A Case Study: Here Is Why We Cannot Trust Polls And Pollsters

GARBAGE IN-OUT

The Marist polling organization, which also had a presidential race poll out over the weekend, was widely publicized recently for its poll asking fans of professional sports why they weren’t following them as they had in past seasons. (The NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball have seen significant TV ratings drops in their respective weird, pandemic-marred seasons.) The headlines in one news source after another focused on a single “finding”: the invasion of political posturing by athletes had not played the primary role in driving fans away. “No, the increased political activism in professional sports doesn’t explain the ratings decline,” wrote Yahoo Sports, repeated by AOL. “And no, the sports where that activism is the most pronounced, like the NBA, haven’t suffered more in comparison.”

That may or may not be true, but the Marist poll cited didn’t indicate either of those conclusions, because those polled were not asked about either issue with sufficient precision or clarity.

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Comment Of The Day: “Ten Questions About The Lakewood High School Football Game Incident”

Indoctrination2

Once again, as I can’t resist doing periodically, I’m publishing a dinged comment as a Comment of the Day to illustrate the kind of thinking and debating technique that goes on among the addled, biased, and ethics-free.

This one is from someone with the ironic email handle “rightwing moron” (he is, it seems, a “woke” moron) objecting to the position expressed here that schools must not take political positions and inflict them on their students, parents and football game spectators, because doing so is an abuse of position, function and power, and because those who operate schools are (theoretically) trained as educators, not public policy experts and political scientists, and have no right to engage in indoctrination.  I don’t consider that assessment to be seriously debatable, but I am eager to read intelligent, well-argued, articulate and civil attempts.

This is the first of two comments by whoever this jerk is; both violated Ethics Alarms comment standards. The second was more of the same fallacies and typical emotion-based, ignorant reasoning, so it was sent to Spam Hell. Whoever this was didn’t comprehend the essay in question at all. As is usually the case in such screeds (I get a lot of them), the writer presumes that as long as he, she or it agrees with a political view, it is proper and ethical to unilaterally hijack any activity or function to advance it.

I’ll be back briefly at the end to poke some holes, not because any readers of average intelligence won’t see what’s wrong with this mess on their own, but because I enjoy the excercise, like the way I enjoy walking on bubble wrap. I didn’t clean the rant up the way I edit respectable COTDs, because the lack of care the comment exhibits is of a piece with its quality generally.

Here is the Comment of the Day on the post, Ten Questions About The Lakewood High School Football Game Incident”:

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Ten Questions About The Lakewood High School Football Game Incident

lakewood

A football game at Lakewood High School in suburban Cleveland, Ohio, was intercepted and run into racial politics and partisan grandstanding territory when a voice over the public address system before the game declares that the school would has designated itself an “agent of change” in the battle against “systemic” racism in “society as a whole.”

After the band played the Lakewood alma mater, it then played “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the so-called “black national anthem,” in imitation of the NFL, which is featuring the song this season as part of its official grovel to Black Lives Matter. The announcer added his commentary about how racist the U.S. is, intoning,

 “Let us pause and reflect on the inequality that our nation has faced since its beginning. The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Tamir Rice among others remind us of the systemic racism that persists across so many of our nation’s institutions and society as a whole. By acknowledging, discussing, and taking action to address these inequalities, Lakewood City Schools aims to be an agent of change, not only in our community but in the world. We must all take a stand against racism. Let this be the moment when our children someday look back and say, ‘This is when we stood together for change.’”

Sources confirmed that both the school principal and the band director approved the political kick-off.

Despite receiving many complaints from parents and law enforcement over the stunt, the school reportedly will repeat its BLM-themed ritual in  future football games but will remove the names of those killed in encounters with police. Absurdly, the school will read a tribute to first responders at halftime as part of a “compromise” with law enforcement.

The new revised speech will provide context  for “ the black national anthem” explaining  how “Lift Every Voice and Sing” sets “an atmosphere of reverence for the journey of people of color, gratitude for the selfless sacrifices of their ancestors and for the inheritance of indomitability and resilience. The song recognizes these moments as important to moving forward toward hope and faith for a better future and a better America. The song is universally uplifting and speaks to every group that struggles.”

Here are some questions, rhetorical and otherwise:

1. What would you do if your child was involved in a high school sports contest and the school perverted it into a political demonstration? One father who attended the game said afterwards that he would have walked out…if it were not his son’s senior year. Yeah, those are typical priorities all right. It’s an outrage, but not important enough to teach a child that preserving standards and values is more important than a high school football game.

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Ethics Quote Of The Week: Paul Mirengoff

“Conservative America is disgusted with the NBA, and therefore is tuning it out. We’re disgusted ….with the embrace of the radical BLM movement by the league and its players….My problem was what was allowed, indeed encouraged, during the games. I will not watch any sports event during which the preaching of politics or ideology occurs. I guess I’m not alone.”

—Conservative lawyer and blogger Paul Mirengoff on the Powerline blog, discussing the huge fall-off in TV ratings for the current NBA play-offs.

Mirengoff is wrong to attribute this reaction only to conservatives, however. I have spoken with many sports fans who would not fit that description who are equally disgusted with the professional sports leagues. All of the leagues made a foolish assumption that by embracing the views of many progressive activists, they would at least hold on to the allegiance of  fans who agreed with those positions. ESPN and many sportswriters have made the same mistake., and it’s a stupid one. If I go out to dinner and the service staff bombard me with their political views during the evening, it doesn’t matter if I agree with what they say: I didn’t come to the restaurant to listen to political diatribes.

If you’re wondering about the ellipses, I left out a reference to the NBA’s addiction to China’s money, leading the league to ignore the despicable human rights record and political oppression in that country. That is a conservative complaint, and a valid one, but I doubt it affects NBA play-off ratings one tick.

I haven’t finished my letter to the Boston Red Sox, but I write it as I completely ignore the baseball play-offs as I will through the World Series. I want to make sure the team realizes that if its ugly promotion of Black Lives Matter could alienate me, it is in big trouble in the community. The players need to understand that as well, but it was up to management to tell employees to do what they were paid for, and not use their celebrity to make incompetent and divisive political statements. Continue reading

Mid-Day Ethics Meanderings, 7/22/2020: Relax, The Duke Is Safe.

1 .Another shoe drops: The Boston Red Sox announced that they would “support” any players who chose to kneel during the National Anthem when The Strangest Baseball Season since World War II, when teams fielded 16-year-old infielders and one-armed outfielders, commences tomorrow. The announcement was no surprise, and this team in particular had little choice.

Boston’s AL team is forever viewed with suspicion on race issues because it was the last major league team to break the color line, and because it passed on opportunities to sign some of the early black stars. Last season a visiting player claimed to hear a racist slur hurled his way from the Fenway Park bleachers, and the Red Sox management has been ostentatiously “woke,” cancelling Tom Yawkey  from the Fenway environs  though the team owes its existence to the long-time owner’s beneficence. He was rumored to be a racist, however, and that was enough to justify erasing his name (except from his initials in Morse Code on the scoreboard).

2.  Bad service only matters for drug stores, apparently. State regulators in Oklahoma cited and fined CVS for conditions found at four of its pharmacies, including inadequate staffing and errors made in filling prescriptions. Staffing just about everywhere is unfriendly to consumers—indeed, most stores were understaffed even before the lockdown, now half-lockdown while the teachers extort the country.

Our local CVS, where I have many ethics adventures, now has minimal staff, including in the pharmacy,  because there are so few customers lately. Hilariously, the store’s auto-scan checkout option is one of the features that requires staff: the damn things don’t work half the time, or a staffer has to lead some confused senior through the process.

3. Unfortunately, it’s more difficult than ever to believe sexual harassment allegations. #MeToo so egregiously overplayed its hand and has been so schizophrenic in its standards that I have to look at any high-profile allegations as potentially motivated by politics. In an action that must have been well underway before the Washington Redskins  suddenly caved and agreed to change the team’s name (yet another poll, a new one, has indicated that the vast majority of football fans and Native Americans have no problem with “Redskins”), 15 female ex-employees told The Washington Post that they were sexually harassed while working for the organization. Shortly thereafter, a Fox News staffer and periodic on-air guest filed suit in federal court alleging they had been harassed or raped  by Ed Henry, the Fox News reporter who was fired for “willful sexual misconduct in the workplace,”  The suit also alleges harassment by  Tucker Carlson and Sean Hannity, the latter perpetually on “the resistance’s” hit list and the target of boycotts, and Carlson recently becoming a force as a pundit. Therefore he must be destroyed.

Do I find it hard to believe that the Redskins, or any NFL team, has a culture hostile to female employees? No. Do I think that Fox News has effectively banished its pervasive workplace sexism and misogyny since the forced exits of the late Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly?  Absolutely not. Do I think weaponizing sexual harassment allegations has become a predictable and unethical tactic on the Left, (See: Mathews, Chris) thus making the timing of both of these sets of complants suspicious?

Is Bismark a herring?*

4. More things  now as predictable as they are indefensible. The University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts will remove its John Wayne exhibit as part of the school’s efforts to address “systemic racism” in society with obnoxious, shallow and foolish gestures.

The Duke graduated from USC, of course (he was raised in Iowa), and the justification for his dishonoring was an admittedly dumb interview he gave Playboy in 1971, where he was obviously (to me, anyway, at the time) trolling a liberal and hostile magazine by saying exactly the kinds of things  the Wayne haters expected him to say. (I always assumed he was drunk during that interview.) This move by USC was expected—California, universities: you know, morons. As Spiked noted, Wayne’s importance to the culture and the history of film by virtue of his on-screen portrayals should not be diminished by any interview the actor did.

As an actor and a director,Wayne was careful to portray characters who respected blacks and other minorities as human beings. In “The Cowboys,” for example, he is routinely reprimanded and shown up by his black cook, played by the great Rosco Lee Browne. In many movies, like “McClintock!,” “Hondo” and “Fort Apache,” he demonstrated sympathy and respect for Native Americans; Wayne also prominently featured Chinese-American actor H.W. Gim in his films whenever feasible from 1942 on, notably as his landlord Chin Lee in “True Grit.”

If his character was a racist, Wayne didn’t hesitate to represent racism negatively, as when he opposed his black ranch hand (Woody Strode) learning to read in “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence” because Wayne’s character is hostage to archaic traditions, or when he seems determined to murder his white niece (Natalie Wood) because she has lived with Native Americans and presumably had sex with a chief.

All of John Wayne’s wives were also Mexican, meaning that his four children are “Persons of Color.”

Never mind. Wayne’s legacy and hold on the culture is unbreakable. Just last week I stumbled about four of his films on cable. They’ll get Mt. Rushmore before they shoot down the Duke. [Pointer: Pennagain]

__________________________

*Cultural literacy bonus points for identifying the source.

Ethics Dunce ( And Irresponsible, Grandstanding Jackass): San Francisco Giants Manager Gabe Kapler

Yecch, yuck, ugh, gag, pittooie!

Yeah, I knew it was probably coming, and I even should have been able to guess the team and the manager, but nonetheless, this is nauseating. I assume the craven response from Major League Baseball in the coming days and weeks will be even more nauseating. Great. Welcome back, baseball!

San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler led several coaches and team members as they did a Kaepernick during the National Anthem before their first exhibition game in the Bay Area Monday. And I had just finished my Smithsonian presentation that night explaining why baseball has been a vital unifying influence in communities and the nation throughout its nearly 200 year history. How ironic.

Rookie manager Kapler, coaches Antoan Richardson and Justin Viele  joined players Mike Yastrzemski (Yes, Yaz’s grandson), Austin Slater, and Jaylin Davis in taking a knee, according to NBC Bay Area. Shortstop Brandon Crawford stood between Richardson and Davis, who are both black, and placed his hands on their shoulders in an apparent sign of support.

Although the Giants did not announce before the game against the Oakland A’s at Oakland Coliseum that some members would kneel,  Kapler said he had informed the team of his plans. Then he blathered out his explanation, which while considerably more coherent than what Colin Kaepenick said after the first time he imposed his political views on his team, the game, and spectators were offensive nonetheless.

None of those cardboard cut-out people in the stands would go on the record later, but reportedly they were not pleased.

Here’s Gabe:

“I wanted to share what my plans were and I did that because I wanted them to know that I wasn’t pleased with the way our country has handled police brutality. I told them that I wanted to amplify their voices and I wanted to amplify the voice of the Black community and marginalized communities as well. I told them that I wanted to use my platform to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with the way we’ve handled racism in our country. I wanted to demonstrate my dissatisfaction with our clear systemic racism in our country. And I wanted them to know that they got to make their own decisions and we would respect and support those decisions. I wanted them to feel safe in speaking up, and so we had these kinds of discussions for the last several days and will continue to have them.”

Asked if he and other Giants would continue kneeling, Kapler said, “We’re going to have 60 chances during the regular season to make the same decision that we made today, to either stand or kneel or do something different.”

I can’t wait. Continue reading

Stipulated: The Emancipation Statue Represents White Supremacy. It Still Has To be Protected.

Facts don’t matter to a mob. This is why indulging mobs–ever and at all—is foolish and dangerous. It is also why the current push to remove the Emancipation Statue, also known as the Freedman’s Memorial, has to be resisted, and successfully.

I know a slippery slope when I see one; I think I’ve established that since I saw this particular slippery slope  being greased five years ago. I saw that it would slide right into the Founders and an attempt to separate the United States from its origins and the brave and brilliant patriots who risked everything to attempt this experiment in liberty.

If any statute of Lincoln is allowed to satisfy the mob’s lust for vengeance and power, any memorials and honors to Jefferson and Washington are doomed, including the Washington Monument. As with the less violent and more dignified—but no less dangerous— mobs that destroyed lives and reputations during the Red Scare and McCarthy  era, politically motivated mobs like the Black Lives Matter-catalyzed demonstrators will treat each victory as a green light for escalation. It is astounding that so many supposedly educated people in government, academia, business and the arts have somehow forgotten this fact in their rush to grovel and submit, hoping, as Winston Churchill observed of appeasers, that the crocodile would eat them last.

The attack on America escalated when NFL players began “taking a knee” during the playing of the National Anthem, one of the main symbols of our nation and its values. The players and their spiritual leader, Colin Kaepernick, made incoherent efforts to explain why their disrespect during the Anthem wasn’t aimed at the melody, but at the nation it—well, the racism that—well, they never could manage to explain their logic. That’s because the protest was really aimed at the United States itself. Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Month: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

“We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People. We, the NFL, admit we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest. We, the NFL, believe Black Lives Matter.”

—Roger Goodell, NFL Commissioner, engaging in a mandatory grovel and making no sense whatsoever.

If I had any respect for the National Football League whatsoever, this fatuous, cowardly statement would really bother me. As it is, it’s just more evidence of what I knew already: this is the most cynical, ethics-free sports organization north of the International Cock Fighting Association.

Observations: Continue reading

Afternoon Ethics Inflammation, 6/4/2020: Censorship, Groveling, And Ice Cream

Searching for ethical outrages not related to the George Floyd Freakout,

…..and not having much luck.

1. What does it tell us that so many employees of the New York Times oppose freedom of speech? It’s a rhetorical question. Prominent employees of the New York Times protested because they disagreed with this op-ed by a U.S. Senator:

Opinion writer Roxanne Gay’s argument was typical:

“As a NYT writer I absolutely stand in opposition to that Tom Cotton ‘editorial.’ “We are well served by robust and ideologically diverse public discourse that includes radical, liberal, and conservative voices. This is not that. His piece was inflammatory and endorsing military occupation as if the constitution doesn’t exist.”

Oddly, when Times Op-Ed  writer Bret Stephens called for the abolishment of the Second Amendment, nobody on the Times made the “as if the Constitution doesn’t exist” argument. Moreover, the argument against Cotton in this case is legally dubious to say the least. Whether the Insurrection Act should be used to restore order in riot-torn cities is a separate issue. There is precedent indicating that it can be so used, and even if there was not, Sen. Cotton’s opinion is quite a bit less objectively outrageous than various leftist screeds the Times happily bombards its readers with routinely.

Professor Turley’s reaction: “There is a growing orthodoxy in journalism that is now openly calling for the censorship of opposing views.  It is particularly problematic when opinion writers seek the removal of editors for allowing such opposing positions to be published.” Uh, yes, professor, “problematic.” It is a whole lot more serious than that.  Un-lablable pundit Andrew Sullivan was more assertive, as Turley should have been, tweeting,

The Op-Ed was designed so it offers an opposite view to the Editorial board. Liberals believe that ideas should be open to debate. This should be utterly uncontroversial in a liberal paper….It’s important to understand that what the mob is now doing to the NYT is what they did to Evergreen University. They hate liberal institutions and they want them dismantled from within. These people are not liberal and they are a disgrace to journalism….What’s happening at the NYT is an attempted coup.

Isn’t this inevitable, however? When a news media source regularly manipulates its news and reporting for ideological ends, why wouldn’t its employees eventually lobby for the next step, which is active censorship of views the organization deems “inappropriate”?

2. Note to Drew Brees: If you don’t have the guts to stand up to social media mobs, keep your mouth shut and your social media accounts occupied with football trivia.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees had opposed the NFL kneelers, now back in the news because if they had been permitted to keep grandstanding at NFL games, nobody would have knelt on George Floyd’s neck. Or something—I’m sure there’s a connection in there somewhere—by telling Yahoo Finance in an interview, “I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country….Is everything right with our country right now? No, it’s not,” Brees said, “We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution.”

But then the twitter mob descended, so the big, strong, straight-talking quarterback groveled on Instagram like a little glasses-wearing bot being stomped by a bully, writing on Instagram (accompanied by a nauseatingly pandering graphic of a white hand and a black one grasping each other):

I would like to apologize to my friends, teammates, the City of New Orleans, the black community, NFL community and anyone I hurt with my comments yesterday. In speaking with some of you, it breaks my heart to know the pain I have caused.

In an attempt to talk about respect, unity, and solidarity centered around the American flag and the national anthem, I made comments that were insensitive and completely missed the mark on the issues we are facing right now as a country. They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character.

This is where I stand:

I stand with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support the creation of real policy change that will make a difference.

I condemn the years of oppression that have taken place throughout our black communities and still exists today.

I acknowledge that we as Americans, including myself, have not done enough to fight for that equality or to truly understand the struggles and plight of the black community.

I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the black community in this movement.

I will never know what it’s like to be a black man or raise black children in America but I will work every day to put myself in those shoes and fight for what is right.

I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy.

I am sick about the way my comments were perceived yesterday, but I take full responsibility and accountability. I recognize that I should do less talking and more listening…and when the black community is talking about their pain, we all need to listen.

For that, I am very sorry and I ask your forgiveness.

We know what happened here. Brees’ employers and agent todl him he was jeopardizing his income and market public relations, so he was forced to beg for forgiveness. What are the odds that he wrote that apology himself?

But it’s sure reassuring to know that he stands “with the black community in the fight against systemic racial injustice and police brutality and support[s] the creation of real policy change that will make a difference.” I’m sure he knows what that is, and can answer the 13th question.

3. And while we’re on the topic of the 13th question, here’s what socialist Vermont ice-cream makers Ben and Jerry think is an answer. I’ll break in here and there when I can’t stand it…

All of us at Ben & Jerry’s are outraged about the murder of another Black person by Minneapolis police officers last week and the continued violent response by police against protestors.

Like the good Leftists they are, Ben and Jerry begin with falsity to frame their argument. It is not a murder until due process of law had determined it to be a murder. “Another” is rhetorical dishonesty. Police action against rioters, arsonists and looters is not “violent response.” It is mandatory law enforcement.

We have to speak out. We have to stand together with the victims of murder, marginalization, and repression because of their skin color, and with those who seek justice through protests across our country. We have to say his name: George Floyd.George Floyd was a son, a brother, a father, and a friend. The police officer who put his knee on George Floyd’s neck and the police officers who stood by and watched didn’t just murder George Floyd, they stole him. They stole him from his family and his friends, his church and his community, and from his own future. The murder of George Floyd was the result of inhumane police brutality that is perpetuated by a culture of white supremacy. What happened to George Floyd was not the result of a bad apple; it was the predictable consequence of a racist and prejudiced system and culture that has treated Black bodies as the enemy from the beginning.

This is racist, inflammatory, vicious rhetoric calculated to provoke fear, violence and hate.

What happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis is the fruit borne of toxic seeds planted on the shores of our country in Jamestown in 1619, when the first enslaved men and women arrived on this continent. Floyd is the latest in a long list of names that stretches back to that time and that shore. Some of those names we know — Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Emmett Till, Martin Luther King, Jr. — most we don’t.

Normally I would bail on any article that conflated Emmit Til, who was lynched 75 years ago, and  Martin Luther King, who was assassinated, with Ahmaud Abbery, whose death did not involve police, with Eric Garner, who died in an example of sloppy police work while resisting arrest, with Trayvon Martin, who was killed by a Hispanic man in self -defense and whose death also had nothing to do with police, with Michael Brown. An argument that starts off with such deliberate misrepresentation cannot be respected.

The officers who murdered George Floyd, who stole him from those who loved him, must be brought to justice.

They are arrested and charged, and will stand trial. Or do Ben and Jerry want Emmett Till-style “justice”?

At the same time, we must embark on the more complicated work of delivering justice for all the victims of state sponsored violence and racism. Four years ago, we publicly stated our support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Today, we want to be even more clear about the urgent need to take concrete steps to dismantle white supremacy in all its forms. To do that, we are calling for four things: First, we call upon President Trump, elected officials, and political parties to commit our nation to a formal process of healing and reconciliation. Instead of calling for the use of aggressive tactics on protestors, the President must take the first step by disavowing white supremacists and nationalist groups that overtly support him, and by not using his Twitter feed to promote and normalize their ideas and agendas. The world is watching America’s response.

Translation: Unilaterally submit to our ideological position. Right. Again, this is an unserious argument that is entirely political.

Second, we call upon the Congress to pass H.R. 40, legislation that would create a commission to study the effects of slavery and discrimination from 1619 to the present and recommend appropriate remedies. We cannot move forward together as a nation until we begin to grapple with the sins of our past. Slavery, Jim Crow, and segregation were systems of legalized and monetized white supremacy for which generations of Black and Brown people paid an immeasurable price. That cost must be acknowledged and the privilege that accrued to some at the expense of others must be reckoned with and redressed.

Translation: Reparations! Who didn’t see that coming? Reparations, of course, would do more to exacerbate racial tensions than almost anything I can think of, and again, the idea isn’t serious, because it is politically impossible, and should be. It is a “solution” to justify endless criticism for not adopting it.

Third, we support Floyd’s family’s call to create a national task force that would draft bipartisan legislation aimed at ending racial violence and increasing police accountability. We can’t continue to fund a criminal justice system that perpetuates mass incarceration while at the same time threatens the lives of a whole segment of the population.

Translation: Authentic Frontier Gibberish. It’s meaningless.

And finally, we call on the Department of Justice to reinvigorate its Civil Rights Division as a staunch defender of the rights of Black and Brown people. The DOJ must also reinstate policies rolled back under the Trump Administration, such as consent decrees to curb police abuses.

Police shootings and police involved deaths have declined during the Trump Administration, though the Obama Administration had a completely racialized Justice Department and Civil Rights Division. This is Trump bashing disguises as police advice.

Unless and until white America is willing to collectively acknowledge its privilege, take responsibility for its past and the impact it has on the present, and commit to creating a future steeped in justice, the list of names that George Floyd has been added to will never end. We have to use this moment to accelerate our nation’s long journey towards justice and a more perfect union.

It’s virtue-signaling and dog-whistling without substance.  Like ice cream, it may taste good to many, but there’s little of substance to savor later. The 13th question isn’t even nicked in this screed.

Kneeling Snake Ethics.

PETA is so tone deaf, so irrational, and so devoid of functioning ethics alarms, it is depressing that the group has so much support. (Here’s an Ethics Alarms compendium of some of their unethical misadventures. ) Currently the group is grandstanding—again–by harassing the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, arguing that “Phil” should be replaced with an animatronic groundhog. Whatever. (This is Groundhog Day, you know. This is Groundhog Day, you know.) That nonsense, however, has been superseded by the uproar caused by the obnoxious TV ad above.

After it was rejected by the NFL–I don’t know why: I am very much in favor of letting foolish groups expose their foolishness to the nation and pay a bundle for the privilege–PETA  released it anyway. As you can see, it shows cute animated animals, including a snake, “taking a knee” like Colin Kaepernick and his acolytes  as “The Star Spangled Banner” is hummed in the background. Big mistake.

Heh, heh, heh...

The ad was quickly criticized as stupid, of course, since it is,  for the “kneeling” snake and fish.  Others called it disrespectful to the United States, the National Anthem and veterans.  The Snake Anti-Defamation League sent a venomous letter of protest. OK, that was a joke.

This isn’t: PETA was accused of “appropriating” Kaepernick’s protest against racial injustice and police brutality and attempting to equate black men to animals. This is the group that has argued that the Bill of Rights applies to whales and lower primates, so this shouldn’t be a shock.

The Root took aim and fired: “PETA colonized the Black Lives Matter Movement; disrespected Colin Kaepernick’s protest against injustice, and made a mockery of 400 years of systemic oppression by comparing Black lives to grizzly bears and bald eagles.”

But animals have been abused by humans since the cave men!

Erica Cobb, co-host of Daily Blast LIVE called PETA’s ad “disrespectful,” adding,”Black people already feel like dogs having clean drinking water is more important than black people have clean drinking water.”

The hashtag #PETA is suddenly all over social media, and not in a good way. Anita Sarkeesian, feminist activist, tweeted,

“Not wanting to add more views or attention to PETA but I’m so tired of how consistently their ‘activism’ is deeply oppressive, offensive, and degrading to ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS. Of course, we shouldn’t be cruel to animals but the real oppression of Black folks is not equivalent.”

PETA, not surprisingly since nobody associated with the group seems to have any properly functioning ethics alarms, then started blocking critics on Twitter, but not before trying the Rationalizations known as The Unethical Role Model (#32) and The Hillary Inoculation, or “If he/she doesn’t care, why should anyone else?” (#42) by trotting out Kaepernick himself to say that he doesn’t mind the ad. (Hmmm…should I add a Rationalization called “The Idiot’s Endorsement”?)

It couldn’t happen to a nicer advocacy group.