Morning Ethics Eye-Opener, 7/22/2019: Boycotts, Bushes, And Weenies

Mornin’!

Just trying to think about ethics while I sit calmly by the phone…my doctor wants to tak to me about something. I’m hoping it’s the Red Sox…

1. There is hope: the latest cable ratings show that CNN’s  Brian Stelter’s slot “Reliable Sources” has lost more about 42% of its audience in the last six months. This indicates people must recognize a fake ethicist when they see one. Unlike his predecessor, Howard Kurtz (who had his own problems), Stelter refuses to focus any media criticism on his own network, which is one of the prime journalism ethics offenders extant, and his obsession with Fox News is nearly Media Matters-like. In short, he’s a biased, partisan hack, highlighted by his risible claim that the news media (and sainted CNN, of course) covered the Mueller investigation objectively.

The rotting American mainstream news media desperately needs  objective, credible qualified critics. What it does not need is a fake authority like Stelter, and it is encouraging to see that the audience is reacting accordingly.

2. A Party of Assholes. This is nice: Here’s the statement issued by Virginia Senate Minority Leader Dick Saslaw, Senate Democratic Chair Mamie Locke, House Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn, and House Democratic Chair Charniele Herring regarding the upcoming commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the Jamestown settlement.

We will not be attending any part of the commemorative session where Donald Trump is in attendance. The current President does not represent the values that we would celebrate at the 400th anniversary of the oldest democratic body in the western world. We offer just three words of advice to the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation: ‘Send Him Back.’

There we see the priorities of the great mass of the Democratic Party since the 2016 election, in which marginalizing the elected President and insulting him (and, not incidentally, his office) at every opportunity for illusory political gain has taken precedence over the best interests of the nation.

I also strongly doubt that the President’s recent deliberately provocative tweets changed anything, as Democrats have been boycotting events where he was scheduled to participate for three years, beginning with his inauguration. They would have found some reason to do this, even without the tweets.

In contrast, at least one Virginia Democrat understands her duty. US Rep. Elaine Luria, a Democrat representing Virginia’s 2nd District, said

I will attend the Jamestown 400th anniversary of the founding of democracy in America because our democracy is not about the President or Congress—as President Lincoln said, “it is a government of the people, by the people, for the people and it shall not perish from this earth.”

I guess they’ll be calling her a racist now…. Continue reading

Comment Of The Day: “Gee, Would It Really Have Been So Hard For Democrats And The News Media To Just …Wow.”

Spartan (“Sparty” to her friends) is a D.C. area lawyer  and professional woman, was well as the mother of girls. Thus her observations on the travails of women in the Halls of Power have special interest.

Here is Spartan’s “Comment of the Day” on post,  Gee, Would It Really Have Been So Hard For Democrats And The News Media To Just To Admit That Rep. Richmond’s ‘The President’s Female Counselor Looks Like She’s Used To Giving Blow-jobs’ Joke Was Wrong, Period? Apparently So. Wow:

I am going to criticize Ms. Conway for a minute, and I hope you all bear with me.

I am a career woman and, in fact, am the breadwinner for my family. Jack’s sister and I probably could exchange endless stories about the challenges of being a successful white collar female. I accept this as a fact in my life and recognize that I am held to a different standard without being bitter or loud about it. I did not wear red and stay home today despite the protest. In fact, I was supposed to be out of the office for meetings all day but deliberately came into the office so there would not be a presumption that I was taking part. I do not wear low cut dresses or stiletto heels. I do not sleep around the office — and never have. Continue reading

Ethics Quote of the Week: Tom Hawking

“It’s not the role of our media and our journalists to shield us from truth; it’s their job to confront us with it. In this respect, the plurality of imagery is both a blessing and a curse, because in the sort of panic that follows an event like yesterday’s bombing, anything could be real. But equally, it’s also the volume of images and coverage — graphic and otherwise — that help us get a clearer picture of reality than we ever did in the days when our opinion was shaped by one journalist and a few photographs.”

—- Tom Hawking in his essay “The Ethics of Disaster Photography in the Age of Social Media,” discussing the controversy over whether graphic images from catastrophes like the Boston Marathon bombing ought to be published by the mainstream media, or should be toned down, edited, or withheld altogether.

Boston Marathon ExplosionHawking’s conclusions are spot-on, and you should read the entire essay here. Obviously horrendous photographs shouldn’t be thrust in readers’ and viewers’ faces; we should all have the opportunity to avoid seeing images we know would upset us. ( I have not looked at any of the graphic images from Boston. The text descriptions are plenty for me, thanks.) Leaving it to editors and journalists to decide how much realism we can stand, however, is folly. To be blunt, there is no reason to trust them. One of the blessings of the web and social media is that the traditional media no longer have the power to withhold information based on their biased and paternalistic judgement, which they are thoroughly unqualified by intellect, education  to render.

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Source and Graphic: Flavorwire (Tom Hawking)

Ethics Alarms attempts to give proper attribution and credit to all sources of facts, analysis and other assistance that go into its blog posts. If you are aware of one I missed, or believe your own work was used in any way without proper attribution, please contact me, Jack Marshall, at  jamproethics@verizon.net.

Dear Laura Ingraham: Shut Up and Read Your Own Book

Laura Ingraham misses the Jetsons. I don't care.

In her 2003 conservative book/rant, “Shut Up and Sing!” radio talk show host Laura Ingraham condemned know-nothing entertainers (among others) who use their popularity to push political views on their audiences and others. I certainly agree with her primary point, which is the expertise and notoriety in the entertainment field does not confer any special perceptiveness in matters of government and social policy, and many, if not most, of the opinions being vocally expressed by these singers, actors and comics are ignorant at best and infantile at worst.

Thus it is puzzling that Ingraham has increasingly been using her radio show, which is supposed to be about politics and current events, to hold forth on the relative value of children’s movies and TV fare in 2011 compared to the films and television programming of the past. To say that she doesn’t know what she’s talking about is being kind. She also is displaying such wretched aesthetic taste and factually mistaken analysis that her comments amount to pundit malpractice. Continue reading

Conservatives, Rotting Children’s Brains On Principle

Why can't today's TV pass on good taste like this to our children?

Perhaps I am over-reacting, but I was recently horrified. Sometimes conservatives allow their ideology to lead them into places that make it impossible to take them seriously, or  to view them as rational and responsible. This is especially true when it comes to the arts.

Yesterday, radio talk show host Laura Ingraham was bemoaning the coarsening of the culture, and the way she feels that television is poisoning the minds of children. She spoke nostalgically about how entertainment in the golden past was family-friendly, and reliably conveyed the values of humor and wit that enriched children’s minds, their taste, and their understanding of “good entertainment.” Those days are no more, Ingraham said. Television is vast slime-pool, and concerned parents can only look to past gems of the comic arts to teach their children “humor and wit.”

So what show did Laura Ingraham, accomplished writer, former Supreme Court law clerk, and author of political satire extol as epitomizing these lost values? What classic TV show’s complete set of DVDs did she reveal that she had given to a colleague so he could save the minds and souls of his children?

“Gilligan’s Island.”

“GILLIGAN’S ISLAND!” Continue reading

Pimping Kim Kardassian’s Little Sis: A New Cultural Norm?

Blogger Joel Schwartzberg asks, “Should 14-year old Kendall Jenner Be Doing a Bikini Shoot?

You ask, “Who the heck is Kendall Jenner?” She is the half-sister of the Kardashian girls, Kim, Kourtney and Khloe, all three of reality show stars, celebrities, paparazzi fodder, and lacking in any discernible talent, wit, or justification for their existence. Kim’s claim to fame is a spectacularly cantilevered derriere, and Kourtney and Khloe are distinguished by the fact that they are related to her. In 21st Century America, this is enough for to get you endorsements, clothing lines, and a place on “Dancing With the Stars.”

Kendall, whose father is former Olympian Bruce Jenner, apparently thought it was time to get into the family business (trash) before his three comely stepdaughters’ 15 minutes of fame ran out, so he and his wife approved a photo shoot of her in a bikini. Continue reading