Well, I Guess There’s No Way Around It: Considering The President’s Fake News Awards

I don’t really care what the President says is fake news. What matters on Ethics Alarms is what I decide is fake news. His much ballyhooed list of fake news items ignore that many inexcusable examples that have nothing to do with him, like various stories designed to impugn conservatives and normal people because journalists think they are stupid, or intentionally misleading headlines, or when reporters sneak false characterizations into their “news stories” as facts, or publishing gossip as fact using anonymous sources,  or passing along falsity in the course of reporting a related matter, as in this instance, when NBC’s reporter said, “President Donald Trump returned to one of his most derogatory insults Friday, referring to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas” — a jab at her Native American ancestry.” (Psst! NBC! Senator Warren has no Native American ancestry.)

However, Ethics Alarms is duty bound to assess the President’s “2017 Fake News Awards,” which he released last week.

No, I don’t believe he should be releasing such awards. It’s beneath the Office,  and he isn’t Seth Myers. (If there were a a fair, satirical comic who made any attempt at partisan balance, this would be a good gimmick for him or her. There isn’t. That’s another problem.) Here is the list, with comments from me:

#1. “The New York Times’ Paul Krugman claimed on the day of President Trump’s historic, landslide victory that the economy would never recover.”

Comment: Ugh. Signature significance for bad staff work and stupidity: the very first item isn’t fake news, wasn’t news at all, and didn’t even occur in 2017.  On election night in 2016, Krugman stated a prediction and an opinion, and made as ass out of himself. That’s certainly not news. So right off the bat, we know that the 2017 “Fake News Awards” are more about using these items as an excuse to trumpet Trump’s successes.Got it.

If I didn’t have to, that would be sufficient to make me stop reading, or caring.

#2. “ABC News’ Brian Ross CHOKES and sends markets in a downward spiral with false report.”

#3. CNN FALSELY reported that candidate Donald Trump and his son Donald J. Trump, Jr. had access to hacked documents from WikiLeaks.

Comment:  #2 and #3, both covered on ethics alarms, are the crown jewels of the fake news collection, among the  hundreds that shredded the mainstream media’s reputation for trustwortiness durin the year.  For the Whataboutists out there—and you know who you are!—these two alone destroy the “But Fox News was just as unfair to Obama!” baloney. In 8 years, no story broken by Fox were as unforgivable as Ross’s bombshell claim that Brian Ross went live on ABC last week and announced the fake news story that then-candidate Donald Trump had instructed Michael Flynn to make contact with the Russians, that smoking gun that all “the resistance” had been searching for, dreaming about, wishing were out there. It triggering a massive stock market sell-off. Seven hours later, ABC sheepishly admitted that it was President-elect Trump who had made the request of Flynn, which is called “being President.”    Ross was suspended for four weeks without pay, and ABC said he wouldn’t be trusted to cover the President any more. This itself was outrageous: if he’s so biased that he can’t cover the President, Ross is too unprofessional to be a journalist at all, certainly at ABC News. (Maybe for the Hooten Holler Gazette.) So far, Ross has yet to resurface, though his exile was supposedly up.
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More Evidence That Nobody Gives A Damn

If you can’t rely on quality control and professionalism at a major league baseball park, then the end is nigh.

At San Francisco’s AT&T Park Wednesday night, the batter’s box was apparently drawn by a drunk groundskeeper, and looked like this….

Bad field


…when it’s supposed to look like this, which is to say, with straight lines:

Batters box


Nobody noticed…not the players, not the umpires, not the managers. Oh, the broadcasters mentioned it, but even though the chalk did not meet the regulation requirements, no effort was made to put it right. On The Blaze, which picked up the story from Yahoo Sports, the baseball-dense commenters’ general response was “Who cares?”  Yeah, keep that attitude up, bozos, it’s probably how you do your job too.

Fans pay from $45 to $100 bucks a ticket for games at big league baseball stadiums, and the clubs rake in many millions of dollars. A batter’s box like that is the equivalent of a new Lexus with a rattle, a 5-star restaurant that never can serve a souffle before it falls, a public school teacher who says “ain’t,” nurses who don’t wash their hands and a Congress that can’t pass a budget. It’s unprofessional. It’s an insult to the consumers. It demonstrates incompetence, laziness, poor training and bad management. And if we tolerate it, the attitude will spread and get worse.

Yes, it’s “only” the chalk lines of a batter’s box. But that’s not the way they are supposed to be, and “professional” is supposed to mean that the way things are supposed to be is the way they will be.

Does anyone in this country know that any more?


Sources: The Blaze, Yahoo!


Sorrell v. IMS Health: Legal, Ethical, and Unjust

The case of Sorrell v. IMS Health, which the Supreme Court decided yesterday, sharply focuses the philosophical disagreement over the role of the courts in public policy. The legal question was rather straightforward; the ethical issues are complex. Is it the Court’s duty to make bad—but constitutional— laws work, or is its duty to follow the laws, and leave it to the legislature to fix their flaws?

This was a case about incompetent  lawmaking. Gladys Mensing and Julie Demahy had sued Pliva and other generic drug manufacturers in  Louisiana and Minnesota over the labels for metoclopramide, the generic version of Reglan. The drug, used to treat acid reflux, had caused them to develop a neurological movement disorder called tardive dyskinesia. None of the generic drug’s manufacturers and distributors included warnings on the labels about the danger of extended use of the medication, even though the risk was known to them. Neither did the manufacturers of the brand-name drug. The problem was that the state statutes required generic drug manufacturers to included warnings about dangerous side effects, while federal regulations required generic drugs to carry the exact same label information as their brand name equivalent.  Continue reading

Integrity, Rep. Mark Kirk, and the Citizen’s Duty to Pay Attention

The defenders of G.O.P. Rep. Mark Kirk, who has been caught in more than one misrepresentation of his achievements, will argue (as such people always do) that these “mistakes” are simply campaign gotchas that tell voters nothing about what really counts, which is how he will perform when he is elected, as he hopes he will be, a U.S. Senator from Illinois.

In fact, a candidate who lies about his past honors and job history, as Kirk has, cannot be trusted. He continues to show voters that quality, or lack of quality, as this incident, reported in several sources, proves. From The Plum Line: Continue reading

Mark Kirk’s Misrepresentations: When Twice Is Too Many

Mark S. Kirk, the Republican candidate for that troublesome Illinois Senate seat (the one Rod Blagojevich tried to sell, the one Roland Burris lied to get) was caught in perpetrating some credential-inflating on his curriculum vitae when it was discovered that what he had long claimed was an award bestowed on him for outstanding service as a military intelligence officer was really a group award for his whole unit, and, in fact, someone else had received the honor he claimed as his own. Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Mark Levin

Despite his on-air persona as a real-life version of the old SNL John Belushi bit on “Weekend Update” in which his rant on some issue always ended with him convulsing and hurling himself to the floor, Mark Levin is an attorney of some note, a scholar, and theoretically a couple of evolutionary steps above the typical right-wing radio screamer. Yet tonight he began yelling about how hypocritical it was for the Obamas to be preaching healthy life-styles “when his own doctor told him to stop drinking so much!” Now, that is simply untrue, as Ethics Alarms and others have thoroughly documented. Obama’s medical report did not recommend that he “moderate his drinking” as the Drudge Report erroneously reported, but rather recommended “moderation in alcohol intake,” which is boilerplate language for “a drink now and then is OK.” Even though the Drudge smear, accidental of not, made the rounds of the virulent Right media, there had been plenty of time to get the facts right, especially for someone like Levin, who is always mercilessly slamming Democrats for sloppy research and dishonest facts. Continue reading