Ethics Quiz: Positive Devlopment Or Slippery Slope?

This ad will run on the NBC Golden Globes Award broadcast:

A similar commercial had previously been rejected by ABC.

Cowabunga! Your Ethics Alarms Ethics Quiz of the Day:.

Is presenting this commercial on a prime time broadcast network a positive development for society?

Or, in the alternative, is it feminist grandstanding by NBC? Will it inevitably lead to graphic male enhancement ads?  If women can be topless in this commercial, on what basis will anyone be able to argue that breast-bearing shouldn’t be routine in entertainment programming?

Ethics Warm-Up,12/10/2020, Even Though You’re Probably Warm Already From Your Head Exploding

head explosion

Gag me with a spoon. The Times this week published yet another dreamy, worshipful portrait of Barack Obama…

Obama yecchh

… along with the kind of journalistic fawning we became used to during his eight years of weak and feckless leadership:

A Promised Land” uses his improbable journey — from outsider to the White House and the first two years of his presidency — as a prism by which to explore some of the dynamics of change and renewal that have informed two and a half centuries of American history. It attests to Mr. Obama’s own storytelling powers and to his belief that, in these divided times, “storytelling and literature are more important than ever,” adding that “we need to explain to each other who we are and where we’re going.”

Has the Times ever published a single paragraph, much less an entire article, about the current President with such an admiring tone? Has anyone published a photo like that of President Trump, rather than one which made him look sinister, manic or brooding? I’m trying to think back and determine if any President has been as insufferably smug as Barack Obama, or acclaimed despite such a dearth of positive accomplishments. Clinton would be the closest in the first category, Kennedy in the latter.

1. Don’t encourage him. Donald Trump will be a disqualifying 78 years old when 2024 rolls around. He will have no business running for President at that age, but if trend hold, he will do it anyway, essentially playing Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 and letting his unrestrained ego wreck any chances the Republican might have of finding new leadership and defeating whoever the Democrats run. Trump will be back where he was in 2012 and 2016, running for President without any concern for the damage it may do.

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 Sunday Morning Ethics Quiz: “Ass and Boobs” vs. “The Camel’s Toe” [Corrected]

Roenick, Lipinski and Weir. Wait…Johnny Weir is gay?

Ex- pro hockey star Jeremy Roenick has sued NBC Sports for wrongful termination, claiming the network discriminated against him as a heterosexual. At issue is his firing in February of this year for saying,  during a Barstool Sports podcast called “Spittin’ Chiclets”, while discussing his wife and Kathryn Tappen, a coworker,

“I’m swimming with my wife and Kathryn, and they’ve got their bikinis on, and they look fuckin’ smokin. Ass and boobs everywhere. It’s great.”

I suppose I should mention by way of context that sports fans do not listen to ex-hockey players  blather on “Barstool Sports” to be enlightened on the writings of Marcel Proust. Nonetheless, NBC quickly suspended Roenick, and though he issued an apology, his NBC supervisor, Sam Flood, subsequently informed him that he was fired.

[Notice of Correction: I originally wrote that Barstool Sports was an NBC production, It isn’t. So Roenick was fired for comments made when he was not under the auspices of NBC.]

What sparked the lawsuit now was the absence of any discipline levied by NBC sports after NBC Sports commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir participated this May in a leering promotional video for the At-Home Variety Show on the Peacock streaming service, joined by “Pitch Perfect” actors Elizabeth Banks and John Michael Higgins. Continue reading

Still More From The Ethics Alarms “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias!” Files, Double Standards Section

As various wags have noted recently, the partisan, ideologically-driven and deliberately manipulative mainstream news media isn’t even trying to hide its bias any more. It openly is taking sides, and the news media isn’t supposed to take sides when reporting events. Nor is it supposed to frame what it reports in ways that warp a reader’s comprehension of it.

Two details are notable in the items above. First, the Post report refers to the individuals as vandals or engaging in vandalism rather than as protesters, as was the apparently agreed upon terminology when describing various statues being defaced or toppled. This was a typical report:

CNN: Protesters tore down a George Washington statue and set
a fire on its head: A crowd of protesters gathered around a statue of George Washington in Portland, Oregon, on Thursday night and lit a fire on its head before…

Second, the race of the protesters is never mentioned unless they are white…and, as the previous post demonstrated, sometimes the report attempts to make the reader think a white-supremacy minded  individual engaged in wrongful conduct even when the miscreant wasn’t white.

There was a third bit of sinister misdirection in the evidence above; at least it fooled me. Slogans painted in block letters on a street do not constitute “murals.”  When I read the media reports, I assumed that artwork was destroyed.

This is a mural:

This  (in D.C.) is government propaganda:

The definition of “mural” specifies that it is on a wall or ceiling

Streets don’t count, yet somehow multiple news media sources deci—all on their own!—to use a word that was  misleading, and made the act seem like something other than it was. What a coincidence!

It did nor require an artist to create this “mural, “or to design it;  it took a few government employees with yellow paint and big stencils. In fact, I’d be tempted to call painting political slogans on public streets vandalism by the government. Legal vandalism.

The stories also demonstrate that the city governments and the news media are allied, which should make fans of democracy nervous. Police aren’t looking for those peaceful protesters who tore down the Christopher Columbus statue in Baltimore’s Little Italy and threw it in the bay, but the police have the bloodhounds out for the pair of white vandals who painted over “Black Lives Matter.”

Final notes:

  • It’s all vandalism, unless those destroying public property allow themselves to be arrested and charged. Neither the white vandals nor the raceless protesters who protest by engaging in vandalism but the media won’t call it that because they approve of tearing down the statues of Founders, Presidents and others had the guts or integrity to  accept the consequences of civil disobedience.
  • City governments should not be plastering the political views and biases of its elected officials on city property. “Black Lives Matter” is no more legitimate than “Vote For Biden,”  “Eat at Joes” or “Mayor Muriel Bowser is God” (no, not mural. Cut that out!) I hope lawsuits against this ominous trend succeed: giant block letters telling us what to think is in the same noxious category as giant portraits or Lenin, Stalin or Mao.
  • Increasingly. “Fact Don’t Matter” to the news media: the “movement” does, the “resistance” does, social justice “by any means necessary” does. This means that, also increasingly, we have no news media, just partisan agents. The Founders whose statues are being toppled believed that democracy was impossible without a free (and responsible) press.
  • They were right.

 

Saturday Ethics Freakout, 6/20/2020: Fake News, Resignations, Topplings And Cancellations…But Also Hope

I know just how you feel, Homer.

1. Mainstream media journalism, 2020. I thank Tim Levier for this classic, from NBC News:

Fake news. First, the Court did NOT rule that Trump cannot end DACA. The opinion by Chief Justice Roberts said explicitly that he can. Second, “Dreamers”  were not legal immigrants so they cannot magically become legal immigrants. At best, they will be illegal immigrants who have been given a pass for their violation.  The tweet is deceptive, misleading, and incompetent.

2. Cancellations, Resignations and Topplings Update! The current list of entertainment celebrities and politicians who have been documented as wearing blackface for one reason or another is long, and if one falls to the mob, the rest might start feeling awfully nervous.

The list includes Justin Trudeau, Ralph Northam, Howard Stern, Jimmy Kimmel, Jimmy Fallon, Joy Behar, Sarah Silverman, Ted Danson, Gigi Hadid, Julianne Hough and Billy Crystal.  Right now rumors are swirling around the irredeemable Jimmy Kimmel, who has suddenly announced a hiatus, with many speculating that he is holding on to his job by a thread…and if he goes, the innocuous Fallon may be next. Though Stern, Kimmel and Behar are blights on the culture whose professional demise I would cheer, long past blackface dabbling should not be used to punish any of these people now….except perhaps the Virginia Governor.  Northam is a special case, because his party is wildly hypocritical to allow him to escape accountability when it is cheering on the mobs. However, again, a law school costume has no relevance to the Governor today.

As for Trudeau–I don’t care.

3. Cancellations, Resignations and Topplings Update, Literary Division. At the Poetry Foundation earlier this month,  leadership was forced to resign because its official grovel to Black Lives Matter and the George Floyd mob was deemed not abject enough. The Foundation had issued a brief, four-sentence statement on June 3, expressing “solidarity with the Black community” and declaring faith in “the strength and power of poetry to uplift in times of despair.” This prompted a critical uproar from the progressive poets, with another letter from members calling the statement “worse than the bare minimum” and an insult to George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other African-American victims of police violence. The foundation’s president and board chairman then quit, because, I suppose, poets are lovers, not fighters.

“As poets, we recognize a piece of writing that meets the urgency of its time with the appropriate fire when we see it — and this is not it,” the letter said. “Given the stakes, which equate to no less than genocide against Black people, the watery vagaries of this statement are, ultimately, a violence.”

Genocide! Talk about poetic license. Continue reading

KABOOM! I Do NOT Enjoy Having My Head Explode First Thing On A Saturday Morning, But NBC HIRED LISA PAGE!!!

On one level, my head blew because this is such a cynical, flagrantly biased act that rejects any concept of ethical journalism. On another, it blew up in shame. With all the nauseating evidence I’ve discussed here pointing to a rotting American journalism that sees itself as the engine of partisan propaganda rather than the means to an informed public, I somehow didn’t think it was this bad. This is my own bias at work: I’m a sap. I want to believe that somewhere, buried deep in the mainstream media, there is integrity and the spark of respect for democracy.

Page was the FBI attorney engaged in an adulterous relationship with Mueller investigation team member Peter Strzok. Their text messages raised legitimate questions about the anti-Trump bias in the FBI and  among those handling the “collusion” matter.  In particular, the reference to the FBI investigation as “insurance” if Trump was elected in an exchange between the lovebirds in  August 2016 seemed to be a smoking gun.

Recently, Page’s name has surfaced  in  the Michael Flynn case. In newly released  texts between Page and  Strzok, who was significantly involved in the pursuit of Flynn, Page suggested that Flynn could be set up using the federal law that criminalizes lies to federal investigators. She suggested to Strzok that “it would be an easy way to just casually slip that in,”  reinforcing other evidence that there was a “get Flynn” mentality at the FBI. Thus Page’s conduct will be a live topic in the upcoming inquiries in Congress and the Justice Department surrounding the methods and motives of the FBI as it pursued Flynn and sought to undermine the Trump Administration. It is outrageous to have an analyst who will be analyzing events that involve herself…or once was considered so, when journalists paid attention to ethics. Continue reading

KABOOM! Even I Did Not Think “Meet The Press” Could Sink This Low [UPDATED]

Above is a damning tweet from the Justice Department reacting to a stunning breach of journalism ethics, basic honesty and fairness by NBC’s “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd.  It memorializes the descent of the once iconic Sunday news show, and indeed the nation’s entire mainstream media, into total corruption to a degree that was once, even a few years ago, unimaginable.

We had already discussed here the shocking disinformation advanced by Barack Obama, decisively debunked by law professor Jonathan Turley, as the former POTUS claimed that the dismissal of the charges against Michael Flynn over prosecutorial misconduct (that Obama appears to have had a hand in) posed a threat to the rule of law. Several of our more cynical commenters here opined that the news media would cover for Obama as they set out to smear Attorney General Barr and the Trump Administration in defiance of the facts. At the time, I had not learned about today’s debacle on “Meet the Press.”

Its host, ChuckTodd used a deceptively edited portion of Barr’s interview last week with CBS News investigative reporter Catherine Herridge to attack the Attorney General while misrepresenting his statement.

Todd commented on the following exchange between Barr and Herridge:

HERRIDGE: In closing, this was a big decision in the Flynn case, to say the least. When history looks back on this decision, how do you think it will be written? What will it say about your decision making?

BARR: Well, history is written by the winner. So it largely depends on who’s writing the history. But I think a fair history would say that it was a good decision because it upheld the rule of law. It helped, it upheld the standards of the Department of Justice, and it undid what was an injustice.

Except that Todd used the introduction to Barr’s answer to the question and left out his actual response. All the NBC audience learned about what he said was,  “Well, history is written by the winner. So it largely depends on who’s writing the history.”

The redaction alone is outrageously unethical, editing  the nation’s highest ranking law enforcement official and materially altering his response to distort his answer regarding a major Justice Department decision. But Todd  then attacked  Barr based on the false and deceptive version of what the AG said, saying, Continue reading

I Don’t Think The Mainstream Media Can Get Away With This: The Tara Reade Blackout

Today’s coverage of the sexual assault allegations against Joe Biden.

None of the major Sunday morning news talk shows mentioned Tara Reade’s increasingly credible allegations against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden today, April 26. CNN’s “State of the Union,” NBC’s “Meet the Press,” ABC’s “This Week,” CBS’s “Face the Nation” and, yes, even Fox’s “Fox News Sunday”—See? It’s trustworthy after all!— all gave their audiences the impression that Reade did not exist, or that her claim that Joe Biden—who has stated that all female accusers should be presumed credible and have their accusations taken seriously—harassed, assaulted her and, indeed, raped her while he was a U.S. Senator, wasn’t newsworthy. 

This, even though there were new developments regarding her more than month-old claim. A transcript obtained by The Intercept, as well as a video uncovered by the Media Research Center two days ago, showed that someone from Reade’s mother’s city called into CNN in 1993 and asked for advice about her daughter’s problems with a “prominent senator.” Even CNN ignored the story today.

How can anyone justify this, or explain it except as a flagrant, partisan, stunningly unethical effort by the networks to keep the public in the dark to serve a political agenda? Continue reading

Who Killed “Judith’s” Baby?

This is a terrible and tragic story, but I don’t want to focus on that. I want to focus on accountability.

NBC tells the true story (I assume it is true, exactly why, I don’t know, since this is NBC. It’s not related to politics, I guess.) of “Judith” who  worked at a flower shop. On her long daily drive to work and back, she listened to podcasts, and when she got pregnant, she listened  to “The Birth Hour” and “Indie Birth,” podcasts about childbirth stories, which ranged from hospital to home births.The “Free Birth Podcast” excited her particularly.

The podcaster is Emilee Saldaya,  a Los Angeles freebirth advocate and founder of the Free Birth Society that has 46,000 followers on Instagram. The podcast promotes the experiences of women who give birh without assistance, in  bathtubs, fields, or in their own beds, surrounded by their partners loved ones. Doctors were not welcome.

Judith listened to around 70 episodes, some multiple times. A particular favorite was an interview with a woman who had given birth by candlelight in a yurt in the California mountains with only her husband and her dog she called her a “midwolf.”

I’m having a flashback to 1967.

The podcasts began with advertisements for the Free Birth Society’s online courses and private consultations; this is often the tell-tale sign of a cult.  Judith dutifully paid $299 for the group’s 10-module video guide on how to freebirth babies at home. None of the “experts” and “consultants” the group sponsored have medical credentials or experience; that’s the point. Judith didn’t like doctors, so she was a vulnerable target for the group’s message, which emphasized that hospitals were scary places, and hospital births were full of trauma for mother and child.

NBC reports that distrust of the medical profession regarding childbirth is on the rise. A  survey conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families claims that while in 2002, 45 percent of mothers surveyed agreed that “giving birth is a natural process that should not be interfered with unless absolutely medically necessary, the number had increased to 74% by 2018.

Could this possibly be accurate? When did giving birth by squatting and biting on a stick  become cool again?

When she got past to her due date and Judith’s pregnancy approached its tenth month, she relied on the Free Birth Society course’s episode on “long pregnancies” for guidance. That podcast  warned against inducing a pregnancy, a process it referred to as “eviction from the womb.” It insisted that the idea that “babies must be born before 42 weeks is nonsense.”

Judith had her amniotic fluid checked at a local hospital, and though there were no causes for alarm, a doctor thee urged her to schedule an induction. She made the appointment,  but canceled it the next day. She sought, NBC says, a second opinion on Facebook.  “43+1 today, politely declining hospital induction. They think I’m crazy,” Judith posted on Ten Month Mamas in January 2019. “I really feel like this baby wants a home birth too but we are definitely being tested. What would you mamas do?” Hundreds of comments supported her desire for a home-based freebirth.

No one told her she should do what the doctor had advised, and there was a reason for that. Several of the groups had rules forbidding members from suggesting that another member resort to a doctor or a midwife.  “Unassisted Pregnancy & Childbirth,” for example, instructed its  4,600 members,

“This means we don’t want to hear about the tests your midwife wants you to take, or how your OB thinks baby is breech or ‘too big’ or whatever other shit they say. Just don’t. This is not the place. No induction discussion. We do not advocate for induction of any kind, as no induction is natural.” 

Egged on by Facebook extremists, Judith told NBC that she became determined resolved to freebirth alone, “no matter what.”

When the day she had decided to freebirth arrived, Judith “walked and danced for hours through contractions and floated in a pool that her husband filled with water.” She listened to music as a friend massaged her back. She took short naps between contractions…everything she had learned from  the podcasts.  But the pain increased and the breaks between contractions shortened. After 10 hours of labor, Judith started vomiting.  The contractions were coming too fast and violently for her  to monitor the baby’s heart rate with the fetal stethoscope she had bought. Her water broke, and there was dark brown in it, fecal matter that would kill the baby if it was inhaled.  Her husband drove her to the hospital, doubled up in pain. Once there,  Judith got the medical assistance she had vowed  to avoid, but too late. Her baby was dead.

Stipulated: This should not have  happened.

Who’s primarily responsible? For this poll, I’m going to allow multiple voting, because I don’t think there is a single answer.