Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/14/2018: PolitiFact Lies About The Lie Of The Year, And What’s This Taboo Stuff Bing is Blathering On About?

Good morning.

1. So you think baseball ethics controversies end with the season? Not at Ethics Alarms!

  • Did you know that baseball has its own Colin Kaepernick, sort of? Free-agent catcher Bruce Maxwell can’t find a team, though he was once considered the front-runner to be the Oakland A’s starting catcher.  In 2017 Maxwell,  who is white, became the first and only major leaguer to kneel during the National Anthem. The buzz coming out of baseball’s winter meetings was that taking a knee was enough to make him persona non-grata among baseball owners.

Of course, the fact that Maxwellwas arrested on a gun charge in 2017 and later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, and also played poorly last season in the minor leagues doesn’t help. “This is not a Colin Kaepernick situation, said an anonymous source at the meetings. “This is if Colin Kaepernick had knelt for the anthem and also been arrested for a gun crime.”

Except that things like gun crimes are not that big a deal in the NFL…

  • In a debate with baseball commentator Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo, Hall of Fame manager Tony LaRussa inadvertently gave a lesson in why conflicts of interests are a problem while simultaneously showing that he has no idea what a conflict is. Russo correctly protested that Harold Baines, recently a shock election to the Baseball Hall of Fame by a 16 member committee that included  close associates of Baines, was unqualified, and noted that several members of the committee, includiing Baines’ long-time manager LaRussa, had a conflict of interest. LaRussa’s rebuttal: “Do you think the people who know him better than the average expert, fan or even other baseball executives, have actually been teammates with him … when they speak with more knowledge about the type of player he was, I think that speaks more to his credit, not less.”

No, Tony. Those who knew and admired him are biased, and Baines should have been elected or not elected by a panel that knew him no better or less than it knew the other candidates. That Baines’ pals have inside knowledge that he, let’s say,  likes puppies, always held the door open for the manager’s mother, once bailed a team mate out of jail and often played despite a sore toe has nothing to do with his qualifications for the Hall. And LaRussa has a law degree! Maybe this explains his ultimate career choice. Continue reading

Ethics Hero Most Likely To Really Tick Off Black Lives Matter: Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler, Who Names “Hands Up! Don’t Shoot!” As One Of The Biggest Lies Of The Year

hands up3

Thank you, Glenn.

Thank you, Washington Post

Now somebody tell Black Lives Matter, all of the copycat activist groups, and all the progressive, pandering politicians, like Bernie Sanders, currently giving deference and respect to such groups that still tacitly use Dorian Johnson’s Big Lie in their literature and demonstrations. Somebody tell the Democratic National Committee, which endorses Black Lives Matters, shameless race-baiters that they are. Is the antecedent ambiguous? Never mind: race-baiters applies to both.

Most of all, somebody tell America’s African Americans, most of whom have been conditioned to believe the lie, and thus to believe that young Mike Brown was executed on the streets of Ferguson because he was black. They have been thus taught so they distrust whites, law enforcement and their nation,  and so they will vote Democratic.

Here was the original debunking of the lie, in March. I’ve been tracking the lie since before then: it was evoked in Farrakhan’s march on Washington and in August’s Ferguson demonstration. In both cases, the news media soft-peddled the implicit endorsement of a vile falsehood for its value in spreading distrust, fear and hate. Continue reading

Being Fair To The News Media: Is There An Ethical Explanation For Why Hillary’s “Most Repugnant Lie” Has Been Ignored?

Clinton lie

An Ethics Alarms commenter alerted me  that Politifact is holding its annual “Lie of The Year” poll, and only one of the nominees is a Hillary quote, an inconsequential one at that (“The gun industry is the only business in America that is wholly protected from any kind of liability.”) Well, PolitFact is one of the most left-biased and untrustworthy of the generally left-biased and untrustworthy “Fact Check” columns, but even acknowledging that, how can it ignore what may be Clinton’s most blatant and significant lie? The answer to that may be that the rest of the media has decided to ignore it too.

Yes, it’s that Benghazi lie again. On the night of the attack, Secretary of State Clinton sent an email to her daughter stating that several American “officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Queda-like group.” The next morning, she sent message above to a top Egyptian diplomat. US officials ascertained “almost immediately,” according to the CIA director at the time, that the attack was not sparked by a YouTube video, but a planned terrorist attack.  At September 14, 2012  Andrews Air Force base ceremony, with the flag-draped coffins of the Benhgazi victims on display, Hillary Clinton told grieving family members that the online anti-Islam video was the cause, and that the video’s maker would be punished.  Four different relatives of three separate victims have publicly confirmed those conversations, including one who recorded what he heard at the meeting in handwritten notes. That was Tyrone Woods’ father, who has said, “I gave Hillary a hug and shook her hand. And she said ‘we are going to have the film maker arrested who was responsible for the death of your son.’” Sean Smith’s mother and uncle, and  Glen Doherty’s sister confirm similar statements made by Clinton to them.

Yet when Clinton was asked by George Stephanopoulos last Sunday if she told the family members that the film, not organized terrorists, was responsible for the attack, Hillary’s answer was “No.”

STEPHANOPOULOS: Did you tell them it was about the film? And what’s your response?

CLINTON:No. You know, look I understand the continuing grief at the loss that parents experienced with the loss of these four brave Americans. And I did testify, as you know, for 11 hours. And I answered all of these questions. Now, I can’t — I can’t help it the people think there has to be something else there. I said very clearly there had been a terrorist group, uh, that had taken responsibility on Facebook, um, between the time that, uh, I – you know, when I talked to my daughter, that was the latest information; we were, uh, giving it credibility. And then we learned the next day it wasn’t true. In fact, they retracted it. This was a fast-moving series of events in the fog of war and I think most Americans understand that.

Even Clinton’s words at the September 14 ceremony for those Benghazi victims strongly support the victim’s family members’ version of what Clinton told them. She said, “We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with.”

This is an important lie, far more important than, for example, Donald Trump’s nonsense about seeing “thousands upon thousands” of New Jersey Muslims celebrating on 9-11. Why has the news media shown a fraction of the interest in exposing it that it has in Trump?

Possible answers: Continue reading

Manipulated: “The Fact Checker’s” Top Ten Lies Of 2013

liars2Glenn Kessler, the Washington Post “Fact Checker,” came out with his list of the ten worst “Pinocchios” of the year (Kessler rates lies from one little growing-nosed puppet to four.) The Post’s version of this kind of column is fairer than most (The fairest and least tarnished by bias is FactCheck.org, by a mile. Its list of worst lies is here.), and I don’t want to quibble with him too much, but it is clear to me that the top ten was rigged not to embarrass the President and his administration more than it already does.

The list gives Obama’s infamous pledge about Obamacare letting everyone keep the plan and doctors they want the #1 slot, which was unavoidable and most deserved. (Want to know how a really left-biased source handles the same statement? When Dick Chaney stated in an interview that this was a lie, the Daily Beast’s headline was “It takes one to know one..”) Obama also was rewarded two more top lies on the list, relating to the sequester and Benghazi, giving him the year’s championship and a total of three, but some of his statements in the post-Newtown gun control push were equally dishonest, and this one absolutely deserved a place: Continue reading

Ethics Quiz: PolitiFact’s Ethical, Unethical Lie Of The Year

Lie of the Year

I’m so confused!

PolitiFact, the Tampa Bay Times’ “fact check” web page, has long been flagged on Ethics Alarms (and elsewhere, notably by the WSJ’s James Taranto) for its lack of integrity and flagrant bias towards the Left, Democrats, and President Obama. It was in June of 2012 that Ethics Alarms produced the “smoking gun” of PolitiFact’s perfidy, when the site  pulled off a “when did you stop beating your wife” stunt to cast unfair suspicion on House Speaker John Boehner, “fact-checking” a groundless accusation and despite finding no evidence that it was true, labeling the accusation unsettled, because Boehner might do what he was accused of, eventually. In May of this year, as it slowly dawned on fair, English-comprehending Americans that then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was misleading the American people about what the CIA knew about the September Benghazi attack, and Jay Carney, as his job description requires, lied through his teeth about her performance, PolitiFact could only muster a “mostly false” rating. The site is a partisan spin-machine, using the dishonest guise of a neutral “fact-checker” to undermine trust in Republicans and bolster Democrats when they need cover, particularly the President, who needs cover a lot. Continue reading

The President Locks Up The “Lie of the Year” Early

forked tongeThere has been controversy lately over the “lie of the year” designation. PolitiFact, true to its partisan-but-nobody-will admit-it soul, picked a Mitt Romney campaign accusation as its “lie of the year,” even though it wasn’t nearly the worst lie of the campaign, or even Romany’s worst. In fact, it was literally true. Romney had issued an ad saying that Jeep was moving its U.S. production to China—that was supposedly the lie—and in fact all Jeeps will now be made in China. Oh, well, election over, Romney lost, what’s done is done, mission accomplished, right, Politifact?

Thus it is mighty kind of President Obama to wrap up the lie of the year competition early and decisively in a national forum where one least belongs, his Inaugural Address. I’m sure PolitiFact won’t see it that way, but I’m engraving his name on the Ethics Alarms trophy right now.

The lie:

“The commitments we make to each other–-through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security–these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.” Continue reading

The Second Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Worst of Ethics 2010 (Part 2)

The final categories in the Worst of Ethics 2010. Coming up: The Best of Ethics, 2010.

(If you missed Part 1 of the Worst, go here.)

Worst Ethics Presentation: “Ethics in Politics: An evening with Former Governor Rod Blagojevich” (Presented to its students by Northwestern University) Continue reading

“Lie of the Year”? Hardly.

PolitiFact, the political fact-checking website, has once again announced its “Lie of the Year”:

“PolitiFact editors and reporters have chosen “government takeover of health care” as the 2010 Lie of the Year. Uttered by dozens of politicians and pundits, it played an important role in shaping public opinion about the health care plan and was a significant factor in the Democrats’ shellacking in the November elections. Readers of PolitiFact, the St. Petersburg Times’ independent fact-checking website, also chose it as the year’s most significant falsehood by an overwhelming margin. (Their second-place choice was Rep. Michele Bachmann’s claim that Obama was going to spend $200 million a day on a trip to India, a falsity that still sprouts.)”

This tells us a lot about PolitiFact. Continue reading