Don’t Be Lulled Into Apathy Because It Involves A Silly Daytime Talk Show Watched By Idiots And A Reality Star Of Negligible Importance: CBS Pulled A TV Show Because Someone Dared To Criticize A Black Woman. It’s Time To Draw A Line In The Sand…

Osbourn

This makes two frightening ethics stories involving the media in a row, the worst back-to-back Ethics Alarms concerns that I’ve seen in ten years here. The seriousness of the previous story is easy to grasp: multiple news organizations deliberately misled the public to suggest misconduct by President Trump that never happened, and “coincidentally” they did so with perfect timing to affect the crucial special Senate elections in Georgia. This second horror is trickier, because it involves what to normal people is trivia layered on trivia. However, it may be the more terrible of the two.

Try to follow this without getting disgusted and turning on “Three’s Company” re-runs, or you can jump to the bottom of this nauseating account for the reason why the episode is important despite all evidence to the contrary…

1. It began with the Oprah interview of the narcissistic and manipulative Duchess of Sussex and her dominated husband last week, during which Meghan absurdly played poor little rich girl and poor princess while accusing conveniently un-named members of the Royal family of being racists. Even the fact that the couple sold the interview to O didn’t dissuade the celebrity-addled Princess Di cult from swallowing every whooper served up by the former actress like it was a culinary masterpiece. Tellingly, the interview went over like a lead balloon, as my father used to say, in Great Britain, where Meghan Markle and Harry are even less popular members of the royal family than Jeffrey Epstein pal Prince Andrew.

2. Then, on a British morning talk show the next day, celebrity muckraker Piers Morgan announced that he didn’t believe the couple’s tale of abuse, and thought it was outrageous for two entitled (literally) individuals of unearned wealth and power to present themselves as victims, and particularly offensive for Markle to be posing as a victim of “systemic racism.” For this he was accused of being biased—he’s white after all—and Morgan, who bottom-feeder though he is does not grovel or back down, quit his co-host job on the spot, walking off the set.

Continue reading

Tuesday/Wednesday Ethics Sandwich, 3/9-3/10/21: Movies, Megxit, Major And More

Dagwood sandwich

1. Worst “review” of the Year, and other Megxit Ethics Train Wreck developments :

  • I hate to end one day (and start another) with something so nauseating, but a Times “Critic’s Notebook” entry by Salamishah Tillet titled “Taking On Royal Life’s Racism” (online, “Prince Harry Finally Takes On White Privilege: His Own”) is both incompetent and dishonest. This is no review. It is a black studies professor with an agenda using a media stunt by Oprah Winfrey and the breakaway Royals to serve as her own soap box. Using a mixed-race American who achieves some success in a difficult profession (performing), then marries a British prince with the automatic money, glamor and influence that status confers as an example of racial persecution is ridiculous on its face. This is a confirmation bias classic for the ages: the black feminist activist saw what she wanted to see in one of the worst possible settings to see it. The “review” could have been written before the interview was broadcast; I bet most of it was.
  • The U.K.’s media regulator ( that is,censor and political correctness enforcer) Ofcom is investigating Piers Morgan because 41,000 people wrote to complain about the then-ITV’s “Good Morning Britain” host stating the obvious about Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s joint whine with Oprah Winfrey. On “Good Morning Britain”, which Morgan quit mid-show after being attacked by his co-host, Morgan said he did not believe Markle’s statement that she had approached the Royal family for help because she had suicidal thoughts, and was turned down. “Who did you go to? What did they say to you? I’m sorry, I don’t believe a word she said…I wouldn’t believe it if she read me a weather report,” Morgan said. Neither would I, especially when such tales were attached to no details whatsoever. Morgan is a media low-life to be sure, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t right in this case. It’s a problem, though, when the most vocal and accurate critic of a manufactured narrative is so easily discredited.
  • In the U.S., the Left will sanctify the Duchess of Sussex because she’s female and blackish, thus meaning that to question her word or character is per se racism. (She’s like a Kardashian with superpowers). The Right is mostly anti-monarchy, so any harm she does to the Royals is regarded as a plus. One poll indicates, however, that the British public is less gullible: Meghan is now the least popular Royal, even behind Jeffrey Epstein pal and likely defiler of under-age girls Prince Andrew.

It’s only because the Brits are racists, of course.

2. Is there a media critic in the United States that isn’t a partisan hack? David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun certainly fails the test. Imagine writing a column titled “If Fox News wants to be a political tool, it should be treated as such and not given access meant for journalists” after the performance of all the other news organizations from 2016 on and expecting to be taken seriously. Has the mainstream media ever committed itself to a single partisan political objective more brazenly than the propaganda campaign against President Trump? Zurawik’s claim is either delusional or a lie aimed at the deluded….of which there are many.

3. White House dog ethics. Apparently the mysteriously reported “incident” that resulted in President Biden’s two German Shepherds being banished to Delaware was more than a mere nip: the victim of a bite by Major, a rescue dog, was really hurt. “There Will Finally Be Dogs in the White House Again,” was the headline in Harper’s in January, over one of many stories cheering the fact that the new “normal” President would have a dog, unlike the weird, mean, non-animal lover on the way out. In truth, the modern White House is no place for a dog—too stressful, too many visitors and strangers— and many First Pets have been acquired as PR props rather than out of genuine love for canines. Getting a rescue dog is admirable, but they often come with behavioral problems and special sensitivities that must be addressed, or they can be dangerous. My sweet rescue dog Spuds, for example, has night terrors, and woe be to any human that wakes him up while he’s recalling past abuse.

4. Governor Cuomo is now up to SIX accusers! Who could have predicted…oh, right. I did. But I’m sure it was all just a misunderstanding, like the Governor says. Sarcasm aside, I doubt Cuomo is a threat to Bill Cosby’s total, but I didn’t expect the Cos to top 50 either.

Added: Various conservative blogs and commentators are chiding Kamala Harris, who led the unethical smearing of Brett Kavanaugh as a sexual predator based on a vague high-school incident, for not weighing in on Cuomo’s alleged conduct. Harris is a two-faced hypocrite for sure—she agreed to run with a serial sexual harasser whose wrongful conduct is a matter of photographic record—but it is not a VP’s place to get involved with state government issues.

Continue reading

So I Guess I Have To Comment On Meghan And Harry’s Oprah Interview

meghan_markle_diana

No, of course I didn’t watch the damn thing. There have been few instances when a Kaufmann was more obvious. But Americans remain inexplicably fascinated by Great Britain’s Royals; the New York Times, which spent weeks ignoring a rape accusation by a former Joe Biden staffer against its favorite Presidential candidate during the campaign, had multiple reporters doing minute by minute updates on the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s interview. HLN yesterday morning brought on a body language expert to analyze what the self-absorbed pair really thought, which is the point at which I turned the channel to an old episode of “Diagnosis Murder.” But at least there were plenty of detailed accounts of what was said that could be absorbed in a lot less than two hours.

Piers Morgan, a loyal Brit with a low tolerance for celebrity grandstanding, penned a vicious (but fair) take on the interview, focusing most of his contempt on the claim made by Meghan that a member of the Royal Family had asked how dark her baby would be, and the couple’s allegation that the Windsors decided to prevent her son Archie from being an official Prince because of his partial black heritage. In neither case were any names mentioned, making the statements the most unethical and dastardly accusations imaginable. They can’t be checked or confirmed, and they cast suspicion on an entire family. Writes Morgan, “[H]aving having let off the racism bomb, the Sussexes won’t say any more. I find that cowardly.”

That’s because it is cowardly.

Regarding Archie’s status, Morgan says,

Continue reading

The Smoking Gun: This is How The Election Was “Rigged,” And This Is Why The News Media Will Not Be Trusted Again, Unless It’s Trusted By Totalitarian-Minded Progressives To Support Single Party Power.

statue-of-liberty-crying

Harsh? Not at all.

I wrote about this here, in general terms, but the almost complete media embargo and denial of the Hunter Biden laptop story in the days approaching the election was the latest and, arguably, the final and most effective embodiment of the degree to which the deck was unethically stacked against President Trump.

Yesterday, the proverbial other shoe— a big, noisy, smelly one with fecal matter all over the sole and stuck in the ridges so you have to dig it out while trying not to gag—dropped, as anyone honest, conscious and not in denial knew it would.

CNN reported,

After pausing in the months before the election, federal authorities are now actively investigating the business dealings of Hunter Biden, a person with knowledge of the probe said. His father, President-elect Joe Biden, is not implicated.

The last sentence is classic CNN partisan cover. Biden is implicated in lying about his son, what he knew about his soon, and enabling his son. Whether he will be implicated in actual crimes has yet to be seen.

Neo points to earlier CNN reporting of Crossfire Hurricane:

“The investigation was officially opened on July 31, 2016, initially due to information on Trump campaign member George Papadopoulos’s early assertions of Russians having damaging material on Donald Trump’s rival candidate Hillary Clinton. From late July to November 2016, the joint effort between the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the National Security Agency (NSA) examined evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 United States presidential election. The FBI’s team enjoyed a large degree of autonomy within the broader interagency probe.”

Neo comments ruefully, “The FBI was busy investigating Trump’s campaign associates, based on things they knew to be lies, falsifying evidence in order to obtain surveillance warrants from FISA, and leaking like a sieve to the media, all in the fall of 2016 in order to destroy Trump. No pre-election pause for Trump; au contraire.

More of yesterday’s delayed revelations about Hunter:

Investigators have been examining multiple financial issues, including whether Hunter Biden and his associates violated tax and money laundering laws in business dealings in foreign countries, principally China, according to two people briefed on the probe.

Some of those transactions involved people who the FBI believe sparked counterintelligence concerns, a common issue when dealing with Chinese business, according to another source.

The investigation began as early as 2018, predating the arrival of William Barr as US attorney general, two people briefed on the investigation said. The existence of the probe will present an immediate test of Biden’s promise to maintain the independence of the Justice Department.

Sinclair Broadcast Group reported in October that the FBI had opened a criminal investigation into Hunter Biden. CNN has learned new details about the scope of the probe, including that it is focused on China.

Neo helpfully points us to links here, here, here, and here.

Piers Morgan, a CNN alumnus and certified Trump-hater, properly and neatly puts this in perspective:

Imagine if Trump had actually won fair and square and was now preparing to be inaugurated for his second term of office?

Then imagine that his victory was quite narrow, like Biden’s, and came down to a few thousand votes in the swing states?

And then imagine that just before the election, a major US newspaper had published an explosive story about his son Donald Trump Jr. based around the contents of his personal laptop that revealed extensive dodgy dealings with people from foreign countries, some very unfriendly to the United States, and which even suggested his father may have been involved in some of those dealings?

Now imagine that in this eventuality, and with none of the key elements of the story denied by the Trumps, 90% of America’s mainstream media deliberately refused to cover the story, and social media giants like Twitter and Facebook actively suppressed it altogether?

Finally, imagine waking up today to hear that rather than Hunter Biden being formally investigated by federal authorities from the Justice Department over his financial affairs, as is the case, it was Donald Trump Jr. And that the investigation has been ongoing since 2018 but was ‘paused’ in case it affected the election.And that it has looked at allegations of potential criminal violations of tax and money laundering laws. And that it is now in front of a Delaware Grand Jury with a view to indictment.

By now, some of you might be screaming that the election was ‘rigged’ and ‘stolen’ from Joe Biden, right?…who knows how damaging it might have been if this federal investigation into Hunter Biden’s finances had been revealed before the election, and the mainstream media had given it the full Hillary Clinton email treatment that many believe cost her the 2016 election?

I said at the time that the media’s abject failure to properly report the New York Post’s scoop about Hunter was a shameful dereliction of journalistic duty driven by the inherent liberal bias of much of the US media – and I said it as a liberal myself. Predictably, and equally shamefully, the media responded by then trying to censor me too: I was dropped from an appearance on Brian Stelter’s CNN media show after going on Fox News and lambasting news organisations like my former CNN employers for refusing to follow up the Post’s Biden exposé.

Well of course Morgan was dropped, because CNN’s “media watchdog” Brian Stelter is, and has been, and has been thoroughly exposed as being, a pro-mainstream media bias lapdog. Similarly, law professor, blogger and columnist Glenn Reynolds had his column “The Disgraceful Hunter Biden Cover-Up” spiked before the election, leading to his resignation from USA Today’s op-ed staff.

Continue reading

Sunday Ethics Warm-Up, 10/27/2019: The Grant Viktor Bowen Marshall Birthday Edition

Samara Orphanage #2, where we found our son,

It’s a good day.

On this date in 1994, my son Grant was born in Russia. His mother, who was unmarried, did not abort him as many women in her position might have and do, but chose to give him up to be cared for the state, as she declared under oath that she could not. For six months, he lived in one of the packed and underfunded orphanages in Samara, near Moscow. Samara is among the most depressing places I have ever visited, only slightly edged out on my list  by Lorton Penitentiary in Northern Virginia, now shuttered, and Lagos, Nigeria.

Our adventure adopting Grant is too long and involved to record today, but I need to do that. Boris Yeltsin was closing down international adoptions, and we were in a group of four American couples racing to rescue some kids before the gates closed for an unknown period. Children were (and are) seldom adopted in Russia by Russians, and usually they end up warehoused until they reach 18, when they are released to the street. Samara was, it is fair to say, a true hell-hole, lacking drinkable water, businesses, and basic infrastructure. The nurses and administrators running the orphanages were kind, caring and dedicated, but they were also desperate. They tried every tactic imaginable to persuade Americans to adopt multiple children. I am still haunted by the faces of the kids that were introduced to us, and who we left behind. I don’t want to think about.

After a week of being shuttled and raced around the Russian bureaucracy, bribing officials with clocks and silverware, Grace and I made it to the U.S. Embassy with our new son and the necessary papers. The documents falsely stated that he was suffering from multiple maladies, the only way an infant could be adopted by foreign parents under the existing laws. In fact, he had been the healthiest baby in Orphanage #2, a trait he has continued into adulthood. He is almost never sick.

Just like Damien in “The Omen.”

We flew back to the U.S. on the “orphan plane,” a regular Moscow-to-New York flight routinely filled with U.S. parents and their adopted Russian children. The sound of crying infants and chattering toddlers was constant the whole flight. It was glorious.

I look at Grant today, a healthy, defiantly independent, iconoclastic young man with a life of opportunities and challenges before him , and reflect upon the kind of life he would be facing in Samara had a series of accidents and random events not brought our family together.

When Grant was 6, he asked me why he was born in Russia (the little sneak had surreptitiously broken into our documents box and read his adoption papers. I told him that sometimes a loving couple’s child would be born in the wrong place, and then his or her parents had to retrieve him. That was what happened with him, I explained. Grant liked that story so much he told all his friends.

The funny thing is, although I made it up at the time, I believe that with all my heart.

Happy Birthday, son.

[It’s also a good day because on this date in 2004, the Boston Red Sox ended 86 years of frustration and won their first World Series since 1918. Grant said at the time that finally he was certain that I would never forget his birthday.]

2. How’s that minimum wage increase working out for everyone? I was in a Taco Bell last night. The chain has added computer ordering, and there was one person behind the counter. Minimum wage increases cost jobs and makes automation cost-effective. It drives small businesses to ruin, and moves low-skilled Americans from work to public assistance. All of this has been well-understood and known for decades, yet the Democratic Party and all of the current Presidential candidates still pander to organized labor the economically-challenged by making minimum wage hikes a rich-vs-poor rallying cry. Given that the increases don’t affect the rich at all and hurt the poor, I judge the advocacy and disinformation awfully close to evil. If that’s too harsh, It is certainly unforgivably unethical. Continue reading

Ethics Dunces Update: 59 And Counting Democratic Members Of Congress Boycotting The 45th President’s Inauguration

democrats-boycott-trump

The epic hypocrisy continues.

Last October, the Democratic Party furiously insisted that it was dangerous and undemocratic for Donald J. Trump to suggest that he might not accept the results of the 2016 election. Today, while their leaders stand mute, a large, prominents and vocal segment of that party and its leadership is refusing to accept the results of the 2016 election.

The #1 task fasing Donald Trump, say his critics (and his supporters too), is to heal the divisions and rifts in the nation. His foes (I’m a critic, not a foe) say that he is the primary cause of those divisions and rifts. (Of course, the primary cause has been the intentionally divisive Presidency of Barack Obama.) Now 59 members of Congress, all Democrats (it may be over 60 by the time I write this), have intentionally signaled to their constituents that they want and intend the division to continue, and indeed to worsen. They are leading their constituents to oppose and reject the government of the United States. They are rejecting their duty as representatives of that government, showing disrespect to the citizens who chose its leadership, encouraging civil discord and risking violence.

Their conduct is exactly like a citizens group holding a protest demanding that the government extinguish fires burning out of control around a town, then marching to each conflagration and tossing gasoline on it.

Piers Morgan, of all people, a British citizen and tabloid journalist who was sharply anti-Republican and anti- conservative in his unsuccessful run as the successor to talk show host Larry King on CNN, demonstrated that even he has a firmer grasp on this nation’s ideals and traditions than many Democrats, writing in part, Continue reading

The Brian Williams Affair Is Now Officially An Ethics Train Wreck

trainwreck6

…and almost all the passengers so far are journalists.

An Ethics Train Wreck is an episode involving unethical conduct that rapidly exposes ethical flaws, if not an outright lack of ethics, in a steadily widening group of participants, commentators and stake-holders and even victims. The Brian Williams Ethics Train Wreck, like most of them, could have been averted early in the  journey, if, for example, NBC had immediately acted responsibly and suspended Williams when the facts of his 13-year-long fable about being in a wounded helicopter over Iraq were exposed by Stars and Stripes. It did not however, and now NBC executives have First Class seats after apparently knowing about Williams’ lies and doing nothing. It is Williams’ colleagues and compatriots in journalism, however, who are rapidly filling up Coach. In doing so, they are demonstrating that even some of the most famous names in the field have the under-developed ethical instincts of an 11-year-old, and that when substantive ethical analysis is required, they resort to rationalizations. This is discouraging, if not surprising. For example:

Bill Moyers.

Here is liberal lion and lengendary PBS commentator Bill Moyers  on Twitter:

Moyers-RS

That’s the depth of analysis we get from Moyers: flat out Rationalization #22, Comparative Virtue, #2, The “They’re Just as Bad” Excuse, and  “Everybody does it.” So what counts most in “journalism excellence” to this multiple Peabody Award winner isn’t that a journalist tells the truth, but that he doesn’t lie about the things Moyers cares about.

Piers Morgan

The ex-CNN talk-show host, whose credentials as an ethical and trustworthy journalist are, well, non-existent, penned a sarcastic attack on Williams’s critics called “Do we want to tar and feather Brian Williams or let him be the BETTER journalist this ‘scandal’ will make him? And trust me, I’ve been there.” As you can see, his argument begins with a straw man, and a cheaply made one at that: No, we don’t want to tar and feather Brian Williams, we just don’t think liars should be paid millions to tell the nation what happened in the world when he can’t be trusted to be truthful about what happened to him. It goes on to mass a pile of juvenile rationalizations, all of the Biblical rationalizations for example, which is a terrific example of someone projecting his own highly dubious career onto every other journalist. Yes, Piers, we get that someone with your dubious past would have trouble being taken seriously “throwing stones” at another journalist’s ethics, but not everyone is you. Then Morgan repeatedly says that Williams is being pilloried because he isn’t perfect [ #19 “Nobody’s Perfect!” and #20. The “Just one mistake!” Fantasy], and this is so unfair because he’s wonderful and should be given a break [ a classic #11. The King’s Pass, The Star Syndrome, or “What Will We Do Without Him?” and #38. The Miscreant’s Mulligan or “Give him/her/them/me a break!”] Continue reading

More Interview Ethics: Janet Mock Ambushes Piers Morgan

janet_mock_piers_morgan_1_16x9_1600

Piers Morgan, CNN’s imported British tabloid reporter turned Larry King replacement, invited trans author and activist Janet Mock on his show to promote her new memoir, “Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More.” As I watched the interview (because of Mock and not Morgan, who makes my skin crawl), I was struck by how far such interviews have come since David Susskind would invite transgendered individuals on his PBS show—this was classy, remember—and essentially hold them out as freaks. Morgan was respectful and supportive, though the sensationalist aspect was still there but muted: the text under Mock during her interview read “BORN A BOY,” and “was a boy until age 18,” which are, though accurately describing how most CNN viewers would understand Mock’s journey, over-simplified and counter to how Mock describes herself.

Mock seemed happy, Morgan seemed gracious. Then Mock went on Twitter and Buzzfeed to pronounce Morgan a clueless, ignorant, biased jerk.  He was, shockingly, “trying to do infotainment” Mock said. Morgan’s show is the epitome of infotainment, and everybody knows it. She criticized him for “sensationalizing” transgender people while neglecting a substantive discussion about her book. The sales of Mock’s memoir depend on its sensational aspects, again, as she and her publisher well know. Mock accused Morgan of asking the same kinds of embarrassing questions about body parts and boy friends that non-trans people are inevitably curious about. Well, of course he did…because that’s what his audience is curious about.

None of this was communicated to Morgan either before, during, or after the interview. Morgan, who is no Sam Rubin, was incensed, and struck back via Twitter, since that is the forum where Mock chose to publicly attack him. In various tweets and exchanges he called Mock cowardly, “churlish,” and shameful, and criticized her allies as well, as she successfully brought down the progressive hoards on Morgan’s head. The same week, he invited her back to on the show along with a panel so he could defend himself while assailing her conduct. You can read the transcript of that show here.

What’s going on here? Continue reading

The Fifth Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Worst of Ethics 2013 (Part Three)

Jill-Greenberg

Unethical Artist Of The Year

Photographer Jill Greenberg, whose art requires parents to make their children cry. Runner-up: Peeping Tom photographer/artist Arne Svenson

Kaitlyn Hunt

False Allegation Of Anti-Gay Bigotry Of The Year

Kaitlyn Hunt’s parents, who spun a false tale of anti-gay prejudice to portray their sexual predator daughter as a victim after she was accused of statutory rape by the parents of her under-age target. Hunt’s parents even managed to suck the ACLU into their web and the liberal-leaning press portrayed her as a martyr to anti-gay bias. But Hunt’s lies ultimately caused her cover-story to unravel.

 Unethical Hoax Of The Year

Oberlin students Dylan Bleier and Matt Alden, aided and abetted by  Oberlin College and its president, Marvin Krislov. The two students, self-proclaimed progressives, posted a series of racist and anti-Semitic posters, graffiti and anonymous emails as “an experiment.” Krislov and Oberlin, after cancelling classes and engaging in campus-wide navel-gazing, continued to allow the media and the public believe that this was the work of racists on campus well after it had learned who the real miscreants wereRunner-up: The horrible Meg Lanker-Simons, former University of Wyoming student (now admitted to law school—I don’t want to talk about it) who threatened herself with rape and used the bogus threat to show that her campus was violent and sexist.

Most Unethical Use of Social Media Continue reading

Regarding the New, Improved Second Amendment, Indoctrination and Hanlon’s Razor

Just in time for the latest round of political exploitation of a gun-related tragedy, it has been discovered that a school history textbook used in some Texas  high schools (and probably others) mis-states the meaning of the Second Amendment, neatly editing away the part that all the controversy is about.

In fact, John J. Newman’s “United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination,” rewrites the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution. On page 102 of Newman’s book (page 134 of the PDF version), the author summarizes the amendment in a way that distorts its meaning:

newman-book-1

Could this be intentional? Well, it is certainly wrong, and one is not being conspiratorial to wonder how such a blatant error 1) got into a history text in the first place , 2) passed any review process, and 3) lasted this long.

It is well-established that the Second Amendment  guarantees the individual’s right to keep and bear arms, and not only in a militia. How far that guarantee extends is indeed a matter of intense debate, but Newman has misleadingly limited that right only to those who are members of a government militia, essentially editing the amendment right into obsolescence.  Though that is clearly where many anti-gun zealots, including Senator Diane Fienstein, CNN talk-meister Piers Morgan, and many others would like to see it go, it is not the current state of the law, and never has been.The Supreme Court opinion in  District of Columbia vs Heller (2008), which is not mentioned in the textbook, held that the Second Amendment “protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home.”

There is no defending Newman’s textbook, except as a justifiable attempt to destroy the Second Amendment by teaching students that the right to bear arms doesn’t exist in the modern world—in other words, by using deception and indoctrination. Continue reading