Yes, It’s True: Conservative Warrior Brent Bozell Is The American Mamoru Samuragochi, “The Japanese Beethoven” Who Was Really The Asian Milli Vanilli

This, apparently, is the real L. Brent Bozell.

This, apparently, is the real L. Brent Bozell.

L. Brent Bozell, the outspoken head of the Media Research Center, doesn’t write the syndicated opinion columns that run under his by-line and has not for quite a while. Reporter Jim Romenesko did a little digging, and discovered that the red-headed face of the conservative group, a favorite guest of Fox talk show host Sean Hannity, uses Tim Graham, the MRC’s Director of Media Analysis as his ghostwriter, both for his columns and apparently his recent books as well.

Before the embarrassing deception was exposed, however—-Bozell’s special crusade is exposing and condemning dishonesty in the liberal news media—the company that distributes Bozell’s columns managed to expose its own flawed ethics as well. Confronted with Romenesko’s suspicions, Bozell’s syndicator wrote this response:

“If you know of one of our columnists who supposedly is not writing the column but rather ‘assigning an underling to pen them (an underling who is not credited),’ I think it only fair that you tell us who has been accused of this so we can talk to the columnist. Yes, we expect all of our columnists to write their own columns, though we understand that some work closely with researchers.

Once the evidence appeared too overwhelming to deny (as in “lie away effectively”)—-various Media Research Center employees confirmed that Bozell didn’t write his own copy, with one telling him in surprise, “I thought everyone knew it.”—the defense, predictably, began to evolve into “everybody does it.” Continue reading

Unethical Quote of the Month: MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow

“Yes, this has happened to a smaller degree before. In 1994, in the first mid-term election after the last Democratic president was elected, we got a slate of candidates that included Helen Chenoweth of Idaho and Steve Stockman of Texas. These two were so close to the militia movement in this country that Mr. Stockman actually received advance notice that the Oklahoma City bombing was going to happen.”

—-Rachel Maddow, rising MSNBC star, attacking the current slate of anti-big government Republicans and Tea Party stalwarts.

As I have mentioned here before, when the going gets tough, the tough get unethical. As the certainty of a Red Tide washing over Congress, the Senate and the state houses becomes more inevitable with each passing day, frustrated partisans in the blogosphere and news media are lashing out in frustration, allowing their commentary to become even more shrill and their respect for essentials like facts and fairness to shrink to the vanishing point.

Maddow is an especially depressing case in point. She is a talented television personality and a sharp analyst, but her passionate progressive leanings sometimes overwhelm her professionalism, and this time, she crashed over all ethical lines. Continue reading

Unethical Quote of the Week: Columnist Eugene Robinson

“According to polls, Americans are in a mood to hold their breath until they turn blue. Voters appear to be so fed up with the Democrats that they’re ready to toss them out in favor of the Republicans — for whom, according to those same polls, the nation has even greater contempt. This isn’t an ‘electoral wave,’ it’s a temper tantrum.”

Op-Ed writer Eugene Robinson in the Sept. 3 Washington Post

The surest proof that a citizen or commentator is partisan beyond the point of fairness, objectivity, or even common sense is the abandonment of the ethical principle of accountability. Voters with this malady re-elect demonstrably corrupt politicians, cheats and liars, using the argument that they are still the “best candidates.” While this is fortunate for elected officials, past and present, like Tom DeLay, Bill Clinton, Charlie Rangel, Maxine Waters, Eddie Johnson, Ted Stevens, and many, many others, it guarantees bad government and a rotting political culture, perpetrated by increasingly arrogant, unresponsive, incompetent and dishonest public servants. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: New York Times Sportswriter Ken Belson

I fear that I am becoming a broken record on this (Note to those under the age of 40: the phrase “becoming a broken record” refers to the archaic devices called “records” which once were used to convey music via another archaic device know as a “phonograph.” If a record was broken, as in cracked, the phonograph’s needle, which…oh, never mind. We really need a new phrase for “saying the same thing over and over again.”), but the popular position that only the pure and blameless have the right to condemn misconduct by others threatens our culture’s ability to discuss and distinguish right and wrong. It has to be refuted, discredited, and buried. For subliminal support for this  unethical stance to be injected into a supposedly straight news item—in the sports pages, of all places—is alarming, for it shows how our cultural attitudes can be warped without our even being aware of it. Continue reading

Was Brit Hume Unethical?

I’ve been thinking about Brit Hume’s controversial remarks on Fox News about Tiger Woods for two weeks now, trying to identify what was wrong with them. Not whether I agreed with them, or whether I would have said something similar myself, but what was wrong with them: did his comments suggesting a Christian path for the troubled golfer constitute a breach of professional ethics, or ethics generally? Continue reading