Who Is Surprised To Hear That “Propaganda Causes People To Grossly Overstate Police Killings of Blacks”?

Who? Well, probably your friends on social media who think you’re a racist because you point out that Black Lives Matter is spreading lies and hate.

I read with interest this feature yesterday in my New York Times: “Few Charges, Fewer Convictions: The Chauvin Trial and the History of Police Violence.”

It covered two full pages—you know, it was important—and was pure propaganda: deliberately misleading, contoured to make a political argument under the guise of news analysis. I classify the reporters, Aidan Gardiner and Rebecca Halleck, as ethics villains, along with whatever editor gave a green light to publish this deliberate deceit.

It begins,

For many observers, the trial of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer charged in George Floyd’s death, has felt like the culmination of years of outrage and grief over police killings of Black people in America. Video of the arrest that led to Mr. Floyd’s death inspired demonstrations that touched every corner of the country last summer, with protesters demanding justice for Mr. Floyd.

The Times reviewed dozens of similar cases in which encounters between Black people and police ended fatally. Though many cases prompted public outrage, that did not always translate to criminal indictments. In some cases, police officers were shown to have responded lawfully. In others, charges were dropped or plea agreements were reached. Some have resulted in civil settlements. But very few have resulted in convictions at trial.

These cases offer valuable points of comparison about what issues — video evidence, drug use, whether the person who died was armed — proved decisive in each outcome and what consequences, if any, officers faced. Even as the trial has unfolded, several events, including the killing of Daunte Wright just a few miles from Minneapolis, have provided a grim reminder that Mr. Floyd’s death is one in a decades-long history of fatal encounters.

Then we get a list of cases where blacks died as a result of police action. The facts of the cases are summarized briefly, often leaving out important facts. We are told, for example, the Eric Garner was “confronted” by police but not that he resisted arrest, nor that he weighed over 300 pounds. The Times reporters don’t deem it significant that Mike Brown tried to take away the officer’s gun, or that he was shot while charging the cop. In the case of Tamir Rice, the Cleveland 12-year-old shot while playing with a realistic toy gun that had its red tip removed, the article says that “a 911 caller reported seeing a person with a gun but said that it was ‘probably fake’ and that the person was ‘probably a juvenile,'” but does not add the crucial detail that these statements were not relayed to the officer.

I know most of the cases mentioned in the piece; for those I do not, I assume that I am being similarly misled. The Times isn’t reporting or doing legitimate analysis; this is advocacy, and unethical advocacy. Facts that would undermine the political agenda of the reporters, and by extension, the Times, are omitted. That is lying by omission.

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Unethical And Intolerable: Waters, Babbitt, Sicknick, Part 2.

The late Paul Harvey’s iconic “the rest of the story” isn’t quite as ugly as this story itself, which I wrote about here. It does, however, put a cap on one more disgusting example of the news media deliberately engaging in fake news reporting to advance a partisan agenda.

Let’s use CNN’s report, since we know if there was any way out, any way to spin the story and keep the false narrative going, the network of Fredo, Don Lemon and the atrocious Brian Stelter would try it. Nope, though the medical examiner did his best:

US Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick suffered strokes and died of natural causes one day after responding to the January 6 insurrection at the US Capitol, Washington DC’s chief medical examiner has determined.The medical examiner, Francisco Diaz, didn’t note any evidence that Sicknick had an allergic reaction to chemical spray or list any internal or external injuries, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the ruling. Still, Diaz told the newspaper that “all that transpired” on January 6 “played a role in his condition.”The ruling all but ensures that the Justice Department won’t be able to pursue homicide charges in Sicknick’s death. In March, two men — Julian Elie Khater, 32, of Pennsylvania, and George Pierre Tanios, 39, of West Virginia — were arrested and charged with assaulting Sicknick.

The reason they can’t be prosecuted is that there is no evidence that Sicknick’s death was connected to the January 6 riots in any way. There never was. Diaz’s gratuitous claim that “all that transpired played a role in his condition” is just face-saving hackery.

What does that even mean? “Played a role”? Either something that happened at the Capitol killed him or it didn’t. Did Sicknick die of a broken heart to see America’s house sullied by an angry mob? HOW did the events “play a role”? Diaz doesn’t say, meaning he’s engaging in irresponsible speculation to give the lying journalists something to cling to. The statement breaks down to “post hoc ergo propter hoc“—a logical fallacy so well-known and ancient that it’s in Latin: “After this, ergo because of this.” There is no reason to believe that Sicknick would not have died if nothing had happened at the Capitol.

Note also that CNN is sticking with “insurrection,” a description it has not applied to any of the far more violent and lengthy takeovers of government buildings during the George Floyd Freakout. We learned this week that with even a half-competent response from the Capitol police, the gang of idiots would never have made it inside the Capitol. They had no firearms; they were a mob of about 300; they had as much chance of taking over the government or having any substantive impact whatsoever as Shirley Temple had to be an Olympic powerlifting gold medalist.

But never mind that: this is business as usual for all of the mainstream news media. The AUC memo went out that January 6 was an “insurrection” because that was going to be the way they finally “got” Donald Trump: accuse him of plotting “a violent uprising against the government,” and the memo never was retracted. Sicknick’s death at the hands of the rebels was a key part of the fiction, so it was repeated over and over, even in the Senate trial by the House prosecution as fact. The Biden Administration and Democrats were accomplices: they took the nauseatingly cynical step of staging a Capitol Rotunda viewing of Sicknick’s casket, which made the lie that “he died defending his country” vivid and dramatic (and cheapened the honor, which only a handful of ordinary citizens have been awarded).

When the “they hit him over the head with a fire extinguisher” tale didn’t pan out, they went with the “He died because they sprayed him with bear spray,” or he was caught in a bear spray crossfire, or something. Yes, the President of the United Sates plotted an insurrection that would take over the nation using bear spray and fire extinguishers. Diabolical!

As the substack reporter did when the Sicknick story first started falling apart, Glenn Greenwald has given us the best dose of undiluted contempt for how it was handled, writing yesterday in part,

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Daunte Wright Dining Car Specials On The George Floyd Ethics Train Wreck…

1. “Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias! Naturally, the New York Times has a ticket…The Timed headline in its print edition: “Minnesota Police Kill Another Man As Tensions Build.” Oh, did the jury rule that the Minnesota police officers killed George Floyd already? They didn’t? Then what the hell is the New York Times saying “Another” for?

The news media decided that Derek Chauvin is a murderer and has been repeating that assertion as fact for almost a year now.

2. Wait, the Chaivin jury hasn’t been sequestered? Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, had argued yesterday that the jurors should be ordered to avoid all media and spend the rest of the trial sequestered, because he feared that rioting in the nearby community where the Wright shooting took place might limit their ability to be fair jurors. The unrest will be at “forefront of the jury’s mind-set,” Nelson argued. He also asked for new interviews with the jurors to determine whether this recent event had already biased them. The judge, Peter Cahill, denied both requests. “This is a totally different case,” the judge held, since the current riots aren’t about a jury verdict but a shooting.

Wow This pretty much convinces me that this is a kangaroo court, and that the judge is trying to do his best to see Chauvin convicted.

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Easter Ethics Revelations: Media Lies About Asian Hate Crimes And Daniel Webster

Here’s a revelation: that melody, my favorite of the Easter hymns, is the work of Sir Arthur Sullivan. Yes, that Sullivan.

1. Oh, no! Not the National Review too! We are indeed surrounded by idiots…in this story about how Hispanic activists are pushing to keep former President Barack Obama’s name off a school building in Waukegan, Illinois because, you see, he enforced the law by deporting illegal immigrants—can’t have THAT!—the National Review writes, “The Waukegan Board of Education looks to rename two of its schools, Thomas Jefferson Middle School and Daniel Webster Middle School. The board formed renaming committees for the schools named after Jefferson, who owned slaves, and Webster, who supported slavery.”

This is how the American public gets stupid. Of course it’s beyond idiotic not to name a school after the man whose vision of a new nation and whose brilliant mission statement made our existence possible, not to mention the fact that his words planted the seeds that resulted in slavery’s eventual end in North America. Letting that pass for the nonce, however, Daniel Webster, the New England lawyer, U.S. Senator and member of multiple cabinets in the 19th Century did not “support slavery,” and saying he did is historical libel.

To the contrary, Webster was a lifetime opponent of slavery. In an 1837 speech he called slavery a “great moral, social, and political evil,” adding that he would vote against “any thing that shall extend the slavery of the African race on this continent, or add other slaveholding states to the Union.”

Webster, however, also did not want to see a civil war, or to have the Southern states leave the union over the slavery question. His most famous quote, “Liberty and Union, now and for ever, one and inseparable!” expressed his priorities. Webster was one of many patriots and brilliant figures of the time desperately seeking a way to keep the nation together while slavery was stressing its bonds. He supported several compromises to that end, including the much-criticized Compromise of 1850, which included the reviled Fugitive Slave Act. Those who condemn Webster now for his best efforts to avert war and mass secession are engaging in the worst kind of hindsight bias. What would be their brilliant solution to the situation faced by Senators in the 30 years before the Civil War?

My analysis has always been that Webster, Henry Clay and others successfully delayed the inevitable schism over slavery until, by good fortune or, as Abe liked to say, “providence,” got a President in office who had the guts and the skill to deal with the dilemma boldly and successfully. If the South had seceded under any of the Presidents after Jackson and before Lincoln, we would have two Americas on this continent today—or maybe just one, enslaved by Nazi Germany.

Daniel Webster did NOT “support slavery.” Show some damn respect.

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up I Expected Not To Get Posted In The Morning, 3/26/2021: “Ouch!” Edition

Dentist

Therein lies a tale

I arrived at the appointed time for my triple tooth extraction to be told that I would be required to pay the entire cost of my surgery on the spot, and the amount was a cool $4000. This, despite the fact that I had been told (by the doctor) that I could wait before deciding on the various treatment options, and having not received clear (to me, at least) information that the office took no general medical coverage at all, just dental insurance, and my dental insurance was not among the blessed. (Raising the related issue of why my dentist would refer me to an oral surgeon who did not accept the insurance that the dentist did, without alerting me in advance. “We tried to call you,” the snotty desk staff said. Really? I had no messages on my home or office lines. “We only call our patients on their cell phones,” I was told. Then why do you ask for the other numbers? If you have essential information to convey, and you can’t reach a patient by cell, why wouldn’t you try the other contact options? Where on the form does it say that the only number you will use is the cell phone? I only included the cell number because it was asked for: I use cell phones when traveling, period, and during the lockdown it is usually uncharged. If I am going to be expected to hand over 4 grand on the spot, I need to be told, and the information I provided gave an easy means to tell me. What I suspect is that the 20-somethings behind the desk, living on their smart phones themselves, would never dream that anyone wouldn’t do the same. It wasn’t a policy, it was an unwarranted and incompetent assumption.

I informed the staff that its conduct was unethical and unprofessional, and that its attitude was arrogant and obnoxious. Then I walked out. I don’t care if the next oral surgeon costs as much or more: I don’t trust people who treat me like this. Screw ’em.

1. It’s a banner day in the history of “the ends justifies the means” medical ethics! On this date in 1953, American medical researcher Dr. Jonas Salk announced on national radio that he had successfully tested a vaccine against poliomyelitis, the virus that causes polio. Salk had conducted the first human trials of his vaccine on former polio patients, on himself, and his family. The general consensus among ethicists is that self-experimentation is ethical: as one scholarly paper put it, “Organizational uncertainty over the ethical and regulatory status of self-experimentation, and resulting fear of consequences is unjustified and may be blocking a route to human experiments that practicing scientists widely consider appropriate, and which historical precedent has shown is valuable.” But using one’s family as guinea pigs? Unethical, absolutely. The researcher, in this case Salk, has undue influence over such subjects, and consent cannot be said to be voluntary.

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“Enemy Of The People”

Atlanta spa

I believe, or at least hope, that by the time the disgusting transformation of the American news media into pure agents of propaganda is complete—and in that regard, it’s later than you may think—Donald Trump’s much maligned declaration that journalism had become “the enemy of the people” will be remembered as perhaps his most important quote. It deserves to take a place next to Ronald Reagan’s similarly derided “evil empire” line as an example of the “bully pulpit” working as it should.

Last week I saw this front page headline in the New York Times: “Rampage in Georgia Deepens Fears of Rising Asian Hatred In U.S.” That’s not a news headline. That is a publication planting fear for political purposes. Deepens whose fears? The story said that the murder of eight women at a “massage parlor” in Atlanta, six of the victims Asian-American, had unsettled the Asian community. That’s hardly surprising, since many of the dead were members of that community. The Times interviewed a couple of members of the Asian community who expressed “fears.” That does not justify a sweeping generality, nor the emphasis the stories under the headline gave to a supposed motivation for the killings that was supported by no evidence whatsoever other than the presumption of white racism. Presumption of white racism is bigotry, to be clear. not evidence.

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The New York Times Refusing To Inform Its Readers What Meyers Leonard Was Suspended For Saying Is Far More Unethical Than Leonard Saying It [Corrected]

This is beyond crazy. I’ll play the “Bridge Over The River Kwai” clip…

…but it’s not sufficient. How crazy is this story? This crazy: Ethics Alarms is informing you of a critical fact in a news story that The New York Times and almost every other mainstream media news source will not. Here it is:

The anti-Semitic slur that Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard has been fined and suspended for saying, apparently putting his NBA career in jeopardy, is “kike.” K-I-K-E.

I had to hunt through many reports to find a source that would reveal the taboo word so horrible and vile that to even print it so readers could know WHAT THE HOLY HELL THE CONTROVERSY WAS ABOUT was, apparently, unthinkable. I finally found the word in “The Scotsman,” which, as the name might suggest to you, is a Scottish publication. The closest I found in a U.S. source was an invitation to play “Wheel of Fortune” or “Hangman.” (Can you still play “Hangman”? It requires drawing a noose, and if you draw a noose, you must be a racist.) The exclamation that has made Meyers a pariah, according to the Miami Herald, was “F—ing cowards, don’t f—ing snipe me you f—ing k–e b–ch.” Sorry, not good enough, not sufficient, not competent, not responsible, and not ethical. If the story is worth publishing, then the word at the core of the story must be published too.

The Times wouldn’t even use code. “Meyers Leonard Fined $50,000 and Suspended for Using an Anti-Semitic Slur” reads the headline. [Wait. What slur? ] It continues [the bracketed comments are mine],

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Sunset Ethics Round-Up, 2/2/2021: The Narrative That Refuses To Die, The Weenie Who Whines From A Safe Distance, And Other Tales

setting sun

Pop quiz! What’s the significance of the photo above?

It’s official: last month, February 2021 was the worst in Ethics Alarms traffic in five years, and last week was the worst non-holiday week in longer than that. I am at a loss to explain it, and I am going to stop obsessing about it. The comments are among the best and most erudite on the web, and I am confident that the quality and variety of content remains as high as ever.

1. Never give up that narrative! Over the weekend the Times had a puzzling news article telling us that the FBI had “zeroed in” on a suspect in the death of Brian Sicknick, the Capitol police officer who was falsely and repeatedly cited by mainstream media sources and the Trump prosecution in the impeachment trial as being “killed” in the riot or by rioters. The great discovery was that of a video showing someone in the crowd spraying pepper spray or bear spray on officers during the melee. However, as the article itself states, neither irritant is known to be fatal, and both the officers and the crazies were using it that day. Sicknick died of a stroke after the riot, and no link between his death and what occurred while he was trying to control the crowd has been established.

The usual course is to first establish that there has been a homicide, then to look for suspects. “Let’s see if we can pin this on someone” is not considered ethical. I predict that no one will be prosecuted for Sicknick’s death—not ethically, anyway.

2. Speaking of predictions: In yesterday’s post about Governor Cuomo’s apology, I wrote,

[T]he acid test for sexual harassment (and worse) is whether there are additional victims who come forward after the first one breaks the silence. Cuomo is now up to two. It’s a safe bet there are more.

Yesterday a third accuser came forward. Three usually is the tipping point at which even the most protective mainstream media hacks will finally turn on a Democrat. For example, I doubt that Justin Fairfax, the Lt Governor of Virginia, would have survived three rape accusers, but he’s a black Democrat, so the formula is a bit different. The Babylon Bee has it exactly right. Meanwhile, Jim Treacher writes,

Late night liberal “comedians” are finally jumping on the bandwagon to criticize formerly beloved New York governor, Andrew Cuomo. Taking the media’s lead, “Late Show” host Stephen Colbert suddenly found the scandal-embroiled Democrat was an easy target, after several women came forward alleging sexual harassment from the governor.

On his Monday night show, Colbert spent roughly three minutes mocking Cuomo as an “old man” pervert for his alleged creepy comments and behavior towards young women. This after, he spent 2020 grossly promoting the Democrat’s leadership and sex appeal.

These are awful people. They were prepared to ignore the thousands of nursing home deaths Cuomo caused and covered up while praising him as a brilliant pandemic leader (unlike President Trump.) Indulging in the kind of sexual harassment and assault that Joe Biden engaged in regularly while cameras were shooting is too much to bear, however. Now Cuomo is a monster.

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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.

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Unethical—Or Maybe Head-Exploding—Quote Of The Month: New York Times Media Writer Ben Smith

“But the paper needs to figure out how to resolve these issues more clearly: Is The Times the leading newspaper for like-minded, left-leaning Americans? Or is it trying to hold what seems to be a disappearing center in a deeply divided country? Is it Elizabeth Warren or Joe Biden?”

—-Ben Smith, the New York Times’ media writer, regarding the “moral ” dilemma [ Postcard From Peru: Why the Morality Plays Inside The Times Won’t Stop” ] revealed by the controversy over the Times forcing out its top science writer for saying “nigger” in Peru instead of “n-word”.

Hold the center? HOLD THE CENTER?? HOLD THE CENTER????? Oh, God, I can’t…oh no ..ARGHHHH!

Head jack boom many

What a mess! I’m so, so sorry.

And that’s just one paragraph! Since my head has already been shattered beyond hope, here’s another one:

This intense attention, combined with a thriving digital subscription business that makes the company more beholden to the views of left-leaning subscribers, may yet push it into a narrower and more left-wing political lane as a kind of American version of The Guardian — the opposite of its stated, broader strategy.

Is Smith gaslighting us? Is the Times really that lacking in self-awareness? This outrageous piece was featured on the front page! “Gee, I wonder if we’re too biased…”

The New York Times drove one of its veteran journalists out of the paper for speaking the specific word he was discussing in the context of a student question about racist and sexist language, because some woke high school students said they were offended, and the Times’ staff censors of color demanded their pound of flesh. The Times editor then made the ridiculous and untrue statement that ‘intent’ didn’t matter, which was correctly condemned by a Times op-ed writer in a column that was censored by the paper.

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