From The “UGH! Will They EVER Stop Making Me Defend President Trump?” Files: The Kennedy Center Honors Double-Bind

I really, really wanted to bury this one in the Morning Warm-Up. I’m thoroughly sick of writing about the dishonest manipulation of facts and principle used to attack President Trump every day, many times, in the mainstream news media. I am sick of pointing out how unprofessional the Trump-hating publications are that uncritically publish screeds that they would never accept as meeting basic standards of ethical journalism if it weren’t for the identity their target: this President of the United States. I’m also sick of readding proyests from readers trying to rationalize such miserabl ejournalism and punditry. I know readers are sick of all of this too, but the important point is that gullible members of the public and partisan journalists are not sick of the tactic, or ready to play it straight.  They are counting on those who care about fairness, process and truth to give up before they do.

Well, they will wait a long time for me, especially when they publish opinion pieces as bad—misleading, unfair, and unethical— as this one, by playwright Sarah Ruhl.

Ruhl criticizes the President in inflammatory terms for not attending the Kennedy Center Honors ceremony as its host. The White House announced in August that the Trumps would not participate in the December 3 event in Washington, D.C. to avoid “political distraction.” “The president and first lady have decided not to participate in this year’s activities to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction,”  Sarah Sanders said in a statement, adding that the president and Melania Trump “extend their sincerest congratulations and well wishes to all of this year’s award recipients for their many accomplishments.”

Ruhl criticizes the decision in the most inflammatory terms:

“In dictatorships, the artists are often the first to go. Or maybe they are the third to go, after the press and the intellectuals. The refusal of the president to celebrate them is a chilling and clear departure from American values. Perhaps the Trumps didn’t want to compete with the Obamas, who at the 2016 Kennedy Center awards received the longest standing ovation of the evening.”

What unbelievable gall!  Nowhere in Ruhl’s piece, which unflatteringly compares Trump to previous Presidents who attended the gala, does she mention a material fact. Did you catch the omission? Do you think Times readers and the people who are being primed to detest the President did?

The announcement that the Trumps would not be attending came only after honoree Norman Lear, creator of “All in the Family,” “Maude” and “Sanford and Son,”—and also of the ultra-left advocacy group People for the American Way—said that he would boycott the White House reception in protest of the President’s proposed funding cuts to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. His fellow 2017 honorees musician Lionel Ritchie and singer Gloria Estefan also hinted that they were considering making a snub of their host a centerpiece of the event. Continue reading

Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 8/29/17

Good Morning!

1. Jezebel fails an integrity test. Are you surprised? The feminist site  has a story about John Smelcer, a successful novelist who has falsely claimed to be a Alaskan Native American  and has used  twenty-five-years of fake credentials and phony biographical details to gain a foothold with academia, publishing houses and critics. Smelcer’s deceptions are a good ethics tale on their own; I especially enjoy his tendency to use blurbs from dead authors on his Amazon pages. But it was this sentence in the Jezebel piece that really impressed me:

“…he was hired by the University of Alaska Anchorage as part of an effort to increase its diversity, with the understanding that he was an Alaskan Native.”

preceded by,

“Smelcer sounds like a Rachel Dolezal…”

Rachel Dolezal? The former NAACP official who claimed (and still claims) she was black when she wasn’t? Is that who comes to mind when you think about a prominent figure who was hired by a university as a diversity candidate after falsely claiming Native American status, and who has parlayed that fraud into national prominence?

The feminist website is shamelessly (transparently, clumsily, hilariously) protecting Senator Elizabeth Warren, aka “Fauxahontas,” and demonstrating how it and the rest of the left-wing media will try to whitewash her personal history to advance the hypocritical demagogue to the White House if possible.

The same story has another example of flagrant unethical conduct being unsuccessfully slipped under the ethics radar. In the process of noting that Smelcer’s Amazon page includes bogus endorsements by such dead literary luminaries as  Norman Mailer, Saul Bellow, and J.D. Salinger, the story quotes Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States,  who also authored an accolade for Smelcer. She wrote to Jezebel that she has asked Smelcer to remove her blurb several times, explaining,

He was so intrusive, he kept lobbying me to give him a blurb. And I basically gave him one just to get rid of him. I was very busy on tour, and unbeknownst to me, he put it on a new book he just published. I’ve written him multiple times for over a year to take my blurb off his publicity, and he wouldn’t do it. He uses all these famous dead people’s names. I never thought someone would be so brazen as to do something like that, but I thought, okay, I’m in good company!

We see. Dunbar-Ortiz thinks it’s okay to give a fake endorsement of a book that she knows will be used to deceive purchasers and critics as long as she’s busy, and doesn’t have the integrity to say “no” and mean it. And wait—what? She gave him a blurb and says now that she didn’t expect him to use it?

No, Roxanne, you’re not in good company, all those dead authors are in bad company, with you. They didn’t give Smelcer blurbs; they’re dead. You’re the one who voluntarily aided his scam. Continue reading

Note To Ethics Dunce Norman Lear: That’s Not “Reverse Racism,” Norman. That’s Just Racism.

Norman Lear, Ethics Meathead..

Norman Lear, Ethics Meathead…

On what has become racism Friday for some reason, I read with annoyance excerpts from Norman Lear‘s new autobiography. The relentlessly liberal ( and smugly so) TV writer, producer/director and liberal activist who created “All in the Family,” “Maude,” Sanford and Son,” and People for the American Way, tells this tale:

“Mike Evans, the actor who played Lionel, the son of George Jefferson on All in the Family, wanted to write as well as act, and I suggested he take a crack at the Good Times pilot script. He brought in Eric Monte, a black writer he wished to team up with. Eric (who later sued me, Jerry Perenchio, Tandem and CBS for something like $185 million) came from the Cabrini-Green housing project in Chicago, so we settled the James and Florida Evans family there. [Editor’s note: The suit was settled for $1 million.] I was charmed by Eric Monte and, having worked for years with Mike, liked him a lot, too. A number of black writers worked with us through the years, but thus far none had created a show. Mike and Eric now had the opportunity to be the first.

They blew it creatively with a poor copycat of a script. But even though what they wrote was a far cry from what we shot, we did not seek to change their credit as the sole co-creators. I could be confessing to a bit of inverse racism here when I admit that it even pleased me to see them credited and paid. That would not have happened, at least not gratuitously, if they were white.”

I have news for Lear: that’s straight up racial bias, also known as racism. He is admitting that he gave excessive credit to two writers for a subpar script because they were black. Continue reading