A “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias” Spectacular, Featuring Biased Social Media!

Smoking gun2

I would call this the smoking gun, but when it comes to the news media and social media’s anti-democratic collusion with “the resistance” and the Democratic Party to defeat President Trump, the metaphorical floor is piled many feet high with smoking guns. This one, however, is especially smoky.

Today, the New York Post—watch out, it’s a conservative paper, out of the mainstream media Get Trump! Club!—published this story:

Hunter Biden introduced his father, then-Vice President Joe Biden, to a top executive at a Ukrainian energy firm less than a year before the elder Biden pressured government officials in Ukraine into firing a prosecutor who was investigating the company, according to emails obtained by The Post.The never-before-revealed meeting is mentioned in a message of appreciation that Vadym Pozharskyi, an adviser to the board of Burisma, allegedly sent Hunter Biden on April 17, 2015, about a year after Hunter joined the Burisma board at a reported salary of up to $50,000 a month.

“Dear Hunter, thank you for inviting me to DC and giving an opportunity to meet your father and spent [sic] some time together. It’s realty [sic] an honor and pleasure,” the email reads. An earlier email from May 2014 also shows Pozharskyi, reportedly Burisma’s No. 3 exec, asking Hunter for “advice on how you could use your influence” on the company’s behalf.

The blockbuster correspondence — which flies in the face of Joe Biden’s claim that he’s “never spoken to my son about his overseas business dealings” — is contained in a massive trove of data recovered from a laptop computer….

The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman and Politico’s Jake Sherman, both certified Trump assassins, set out to debunk the story. No no! they were told. The proper procedure is to ignore it! It’s not news; it comes from their side.  Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden accused Haberman of promoting disinformation. Time op-ed columnist Michelle Goldberg accused Sherman of helping to “launder this bullshit into the news cycle.” Democratic historian Kevin Kruse asked why such good, loyal, woke reporters were “amplifying” the story.

Continue reading

Thursday Ethics Warm-Up, 9/24/2020: It’s “Supreme Court Day”!

Literally!

On this day in 1789, The Judiciary Act of 1789 was passed by Congress and signed into law by President George Washington, thus establishing the Supreme Court of the United States. Notably, it was then designed as a tribunal made up of only six justices—an even number! (The Horror!)  President Washington quickly nominated John Jay to preside as Chief Justice, and John Rutledge, William Cushing, John Blair, Robert Harrison and James Wilson to be Associate Justices.  You should know Rutledge: he sings that cool song about slavery and the Triangle Trade  in “1776.”  You also should recall Wilson from that show—he’s the one slandered by being portrayed as a total weenie, which he most assuredly was not.  Two days later, the six appointments were confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

Nobody thought it was a big deal.

1. We knew the New York Times’ “1619 Project” was flagrant Black Lives Matter-inspired propaganda and based on lies, correct? Ethics Alarms discussed this when the Pulitzers honored the thing’s Liar in Chief, Nikole Hannah-Jones, who even admitted that it was really more about creating a useful “narrative” than accurately presenting history. Ben Crump, the serial race-hustler who gets huge damage settlements for family members of black victims of various tragedies by proclaiming the police and America as racist, cited  the “1619” project’s narrative yesterday while helping to incite riots. See? It works!

But the project is used in many school systems as “history,” and the central dishonesty was a problem, so the Times, without announcement or explanation, erased the central claim of the 1619 Project, which was that the year the first slaves were brought to Colonial Virginia was the “true founding” of the United States.

The  initial introduction to the Project, when it was rolled out in August 2019, stated that

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from the New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.

Sometime this year, the text became,

The 1619 Project is an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history by placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of our national narrative.

The change was discovered after Hannah-Jones denied  last week that the project’s core thesis was what she and the Times  had said it was. It “does not argue that 1619 is our true founding,” she said. Well, not any more. 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

On The Bright Side, At Least This Esteemed Journalism Professor Doesn’t Deny Bias…

This is three years old—the numbers are much worse for journalists now. And rightly so…

He celebrates it!

Stanford Communications Professor Emeritus Ted Glasser, in an interview with The Stanford Daily, asserts that objectivity is an impediment to good journalism. The profession, he said, must “free itself from this notion of objectivity to develop a sense of social justice.”  Instead, of objective reporters of events and facts to be then used by the publlic to make their own decisions and come to their own opinions. Glasser sees “journalists as activists because journalism at its best — and indeed history at its best — is all about morality…Journalists need to be overt and candid advocates for social justice, and it’s hard to do that under the constraints of objectivity.”

Yes, a veteran journalism professor actually believes that, openly admits it, and presumably has been teaching that to journalism students all these years.

It would strain credulity and chance to think he was alone in this approach, especially the way our current journalistic establishment behaves. Bolstering my confidence that Glasser is not an anomaly was Wesley Lowery,  an African-American journalist who has been a reporter with the LA Times, CBS News, and currently CNN (what a surprise!).   In a tweet, Lowery declared “American view-from-nowhere, “objectivity”-obsessed, both-sides journalism is a failed experiment…The old way must go. We need to rebuild our industry as one that operates from a place of moral clarity.”

Let me be clear. Since objectivity and the absence of bias are the very foundation of journalism ethics, the positions of Glasser and Lowery (and, I would guess, the majority of American journalists who may not be as candid, self-righteous and arrogant as them) would remove journalism from the ranks of professions, which all have defining ethical mandates designed to make them trustworthy. For a journalist, or worse, a journalism professor, to hold that it should be the objective of journalists to decide what to report and how to report it according to their own ideological objectives based on their personal interpretation of “morality” is a rejection of journalism and an endorsement of  the role of propagandist, which is the antithesis of ethical journalism. Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Reflections, 9/13/2020: “Hold On To Your Butts!”

1. Our aspiring leaders:

  • A 31-year-old female deputy and 24-year-old male deputy were shot while sitting in their patrol car at a Metro rail station in Compton, California. Protesters gathered outside the emergency room at the hospital where they were treated. The sheriff’s department found it necessary to tweet:  “To the protesters blocking the entrance & exit of the HOSPITAL EMERGENCY ROOM yelling “We hope they die” referring to 2 LA Sheriff’s ambushed today in #Compton: DO NOT BLOCK EMERGENCY ENTRIES & EXITS TO THE HOSPITAL,. People’s lives are at stake when ambulances can’t get through.” President Trump tweeted in response to the shooting:

Incredible: flat learning curve. After all the uproar about calling people “animals.” And if the shooters are minorities…The only one who can lose this election for President Trump is President Trump.

  • The Times of Israel reports, based on a recording of a virtual fundraiser, that Joe Biden said that the recent development of Arab states normalizing relations with Israel was “something positive” President Trump is doing “accidentally.”

Stay classy, Joe. To be fair, that has been the narrative of the Democratic Party/”resistance”/news media alliance for four years: if something goes wrong, it is the President’s fault; if something goes right, it’s either wrong anyway because Trump is responsible, or it’s just luck or an accident.

2. And now, from the world of sports! 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

Wednesday Ethics, 9/2/2020: Faking Here, Faking There, Faking, Faking Everywhere!

Good Wednesday!

It will probably not surprise you to learn that I have been a huge Charles Addams fan since I was a child, when I borrowed every one of  his collections from the Arlington Public Library. My two favorites, I think: the unicorns on a rock gazing sadly after the Ark as it floats away in the rain, and the butchers and his sons being attacked by links of sausages, mirroring the famous statue of Laocoön and his sons being devoured by serpents.

Laocoön’s fate is an ethics fable: Troy’s priest tried to warn the Trojans that the huge wooden horse was a trap, but instead of heeding his warning, the Trojans, having convinced themselves that the thing was a gift from the gods, assumed that the priest and his sons had been killed because the warning was blasphemy. In truth, the serpents had been sent by Poseidon, who was rooting for the Greeks all along. Historian Barbara Tuchman used the story of Laocoön in her book “The March of Folly,” a frequent topic on Ethics Alarms.

I was just depressed to discover, as I searched for a picture of Wednesday online, that the one above is only one of two out of hundreds that were genuine Addams drawings of her. What does that tell us?

1. More manipulated media. Yes, Twitter should flag these sorts of deceptions as long as they are non-partisan about it. In addition to the Steve Scalise fake I wrote about here, Twitter pointed out two more, also from the Republicans. White House social media director Dan Scavino posted a 2011 Joe Biden interview from California-news outlet KBAK that was altered to make it falsely appear as if Biden had fallen asleep—“Sleepy Joe,” get it? The fake was pointed out by John Dabkovitch, KBAK’s co-anchor at the time, who noted that the interview was actually with singer Harry Belafonte, not Biden. (I always get those two mixed up too.)

Then the Twitter account @TrumpWarRoom, which is the Trump campaign, posted a tweet that lifted Biden’s words out of context so it seems like Joe said “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America,” when he was quoting what Trump was suggesting in his remarks.

Like the Scalise tweet, both of these are embarrassingly stupid, and mandate firings. How can anyone tolerate a social media director who does something like this? He probably cheated on his SATs…[Pointer: valkygrrl]

2. I hereby volunteer to be the President’s 24-7 Ethics-sitter this kind of  stuff  doesn’t happen.... During his visit to peaceful protest-ravaged Kenosha,  the President wanted to have a photo op in front of the century-old Rode’s Camera Shop, which was peacefully burned out a week ago. The owner, Tom Gram, is not a fan, however, and he declined President Trump’s request to participate in the damage tour yesterday.  So the Trump flacks tracked down the previous owner and descendant of the original owners. He sold the shop eight years ago to Gram, yet President Trump  introduced him as “John Rode III, owner of Rode’s Camera Shop.” Rode went on to praise the President. Rode does own the property where the camera shop had been. [Again, pointer: valkygrrl]

3. Why do they keep doing this? First it was the Mayor of Chicago who violated her own pandemic edicts to have her hair done, and now it’s Nancy Pelosi, caught below at a salon, maskless…

…(“You must wear your mask!” she commanded Americans earlier last month) as she sought beautification at a San Francisco hair salon  this week despite local ordinances keeping salons closed. This is hypocrisy and entitled behavior, plus “laws are for the little people,” personified. Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: CNN’s Don Lemon

That’s a nice, objective, non-partisan chryon, don’t you think?

The rioting has to stop….it’s showing up in the polling. It’s showing up in focus groups. It is the only thing  right now that is sticking.”

CNN’s Don Lemon.

I could spend  the rest of this week filling Ethics Alarms with head-exploding accounts of the mainstream news media’s increasingly unrestrained partisan commentary. From an ethics analyst’s point of view, the current self-unmasking is slightly satisfying; I have been chronicling the unethical deterioration of journalism into near complete  commitment to progressive propaganda for a long time, and marveling at the number of once fair and discerning  people who scoffed that it was the product of my fevered imagination. They can’t do that any more without looking like lunatics (previously they just seemed like corrupted fools) so I’m not hearing that claim, here or elsewhere. They can’t deny that the news media is biased; now they have pivoted to the argument that it is right to be biased. Yes, biased people always think that; that was the argument of the New York Times in 2016 when the paper declared on its front page that ity would henceforth slant its coverage to defeat Donald Trump.The ethics of journalism has always held this to be unprofessional and a betrayal of journalism’s ideals, but ethics schmethics. Continue reading

Among All The Smoking Guns Showing The Mainstream Media’s Willingness to Lie Outright To Impugn President Trump, This Might Be The Smokingest

Here’s a sequence from yesterday’s news conference:

Watch it, please. Here’s a summary of what transpires:

Step 1.:  A reporter asks the President about his thoughts on the theory floated by a Constitutional law professor in Newsweek that Kamala Harris shouldn’t be considered a ‘natural born citizen” and thus technically isn’t eligible to be Vice-President or President.

Step 2: The President offers no opinion on it whatsoever, and makes it clear he didn’t read the article (who reads Newsweek?). He says 1) he heard about it 2) it is his understanding that the author is a genuine authority 3) he doesn’t know what the guy actually argued (Trump asks the reporter if the problem is that Harris “wasn’t born” in the U.S.)

Step 3.The reporter quickly summarizes the professor’s point.

Step 4. The President says, first, that he has no idea if the professor’s claims are right, and  concludes by saying he “doesn’t know about it” that he “just heard about it” and will “take  a look.”

And Step 5?

CNN headlines, “Trump promotes another birther lie, this time about Kamala Harris”

Reporter wrote,

” President Donald Trump spent years pushing lies about the birthplace and presidential eligibility of President Barack Obama, the first Black president. On Thursday, he started floating a new birther lie about Sen. Kamala Harris, who, if elected, would be the first Black and Asian American vice president. Trump’s incendiary nonsense about Harris was part of a Thursday self-described “news conference” he largely used to campaign against his Democratic election opponents…”

Three reporters wrote this completely false story, and CNN published it!

Let’s count the lies: Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Depression, 8/8/2020: Irresponsible Parents, Irresponsible Voters, Irresponsible Troll-Makers

This is my state of mind today.

I began today driving for two hours to find a meeting for which I had been given the wrong address, and, like the fool that I have always been, didn’t bring along the phone number of anyone who could help me. It is during ordeals like this that I begin to reflect on what a failure and underachiever I am, and how I really don’t have enough time left for turnaround. All that privilege,  and good fortune, wasted. And I have no one to blame but myself.

Then I had to write about the stuff you’ll find below, and I got really depressed.

1. “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias, and why aren’t you agreeing with what I say?” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi got angry when PBS NewsHour” anchor Judy Woodruff dared to ask a question that cahllenged the Democratic Party position in dispute with Republicans on over the content of a “Phase 4” Wuhan Virus aid bill.

When Woodruff asked Pelosi about the “flexibility” GOP lawmakers are showing in terms of allocating more money for state and local governments, as well as Republican arguments that “much of the money” allocated in the CARES Act “has not even been spent yet,” Pelosi snapped,  “Well, if you want to be an advocate for them, Judy, if you want to be an advocate for them, listen to what the facts are.”

In other word, “Hey! You’re supposed to be on our side!”

Actually, ethical journalists are not supposed to be on anyone’s side, but that quaint ethics  concept has been abandoned by virtually all journalists, including  Woodruff.

“I’m playing devil’s advocate here,!” Woodruff protested. You know, the devil, Republicans—same thing!

2. Better yet, don’t ride the subway! Here is a Wuhan virus safety sign from the New York City subways.

In addition to telling people they should wear masks, it goes to the next level and wants people to avoid interacting at all. This is incompetent messaging and  shows a basic misunderstanding of humans in general and American in particular. It also makes me suspicious: Big Brother is still working to make as all compliant automaton. If we can’t talk, we can’t resist.

It reminds me of the early “don’t touch you face!” warnings. People touch their face thousands of times a day. That message made me skeptical of all the advice from “experts” and governments, and indeed, you hardly hear it any more.

Social interaction is essential to life. Continue reading