Tag Archives: Ruth Marcus

For A Respected Newspaper And Its Journalists, Denial Is Unethical

..and so is deceiving readers by 'burying the lede'...

…and so is deceiving readers by ‘burying the lede’…

Nah, there’s no mainstream media bias!

In a spectacular example of doing everything possible to hide bad news (in its view and those of most readers…and me too), the Washington Post this weekend made it difficult to learn the results of its own poll, which showed the horrible result–in the Post’s eyes—that Donald Trump now leads Hillary Clinton 46% to 44%…not a lot, but considering that the margin was 11% just a little while ago, big news. Apocalyptic news.

The Post headline? I have the print edition before me now: “Voters accentuate the negative in poll,” with the section of the story (by Dan Balz and Scott Clement) visible on the front page describing how more voters dislike Clinton and Trump that like them. How is that news? Didn’t everybody know that months ago? It also teases that the candidates are in a “virtual dead heat,” but it takes (Mediaite’s Joe Concha actually counted: Thanks, Joe!) five paragraphs and 219 words to timidly admit what the public has a right to know: Trump is now leading Hillary in the Post’s poll (with ABC).

This is more than burying the lede; this is denial, and competent, responsible, objective journalists cannot ethically engage in denial. Bad or good, the news belongs up-front and headlined, because most people don’t read entire articles. Why did the Post do this? It’s emotional and juvenile, and that’s all it is. This is anti-Trump, pro-Hillary bias crippling news judgment and competent reporting. Balz and Clement can’t help themselves from spinning the poll story to make it sound like it’s really good news for Hillary, writing: Continue reading

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Ethical Quote Of The Week: Washington Post Columnist Ruth Marcus

Frank Costanza

“So when you hear arguments over whether Cruz can be president, don’t worry about the senator from Texas. Think instead about the little girl adopted from China, learning about civics in her second-grade classroom and being told that she can never become president of the only country she has known.”

—-Washington Post editor and op-ed pundit Ruth Marcus, concluding a column titled, “Abolish the ‘natural born citizen’ test”

I love this quote, in no small part because it provides a neat exception to the general rule that an advocate using “Think of the Children!” as an argument is usually as sign that the advocate doesn’t want us to think at all. In this case, however, it is appropriate to think of that Chinese orphan, or my Russia-born son (rather than, say, George Costanza’s Italian born father on “Seinfeld,” who ignored politics on the grounds that he felt unfairly prohibited from running for President, shouting, “They don’t want me, I don’t want them!”), as well as figures like Arnold Schwarzenegger. The requirement for Presidents to be not just citizens in good standing, but “natural born” citizens, is the epitome of a Constitutional provision that once made sense but now does not. Marcus: Continue reading

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Observations On Donald Trump Playing The Bill Card On Hillary Clinton.

dueling_bills_12-30-15-1

Veeery interesting.

After Hillary accused Donald Trump of being a sexist, which, of course, he indubitably is, Trump, who believes that when hit one should hit back twice as hard, immediately pointed out, in his typically clumsy, sloppy but somehow effective way, that for someone married to Bill Clinton to play “the woman’s card” was, shall we say, hypocritical. Then fate took a hand: Bill Cosby finally faced a few bars of music in court, and some journalists and pundits began musing about the differences and similarities between Bill C. and Bill C. (I flagged this problem for the Clintons over a year ago.)

Then elder pundits did some figuring, and realized that a large number of younger voters, the Democratic Party’s base, don’t know very much at all about Monica, Paula, Kathleen, Juanita, Gennifer and Dolly, Bill Clinton’s impeachment, or loss of his law license, in part because the news media has been an active Clinton family enabler for over a decade, and in part because our education system fails to educate. Thus a decisive component of the Hillary cheering section just think of Bill as a revered former President elder statesman, and did not gag, as I did, when this guy of all guys was made the centerpiece of the 2012 Democratic National Convention themed to decry the “war on women.”

But wait! There’s more! When Trump carried his new vendetta to the Today Show, lovely, light-weight, biased co-host Savannah Guthrie revealed herself to be both ignorant and a tool by calling the Monica affair “alleged.”  Mary Bruce on  Good Morning America also referred to Bill’s infamous womanizing as “alleged sexual misconduct and infidelity.” Ignorance or Clinton protecting? Bill’s infidelity is as “alleged” as O.J.’s skills with a knife.

Finally, a feminist, Democrat, usually reliable Clinton ally on the Washington Post editorial staff, Ruth Marcus, Trump is right: “Bill Clinton’s sordid sexual history is fair game.” for Hillary opponents.

Which, of course, it is.

Observations: Continue reading

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“Who Are You Calling A Nut?” And Other Ethics Issues In The Community College Shooting Aftermath (Continued)

I apologize for the length of this two-part entry, but the preponderance of fact- and reasoning-free anti-gun hysteria in the wake of the Oregon shooting has even exceeded Sandy Hook levels, a development I didn’t think was possible. An emotional national reaction to such a tragedy is fine, and natural, as long as it doesn’t stampede policy-makers and make the public dumber and more ignorant than they already are regarding basic rights, the reasons for them, and the limits of law and government. This post and its earlier installment are offered to catalogue, in part, the ethics carnage, and perhaps to save some readers time when they are confronted with a usually sane friend or family member who begins ranting about how “ridiculous” it is that this “problem” hasn’t been “solved” and how it’s all the fault of the NRA and bribed politicians, because if Australia can do it, why can’t we? In my experience, however, the angry anti-gun zealots—yes, you can still be a zealot and talk about “common sense solutions” if they are either not sensible or not solutions—don’t want to hear facts or reason. People have died, guns are bad, and why can’t we stop it? The same people also tend to think we can stop prejudice, poverty, risk, inequality, war, and the effects of mankind living on the planet. They also rank “Imagine” among the most profound songs ever written.

Sigh.

Here are the rest of the points:

V. Another Facebook friend published this chart…

wholechart

…and said that it showed that “states with fewer gun regulations had frequent gun related murders than those with more regulations. It doesn’t show that. It shows, for example, that Vermont, Maine and North Dakota have few regulations and low gun murder rates. I know him well–he’s an honest man. But he saw what he wanted to see, not what was actually on the chart. Meanwhile, everyone “liked” his post.

VI. I know I’ve made this observation before, but it still drives me crazy. I just had another argument over it with my sister, and she hung up on me. Obama and the hoard leaps on this shooting to once again lobby for “common sense” gun controls that most agree wouldn’t have stopped this shooting. There is , I would say, an obvious, ethical and logical disconnect there. If the measures being sought would not have stopped this shooting, why all the angry, “blood on your hands,” “how long will this go on” rhetoric? The clear and misleading message is that the shooting would have or might have been stopped if only, if only, but when the substantive recommendations are listed they have little or nothing to do with the incident itself. Why do smart people tolerate this? The shooter’s father–who, by the way, shares at least as much culpability for the Oregon shooting as anyone, and a lot more than the NRA, gave an interview in which he blamed the shooting on the fact that the law allowed his son to acquire 13 guns: Continue reading

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Hillary Clinton and the E-mails: A Case Study In Ethics Corruption

corrupted

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a couple of days now, but haven’t had the heart. Frankly, I am really sick of having to make the same point about the Clintons over and over again—they never learn, and will never change—knowing that so many people will just immediately turn off their brains and run for the rationalizations dispensary any time dishonesty, hypocrisy, deceit or misconduct by one of them is uncovered.

This happens, you see, because the Clinton are perhaps the most prominent among a particular harmful species of individual in our culture, the ethics corrupter. Ethics corrupters are popular, powerful, successful and famous people who, because they are popular, powerful, successful and famous, many citizens conclude that they must also be good and wise, and therefor trustworthy. Since they are (many believe) good and wise, what they choose to do must also be good, and when they are accused of doing wrong, even when the evidence is unavoidable that they have done wrong, there can be only two explanations to those vulnerable to correuption. The first is that the evidence, no matter how strong, cannot be believed, and those wielding it are in fact enemies of right, good, honesty and fairness. The second is that if these good and wise people did it, then what they did cannot be wrong, or can be justified, usually by “the ends justify the means.”

Thus by gaining the trust and admiration of good people, usually through clever use of dishonesty, deception and manipulation, ethics corrupters set their admirers and supporters up to have their own values weakened or destroyed. Richard Nixon caused honest people to defend the covering up of crimes. Charlie Rangel caused people with integrity to support accepting bribes. Bill Clinton made feminists excuse exactly the kind of sexual harassment they persuaded Clinton to sign a law prohibiting, and inspired lawyers to excuse perjury because “everybody lies about sex.” Lance Armstrong made parents who once taught their children not to cheat to defend cheating, because he had a foundation with a noble cause. Brian Williams and Bill O’Reilly made TV viewers excuse lying by journalists.

Ethics corrupters make their supporters worse parents, friends, employees, employers and human beings; in turn, those corrupted supporters make society less ethical and more cynical as well. These are genuine cultural polluters; indeed, they are cultural pollution.

Hillary Clinton is an ethics corrupter, and the response to the revelations of her use of exclusively personal e-mails proves it beyond the shadow of a doubt.

There is no benign interpretation of her conduct regarding her State Department e-mails. It was not a mistake; one cannot claim that it was accidental. Since it was intentional, there must have been a purpose, and the only conceivable purposes are unethical ones. According to the 2009 National Archives and Records Administration regulations in effect when Clinton took office, “Agencies that allow employees to send and receive official electronic mail messages using a system not operated by the agency must ensure that Federal records sent or received on such systems are preserved in the appropriate agency recordkeeping system.”  With a private e-mail account and only using that for official correspondence, Clinton did not have a system that ensured such preservation. She, not the system, determined what would be preserved. Anything not preserved or left on her private account would not be subject to the Freedom of Information Act. Is there any explanation for having a private account only, an justification that is simultaneously responsible, plausible and does not suggest that Clinton wanted to control which of her communications could come before the public and the press?

No.
Continue reading

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Make Voting Compulsory, Because We Can’t Let THAT Happen Again

It's simple, guys, really: we just drive you to the polling place, and we vote the way we tell you to. Otherwise, you'll be breaking the law."

“It’s simple, guys, really. We just drive you to the polling place, and we vote the way we tell you to. Otherwise, you’ll be breaking the law.”

Well that didn’t take long at all. Engaged Americans who have been paying attention to the mess in Washington decided to defy the news media’s will and ringingly reject the governing philosophies of the last six years, so not-so-secretly-true-blue pundits of the mainstream media came out with their plan to make sure that future elections will be dominated by unengaged, low-information voters who will go to the polls and vote as they are told, or, as it often is in Presidential elections, vote for whoever guarantees them the most benefits or who scares them the worst.

Washington Post editor Ruth Marcus delivered a call for compulsory voting in her column this morning. It is one of the most ethically indefensible columns I have ever read in a respected publication, and remember, I read all the New York Times columns. How anyone can take Marcus seriously after such a revolting demonstration of multi-level ethics blindness is a mystery, assuming anyone does.

To begin with, her partisan motives couldn’t be more obvious, though she denies them. After last night’s carnage was recorded, TV panels across the liberal media spectrum confidently opined that Democrats shouldn’t worry: once those dependable Democratic voters from the “base” show up to vote, as they can only motivate themselves to do in sufficient numbers every four years, all of this unpleasantness will go away in 2016. “Ah HA!” thinks Marcus. If we force those easily manipulated, self-interested, group-identifying, naive, uneducated, ignorant and easily frightened voters ( Republicans will take away your Social Security! Your food stamps! Your contraceptives! Your children will be shot in school! “They’ll put y’all back in chains!”) to come out every two years, we won’t have to endure elections like this at all! ( Over at the New York Times, a leftist scholar who saw the writing on the wall right before the election proposed another solution to the same problem: eliminate mid-terms altogether.) Continue reading

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Ethics Dunce: Monica Lewinsky

Under that bus is Monica Lewinsky, and it wasn't Matt Drudge who threw her there.

Under that bus is Monica Lewinsky, and it wasn’t Matt Drudge who threw her there.

It truly pains me to have to write anything negative about Monica, who was exploited and humiliated by a President of the United States, and had her life permanently derailed because she trusted and even loved a rogue who regarded her as little more than an animated sex toy. Her re-emergence now, however—yes it is sad and desperate and makes me furious at Bill Clinton all over again—in the new guise of a “cyber-bullying” victim is intolerable, a delusion on multiple levels, despicable blame-shifting, and a welcome weasel-out of-accountability-free card for the Clintons. Yeccch.

I’m sorry for what happened to you, Monica, but you’re 40 now: it’s time to start seeing life more clearly—especially your own and the reasons why you are in the mess you are.

“Overnight, I went from being a completely private figure to a publicly humiliated one. I was Patient Zero,” Lewinsky said in a speech Monday to Forbes’s Under 30 Summit in Philadelphia. “The first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet.”

It has to take a near-fatal injection of self-serving historical air-brushing for the ex-intern to say this with a straight face, and it tells us volumes about the audience that it didn’t start throwing tomatoes:

  • She wasn’t a “completely private figure.” She was a woman having a sexual affair with the President of the United States while he lied about it—to his wife, his staff, and under oath (I haven’t covered all of the lying, either.) That makes her an individual who is engaged in conduct with tremendous public and official consequences who is only “private” because a powerful official is using his power to make it so. The proper term is “inevitable public figure waiting for the dam to break.”
  • The reason for her humiliation was and is William Jefferson Clinton, and no other. He is the one who described her as “that woman,” while denying what was true. He is the one who made his relationship with her part of a legal record while he was trying to avoid the consequences of another “bimbo eruption,” as his long-time “fixer” liked to call them.

Continue reading

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