Morning Ethics Round-Up: 7/8/17

Good Morning!

Trying to warm myself up too, as I have to address a room full of new D.C.  bar admittees and tell them about their new ethics rules less than two hours from now….let’s see how much I can get down before by wife starts threatening me for not being dressed yet…

1. If anyone pays attention, Fox News is providing  nifty lessons to all organizations about how fish rot from the head down,  and how a pervasive unethical culture keeps going like the Energizer Bunny until it is decisively changed by responsible leadership. Yet another Fox News host,”Making Money’s” Charles Payne, is being disciplined and may be on the way out after  allegations of “professional misconduct,” sexual harassment, and more. It seems that the married analyst was having an affair with one of the blonde clones Fox’s Roger Ailes liked to have on the air, and had her fired after their tryst went sour. I assumed that Fox News was a hotbed of this kind of thing even before Aisles was exposed as a serial harasser; it was laughably obvious, with so many women dressing and sounding like cheerleaders and the on-air banter on “Fox and Friends” often crossing lines. If Payne is the last employee publicly fingered for harassment, it is only because Fox News is handing out preemptive settlements like Halloween candy. This was all right there, in front of millions, for anyone to see, and for Fox News management to stop, for decades before it blew up. Incredible.

2. I watched “Spotlight” again last night, and couldn’t stop thinking about CNN. The Catholic Church sexual molestation scandal doesn’t have much in common with the current descent of the U.S. newsmedia into ethical corruption and professional disgrace, except this: in both cases, leadership of  institutions that depend on and are based on trust and faith have willingly embarked on a course directly in opposition to the core values they were supposed to be committed to, and used the rationalizations  #13. The Saint’s Excuse: “It’s for a good cause” and #14. Self-validating Virtue to blind themselves for years, doing immeasurable and perhaps permanent harm to society and themselves in the process, not to mention their millions of victims. When in the movie did this parallel start occurring to me? When the film started showing angry Catholics attacking the reporters for daring to expose the truth, because the Church did so much good, and because anyone exposing an institution that was so vital to society was the real villain. Today what I hear is that because we need a courageous, reliable, independent free press (ironically, “Spotlight” shows why) we should pretend the press we have meets those standards, even when it has rejected them for partisan bias.

I envision a time when the whole news media looks back on 2016 and 2017 and wonders how they could have behaved so badly, and done such damage to the public trust.  I just hope that time arrives soon.

3. I can’t imagine a more audacious, in-your-face-display of inappropriate partisan arrogance than New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio’s decision to fly to Hamburg, Germany, to join leftist and anarchist protesters at the G-20 summit. To do this, he is skipping the swearing-in of a new  class of NYPD recruits  at a time when the assassination of Officer Miosotis Familia, would seem to dictate a mayoral show of support for the police, and it was recently reported that his city is experiencing a rise in homelessness to levels not seen in decades. What a great time to relive his student protesting days instead of doing his job!

Fun question: who is the more egregious jerk, Governor Christie, or DeBlasio?

4.

Ugh…I am being threatened with defenestration if I don’t shave. Back later…