Ethics Quotes Of The Week: Ann Althouse And Molly Hemingway

“A strong media is required to hold politicians accountable and help preserve a functioning republic. Our media, who are swinging wildly from eight years of sycophancy into an era of cartoonish hostility, are in no position to hold anyone accountable. This is a crisis, and one that nearly everyone except those in the media establishment and the political movement they support seems to recognize.”

—-The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway in an essay titled 4 Recent Examples Show Why No One Trusts Media Coverage Of Trump.

“Should they be ousted if they are not playing the role the place supposedly symbolizes? Are they representing us, the People, who, collectively, elected Trump, or are they representing the Democratic Party? I don’t know that the symbolism is what should determine whether the press has that space or some other space, but I don’t think the press — with respect to the Trump administration — represents the people. I think the statement “They are the opposition party” is much more accurate. Too bad they did that to themselves. We could use a vigorous, professional press.”

Blogger Ann Althouse on the possibility that the Trump White House will move the press corps next door into the Executive Office Building.

The two quotes accurately sum up my assessment of the state of the news media with regard to its level of trustworthiness and its future relationship with administration with the Trump Presidency. After a campaign in which the news media’s biases were not only flagrant but defiantly so, what was needed desperately was a profession-wide dedication to objectivity and non-partisan journalism. Instead, stupidly, destructively, the mainstream news media has doubled-down, fawning over Obama as he exited the office with a shocking lack of humility and grace, and, as Hemingway accurately states, descending into “cartoonist hostility” before Trump even took office. Continue reading

“We Understand One Of My Colleagues Raped You. Here, Have A Taco, And Shut Up”

taco

Some sadistic and none-too skilled cynic appears to be writing the news, and I don’t appreciate it, especially the news about how our justice system deals with rape.

Felipe Santiago Peralez, a La Joya, Texas police dispatcher, repeatedly assaulted, raped, terrorized,  and forced a woman into performing various sex acts during an “all night invasion of her body” while she was in the custody of the La Joya police department for a misdemeanor probation violation. Even after Peralez’s colleagues and superiors saw the jail security video, they refused to take his victim to a hospital for an examination as required by Texas law for all rape investigations. One of them was  kind enough, she says, to offer her a taco. (It is unknown if she actually ate the taco, or if it was yummy.) An officer also told her that if she breathed a word about what happened, she was liable to go “missing.”

This happened in 2014. The La Joya police chief at the time also saw the video, and reported it to city authorities. As a result, a Hidalgo County grand jury charged Peralez with three counts of civil rights violations and one count of “official oppression”—yes, I would agree that a cop sticking various objects, organic and otherwise, into a confined woman’s vagina without her consent qualifies as “oppression”— and he was sentenced to a whopping 6 months in state jail and 30 days in county jail after a plea bargain.

See? Those Texas types know how to handle rapists with rough, effective frontier justice…none of this lame California sentencing, with a rich kid Stanford swimmer getting just six months because he promises that he’ll devote his life, well, some time anyway, to telling other rich kids not to drink so much that they think unconscious women are blow-up sex dolls. Yup, none of that slap on the wrist nonsense in Rick Perry’s domain! There, a police rapist gets six months AND another month. It serves him right! Don’t mess with Texas!

All of this comes to light in a law suit filed by the victim, referred to as A.R., that names Peralez, the City of La Joya, its former and current police chiefs, its city administrator, several La Joya police officers, the city of Peñitas, its police chief and two more officers there, and asks for 70 million dollars in damages.

I feel like I’m losing my mind. How can an entire community become so corrupt that it would behave this cruelly and unjustly? The police officer who warned A.R. to keep her mouth shut was a woman. The whole story reads like the screenplay of a lurid revenge fantasy like “I Spit On Your Grave,” except that it’s missing the fun part where the victim meticulously tracks down her abusers and tortures them to death in the most ingenious and disgusting ways possible. Of course, it appears that A.R. would have to track down the whole town, including its police force and the grand jury. And the local news media. When the justice system delivers this kind of outrage, isn’t the media supposed to report it, and loudly? Maybe reporters were told that they might go missing too.

Or someone offered them tacos.

The absence of any national reporting on this two-year-old horror is just one of the aspects of the story I find disturbing. Such as… Continue reading

Eight Ethics Observations On Donald Trump’s Prisoner Of War Slur…And Another New Rationalization: “Popeye’s Excuse”

PopeyeFrom the New York Times:

“Mr. Trump upended a Republican presidential forum here [Ames, Iowa] , and the race more broadly, by saying of the Arizona senator and former prisoner of war: “He’s not a war hero. He’s a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.” Mr. McCain, a naval aviator, was shot down during the Vietnam War and held prisoner for more than five years in Hanoi, refusing early release even after being repeatedly beaten.

The only news outlet that isn’t covering this is the Huffington Post, because controversies that directly affect who will be President of the United States aren’t news when they involve candidates the HuffPo ideologues don’t respect.

I thought I should remind you.

Ethics observations:

1. The statement is signature significance that Trump is a jerk as well as a fool, and not very bright as well. The latter is especially important: being an idiot should disqualify anyone for high elected office. Not that Trump’s intelligence, or lack of it, hasn’t been a matter of record for a long, long time, but this is as blazing a tell as anyone could wish for. Anyone who voluntarily places his or her life at risk for their country is a hero; circumstances and moral luck determine what other tests warfare will present to such an individual’s character. When a hero passes such a test with distinction, as McCain did in his prisoner of war ordeal during the Vietnam war, the military makes a special effort to recognize that heroism, in part to inspire others. My father refused to make a big deal about his Silver Star and Bronze Star, because he was aware that the man who was blown up by a shell while virtually standing next to him could have just as easily been the decorated war hero, and my father a statistic, had the shell landed a little bit to the right. My father regarded the man who was killed in his foxhole as much of a hero as he was. Trump would say, “I like people who aren’t killed.”

Only a stupid man could believe that.

2. For Trump to denigrate McCain’s service when he took every possible step to avoid service in the same war is especially nauseating. The ethical values being rejected here are fairness and respect. John McCain displayed courage, patriotism, devotion to civic duty, selflessness and integrity that Trump could not. It’s really that simple. Trump lacks any standing to criticize Senator McCain’s war record.

3. On ABC this morning, Donald Trump was asked about his habit of name-calling and using personal insults as his response to political criticism. He justified his incivility by evoking the Tit for Tat excuse: if you insult him, he’ll insult you, and that includes calling you fat, old, stupid, or–his favorite—“a loser.” This is playground ethics, worthy of a 12-year-old. Your duty to be fair, civil and ethical is not reduced by the unethical conduct of someone else, even when it is aimed at you. Ethical people understand this, often before they are 20. Ethically, Trump is a case of arrested development. Continue reading

Inexcusable Political Reporter Incompetence: “Inalienable Rights? What Inalienable Right?”

Quick, Will, Meredith: Who is this guy? Is he a} Harpo Marx b) Bruce Jenner or c) Thomas Jefferson?

Quick, Will, Meredith: Who is this guy? Is he a} Harpo Marx b) Bruce Jenner or c) Thomas Jefferson?

This isn’t about bias, although a good case could be made that bias is at the root of the problem. It is about supposedly experienced political reporters not knowing, understanding or respecting the Declaration of Independence.

Lat week, the Associated Press’s Will Weissert wrote AP’s report on Texas governor Rick Perry’s announcement of his candidacy for President, and included this:

“In a nod to the tea party, he said: ‘Our rights come from God, not from government.'”

This is ignorant, embarrassing, and wrong. He should be sent back to school, fired, or suspended, and so should the editor that let this pass. That our rights (our “inalienable rights”…ring any bells, Will?) come not from government but from God (“their Creator”…Will?), or, if you will, nature, innate humanity, the cosmos, or however you roll, is not the invention of the Tea Party, nor is citing the concept pandering to conservatives. Perry’s statement simply shows that he is familiar with and has proper reverence for the mission statement and founding document of the United States of America, as this AP reporter clearly does not.

Here, Will, you dolt, let me refresh your recollection:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…”

Got that? Your inexcusable, factually, legally and philosophically mistaken idea that governments grant rights is in direct contradiction with the basis of this nation’s founding, and the Constitution created to enable the mission as stated by Thomas Jefferson and the Continental Congress in 1776. The segments of the news media and the progressive community that make assertions like Weissert’s–call them the Ignorant Left—are arguing for a system in which government dictates what rights we have or don’t have—you know, like the King of England. This is specifically un-American, because it was the exact basis on which the United States declared that being part of the British Empire was intolerable.

Meredith Shiner at Yahoo Politics did the same thing in March, tweeting in reaction to Ted Cruz’s announcement of his candidacy:

“Bizarre to talk about how rights are God-made and not man-made in your speech announcing a POTUS bid? When Constitution was man-made?”

Bizarre, is it, Meredith? Do you live here? Did you attend college, or high school? The Constitution represents the human beings making up a democratic government securing  rights that every human being are born with and that may not be taken from him or her. Did you miss class that day when the Declaration of Independence was being taught? Or can you just not read?

Is it God that’s the hang up? I bet it is, since Democrats, progressives  and journalists (but I repeat myself) have utter contempt for religion and the concept of God. Well, you badly educated fraud of a “political analyst,” Thomas Jefferson was not exactly Martin Luther. This is why he used the term Creator. Creator—did you miss all of your English classes too? Creator can mean God, as well as designer, builder, designer, inventor, founder…but Jefferson was a terrific writer, and knew that words can mean different things to different people in the same context, so he used a word that also can suggest agency, a beginning, causation, determinant, a catalyst, genesis, inducement, instigation, origin, root or source. Jefferson was also a scientist, and understood more than most–certainty more than you—that we do not have all the answers. What he said, and what the Founders endorsed, and what the Constitution was written to execute and establish for all time, was that human beings have certain rights from the instant they are born, and that no government has to grant them or take them away.

Whatever their flaws, Ted Cruz and Rick Perry understand that, as anyone qualified to seek the Presidency must. Shiner and Weissert do not understand that, and thus are unqualified to vote, much less to be political reporters.

___________________

Pointer: Newsbusters

Monday Morning Lessons in News Media Bias, Incompetence, and Manipulation of Public Opinion

Side profile of a journalist typing on a typewriter

It took all of 15 minutes this morning to see the incompetence and bias of the new media in action regarding two politically charged events currently unfolding:

1. The Washington Post: The Rick Perry Indictment

On page A3 of the Washington Post front section, this report by Post reporter Sean Sullivan was sub-headlined like this:

Texas governor denies any impropriety in feud with district attorney

Continue reading

More On The Perry Indictment: The Mark Of Hack Partisan Journalism

H

The unethical indictment of Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry in Travis County (Austin) for the “crime” of trying to force a drunk, power abusing, ethically corrupt district attorney from continuing to head the Public Integrity Unit—quick, now, Democrats…why is this a bad thing?—is a rare opportunity for otherwise incorrigibly biased journalists to show some token integrity and fairness. What is forfeited, after all, by admitting the obvious, that Perry is being railroaded by an abuse of prosecutorial power to derail him politically? Perry is no real threat to win the Presidency, no matter how high his stock is now. We all saw why in 2012.

So the liberal media has no need to play gotcha, and could, for a change, actually do its job: show the public why the indictment is nothing but a political hit job; why it’s a breach of legal ethics, how disgracefully Travis County DA Rosemary Lehmberg has conducted herself; why she is obligated to resign after breaking the law, trying to use her position to intimidate police officers on video, having her law license suspended, and apparently doing nothing about the fact that she is a raging drunk; why having such an individual heading up the agency responsible for public integrity is a threat to the public well-being and the public trust; and why a Governor of any political affiliation doing everything he can to pressure such a miserable and incompetent DA to resign as she had a professional obligation to do is, not merely not criminal, but admirable.

But most of them just can’t bring themselves to do it. So here is the Daily Beast partisan hack news commentary website, the yin on the left to the yang of Tucker Carlson’s partisan hack Daily Caller on the right, which wouldn’t be necessary if there weren’t a Daily Beast,  publishing this piece by its partisan hack staffer Mark McKinnon, implying that there may be validity to the indictment, suggesting that Perry did something wrong, and glossing over how disgusting it is that Lehmberg  still holds office. Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: ABC News, Jonathan Karl and the Sunday Morning “Roundtable”

Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry is being threatened with prison by a per se unethical and illegal grand jury indictment, obtained by special prosecutor Michael McCrum, that attempts to criminalize not merely political tactics, which is how critics are describing it, but the essential and obligatory efforts of a state’s elected leader  to remove a corrupt and unqualified district attorney who is unfit to serve, corrupt,defiant….and drunk as a skunk.

You can read various eviscerations of the indictment here, here and here; there are many more. So far, I can’t find a respectable legal source that finds the indictment anything better than jaw-droppingly absurd and an abuse of prosecution. Jonathan Chait, a left-ish pundit and far from a Perry fan (much like me, except for the left-ish part), nicely expresses his contempt of the charge here. A short hand version would be that Perry has been threatened with jail based on what he said about vetoing a bill, which seems like a First Amendment violation to me.

The reason for the Ethics Dunce call on ABC is that this morning, the network reported on the indictment of Perry and its effect on his Presidential prospects in 2016 without explaining the reason for the Governor’s actions that the prosecutor is straining to call illegal. A simple, thorough, clear explanation would be sufficient to cause any reasonable reader or listener to cry “What? You’re kidding! That’s not possible!” That explanation, however, was not forthcoming on ABC, and has been missing from other reporting as well. Continue reading

A New “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” For Conservative Politicians? You Wish, Jennifer Rubin…

creationismOne of the Washington Post’s rare conservative columnists has a solution for GOP candidates and office holders whose views on some subjects are likely to make them targets of furious criticism: refuse to express them. She writes in her latest column:

“Not everything is a political issue, nor one on which politicians have any particular insight. Candidates are not asked their views on divorce, for example. Each state has laws on the topic, and one’s religious views aren’t a topic for public debate. It is not (and shouldn’t be) asked of nor answered by politicians…Creationism? Unless you are running for school board and intend to be guided by your religious convictions, it does not matter. Born again? None of my business.

“…[Q]uestions about creationism, gay marriage, the nature of homosexuality and other value-specific questions serve no purpose other than to provide targets for faux outrage. These questions are designed to divide the population into believers and nonbelievers, between those who share the same cultural touchstones and those who differ.

“If a topic has no relevance to public policy or character or fitness to serve, why ask the question and why answer it? We aren’t electing pastors, family counselors or philosophers; we’re electing politicians whose job description and qualifications don’t include a great many topics. If we are heading for a more tolerant society, we have to agree to disagree on some issues and to respect some realm of private opinion and faith. For Republicans running in 2016, I would suggest a simple response to the sort of question intended to provoke divisiveness over irrelevant topics: “I can’t think of a single instance in which [creationism/the origin of homosexuality] would be relevant. I’m not here to sow division or take sides in faith-based debates. Let’s talk about something germane to the presidency.”

Wrong.

Incredibly wrong. Continue reading

Republican Nomination Ethics Points, 1/18/2012

I’m sitting here watching the GOP Final Four debate. Here are some brief ethics observation on a lively day in the race:

  • At the opening gun, Newt Gingrich gave a bravura performance of indignation personified when moderator John King asked him about the looming ABC interview of his ex-wife, Marianne, in which she impugns Newt’s character and claims that he asked her to agree to an “open marriage.” He told King it was a despicable question and said that the issue was not worthy of mention. Good act, but of course the question of character is relevant, and of course Gingrich, who has none, wouldn’t think so. Continue reading

Trump Follies Integrity Test: The Grades Are In!

Today Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann  declined the invitation to participate in the NewsMax debate, moderated by Donald Trump. All the GOP Presidential contenders have now responded to the opportunity accept some television exposure in exchange for playing pawns in Donald Trump’s tawdry manipulation of the media, public attention and the political process for personal promotion purposes.

The Ethics Alarms grades are in for this integrity test,  based on rapidity in assessing the revolting nature of the exercise, clarity in condemning it, and personal integrity demonstrated by the handling of the whole embarrassing stunt.

Here they are:

AJon Huntsman and Ron Paul get the highest grades for declining quickly and for the right stated reason—Trump.

C+: Mitt Romney was the third to  decline, but also told Trump it was for scheduling reasons, losing points for weasel words, or, in the alternative, really not objecting to The Donald. As usual, who knows what Romney really believes?

D : Perry and Bachmann, for waiting until they knew who else was debating. Perry used the same excuse as Romney, and Bachmann declined “respectfully.” That loses points: Trump doesn’t deserve any respect.

D-: Rick Santorum. OK, he should flunk, but he’s desperate, and only a debate with nobody else at it would give him a chance to stand out. He couldn’t resist temptation. I sympathize.

F: Newt. He has no excuses. Or integrity.