Fordham, Marquette and Brown Revoke Bill Cosby’s Honorary Degrees

Good.

They want the robe back too, Cos...

They want the robe back too, Cos…

From a Brown University release last week:

“It has become clear, by his own admission in legal depositions that became public this summer, that Mr. Cosby has engaged in conduct with women that is contrary to the values of Brown and the qualities for which he was honored by the University in 1985. On Friday, September 25th, the University’s Board of Fellows held its first regularly scheduled meeting since that information became available. The Fellows deliberated and determined to revoke and rescind the honorary doctorate conferred upon Bill Cosby by Brown University.”

This was the right thing to do, and the three universities—Fordham and Marquette had beaten Brown to the dishonoring of Cosby by a few days— all deserve praise for doing it. No, this verdict isn’t inconsistent with my post condemning Disney’s decision to remove Cosby’s bust in its Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame Plaza. I made it very clear that the problem with that decision was that it involved withdrawing an honor that had nothing do with Cosby’s character, and was one that was earned and still warranted: Continue reading

Legally Competent, Ethically Bankrupt: The Zealous, Despicable Monique Pressley, Esq.

cosby-women-new-york-magazine-w724

Bill Cosby’s lawyer Monique Pressley decided to become a hybrid attorney-publicity agent yesterday, and in doing so provided an impromptu seminar on why people hate lawyers, and often should. She was carefully spinning and dissembling on behalf of her client without breaching the ethics rules against lying, parsing words and phrases with skill and deftness, all in the service of a serial sexual abuser and perhaps the greatest hypocrite pop culture has ever produced.

Brava!

Also, Yeeccch!

The impetus for her media spin tour, for that is all it was, is the New York magazine issue that features the stories of 35 of Cosby’s accusers. First Pressley told CNN’s Ashleigh Banfield that the women were comparable to a lynch mob: Continue reading

Journalism Ethics Reality Check: What The Entire News Media Did To Darren Wilson With Dorian Johnson’s “Hands Up” Story Is EXACTLY Like What Rolling Stone Did To UVA With “Jackie’s” Rape Account, Just Worse.

Am I the only one who sees this?

Two train wrecks, same track...

Two train wrecks, same track…

I discern that I was too subtle—imagine that!when I wrote,

In light of all this, it seems that women really have done a relatively poor job at intimidating the left-biased media as well as its progressive pundits and elected officials. If they had sufficiently pressured journalists into believing that to challenge their accounts of rape, substantiated or not, was proof positive of malicious animus, like the civil rights machine has regarding narratives of police racism, they could depend on much of the media continuing to repeat the Rolling Stone account as truth even if it is completely discredited. This is, after all, what we are witnessing right now, as the recent grand jury decision in the Eric Garner death has allowed columnists, reporters, and broadcasters—and thus protesters and politicians—to continue to represent what happened to Michael Brown as if Dorian Johnson’s discredited description of his friend’s death was fair, accurate and unbiased.

So let me be clear….

We are told the the news media is furious with Rolling Stone over its discredited and anonymously sourced gang rape accusation against the University of Virginia’s chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Why is it not similarly critical of itself for publicly and far more widely accusing a single, named Ferguson police officer, Darren Wilson, of a race-motivated, cold-blooded execution of an unarmed man based on the allegations of Dorian Johnson? They are, from a journalism ethics perspective, equally irresponsible and unprofessional, and predictably more harmful. It is, we can stipulate, worse for a police officer to be accused of first degree murder than for unnamed members of a fraternity to be accused of rape.

Note:

1. Both Rolling Stone and the mainstream media were eager to accept the stories being told as fact because of their own ideological biases.

Rolling Stone is committed to the current campaign of the left to portray college campuses as perpetuating a “rape culture.” The mainstream media, as it had already proved in its slanted and incompetent coverage of Trayvon Martin’s death and the trial of George Zimmerman, is a shameless ally of the cynical Democratic Party’s tactic of representing the nation as racist. Continue reading

Unethical Tweet Of The Month (Or Eternity?), “Jackie’s” UVA Gang Rape Ethics Train Wreck Division: Melissa McEwan

Melissa McEwan's profile photo. I'm not going to say a thing. No, really. Not a thing.

Melissa McEwan’s profile photo. I’m not going to say a thing. No, really. Not a thing.

“I can’t state this more emphatically: If Jackie’s story is partially or wholly untrue, it doesn’t validate the reasons for disbelieving her.”

Melissa McEwan,  feminist proprietor of @Shakestweetz, an-all tweet blog, responding to the meltdown of the Rolling Stone story accusing a University of Virginia fraternity of gang rape.

Look, I’m not going to insult you by explaining what’s wrong with the assertion that those accusing others of horrific crimes shouldn’t be held to strict standards of credibility.

What is more significant than McEwan or her tweet is that this frightening and dangerous state of denial is moving from the status of self-evidently insane to acceptable. As I suggested in the previous post about the Rolling Stone retraction of its explosive story by Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the Ferguson demonstrators, the “Hands up!” protestors, the Congressional Black Caucus, and  pundits like Eugene Robinosn who are still arguing that Officer Wilson should be indicted are doing essentially the same thing. Having decided that the Ferguson narrative pressed by civil rights activists communicated a deep truth about America, they refuse to accept that it was false even in the face of overwhelming evidence because they are intellectually and emotionally committed to that “truth.”

The tweet also forces me to upgrade the Rolling Stone fiasco to Ethics Train Wreck status. Continue reading

The “Rolling Stone” UVA Gang Rape Botch

Student protest against campus rape at UVA. And if the rape didn't happen? Take a cue from the "hands up!" crowd: keep protesting. The news media won't notice.

Student protest against campus rape at UVA. And if the rape didn’t happen? Take a cue from the “Hands up!” crowd: keep protesting! The news media won’t notice.

Hardly making it to the headlines (except where I live) is the latest example of 1) irresponsible journalism and 2) the results of the Obama administration threatening colleges with sanctions of they don’t presume every male student accused of sexual assault is guilty.

On Nov. 19, Rolling Stone published a sensational report—sensational, mind you—by reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely, telling the tale of a vicious  gang rape at the  Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Virginia. The victim and the source of the story, a young woman called “Jackie,” said that in 2012 she was forced into a room in the fraternity  and raped by seven men, as her date and another man  cheered her assailants on.

In response to the uproar triggered by the story, the university, which was loathe to be a target of investigations and sanctions by the Obama administration if they did not act with appropriate haste and severity,  suspended all the campus fraternities until January as the media went into a feeding frenzy. Meanwhile, the alleged crime is under investigation by local police. [UPDATE: Here is a call to suspend the UVA President Teresa A. Sullivan:  “Her decision was arbitrary, rash and wrong. Even Delta House got some semblance of a trial in the movie, ‘Animal House.'” I do not disagree.]

Several journalists diplomatically raised questions about the account, especially the fact that the story was often phrased in terms that left  no hint that these were allegations only. In an environment where the party in control of the White House maintains that any hesitation to regard a rape accusation as inherently reliable is proof of a “war on women,” one unnamed woman’s  unconfirmed accusation presented as truth by a female reporter was sufficient to trigger adverse consequences for male UVA students with remarkably little reflection: this was unfair, an example of punishing all the horses because someone said that one of them left the barn.

It should be no surprise that the other shoe has dropped. Continue reading

Ethics Heroes: 28 Harvard Law Professors

Campus sex is returning to the '50's....the 1850s.

Campus sex is returning to the ’50’s….the 1850s.

In 2011, the Obama Administration threatened universities with a loss of funding if they did not adopt a new “preponderance of the evidence” standard in evaluating alleged student sexual assault and sexual harassment. This was, few doubt, a sop thrown to the combative feminists among the Democratic base, those who detect a culture-wide “war on women” and who seek to cast co-eds as imperiled naifs even as the proclaim themselves the equals of men. Within three years this really bad idea has metastasized into the Campus Sexual Assault Witch Hunt Ethics Train Wreck, which would be getting more media attention but for the fact that the world is falling apart in chunks. Among its weirder effects is the proliferation of new “yes means yes” regulations, effectively taking all spontaneity, romance and fun out of sex, all in the service of dubious and cynically employed campus rape statistics. Take this, for example:

“Consider the sexual consent policy of California’s Claremont McKenna College, shared almost verbatim with other schools such as Occidental College in Los Angeles. Paragraphs long, consisting of multiple sections and subsections, and embedded within an even wordier 44-page document on harassment and sexual misconduct, Claremont’s sexual consent rules resemble nothing so much as a multilawyer-drafted contract for the sale and delivery of widgets, complete with definitions, the obligations of “all” (as opposed to “both”) parties, and the preconditions for default. “Effective consent consists of an affirmative, conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed upon (and the conditions of) sexual activity,” the authorities declare awkwardly. The policy goes on to elaborate at great length upon each of the “essential elements of Consent”—“Informed and reciprocal,” “Freely and actively given,” “Mutually understandable,” “Not indefinite,” “Not unlimited.” “All parties must demonstrate a clear and mutual understanding of the nature and scope of the act to which they are consenting”—think: signing a mortgage—“and a willingness to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way,” declare Claremont’s sex bureaucrats.”

Cheers, then, are due to 28 Harvard Law professors, who authored and signed a letter protesting Harvard University’s capitulation to the Obama Administration’s blackmail and urging the University to reject the new standards:

Some highlights: Continue reading

The Campus Sexual Assault Witch Hunt Ethics Train Wreck, Complicated By The Fact That The Witches Are Real

"Wait...are you raping me, or am I raping you?"

“Wait…are you raping me, or am I raping you?”

There is no question that there are sexual predators on college campuses, or that some colleges let them get away with raps on the knuckles for sexual assault or worse. There is also little question, though various parties and activists deny it, that what constitutes genuine sexual assault and even rape has been so thoroughly politicized and muddled by irresponsible rhetoric, dubious statistics and cynical political maneuvering that addressing the problem of actual campus sexual assault is becoming impossible without harming, indeed destroying, the innocent in some cases.

At Stanford, women are rallying for a more stringent process and harsher punishment after student Leah Francis protested in an e-mail to the campus that she had been “forcibly raped” by a fellow student and he was permitted to graduate. Of course, Stanford didn’t find the she had been raped: her assailant was found guilty of sexual assault. The loose use of “rape” to describe sexual assault for political purposes is one of the reasons universities seem incapable of finding a satisfactory balance in handling such cases. At the risk of getting ahead of the post, I would say this: if it is alleged to be rape, then turn the matter over to the police and the justice system. Schools are not allowed to use internal procedures to investigate and punish murder; it makes no sense to permit them to do so with the serious crime of rape. The fact that the standards of proof and the requirements of due process are less stringent in a campus procedure is what simultaneously leads to inadequate sanctions for the guilty and railroading of the innocent. The solution to this problem has always been available: treat allegations of campus rape like any other kind of rape.

Unfortunately, colleges are often in thrall to the political agendas of feminists and their allies, so “rape” can mean many things, as can “sexual assault.” In the casual, morality-free sexual atmosphere now not merely tolerated but nurtured on college campuses, lines of consent are blurred, and missteps are inevitable. At the same time, the permissive sexual environment is a playground for predators, exploiters and manipulators. How are the genuinely culpable sexual assailants to be distinguished from the clumsy, the confused, the misled, or the drunk and overly aroused? Continue reading

The Times Square Kiss, and Feminist Blogs’ Fanatic Crime Against Joy

The blog posts at issue make me angry. Usually it is silly to be angry about mere opinions, I know. However, the opinion registered by “Lori” on the blog Feministing, taking her cue from another feminist blogger, is a symptom, a symptom of the scourge of pernicious, political-correctness zealots, who refuse to recognize the important distinctions between malice and human beings being human, and seek to wipe out that distinction by distortion, sophistry, historical revisionism and bullying.

The bloggers’ target is an iconic photograph from the heart of American history: LIFE photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt’s shot of an American sailor kissing a nurse on August 14, 1945, in a moment of jubilation on Victory over Japan Day in the heart of New York City. Ah, but all is not as innocent and blissful as it would appear. Some historians think they have finally confirmed the identities of the mysterious couple (the photographer never identified his subjects) as Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental nurse at the time, and George Mendonsa, a sailor. [Despite the assertions of the bloggers and the historians, we can never know for sure. There were apparently many similar pairings that day, and several couples have credibly claimed to be those kissing through the decades.] Greta was recently interviewed, and noted that that she was just grabbed by a sailor she didn’t know and kissed. “That man was very strong. I wasn’t kissing him. He was kissing me,” Greta told interviewers.

Ah HA! declare the feminist bloggers. Don’t you see, you addled, male-culture dominated, female-subjugating fools? This wasn’t a pure expression of joy in the long-awaited  end of a world conflict that had killed millions and laid waste to much of the planet! Oh, no! The famous photo was something dark and sinister: Continue reading

The University of Montana, Campus Rape, and the Penn State Disease

The Justice Department is investigating this issue, so I am hardly going to get to the bottom of it in a blog post. But there is obviously a rape and sexual assault problem at the University of Montana, and to conclude that the administration is a large part of the problem doesn’t take much of investigation. This certainly appears to be a school suffering from the Penn State disease, in which the values of the institution place public relations, spin and, once again, football above the welfare of past, present and future victims.

Let us just begin with this salient fact:  and President Royce Engstrom still has his job. In February, a student who was a Saudi national was accused in two campus incidents, one involving a rape, and another involving sexual assault. Records show that the first action taken by the administration, in the person of now-retired UM Dean of Students Charles Couture, was to alert the accused, advise him, and suggest that he get out of Dodge before he could be arrested—which he did, fleeing to Saudi Arabia. The police didn’t learn about the complaints for a week, and by then the alleged student rapist was long gone. Then Engstrom had the jaw-dropping gall to tell the press that this was a good thing, and that his staff had acted in a “timely” and “appropriate” fashion. “We can let people know we have dealt with these (alleged assaults) and that particular perpetrator is gone,” Engstrom said.

In a word, unbelievable. Continue reading

Ethics Dunces: Belvedere Vodka and Arnell

“Ethics Dunces” doesn’t really do these two organizations justice. Try “too dumb to live” and “too unethical to be trusted with sharp objects.”

Or vice-versa.

Marketing whizzes Arnell devised this hysterically funny vodka ad for Belvedere Vodka, showing a happily horny man sexually assaulting a terrified female victim. What fun! And such a witty tag line: “Unlike Some People, Belvedere Always Goes Down Smoothly.”

Goes down, get it?

It took about an hour after this juvenile, rape-friendly offal was posted on Twitter and Facebook for there to be such a negative reaction that even the bombed cretins at the vodka company were able to figure out something was wrong. So they pulled the ad, and apologized, kind of, tweeting,

“We apologize to any of our fans who were offended by our recent tweet. We continue to be an advocate of safe and responsible drinking.”

Uhhhhhhno. “We apologize to those who were offended”–a non-apology apology. Ethics strike two. “We continue to be an advocate of safe and responsible drinking”—what? These idiots still didn’t understand what they were supposed to be apologizing for!!!   Ethics Strike THREE! Continue reading