Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/25/2020: “Snap Out Of It!”

This is applicable to so many aspects of today I don’t have space to list them. Prime among them are the apparent re-runs of the George Floyd riots in various cities, this time tied to the death of Breonna Taylor and the fact that the cops who didn’t murder her weren’t charged with murder.  Hmmm…are these more stupid than the St. George riots, less stupid, or exactly as stupid?

1. I wonder…has the NFL killed more innocent black men than police over the years? Gale Sayers, the legendary Chicago Bears running back, died this week from “complications of dementia,” almost certainly meaning he was another victim of CTE suffered from playing what a friend calls “Concussionball.”

Well, as much as NFL fans might resent having players pollute entertainment with half-baked politicsal grandstanding, you can bet they would rather watch meaningless kneeling during the “Star-Spangled Banner” than forfeit the fun of watching human beings destroy their brains for cash.

2. This guy isn’t helping...Officer John Goulart, Jr., reported that at a shopping center in Pineville, La, Goulart was shot once in the leg and anotherbullet hit the back door of his patrol car. However, investigators determined that Goulart  fired those shots, including the one that hit him in the leg,  himself.  Now he’s under arrest. [Pointer: valkygrrl] Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/16/2020: For Some Unexplained Reason, Police Officers Are Feeling Unappreciated

1. Even humor sites have to do better than this...FARK is an amusing news aggregator that headlines links to interesting stories from around the web with facetious comments, puns and snark, most of the time avoiding gratuitous political slant, This headline, however, was an outright deception:  Sure the police might have some bad apples, but a review of 2,400 cases only found misconduct 54% of the time.

If you read the story, you will find that those were not just cases, but cases in which innocent people had been convicted of crimes. A study showing 54% of all cases showing police misconduct would be a damning result, but if someone is wrongly convicted of a crime, there is likely to be misconduct somewhere in the process. For those cases, 54% strikes me as low. Moreover, while the headline implies that all of the misconduct found in the study was attributable to police, that’s not true either. The study found that in  the cases studied, 54% showed misconduct by police or prosecutors.

FARK’s headline was just gratuitous and unjust police-bashing. Not funny.

2. For the record…it’s 5:58 am, and I’m still furious over the cretinous response from the Boston sportswriter I discussed in item #4 of last night’s late warm-up. Continue reading

Luncheon Ethics Laniapppe, 9/9/20: Track! Movie Fraud! Mainstream Media…Well, You Know.

1 And speaking of movies…I just finished watching the latest from cult director Charlie Kaufman, “I’m Thinking of Ending Things.” I won’t spoil it or recommend you don’t see it, except to say that it is one of those films that you leave not knowing what you just watched, and resolving either to watch it again (nope!) or decide you wasted your time. It’s a demented cross between “My Dinner with Andre,” “Back To the Future” and “The Exorcist Part II” that would have made a decent Twilight Zone episode at 30 minutes. I tried to puzzle the thing out while and  after I watched it, which seemed fair: how many movies end with a complete rendition of Jud’s gloomy solo “Lonely Room” from “Oklahoma” and a dream ballet, after over 40 minutes of conversations in a car while driving through a snowstorm? At least the film was original, challenging, and bold…or so I thought.

Then I read an article about one of the actors (all the performances are excellent) who said he asked Kaufman, the writer and director, what the film was about, and the answer he got was “I don’t know.” Whaaaaat?

That’s fraud on the audience, a cheat, and unethical. Be obscure, be mysterious, be oblique or vague, but at least have a point when the presumption of any audience member is that every movie means something. This is like James Joyce revealing, after scholars have written books and treatises and had symposia arguing what “Finnegan’s Wake” was about, that he just threw down random words on paper and that the book really didn’t mean anything.

2. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! (1) Headline of the Day:  From the New York Times front page: “Scaring voters didn’t work in 2018. Will it now?” I’d say that in 2020, it is the violent and intimidating conduct of the Left, such as Black Lives Matter and the antifa, the Democratic governors and mayors refusing to protect their communities and maintain order, and the fact that the mainstream media now so blatantly attempts to cover for all of it that is “scaring voters,” or should. How is there any valid comparison with 2018?

This is the false innuendo version of fake news. The headline implies that Republicans are exaggerating the breakdown of civic order that has been rationalized and excused by Democrats. Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Warm-Up, 8/15/2020: Of Cancellations, Retractions, Rants, Lies And Signs

Never mind the small talk; let’s get to it.

1. Hmmm…What’s going on here?  New York officials originally decided to cancel  “‘Tribute in Light,” the  twin beams that shine over lower Manhattan as part of the annual  9/11 commemoration. The National September 11 Memorial & Museum, which oversees the installation, said in a statement this week,”This incredibly difficult decision was reached in consultation with our partners after concluding the health risks during the pandemic were far too great for the large crew required to produce the annual ‘Tribute in Light.'”

The announcement caused widespread puzzlement. How large could the necessary crew have to be? Geraldo Rivera opined on Fox News that the decision was political, as Democrats sought to “make everybody miserable” so President Trump could be blamed. That theory was quickly picked up by others, along with complaints from New Yorkers that the popular memorial celebration was cancelled for no good reason.

Then, today, New York officials made a U-turn. “Honoring our 9/11 heroes is a cherished tradition. The twin towers of light signify hope, resiliency, promise and are a visual representation of #NewYorkTough,” Cuomo said. “The virus has taken so much and so many. But now the tribute will continue.”

2. Now THIS is Trump Derangement! When did it become considered acceptable and professional for news anchors and public events show hosts to behave like this?  MSNBC “Morning Joe” co-host Mika Brzezinski went on an extended, fanciful, hateful anti-Trump rant on yesterday’s broadcast. Here’s a transcript of a supercut video featuring the bulk of Mika’s meltdown: Continue reading

From The Washington Post: A Fake News Classic!

And, of course, a “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!” masterpiece.

For shame.

Here is the headline:

Trump keeps claiming the most dangerous cities in America are run by  Democrats. They aren’t.

To be fair, the writer of the piece, apparently insane Post reporter Philip Bump, focuses on the President’s statement that the top twenty most dangerous cities are run by Democrats. Gotcha! Bump triumphantly produces this stunning graph to prove that, once again, Trump has lied, the bastard:

Ah HA! See??? Continue reading

Here’s A “Little List” Worth Perusing: Fake News Clues

The pop-culture-trivia-snark-list website Cracked (and how sad is it that the site based on the inferior magazine knock-off of Mad Magazine is still going and Mad has bitten the metaphorical dust?) has a post listing twenty ways not to be fooled by fake news. It starts out,

Thanks to the Twitters and the Facebooks of the world, these days we pretty much just get our “news” from the clickbait headlines we see while scrolling through poorly-made but still hilarious memes. Which sucks, because it’s pretty much ruining society. So here’s how to avoid becoming an uninformed angry internet denizen in the future.

Among the article’s observations:

  • Don’t trust The Daily Mail. I knew it was basically a rag, but I didn’t know the Daily Mail has overtaken the New York Times as the most visited news website.

I’ve never used the Daily Mail for a story without checking other sources, but he’s right; it’s lazy. I won’t use it from now on.

  • The use of the term “after ” in a headline implies causation that is often not there.

This is a New York Times specialty, particularly on Trump-bashing stories by reporter Maggie Halberman.

  • The post warns of headlines that are composed to nab clicks but that do not accurately reflect the content of the story beneath..

Another New York Times specialty.

  • This one was unintentionally funny, especially in the midst of the rest:

What reputable news sources? As the list amply demonstrates, there aren’t any! Continue reading

Brian Dennehy Has Died, And Attention Should Be Paid (Corrected)

This would normally be in the Warm-Up, but I left it out, and I want to make sure it is seen. I have written about this pet peeve of mine before, but I see that it was on the old Ethics Scoreboard in 2005, before Ethics Alarms. (ARGGH! I have GOT to get that site back on-line!)

Here is a typical headline I am seeing on the web:

Veteran Actor And ‘Tommy Boy’ Star Brian Dennehy Dead At 81

“Tommy Boy.”

For the love of God…

Brian Dennehy, who  died this week, was one of our finest, most versatile and most enjoyable character actors. His performance as Willy Loman in Arthur Miller’s “Death of  Salesman” on Broadway is considered by critics as one of the very best interpretations of that classic role in what has been called the Great American Tragedy. The performance won him a Tony, as did his turn as Hickey in the other contender for the Great American Tragedy, O’Neill’s “The Ice Man Cometh.” (That one would get my vote.)

Dennehy’s brawny, square-headed Irish bartender looks limited him to supporting roles in films (In “Silverado,” He’s one of my two all-time favorite Western bad guys,  evil and so, so engaging!) and while he had many TV roles, Dennehy never found a long-running hit that would make him a household name ( and a gazillion dollars) like so many lesser actors. But Dennehy considered himself a stage actor, and there he excelled.

“Tommy Boy” is a sophomoric gross-out comedy that starred the late Chris Farley. Dennehy was terrific as Farley’s father, but the movie was the kind of throw-away that actors like him do to buy new pools. Citing that as Dennehy’s claim to fame is more than misleading, it’s an insult. Continue reading

Thank God This Miserable Week Is Over Ethics Review, 3/27/2020: Of Pangolins, Pandemics And Pronouns

Good afternoon.

Stop blaming my favorite animal, the pangolin, or the so-called “scaly anteater,” for the pandemic!

That’s a tree pangolin above in a defensive posture. Ever since the nexus for the outbreak of COVID-19 was traced back to a wet market in Hubei province, scientists have been looking for the virus’s heritage.  It’s possible that the virus emerged in a colony of horseshoe bats in Yunnan, a province that borders the south-east Asian country of Myanmar. But some fingers are also pointing at the pangolin, which was once believed to have bats in its ancestry. The animal, like others that American wouldn’t recognize, is the most trafficked beast in the world due to the supposed health benefits of its scales, with most of that traffic ending in China. A search for the “missing link” in the chain of the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 has uncovered two close cousins of the variety of coronavirus that started the pandemic in Wuhan in pangolins smuggled into China. Not THE virus, however.  Here’s a photo of a pangolin unfurled:

1. It is outrageous that a U.S. newspaper would include this sentence…From an article about the joys of Randolph Scott Westerns by Times film critic Ben Kinegsberg: “The depiction of Native Americans as horse-eating, husband-killing savages doesn’t sit well in modern eyes, and the name of Henry Silva’s character in “The Tall T” is so offensive it cannot be printed.”

Well, it has to printed somewhere, or the information itself has been permanently erased! If a newspaper is going to start  purging words, names, history  and facts, where does it stop? I’ve been trying to imagine what name could justify the Times refusing to reveal it, other than “Voldemort.” What could it be? Let’s check the Internet Movie Database (the film is “The Tall T“)… Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/25/2020: Lies, Liars, Fake Headlines And False Narratives.

Good morning!

What’s it like outside?

1. The Sisyphus Report. Ethics Alarms is currently at its all time high water mark for followers, a number it has reached three times previously, only to fall back, sometime precipitously.

When you are trapped in your home, you tend to obsess about such things.

2. You know why, but still…the mainstream media isn’t fact-checking or pointing out the blatant, insulting lie from Nancy Pelosi yesterday regarding the House Democrats’ alternative “stimulus” bill that “Everything we’re suggesting just relates to COVID-19. It’s not changing policy except as it applies here.” That bill included [Pointer: The Blaze]:

  • A bailout for the U.S. Postal Service
  • Student loan debt forgiveness
  • Required same-day voter registration
  • Airline emissions standards regulations
  • Study on climate change migration
  • Collective bargaining provisions
  • Increased federal minimum wage for companies that accept government loans
  • Publication of race and pay statistics for corporate boards

I’m not even mentioning things like the millions designated for the Kennedy Center, because that was technically related to addressing harm caused by the pandemic.

As I and many others noted, the Democrats’ grandstanding effort to stuff the rescue bill with progressive agenda items related to climate change, the Green New Deal and other social justice wish list items was political posturing for the base, which was forgivable as long as they didn’t try to hold the nation hostage, which they didn’t, at least for very long. But Pelosi’s denial that her party did what it did in plain sight (for anyone who bothered to read the bill about it) is the stuff of Jumbos, and the news media was obligated to let the public know.

They haven’t, and presumably won’t. Instead, journalists will continue to factcheck and scream about every lazy, non-substantive misstatement of facts by the President, and back the Democratic cant that President Trump always lies.

A party whose leadership issues pure disinformation like Pelosi’s should be estopped from using the “Trump lies”refrain.  Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 3/22/2020: Fighting The Good Fight Against The Virus That Ate Ethics

Gmph!

(That’s what “Good morning!” sounds like when you’re wearing a mask. At least when you’re wearing my mask: we couldn’t find any of the regular kind, so the best I can do is my “Zombie Werewolf” mask (the above picture is the closest I could find). My wife swears she’ll divorce me if i wear it outside…)

1. Undermine the leader, at all costs. Despite growing evidence that non-deranged Americans are, as they usually do, rallying behind their elected leader in a national crisis (because it is only sensible and patriotic to do so), the mainstream media, all-in as it has been since November 2016 in its effort to damage faith and trust in the President and assist the Democratic party in regaining power, continues to follow the game plan.

For example, in today’s Sunday Times, we have the headline “In This Crisis, U.S. Sheds Its Role As Global Leader,” complaining that even as it promises billions of dollars in aid to Americans as they are trapped at home and locked out of their jobs, businesses, and income, the U.S. should be financing the response to the Wuhan virus around the world. (The next critical piece will be about how the President allowed the debt to explode.) On the front page, we have the mocking headline (over an article by perpetual anti-Trump reporter Maggie Haberman, “Trump Is Faced With Crisis Too Big for Big Talk.” The news in  page 11 story is apparently Republican hypocrisy: “GOP, Once United Against Social Programs, Mobilizes to Push for Cash Relief,” as if urgent, once in a century emergency measures constitute a change in philosophy rather than responsible and responsive leadership. On the op-ed pages we get this despicable headline: “America, Not Trump, Will Save America,” continuing the theme of Democratic rejection and denial of the fact that the President is America, and they work together, or they don’t work. This is, of course, necessary preparation for the mews media’s future narrative that if (when) the United States emerges from the current crisis strong and vital, it will be in spite of the President’s efforts, not because of them. These people are willing to weaken our community when it i most important that we be united, because they believe that destroying the Trump Presidency is the prime directive.

These are terrible, unethical people, not because of what they believe, but because of what they are doing, and have been doing. Continue reading