The excellent substack newsletter “Public” has an excellent summary of how flagrantly the news media set out to spin the still unraveling Joe Biden classified document story. The article notes that in their zeal to protect the “good” party (for that’s their mission now) news outlets got way ahead of the facts, and now have to extract themselves from a mess of their own making. Yesterday the Washington Post yesterday published a piece trying to excuse its reporters’ bias by claiming that they tried to be fair and balanced. Read the whole Public article, but here are the highlights: Continue reading
mishandling of classified information
Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 7/12/17
Good Morning, everyone…
1. “Morning Joe” Scarborough went on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”-–where President Trump is officially referred to as Putin’s “cockholster”—and played to the anti-Trump audience by announcing that he was leaving the Republican Party as cheers rang out in Colbert’s echo chamber. More blatant pandering virtue-signaling and grandstanding would be hard to imagine.
Scarborough has followed up his short, undistinguished career as a conservative GOP congressman by playing on-air conservative foil to his supposedly opposite-minded co-host Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC while that network attacked Republicans on every show and all day long. In really, we have learned, he and Mika were sufficiently sympatico to be having a romantic affair while posing as journalists, meaning that the whole format was an act as well as an extended date. Scarborough was also complicit in helping Trump to the nomination of Joe’s alleged party by promoting him until he had nabbed the nomination. Once the Miracle of November 8, 2017 occurred, Joe made the obligatory U-Turn.
Never mind: I don’t care how Scarborough or anyone else registers; what matters is if they have the integrity to vote for the best candidate whatever party he or she represents. I do care that Scarborough used the smear that President Trump is a racist, and expressing to Colbert his disgust that GOP lawmakers, he claims, have refused to admonish Trump’s “racist” statements and election promises. This is another sloppy chunk of the anti-Trump false narrative, and by resorting to it, Joe proves, not that he isn’t a Republican, but that he is a race-baiting character assassin.The evidence that the President is racist is elusive, but the smear is repeated among the resistance as truth so frequently that it has reached Big Lie status.
2. In February, the left-biased, Trump-reviling Huffington Post purported to list “16 Examples” of Trump “being a racist.” The whole campaign, his whole career,, with Democratic groups and activists repeating the slur for months, and this was what they could scrape up. (Spoiler: it’s pathetic…) Continue reading
Journalism Ethics: The Washington Post Enables Disinformation Regarding Hillary’s Email Machinations
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