Bizarre, is it, Meredith? Do you live here? Did you attend college, or high school? The Constitution represents the human beings making up a democratic government securing  rights that every human being are born with and that may not be taken from him or her. Did you miss class that day when the Declaration of Independence was being taught? Or can you just not read?

Is it God that’s the hang up? I bet it is, since Democrats, progressives  and journalists (but I repeat myself) have utter contempt for religion and the concept of God. Well, you badly educated fraud of a “political analyst,” Thomas Jefferson was not exactly Martin Luther. This is why he used the term Creator. Creator—did you miss all of your English classes too? Creator can mean God, as well as designer, builder, designer, inventor, founder…but Jefferson was a terrific writer, and knew that words can mean different things to different people in the same context, so he used a word that also can suggest agency, a beginning, causation, determinant, a catalyst, genesis, inducement, instigation, origin, root or source. Jefferson was also a scientist, and understood more than most–certainty more than you—that we do not have all the answers. What he said, and what the Founders endorsed, and what the Constitution was written to execute and establish for all time, was that human beings have certain rights from the instant they are born, and that no government has to grant them or take them away.

Whatever their flaws, Ted Cruz and Rick Perry understand that, as anyone qualified to seek the Presidency must. Shiner and Weissert do not understand that, and thus are unqualified to vote, much less to be political reporters.

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Pointer: Newsbusters

How Media And Academic Bias Make Us Stupid: The “Personal Freedom Study”

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“STUDY: American personal freedom now ranks below 20 other nations…” reads a link in this morning’s Drudge Report.

That is NOT what the study shows….not even close.

The link goes to an Examiner story headlined “Under Obama, U.S. personal freedom ranking slips below France.” That’s a little better, but it’s also misleading. Both headlines are attempts to spin a study that tells nobody anything about how much freedom there is in the U.S., under President Obama or otherwise. The study, meanwhile, is easily spun because it was badly conceived, is itself of dubious value, and was also probably the result of a researchers grinding their own axes.

It is early, and I am pretty sure that the cable news sharks and the internet pundits will be latching on to this garbage study in droves, with the result being mass confusion in the public. That’s right: the world of scholarship and research, and the world of journalism, will conspire to make the public less informed than it already is, setting it up for the handiwork of future Jonathan Grubers and the parties that employ them.

You see, the study doesn’t even purport to measure “freedom” in any objective way across different nations. Continue reading

Unethical Website Post Correction Of The Decade: Breitbart

EXCLUSIVE: Speaker John Boehner’s Head Falls Off, Breaking Paul Ryan’s Nose [Corrected]

Correction: Boehner’s head didn’t fall off and Paul’s nose is fine.

The above apparently illustrates the Breitbart style book policy when the conservative web site publishes a story that is 100% untrue.

Over the weekend, Breitbart published an exclusive story revealing  that President Obama’s Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch was on the legal team that defended President Clinton during the Whitewater investigation. That was a different Loretta Lynch, however. This would, with a conventional new site that knew the difference between ethics and a pangolin, mandate 1) removing the false story and 2) replacing it with a separate post explicating the error. But no. Here is how Brietbart handled it: leaving the story and the headline up in all its misrepresentation with a parenthetical “correction” added, which was explained only if you read all the way to the bottom of the story, where you would find the italicized information that everything you had just read was baloney. Such “Correction” notices usually explain that a detail was wrong or a name was misspelled. I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen one that said, in effect, “Never mind”…like this:

Bad CorrectionThis kind of keen ethical judgment is why is why I stopped reading, relying on or referring to Breibart. If a story link reveals Breitbart as the source, I ignore it. I suggest you do the same.

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Pointer, Source and Graphic: Talking Points Memo

 

 

How Trust Dies, Part II: A Trivial White House Cover-Up With Signature Significance

Yeah, but this is little Big Brother stuff, so why worry?"

Yeah, but this is little Big Brother stuff, so why worry?”

President Obama was speaking at a Democratic fundraiser in Chicago on Monday,  and you know how he is when he goes off his teleprompter.

He was talking about returning home to Chicago,  and said

“One of the nice things about being home is actually that it’s a little bit like a time capsule. Because Michelle and I and the kids, we left so quickly that there’s still junk on my desk, including some unpaid bills (laughter) — I think eventually they got paid — but they’re sort of stacked up. And messages, newspapers and all kinds of stuff.”  

The White House, however, removed the “unpaid bills” part from the official transcript which was sent out after the event, so it now reads “there’s still junk on my desk, including some — newspapers and all kinds of stuff.​” Associated Press reporter Josh Lederman noticed the deception and alerted another reporter who was at the event, who sent out an email alerting her colleagues and everyone else who receives reports from the White House press corps. Continue reading