The Second Annual Ethics Alarms Awards: The Worst of Ethics 2010 (Part 2)

The final categories in the Worst of Ethics 2010. Coming up: The Best of Ethics, 2010.

(If you missed Part 1 of the Worst, go here.)

Worst Ethics Presentation: “Ethics in Politics: An evening with Former Governor Rod Blagojevich” (Presented to its students by Northwestern University) Continue reading

What Gawker Calls Unethical: Poor Ex-Rep. Etheridge Was “Tricked” Into Assault

The ethics-free web zone known as Gawker is indignant that it now appears that the young men roughed up by now-defeated North Carolina Democrat Rep. Bob Etheridge were G.O.P operatives stalking him in the hopes of catching him in a gaffe. Etheridge lost, in part because the video of him grabbing one of the young men in a bear hug was turned into an effective campaign ad by his adversary. He deserved to lose, as much as any candidate running in any race in the country.

Gawker apparently believes that under some circumstances it is no big deal for members of the U.S. Congress to commit assault and battery on the citizens they are supposed to serve, a view that Etheridge shares, but that Ethics Alarms does not.

Neither does Ken, over at Pope Hat, who makes a definitive argument that Etheridge has no excuse whatsoever. I can’t improve on it. You can read it here.

On Idiots, Book-Burnings, and Journalistic Ethics

Let’s keep this post as abstract as possible, as the less publicity the renegade Gainesville book-burners get for their idiotic stunt, the better.

Why is a dim-witted “protest”by a fifty member church that we were all blissfully unaware of until recently a national, international, or even local news story? I am pretty sure I could gather a group of fifty friends in the parking lot across from my house on Arbor Day and burn an effigy of ultra-prolific junk novelist James Patterson to protest the many trees that have died to bring his books to Barnes and Noble. Would that be newsworthy—a few wackos doing something just to get attention? Does the public have a right to know about a trivial and pointless event that is only occurring so that the media will make it news?

Let us now assume that there is a powerful James Patterson cult, funded by an eccentric billionaire fan, and that it has acquired nuclear weapons. Continue reading

A Vote for Keith Halloran Is A Vote For Hateful Politics

It is one thing for a comedian like Wanda Sykes to publicly wish that Rush Limbaugh’s kidneys fail (that one thing, by the way, is gratuitous nastiness without humor), and quite another for a candidate for Congress, Democrat Keith Halloran of New Hampshire, to send out a tweet to his Twitter followers expressing regret that Sarah Palin and Levi Johnston were not on board the doomed plane that crashed, killing former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens. Continue reading

John Avlon’s “Ten Congressmen Who Should Be Fired”: Too Short, By Far

John Avlon, a senior political correspondent at The Daily Beast and author of  the book Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America, has posted his list of “Ten Congressmen Who Should Be Fired.” Though Avlon’s definition of “wingnut” is too often “conservative,” and picking the ten most embarrassing members of Congress is like choosing the ten most offensive reality TV stars, it’s a reasonably good list, if far too short and only the beginning. The members on it seem to split into four main categories: outrageously uncivil, clearly incompetent, corrupt, and too outspokenly conservative for Avlon, who regards all Tea Party sympathizers, for example, as dangerous “wingnuts.”

Here’s the list, with highlights of Avlon’s reasons: Continue reading

Journalistic Ethics Cluelessness: Weigel, Outrageous Bias, and the Washington Post

There can be no doubt : the main-stream media is so ideologically biased that it can’t recognize obvious bias anymore, even when it undermines its credibility. That is the only conclusion one can reach from the amazing story of David Weigel, who was awarded a Post website blog to write about “inside the conservative movement.” David Weigel, as his recently leaked e-mails to a mailing list shows, detests conservatives, conservatives views, positions, commentators and leaders. He does so not in a possibly manageable “there are evident problems with the extremists in this movement and some of its underlying philosophy” fashion, but it a “I hate these morons and wish they’d all die” way, which is exactly the sentiment many of his messages convey.

Giving someone like Weigel the role of reporting on conservatives is exactly as responsible and fair as letting Michelle Malkin cover the progressive movement, asking Senator Inhofe to cover climate change developments, asking Gloria Allred to keep us up-to-date on the life of Tiger Woods, or giving Helen Thomas the assignment of covering Israel. And yet that is exactly what the Washington Post did. Continue reading

Ethics Blindness: Why Is The Media Minimizing the Etheridge Assault?

The Bob Etheridge street mugging story seems poised to join the coverage of Van Jones and ACORN as another depressing example of the mainstream media’s abandonment of objectivity, responsibility and ethical priorities.

Today, the day after a video surfaced showing North Carolina Congressman Bob Etheridge grabbing, restraining, and wrapping his hand around the neck of a young man who dared to ask him a question on a Washington D.C. sidewalk, “The Daily Beast’s” #4 story was the revelation that former Ebay CEO and current G.O.P. candidate for governor of California once shoved an Ebay subordinate in a moment of anger and paid six figures in damages. The story about a sitting U.S. Congressman assaulting a U.S. citizen without provocation on a public street doesn’t appear anywhere in the liberal-leaning news aggregation site’s news summary. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: North Carolina Rep. Bob Etheridge

This video is remarkable and disturbing.

Rep. Bob Etheridge, (D-N.C.) was walking down a Washington street when he was approached by a student holding a cell phone camera. The young man asked the Congressman about his views on President Obama’s agenda. Etheridge angrily demanded to know who the student was, tried to snatch the phone, and then assaulted and battered him. Continue reading