KABOOM! Harper Collins Tries To Wipe Israel Off The Map

No Israel

The integrity vacuum of some corporations defies the imagination. At least my imagination: this story triggered my first cranial explosion of 2015. ( For an explanation of the KABOOM! category, go here.)

US-based HarperCollins Publishers is is a subsidiary of News Corp, whose executive chairman, media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, is a vocal supporter of Israel. But its British subsidiary, Collins Bartholomew, omitted Israel from the “Collins Primary Geography Atlas For The Middle East,” citing “local preferences.”

Local preferences! Continue reading

Not Funny, Just Hateful, Harmful And Wrong: The New York Post’s Despicable Post-Election Front Page

Post Obama STRIPPED

Yes, I know the New York Post has made an art form of in-your-face, outrageous, I-can’t-believe-they-printed-that headlines and front page shenanigans, epitomized by the deathless classic, “Headless Body Found In Topless Bar.”

Yes, I know that Post is owned by Australian schlockmeister Rupert Murdoch, and yes, I know that the Obama-hating market is large and especially enthusiastic after the Tuesday Night Massacre Democrats just suffered under President Obama’s leadership.

And yes, I know that this is essentially a cartoon via photoshop, and that insisting that the Office of the President must retain its dignity after Bill Clinton got through with it and Democrats en masse declared that it didn’t matter how disgusting a POTUS’s  “personal” conduct was in the White House as long as poll numbers were high and unemployment was low, so come on, Bill: lead our national convention in condemning how Republicans denigrate women!

I know all that. It doesn’t matter. Barack Obama is the President of the United States, and this kind of personal, disrespectful ridicule insults not just him, but the office he holds, the nation, and every citizen of the United States of America. If this front page were published in France or England, I would regard it as an attack and an insult. Where is the line where legitimate editorial criticism becomes vicious, culture-poisoning disrespect and a breach of ethical journalism standards? I don’t know; we can argue about it. Wherever the line is, this is over it, by a lot. Continue reading

If Fox Will Fake A Headline, What Else Will It Lie About?

As part of its coverage of the NFL opener for the Chicago Bears, Fox Sports wanted to use as graphics some news media headlines from last season that questioned Bears quarterback Jay Cutler’s courage and guts in the NFC Championship game, when he left the field with an injury that some felt Cutler should have played through.  It couldn’t find any such headlines, however because there weren’t any. No problem: Fox just had its crack graphics department make some up.

Fox flashed three newspaper headlines across the screen:

Cutler Leaves With Injury
Cutler Lacks Courage
Cutler’s No Leader

Fox announcer Daryl Johnston then told viewers that “these are the actual headlines from the local papers in Chicago.” But one of those local papers, the Tribune, decided to check. There were no “actual headlines” like those, in Chicago, or anywhere else. Caught in an outright misrepresentation, Fox Sports came clean, sort of. Continue reading

Attention FCC: What the News of the World Scandal Reveals About Rupert Murdoch

Rupert Murdoch

Concluding that the News of the World scandal in Great Britain shows that Rupert Murdoch has less than a sufficient reverence for ethics, journalistic or otherwise, is an intellectual achievement well within the powers of Forrest Gump.  Concerns about the integrity of the Australian media magnate have been voiced since he first stuck his kangaroo’s nose in the American media tent. As is too often the case here, legitimate points were minimized by their linkage to political bias: was Murdoch bad for American journalism because he was unethical, or because he was conservative? His most vocal critics, being from the Left, regard the two as the same, which allowed Murdoch to accumulate defenders on the political right who should have been just as wary of his methods and ethical deficit.

Now his flagship tabloid, The News of the World, has folded in the midst of a still-unfolding scandal. You can read details here; the important thing to know is that the tabloid was essentially lawless. Continue reading

Ethics Hero: Fox

Now if you want to see a mad prophet on TV, you'll have to watch "Network." Thank you Rupert, Roger, Fox!

The Fox network, in ending its relationship with Glenn Beck after the expiration of his current contract as it announced yesterday, placed principle over profit. In today’s culture particularly, that is always a welcome development, an ethical one, and deserving of praise.

I can comfortably assign Fox Ethics Hero status and discount the braying from partisan Beck-haters like Media Matters, the shamelessly one-sided “media watchdog” that has declared “war” on Fox because it dares to deliver news from a generally conservative perspective. Beck was not brought down by their attacks, or by the boycotts against him by various interest groups. His show was still one of the most watched current events programs on cable, and Fox was still making money on it. The demise of Glenn Beck’s Fox show was not an example of successful suppression of conservative opinion by the Left. Continue reading

Flunking the Keith Olbermann Test

Every so often there is a news story that exposes the serious deficiencies in the ethics comprehension in the public and the media. The Clinton-Lewinsky scandal was one such story; Major League Baseball’s steroid controversy was another. I confess: I didn’t see the Keith Olbermann suspension for making political donations as having the potential to be another test of ethical competence, but it is. And almost everyone is flunking it.

The facts of the Olbermann incident are deceptively simple. The rant-prone, self-annointed champion of the Angry Left violated an NBC ethics policy that forbade its reporters and commentators from making political contributions, on the theory, absurd when applied to Olbermann,  that it compromises their reputation for objectivity. Olbermann has no objectivity, or reputation for it either. Nonetheless, he intentionally and flagrantly violated his employer’s policy. That alone justifies his suspension, whether or not the policy is idiotic. And it is.

But Olbermann’s fans and critics alike are all over the internet attaching rationalizations and flawed ethical reasoning to the episode. Such as: Continue reading

The Hannity-Fox-Tea Party Connection

When you don’t stop something that is obviously unethical until people start screaming and pointing fingers, the reasonable presumption is that it wasn’t the fact that it was unethical that made you take action, but that you were going to be criticized for it. Thus Fox honcho Rupert Murdoch’s last-second cancellation of Sean Hannity’s appearance at a Tea Party event get no ethics brownie points—in fact, quite the contrary. Continue reading