From The “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias” Files: This Is Now What The New York Times Calls “Objective Reporting”

Capitol riot

Yesterday, the Times front page featured an article headlined “Former Security Chiefs Trade Blame For Lapses In Guarding The Capitol.” It was more evidence that the Times, supposedly the role model for American journalism, allows biased innuendo, veiled editorializing and deliberate misinformation to corrupt what it is supposed to be reporting.

Here are some examples:

  • “It also showed that the overlapping jurisdictions of the Capitol Police, the District of Columbia government and other agencies created utter confusion that hindered attempts to stop the most violent assault on the Capitol since the War of 1812.”

That’s a deliberately false and inflammatory comparison. The Capitol was burned in 1812, and it was a war. The attackers were also an invading foreign force. It is also bad history. On July 2, 1915, a former German professor at Harvard, Erich Muenter, planted a package containing three sticks of dynamite in the Capitol near the Senate Reception room. The explosive detonated around midnight and during a time when the Senate had been on recess. I’d say the explosion of a bomb qualifies as a “more violent” assault on the Capitol, but if you disagree, how about March 1, 1954, when four Puerto Rican-Americans fired guns in the House of Representatives, injuring five congressmen?  Or is that not “an attack on the Capitol”?

The Times line was either quickly added to Wikipedia’s entry on the January 6 event, or the Times reporters cribbed the comparison from Wikipedia. This is how bad reporting becomes “fact.”

  • Here’s an example of how the Times lets others do their propaganda for them:

“None of the intelligence we received predicted what actually occurred,” the former Capitol Police Chief Steven A. Sund told senators. He called the riot “the worst attack on law enforcement and our democracy that I have seen” and said he witnessed insurrectionists assaulting officers not only with their fists, but also with pipes, sticks, bats, metal barricades and flagpoles. These criminals came prepared for war,” Mr. Sund said.

Continue reading

Tree Day Ethics Warm-Up, December 22, 2020

Tree needles

I’ll be writing this between bouts with the lights. The Marshall Tree was supposed to go up a week ago, then it rained, so the thing had to dry out. Then last week was consumed with an expert witness report, and now this weird tree with long needles and soft branches is standing in my living room, and none of my usual decoration techniques, and probably only 30% of our ornaments, will work with the damn thing. Yesterday I was supposed to hang the lights, and I was so stressed out I couldn’t do it. But today is the day…

1. Anyone surprised at this? A December survey by the international organization More in Common seemed to show that citizens on the far left are the most likely to report negative feelings about the United States.. Only 34% of the group More in Common calls “progressive activists” agreed with the statement “I feel proud to be American.” It was the only ideological group in the survey that agreed with that statement at a rate below 60%

All other respondent groups, including minorities and Americans identifying as politically conservative, strongly agreed with the statement, including 70% of black Americans and 76% of Hispanic Americans. Whites registered a 75% proportion asserting patriotic pride.

100% of the group categorized as “devoted conservatives” said that they take pride in being Americans. 80% of all respondents surveyed said they were thankful to be American, with more than two-thirds reporting a connection to their local communities and fellow Americans. The weakest sense of belonging to the culture and community came from progressive activists and younger respondents.

2. On priority for vaccines...I have read a lot of unethical nonsense being framed as ethics about the question of who should get the vaccine first. I expect to read a lot more. A Times article on the topic says, “Ultimately, the choice comes down to whether preventing death or curbing the spread of the virus and returning to some semblance of normalcy is the highest priority.” Is that really a difficult choice? Obviously the top priority for society in both the long and the short run is to get back to normal as quickly as possible, not to prioritize trying to delay the mortality of citizens who don’t have that long to live anyway. I haven’t heard the “if it saves just one life” rationalization yet, but I’m sure it is coming.

Then there is this: “To me the issue of ethics is very significant, very important for this country,” Dr. Peter Szilagyi, a committee member and a pediatrics professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, said at the time, “and clearly favors the essential worker group because of the high proportion of minority, low-income and low-education workers among essential workers.”

There it is: let’s prioritize by race, because not prioritizing by race is racist.

Continue reading

Christmas Week Ethics Warm-Up, 12/21/2020: Clogging, Lying And Spinning

fireplace Xmas

Has anyone come up with a convincing theory about why there are more outside home decorations and Christmas lights than we have seen in a long while, if ever? Another trend, at least in my neighborhood: a welcome return to multi-colored lights after the (cold, boring) white lights appeared to take over years ago.

1. I finally figured out what’s been bothering me about that GEICO “clogging” ad. It’s racist. (In addition to being, you know, stupid.) I guess GEICO thinks that as long as it sticks an inter-racial couple in their ads, nobody will notice (Though according to Madison Avenue, almost every couple in America is inter-racial.)

Here’s the ad, if somehow you’ve missed it:

Ah, those weird white people and their weird activities! Now imagine if the noisy family upstairs was an African-American clan practicing their break-dancing. Or doing authentic African tribal dances.

2. Boy, those college administrators are quick. CNN was reporting this morning that a handful of colleges are finally reducing tuition. “A Princeton spokesperson said that the Covid conditions have “diminished the college experience.” Really? Not being on or near a campus, being isolated from classmates, not participating in clubs, social activities and late night “bull sessions,” not to mention only seeing one’s professors through a screen, isn’t as valuable as actually attending college?

I’m only speaking for myself, but I would have regarded my own college experience as little better than a correspondence course under today’s conditions. All colleges were ethically obligated to cut tuition substantially. They got away with not doing so because they are selling degrees, not education or personal growth.

3. With all the legitimate questions being raised about Hunter Biden, his apparent influence peddling abroad, and what his father’s role was, the Biden team allows him to be interviewed by…Stephen Colbert. Are even the most impenetrable Biden supporters not troubled by this? If not, do they even have ethics alarms any more? Even with a journalistic establishment filled with shameless pro-Democrat hacks, the toughest interview the President Elect was allowed to brave was by a comedian?

And not just any comedian, but a comedian who dedicated himself to anti-Trump, anti-Republican propganda for four years. Thus here is the type of question Joe had to answer—one that was phrased with the assumption that the Hunter Biden laptop matter was just another conservative conspiracy theory:

Continue reading

Saturday Ethics Nightcap,12/12/2020: Bad Journalism, Bad Governors, Bad Santas

nightcap

That’s just ginger ale, in case you’re wondering…

1. “Nah, there’s no outrageous, flagrant, shameless mainstream media bias!” April Ryan, arguably the worst, most unethical, most biased and most unprofessional of CNN’s reporters (but it’s such a lively competition), attacked the confidential sources responsible for leaking a recording of Joe Biden making weaselly comments about his stance toward the “defund the police” movement. Ryan demanded to know who was responsible for allowing the embarrassing comments to be made public, because, as we all should know by now, the job of the media isn’t to report the facts, but to empower and protect Democrats. (She didn’t come out and say the last part, but after her performance over the last four years, she doesn’t have to.) Jonathan Turley appropriately nailed this one:

The fact is that Ryan was just stating what has become the approach of many in the media. As we recently discussed, we are moving dangerously close to a de facto state media with the cooperation of Big Tech companies.  Ryan believes that it is outrageous to rely on unapproved material if it is critical of Joe Biden (despite her use of such material for the last four years against Trump)…CNN has not expressed any disagreement with Ryan’s view of the new journalism.

2. Santa Claus Ethics: If you can’t do any better than these Santas, you shouldn’t even try. But they do provide one reason to be grateful for social distancing. I think my favorite is this one…

Continue reading

Final Pre-Election Ethics Notes II

Jefferson quote

That meme turned up on Facebook. Of course, progressives and the Woke think Jefferson is racist whose memory should be consigned to the ash heap of history, so no wonder they disagree.

1. Daniel Horowitz suggests that Democratic and media fearmongering about the dangers of exposure to the Wuhan virus might have had the perverse effect of scaring Democratic voters away from the polls. “While we don’t know the ballot choices of those who voted early, we do know the party registration breakdown in most states. And in nearly every critical state, Republicans are doing much better than they did in 2016 in terms of in-person early voting,” he observes. “Given that Trump won in 2016 and the electorate will only get more favorable for Republicans on Election Day itself (because the majority of Democrats vote early), this portends an outcome way out of sync with the majority of polls.”

Boy, would that be what NeverTrumper George Will likes to call “condign justice”!

Continue reading

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