Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 9/20/2020: Tales Of The Great Stupid [Updated and Corrected]

1. Yes, these are the people who want to have power over our lives. Imagine: this woman isn’t mourning the death of a human being, she’s angry because that human being can no longer serve her interests. The human being in question continued to work for the public long after she could have retired with dignity and comfort, and this woman is furious that she wasn’t physically able to do so “until 2021.” Not only that, she posted this repulsive video with no apparent comprehension that it exposes her as a horrible human being. She just assumes that most who share her political persuasion are just as  incapable of empathy and compassion as she is. Maybe she’s right.

Again I must ask, “How do people get like this?”

***

Okay, I just stumbled on some timely satire. I generally hate memes, but this is genuinely funny. Forgive me.

2.  Speaking of memes and The Great Stupid, what can you say about an adult who would post this on Facebook in all seriousness, as if it was profound or true?

Continue reading

Ethics Warm-Up, 9/18/2020: Boy, It’s Hard To Write About Ethics When What You Really Want To Do Is Run Amuck With A Bloody Sword

I don’t even want to talk about the last two days, except to note that what has me proto-homicidal has nothing to do with anything we’ve been discussing on Ethics Alarms.

1. Now THIS is incompetent phishing: “Verizon” contacted me to say,

Dear User :Your incoming mails were placed on pending status due to the recent upgrade to our database, and also exceeded the storage limit of 1 GB, which is defined by the administrator, are running at 99.8 gigabyte. You can not send or receive new messages until you re-validate your mailbox.

  • I no longer have any relationship with Verizon.
  • Verizon no longer runs an email service. It sold its email users to AOL.
  • The letter is ungrammatical.
  • I received that email, along with about 50 others at the same time, telling me I was no longer getting email.
  • “Verizon’s” address was “bavaria2@centurylink.net”
  • The “letter” was signed “VeriZon.”

If you fall for something like that, you are a walking, talking mark, and incompetent at life.

2.  Why doesn’t the public trust the news media? It must be all those Trump “fake news” lies!  CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell used a photo from a “Latinos for Trump”  event in Phoenix to accompany a report on Joe Biden’s Latino event in Florida. The CBS’s chyron read, “Biden pitches crucial Latino voters during Florida campaign stop.”

Here was what viewers saw: Continue reading

Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias! But Why Is Fox Almost The Only News Source Reporting This Story?

This seems such egregious negligence by the mainstream media that it’s almost defiant.

Records from the Justice Department show that at least several dozen phones belonging to members of Mueller’s Russian collusion investigation team were wiped of information. The reasons are supposedly forgotten passcodes,  screen damage, loss of the devices and other explanations, including intentional deletion. All of this occurred before the Justice Department inspector general’s office could review the devices and, obviously, the information they contained.

Hey, what’s newsworthy about that? When I first read about this  days ago, I assumed it would be a major scandal. The mainstream media didn’t even treat it as news. Leaving the reporting to Fox, the story is now pigeonholed as a right wing conspiracy theory. But it’s not a theory! Destroying evidence is a crime, and a lot of evidence related to the investigation was destroyed. Why? Shouldn’t all legitimate news sources be asking why? Continue reading

Fake News! Bad Science! Confirmation Bias! Wuhan Virus Fear-Mongering! The Sturgis Motorcycle Rally Narrative Has It All!

I was going to write (another) post about politically weaponized studies and surveys after Nick Kristoff pronounced the U.S a failing nation after seeing the latest Social Progress Index, which determined that out of 163 countries assessed worldwide, the United States, Brazil and Hungary are the only ones in which people are worse off than when the index began in 2011. This is always one of my least favorite type of studies studies, the apples to oranges compendiums where it is the researchers’ values being measured and not what the study claims. Weight the 50 “metrics of well-being”  differently, take out some or add others, and the result is completely different, and just as imaginary. “The data paint an alarming picture of the state of our nation, and we hope it will be a call to action,” Michael Porter, a Harvard Business School professor and the chair of the advisory panel for the Social Progress Index, told Kristoff. “It’s like we’re a developing country.”

Right. That’s certainly a rational statement.  Kristoff goes on,

The index, inspired by research of Nobel-winning economists, collects 50 metrics of well-being — nutrition, safety, freedom, the environment, health, education and more — to measure quality of life. Norway comes out on top in the 2020 edition, followed by Denmark, Finland and New Zealand….The United States, despite its immense wealth, military power and cultural influence, ranks 28th — having slipped from 19th in 2011. The index now puts the United States behind significantly poorer countries, including Estonia, Czech Republic, Cyprus and Greece.

I guess the smart thing is to move right over to Finland or Estonia then! I’m sure the rest of the Trump-bashing pundits and America Stinks crowd, like Michael Moore, will have a field day with this propaganda, because it fits in nicely with Big Lie #5: “Everything is Terrible,” which I expect to have a resurgence as we approach election day. Actually it already is; here’s TIME’s cover:

But I digress: lets’s get back to Sturgis. (Thought I had forgotten, didn’t you?) Continue reading

More On The Atlantic’s “Anonymous” Hit Piece On The President

Here’s the overview: I don’t understand this part of the story at all. I don’t understand how Jeffrey Goldberg can get away with atrocious journalistic conduct like this, even as he fails to hide it. He merely assumes his offense to fairness and his profession will be ignored, forgiven, or even cheered.

How stupid and ethically-crippled do journalists like Jeffrey Goldberg, the Editor-in-Chief  of The Atlantic Monthly think the public is? Are they right? What aren’t all legitimate journalists furious about this? Are there any legitimate journalists?

In 2004, then CBS News star Dan Rather used a forged document to “prove” that President George W. Bush had ducked accountability for going AWOL with the National Guard. Rather’s justification was a spectacularly unethical one that lost him his job and reduced him to the wandering, discredited partisan hack pundit he is today, fit only for MSNBC. Rather claimed that using the fake document was justified because what it proved was “true,” and the public had a right to know. (Rather and his producer were deliberately attempting to defeat Bush in his re-election bid, just as The Atlantic has been working to ruin Trump for fours years. I read Jeffrey Goldberg’s rationalizations for for his “Trump said mean things about American soldiers two years ago” smear as arising out of the same unethical dung heap as Rather’s debacle.

He deserves the same fate as Rather, too.

Goldberg conceded on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes”  that anonymous sourcing is “not good enough”  to base a damning story like his on. Yes, just like a forged document is not good enough to base an explosive accusation on. In some ways, a forged document is better—you can check the veracity of a document. Anonymous sources might be biased,  partisan agents,  proven liars, or not in a position to see  and hear what they claim. How can their veracity be checked? They can’t be.
Continue reading

More On The Atlantic’s Big Lie

The news media and politicians keep using the Big Lie tactic because, sadly, it works.

One reason such lies work is that, unfortunately, people just aren’t, on average, very smart or attentive. The Atlantic Monthly’s two-year old “scoop” that the President had denigrated American servicemen during a trip abroad according to four “officials” who nonetheless didn’t have the integrity or courage to take responsibility for their story was self-evidently a pro-Biden smear job, identifiable both by its timing and its journalistic inadequacies. It arrived when there was legitimate news that was favorable to the President, yet the phony story received most of the ink and air time, even from Fox News and the conservative media, the latter of which discussed the rottenness of the tactic rather than its substance.

As Big Lies go—this was a micro-Big Lie, other than the recurring and still surfacing  macro-Big Lies that have served as the foundation of the relentless anti-Trump assault since the 2016 election—this one was rather well constructed, being based as it was on one of Trump’s stupidest and most damaging utterances, his campaign swipe at  John McCain and Vietnam prisoners of war. It was not a sub-Big Lie, relying on one of the Big Nine, because, after all, this one draws its strength from a fact: the President is an asshole, and unlike other recent asshole Presidents like Obama and Clinton, he doesn’t even try to hide it.

Nonetheless, the fact that a well-proven anti-Trump organ published this just as the riots were starting to take their toll on Joe Biden’s hate-fueled support and had to use anonymous sources to create it was, or should have been, plenty to allow even the semi-dim among the public to discern what was going on. Then came the multiple claims that Fox News and others had “confirmed” the story, which, of course, they hadn’t. This was incompetent and embarrassing, and it was immediately obvious to me, as it should have been for anyone with a modicum of education and two brain cells to rub together. I saw the “confirmation” report right after completing the September 4 post about news media disinformation, and wrote,

Fox saying it “corroborated” what Trump said is flat out false. If someone tells NBC I’m an anteater, and I deny it, then ABC talks to the same lunatic who says I’m an anteater and he repeats his accusation, did ABC corroborate that I’m an anteater?

Yet, incredibly—yes, after all this time, I still find the the lack of basic critical thinking skills among so much of the public hard to believe–a lot of people couldn’t see this. I know it sounds arrogant, but I have to regard this episode as either an IQ test or a corruption test: if you don’t see what’s going on, either you’re not very bright, or you are allowing yourself to enable lie.

Glenn Greenwald wrote a whole essay for the slow-witted about what the news media is doing here , unfortunately, slow-witted Americans don’t read The Intercept. He begins by recalling one of the worst CNN false reports pushing the Russia collusion coup effort, now down a memory hole, as CNN (and its fixer Brian Stelter) still insist that the networks reporting on that debacle was impeccable. Greenwald writes,

Very shortly after CNN unveiled its false story, MSNBC’s intelligence community spokesman Ken Dilanian went on air and breathlessly announced that he had obtained independentconfirmation that the CNN story was true. In a video segment I cannot recommend highly enoughDilanian was introduced by an incredibly excited Hallie Jackson — who urged Dilanian to “tell us what we’ve just now learned,” adding, “I know you and some of our colleagues have confirmed some of this information: What’s up?” Dilanian then proceeded to explain what he had learned:

“That’s right, Hallie. Two sources with direct knowledge of this are telling us that congressional investigators have obtained an email from a man named “Mike Erickson” — obviously they don’t know if that’s his real name — offering Donald Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. access to WikiLeaks documents. … It goes to the heart of the collusion question. … One of the big questions is: Did [Trump Jr.] call the FBI?”

How could that happen? How could MSNBC purport to confirm a false story from CNN? Shortly after, CBS News also purported to have “confirmed” the same false story: that Trump Jr. received advanced access to the WikiLeaks documents. It’s one thing for a news outlet to make a mistake in reporting by, for instance, misreporting the date of an email and thus getting the story completely wrong. But how is it possible that multiple other outlets could “confirm” the same false report?

It’s possible because news outlets have completely distorted the term “confirmation” beyond all recognition. Indeed, they now use it to mean the exact opposite of what it actually means, thereby draping themselves in journalistic glory they have not earned and, worse, deceiving the public into believing that an unproven assertion has, in fact, been proven. With this disinformation method, they are doing the exact opposite of what journalism, at its core, is supposed to do: separate fact from speculation.

The effectiveness of this technique depends on confirmation bias. A late, periodically lamented left-biased commentator here insisted that he knew Trump colluded with Russia to steal the election because that’s the kind of person he is. This, of course, is bigotry as well as confirmation bias, but that kind of thought process is driving the willingness of so many to accept an inherently unreliable story. Continue reading

The Insidious News Media Disinformation Campaign [UPDATED]

In hundreds, maybe thousands of ways, large and small, every day, the mainstream media advances its slanted narratives.

For example, I just saw this in a Times piece about the BBC:

[T]wo billionaire media moguls are hatching plans for 24-hour news channels that would be politically opinionated, bringing the model of Fox News to a market dominated by the BBC’s studied impartiality.

The Fox News model! Not, say, the MSNBC model, or the CNN model, or the CBS, ABC, NBC models of fake “objectivity” slanted Left that made Fox News necessary, or even the New York Times model, but the Fox News model, because that’s where the fake news comes from!

And the BBC is anything but impartial.

This next one is a classic. Continue reading

Ethics Cool Down, 8/27/2020, From A Fiery But Mostly Peaceful Day…

(I told you there would be more)

1. Kudos to luckyesteeyoreman, the venerable EA commenter who exactly predicted what Joe Biden’s ventriloquists would have him say about the riots, aka “the angry genie the progressives will never get back in the bottle”: The violence is “Donald Trump’s America.”  Lucky bested me: I never thought even the Democrats could be that incompetent. By claiming that the riots are the President’s fault, he sends exactly the opposite message from the one he needs to send,which is that the riots are not being blamed on Trump, but on the Democrats. Biden’s argument, “he made me riot” is one that the campus Left has been justly mocked for, and nobody but cowering college administrators and indoctrinated students regard it as anything but risible.

2. Speaking of things the Democrats and media are having no luck blaming on Donald Trump, Issues and Insights published five charts that nicely debunk the “The pandemic in the US is worse than anywhere!” talking point.  These are the best:

Of course, nobody in their right mind or who isn’t a Times reporter or  works for CNN believes the figures from China, Iran, or Russia.

Then there is this. Continue reading

A Poll On “Fiery But Mostly Peaceful” Because “I Gots To Know….”*

The mainstream news media generally has humiliated itself with its “mostly peaceful protests” gaslighting forthe past three months, but CNN launched itself into self- parody with the classic chryon above. It quickly spawned social media mockery like this…

..and this…

and is sure to inspire more. I wish I was more adept at computer graphics; there are several scenes I’d love to use.

So I have to ask…

______________________

*Classic pop culture reference. What’s the film and the situation? (This should be easy.)

 

‘All You Need Is Hate, Hate—Hate Is All You Need’…The Sequel!

That was the title of a post on February 19. That title is appropriate now, and so is the beginning of that post…

“Always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don’t win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.”

It is ironic that President Richard Nixon’s most profound quote, an ethics quote, in fact, should have come as he left the Presidency, in his farewell remarks immediately after resigning his office in 1974 as impeachment and removal seemed unavoidable. It is doubly ironic that his words so prophetically apply at this moment to the target of his own hate that destroyed Nixon, the Democratic Party.

That the entire, ugly spectacle of a great political party shredding its own ideals and capitulating to unreasoning, all-consuming hate as its sole reason for being is not a new observation at Ethics Alarms, but it has reached its apotheosis… the final, total corruption of the party that once styled itself as the herals of peace and love was cleared and paved once Democrats, pushed by the fanatics of the “resistance,” abandoned policy commitment and fealty to America ideals and principles. The party devoted its energy and passion to making its attack on Donald Trump entirely personal, betting that never ceasing ad hominem rhetoric abetted by the now almost completely submissive left-biased media would be sufficient to bring down the Trump Presidency, hopefully without the messiness of an election, but if not, then at the polls in November.

Never before has  the brief for defeating an incumbant President been based on sheer hatred and little else. The reason why this is true becomes more evident every day, for Nixon was right. Hate is destroying the soul of the Democratic Party and its members. Its  strategy of employing the  atomic version of the politics of personal destruction, which the decried during the Clinton years, has torn the country apart to an extent that may have rendered it ungovernable.

There! Thank you, February Jack! You just saved August Jack the trouble of composing over 300 words. Now let’s talk about the hate assault of the Democratic allies..

  • Bette Midler. What a great talent she was, and what a vile creep she is. Midler is also typical of the Hollywood elite and once-elite—who constantly show why performers should shut up and reform. They are, however, fine examples of their non-famous compadres on social media. Here was Midler’s tweet about Melania Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention:

Hypocrisy is the coin of the realm up and down the Democratic Party. These fake progressives weep for the plight of illegal immigrants who avoid sufficient involvement in American society to speak English at all. Yet they think they can seamlessly use insults  they would declare racist, sexist or otherwise proof of some form of cancel-worthy bigotry if they issued from a Republican, conservative, or heaven forfend, the President, and yet turn around and employ the same weaponized verbiage against those domestic enemies” (per Nancy Pelosi) with impunity. Continue reading