The 111th Rationalization: “Tom’s Delusion”

Tom’s Delusion, or “Everyone agrees with me!” is unique in the annals of Ethics Alarms. The latest addition to the rationalizations list was inspired by banned commenter of short duration here, but I genuinely intend the title as a sincere honor: it really is a useful rationalization, and I would not have realized it had “Tom” made, as one of his last annoying comments before he quit in a huff, this assertion to support his claim that the January 6, 2020 riot at the Capitol was a seminal event in U.S. history, of the same magnitude, or close to it, as the terrorism of 9/11, as he attempted to counter the observations of Steve-O-in NJ (and others, including me) that this is a contrived Democratic talking point without basis in fact or logic:

“Well the majority of the country disagrees with you.”

And there it was!

1E. Tom’s Delusion, or “Everyone agrees with me!”

Tom’s Delusion is another point where the rationalization list intersects with logical fallacies. #1E is a particularly foolish version of the Appeal to Authority fallacy, which is bad enough when the user believes that the fact that someone of note has adopted his or her position is evidence of the dubious position’s validity.

Using the argument that a position, belief or action is correct or defensible using “everyone” as the authority appealed to is infinitely worse. First, it is based on a lie: “everybody” doesn’t agree on anything. Of course, in its common use, “everybody” is  shorthand for “most people” or in Tom’s case, “the majority,” which is why this rationalization is under #1, “Everybody Does It.” Even if it was literally true that “everybody” believes something, that is not proof, evidence or even a coherent argument. “Everybody” used to believe the world was flat. Most people are lazy, apathetic, poorly educated and ignorant: what the majority of such people may believe creates problems, but it is certainly is not evidence one can rationally to rely on.

Indeed, when the mob agrees with you, it’s a strong indication that you need to reexamine your beliefs.

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Katie Couric Thinks This Revelation In Her New Book Makes Her Look Good. In Fact It Makes Journalists Look Ignorant, Untrustworthy And Biased, Which Most Of Them Are

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Advance copy from Katie Couric’s soon-to-be-released memoir “Going There” reveals her to be an unethical human being: manipulative, vindictive, mean and disloyal. A section of the book, however, that she doubtless thinks will endear her to readers and her colleagues really shows how unethical the “profession’ of being a mainstream news media has become.

Couric writes that she edited out part of the 2016 interview with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in which the liberal icon said that football players who were kneeling during the National Anthem were showing “contempt for a government that has made it possible for their parents and grandparents to live a decent life … which they probably could not have lived in the places they came from….And that’s why education is important.” Couric says that she wanted to protect Ginsburg, then 83, who was “elderly and probably didn’t fully understand the question.”

In the portion of the interview that did air, Ginsburg said: “I think it is really dumb of them. Would I arrest them for doing it? No. I think it is dumb and disrespectful. I would have the same answer if you asked me about flag burning. I think it is a terrible thing to do. But I wouldn’t lock a person up for doing it. I would point out how ridiculous it seems to me to do such an act. But it is dangerous to arrest people for conduct that doesn’t jeopardize the health or well-being of other people. It is a symbol they are engaged in….If they want to be stupid, there is no law that should prevent that. If they want to be arrogant, there is no law that prevents them from that. What I would do is strongly take issue with the point of view that they are expressing when they do that.”

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 10/12/2021: Thanks, Columbus!

Columbus 2

This is the real Columbus Day: After sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, Italian explorer Christopher Columbus saw a Bahamian island on October 12, 1492. He believed he had reached East Asia: Chris was right about the world being round, but it was bigger than he thought. His expedition went ashore and claimed the land for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, the sponsors of his attempt to find a western ocean route to to the far East. Columbus changed the route of history, science and culture, with incalculable effects long and short term, good and bad. He also was directly responsible for brutal treatment of Native Americans, because he was a product of the 15th Century. We honor historical figures for their positive achievements, and if they are positive and important enough, the personal and public evils such figures might have also had on their ledgers are secondary. That is as it should be: the alternative is to honor no one at all, and to make history a parade of villains….

…although I would be hard pressed to find anything negative to say about the amazing Desmond Doss, who became the first Conscientious Objector to be awarded the Medal of Honor on this date in 1945. Ethics Alarms told his astounding story here, in 2017; so did the film “Hacksaw Ridge.” I still have a hard time believing it.

1. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! (#1): Here is the Washington Post, deliberately promoting statue toppling with a handy-dandy guide. This is the kind of thing that made me stop subscribing to my hometown paper. It does not explain why I subscribe to the Times, which just raised its rates to 90 bucks a month.

wapo_list_of_columbus_statues_10-11-2021

2. Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! (#2): From Sunday’s “Reliable Sources” on CNN (That’s the hangout of absurdly unreliable Brian Stelter, who pretends to opine on journalism ethics while having none of his own):

Once respectable liberal journalist James Fallows, now employed by the extreme left-wing “Atlantic”: “The struggle for us all in the media is if we keep pointing out that one side of the political divide is actually instigating these things, defying subpoenas, trying to renege on the debt, holding up State Department appointments, et cetera, we are conscious of seeming shrill, we’re conscious of seeming unbalanced, we’re conscious of seeming to take a side. And so it’s something about our culture, we need to figure out how we can give out a narrative of the actual realities recognizing how this is at odds with our conventions.”

Oh, no! Seeming to take a side when they are taking sides? Seeming to be shrill when they are shrill? “Actual realities,” meaning “our biased views, represented as irrefutable truth to accomplish our agendas”? Whatever shall good journalists do? Wow. [Pointer: Steve-O-in NJ]

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A “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias!” Spectacular: Glenn Greenwald’s Ethics Quote Of The Month…[Updated]

Screen shot MSNBC

“This is a perfect microcosm of the Russiagate fraud that the country endured for four years. Hoaxes were repeatedly cooked up by private intelligence operatives working for the DNC or anti-Trump factions within the CIA and FBI, and then fed to friendly reporters, who laundered the falsehoods by publishing whatever they were given, without the slightest concern for whether they were true….”

—Independent reporter Glenn Greenwald in a searing and definitive essay titled “The Indictment of Hillary Clinton’s Lawyer is an Indictment of the Russiagate Wing of U.S. Media.

Greenwald goes on to say in this passage, which occurs towards the end of his thorough, detailed, infuriating essay,

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Why American Presidents Need A Fair News Media To Be Competent, And More Evidence That They Won’t Get One Anytime Soon, If Ever…

fakenews

It’s my own fault. I’ve written so many essays here since 2009 about the disgraceful descent of the news media into partisan propaganda that I can’t find the relevant post I was looking for on my own blog. That would be the one during the Obama administration in which I pointed out that being assured that no reporters and virtually no pundits would have the guts or integrity to criticize Obama’s performance as President had made him lazy, arrogant, and reckless. If you know anything you do will be extolled whether it deserves praise of not, and any mistakes and blunders will be covered up or spun, why be careful, especially if you’re an arrogant narcissistic like Barack? The same principle operated on President Trump, but in reverse (I honestly don’t recall if I noted this, but I noticed it). If a President is certain that whatever he does will be attacked by the news media, there is no reason for him to consider the press in his policy considerations. Summary: bad journalism makes bad Presidents.

Several commentators are finally waking up to this phenomenon now, as they try to find some other than Joe Biden to blame for Joe Biden’s incompetence. I have now read several pieces opining that the President was certain that the press would have his back no matter what happened in Afghanistan.

That was really foolish on Biden’s part (but then…Biden) for two reasons. First, he is not nearly as popular as Obama, and nobody was going to call a reporter “racist” for criticizing him. Second, and more importantly, journalists destroyed their influence and credibility during their four year campaign of fake news and glorified rumors to bring down Donald Trump. Most of the public doesn’t trust the mainstream media—good!—because it is untrustworthy. The days when it could cover a President’s botches effectively have passed.

One would think that this would spur the news media to be more careful about the lies they present to the public as truth, and one would be tragically wrong. Two recent examples from last week demonstrate that no “Oh-oh, we better start practicing honest journalism!” alarms are ringing yet.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 8/31/2021: Good Morning, Even Though It’s Not Really Such A Good Morning…

Turner Classic Movies will be running “Singin’ in the Rain” again this coming Saturday at 6 pm E.S.T. It always cheers me up. Incredibly, the film now generally regarded as the best original Hollywood musical ever made (I’d rank “Mary Poppins” and “Swingtime” next) didn’t even warrant an Academy Award nomination in 1952, and the other all-time classic in that year’s Oscar race, “High Noon,” was nominated but didn’t win. The Best Picture winner was Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Greatest Show on Earth,” which has been mocked by film critics ever since. I just watched that film again: it must have been stunning on the big screen. TV doesn’t do it justice, and with the demise of big circuses, it’s also an amazing historical artifact. The movie isn’t art, like “High Noon,” and it’s not as entertaining a Gene, Donald and Debbie, but we will never see the like of “The Greatest Show on Earth,” the movie or the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus again. I’m grateful to C.B. for making it. (And that train wreck is amazing!)

1. Now he tells us? In her review of a new book about President Andrew Johnson, the New York Times’ Jennifer Szalai concludes,

“But when Johnson was eventually impeached, it wasn’t for his subversion of Reconstruction; it was for failing to obtain Congressional approval before he fired his secretary of war. The articles of impeachment were “dryly legalistic,” almost all of them focused on violations of the Tenure of Office Act, passed by Congress just the year before. Republicans were trying to portray Johnson as a lawbreaker while studiously avoiding the matter of race. This fixation on technicalities, Levine says, “allowed Congress to impeach Johnson not for doing harm to hundreds of thousands of Black people in the South but for firing a white man….The impeachers may have been trying to be pragmatic, but playing it safe didn’t work; Johnson prevailed by a single vote. As one of his biographers, Hans Trefousse, once put it: ‘If you impeach for reasons that are not the real reasons, you really can’t win.’”

Yesterday I wrote about how the Times and others continue to reference Donald Trump in every negative context imaginable. What does it tell us that when the topic screams out for a Trump analogy that reflects poorly on his attackers, he isn’t mentioned at all?

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Our Lying, Propaganda-Spreading, Untrustworthy News Media: The Miami Herald Headline

herald headline

I have to regularly update my resolve to not respond to one of my ethics-rotted progressive friends when they say to my face, “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! That’s just a conservative conspiracy theory,” “You’re not only an idiot, you’re an enemy of democracy.” It gets harder and harder by the day. This has been my ongoing struggle at least since the 2008 Presidential campaign, when the mainstream media kept mocking Sarah Palin’s alleged lack of qualifications to be Vice-President while never mentioning that Joe Biden was a babbling fool or that Barack Obama was objectively less qualified than Palin was.

The Miami Herald headline above isn’t unusual; there are these kinds of lies and public manipulation to assist partisan agendas that appear in the news media every day, all day long, and from more influential sources (boy, I nearly wrote “respected sources,” and no mainstream media source deserves respect) than the Herald. Nonetheless, the headline is unusually brazen.

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Are Joe Biden’s Media Defenders That Stupid? Do They Think The Public Is That Stupid? Is The Public That Stupid?…And Other Ethically Relevant Questions

1. Here is the cutline from the New York Times editorial this morning, as the situation in Afghanistan worsens by the minute: “The U.S. should nudge the Taliban toward inclusivity, not root for their failure.” No, I’m not kidding.

In the letters section, there is no mention of Biden’s lies, his embarrassing bluster, or Afghanistan at all. The other op-eds? Charles M. Blow thinks the most important issue this week is “The Anti-Gay Agenda.” Paul Krugman is concerned that Californians may “throw away” the Leftist paradise bestowed on them by the Democratic Party—you know, a land where shop-lifting isn’t a crime, illegals are legal, and up is down (and vice-versa). (I did not read the column.) The third op-ed is about the threat to a mother’s right to kill her unborn child.

Hey, no need in joining all of those racist/sexist conservatives on Fox News in falsely claiming that the Afghanistan exit is a multi-dimensional human and political catastrophe! One of the ways the media circulates fake news is by how it prioritizes stories and buries developments unhelpful to their favored political party.

2. Eugene Robinson, the African-American Washington Post columnist who is both a Democratic Party hack and an embarrassingly mediocre analyst, writes of the unfolding chaos,

“That is tragic. But it would be true, I believe, whenever and however the U.S. mission ended. The images we’re seeing from Kabul are shocking, heartbreaking and embarrassing. But the real stain on our national honor was in making promises to Afghans that we never had the intention or even the ability to keep. Twenty years of U.S. blood and treasure gave Afghanistan not a secular democracy but its flickering illusion. And history will see this withdrawal, painful as it is to watch, not as ignominious but as inevitable.”

See? Just mouthing a talking point that has been decided upon by the Democratic Praetorian Guard, and that everyone in its media orbit has been instructed to parrot. I’d read the Post reader comments, but that shredder is already looking inviting to my head; I don’t want to take the chance. But I will say, “I told you so!” Remember? Althouse commenter Big Mike knocks Robinson’s garbage out of the park far more effectively than Althouse (this is why she tried banning commenters), writing:

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Scared Yet? I Want To Hear A Legitimate Defense Of YouTube Censoring Senator Paul’s Speech…

Spoiler: There isn’t one.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), the U.S. Senate’s most passionate libertarian, was suspended from YouTube for expressing his strong opposition to Wuhan virus mandates and calling for widespread citizen resistance. This is res ipsa loquitur: Big Tech is using its corporate power to support government policies and prevent dissent. The argument that YouTube (that is, Google) is a private entity and not bound by the First Amendment is disingenuous, just as similar arguments defending Facebook, Twitter and other social media banning President Trump as well as posts that offer opinions and positions they don’t want the public to see. When corporations use their massive power and influence to suppress speech and control the flow of information, they pose an existential threat to democracy. When they exercise this power to advance the political agenda of a specific group, individual or party, that threat is worse. When they are censoring and distorting on behalf of the government, the threat is dire.

Paul released a rebuttal and condemnation of YouTube’s indefensible action, and it was also taken down by Our Video Masters. You can view it here, on Rumble. If I could embed it, I would.

Let me turn the floor over to Professor Turley, not as an appeal to authority, but because there is no reason for me to write in different words what he has said persuasively already:

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Another IIPTDXTTNMIAFB Classic: Biden On Vaccinations!

Biden town hall

IIPTDXTTNMIAFB is Ethics Alarmseese for “Imagine if President Trump did X that the news media is accepting from Biden.” I could probably feature such stories every day, but that would be as boring as these episodes are infuriating. They all come under the sub-heading of “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias,” which I could justifiably update to “Nah, the mainstream news media didn’t steal the Presidency for Joe Biden.”

This one was so egregious that the AP even did a “factcheck”, but muted its description so absurdly that it is a perfect IIPTDXTTNMIAFB.

You see, President Biden said, in a CNN town meeting during which he periodically babbled incoherently, “If you’re vaccinated, you’re not going to be hospitalized, you’re not going to be in the IC unit, and you’re not going to die…You’re not going to get COVID if you have these vaccinations.”

That is a lie. It’s a lie because it is demonstrably false, and like so much else involving the pandemic, it is deliberate misinformation to manipulate the public. The Democrats, after all, fervently believe that the ends justify the means in all things. Apparently the truth, which the Biden Administration knows and thus its head is responsible for knowing, just isn’t good enough to move the herd along as its masters desire, so the strategy is to lie.

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