Quick United Ethics Plane Wreck Passenger Addition: The Journalists And Others Smearing Victim David Dao

Which one is David Dao? What is he like? What has he done? IT DOESN’T MATTER…

I had to post this as soon as a comment on the original post mentioned recent revelations about the abused passenger on—and then off–  United Flight 3411 yesterday.

David Dao (that’s his name) will naturally be the object of research by the news media, because he’s now a public figure and they are overwhelmingly scum. However, whatever exposure his past and present receives as a result of his unwelcome celebrity due to a United employee fingering him for no particular reason as a passenger to sacrifice to solve problems of the airline’s own making, none of it has any relevance to the episode. There is no justification for further injuring Dao by invading his privacy. It is a cruel and unethical thing to do. It is unethical journalism, because the details of the doctor’s life do not contribute anything to an understanding of the story and the issues that the conduct of United raises.

Never mind! This is the Paul Newman film “Absence of Malice” crossed with “Airplane”—an innocent bystander is swept up in a controversy, and as a result is embarrassed before the world because journalists never consider the Golden Rule, and seldom care about fairness, decency, compassion or the consequences of what they publish. “The public has a right to know,” they posture. Really? Why does the public have any right to know about Dao, besides what they see on the YouTube videos?

TMZ, a bottom-feeding celebrity site,  first dug up Dao’s history, posting a click-bait headline.  The Courier-Journal, a Kentucky affiliate of USA Today, then piled on with a story about the “doctor with [a] troubled past.’  The New York Daily News,  The New York Post, The Washington Times, The Chicago Sun Times, D.C.’s ABC affiliate  and People Magazine all joined the fun, the game being “Let’s see if we can further embarrass and humiliate this man, because United didn’t do enough already.” People’s expose was titled “Revealed: All About the Doctor Dragged Off Overbooked United Flight — and His Troubled Past.”

Did I mention that the woman whose life is put on the front page in “Absence of Malice” kills herself? (Melinda Dillon received an Oscar nomination for the role.) Continue reading

From The “The Ends Justifies The Means” Files, Election 2016 Tab: Why Does Hillary Clinton Think That It Is Responsible, Respectful And Fair To Intentionally Deceive Voters With Schemes Like This?

And why does the mainstream news media think it is ethical to let her get away with it?

A YouTuber named Spanglevision decided to do the job that the mainstream news media has resolved to forgo, checking up on a suspicious Hillary Clinton campaign moment that seemed to good to be true. 

At a Hillary Clinton town hall yesterday in Haverford, Pennsylvania, a 15 year old girl was supposedly chosen at random to ask a question of her own devising. She delivered a carefully worded query that she read from a script:

“Hi Madam Secretary.  I’m Brennan and I’m 15 years old.  At my school, body image is a really big issue for girls my age.  I see with my own eyes the damage Donald Trump does when he talks about women and how they look.  As the first female president how would you undo some of that damage and help girls understand that they’re so much more than just what they look like?”

Clinton responded,

“I’m so proud of you for asking that question. You are right — my opponent has just taken this concern to a new level of difficulty and meanness.  And, it’s shocking when women are called names and judged solely on the basis of physical attributes.* My opponent insulted Miss Universe. I mean, how do you get more acclaimed than that?  But, it wasn’t good enough. So we can’t take any of this seriously any more. We need to laugh at it. We need to refute it. We need to ignore it. And we need to stand up to it.”

Investigation yielded the fact that  that the “random” participant was child actress Brennan Leach Her father is Pennsylvania democratic State Senator Daylin Leach, a Hillary Clinton ally. Brennan has performed in her father’s campaign ads, and also in a commercial release: she has an entry in the Internet movie data base.  Thus it was a lie to present the girl as a randomly chosen questioner, and it was a lie to create the illusion that Clinton was answering a spontaneous question.

Then the news media took the falsely presented episode and spread the lie far and wide as truth.

As Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge illustrates, the fakery was presented as authentic by the New York Times….

https://static01.nyt.com/video/players/offsite/index.html?videoId=100000004690624

 

CNN, which gave us the video at the top of this post, and many others, including  The Washington Post, New York Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan. Continue reading

Trump’s Taxes

trump-taxes

“The New York Times obtained records from 1995 showing that Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss. The figure is so substantial that it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying federal income tax for 18 years,” exclaimed the New York Times in today’s big “scoop.”

Observations:

1. The New York Times should not be publishing anyone’s tax returns who has not publicly released them. It’s unethical. They Times has the right to print just about anything, or course, but like all newspapers, it is obligated to exercise that right responsibly and fairly. This is neither. Tax returns are private. These tax returns reveal no crime, and nothing unethical on Trump’s part.

2. Nor does the public have a “right to know” Trump’s taxes. It has a right to trust Trump less than otherwise because he refuses to release his taxes, and has a right to think less of Trump for not following the recent accepted practice of candidates to release their tax returns. The public has no more right to see his tax returns without his consent, however, than it has a right to see mine.

3. What Trump’s taxes “could” have allowed him to do isn’t news. Nor is it responsible speculation.

4. This tax expert argues persuasively that it is highly unlikely that the returns mean what the Times says they do. Either way, it is all innuendo and speculation.

5. Federal law makes it illegal to publish an unauthorized tax return: Continue reading

Assessing The Clinton Testimony On Benghazi

Hillary testifies

In the end, we either learned something worth learning, or we didn’t. It comes down to how important one thinks it is to know that your government lies to you, and to know that a party’s Presidential candidate is a liar as well.

Early in the questioning yesterday, Hillary Clinton was confronted with previously unrevealed e-mails showing that within hours of the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, she emailed her daughter, Chelsea, and said that Americans had died at the hands of “an al-Qaeda like group.”   Clinton also informed Egypt’s prime minister and Libya’s president that the attacks were “preplanned” and “had nothing to do with” an anti-Islamic video posted on YouTube.

Days later, Clinton told the American public and families of the Benghazi victims that a YouTube video incited protesters in Benghazi and spontaneously launched assaults.

Why had the e-mails not been unavailable earlier? Well, they were sent via that private server that Clinton set up and used for official government business when she was Secretary of State. They were not originally turned over in response to public records requests and subpoenas, because that’s what the private server was designed for in the first place: to provide protection for Clinton and e-mails that might cause political embarrassment or worse.

Am I being unfair so far? If you think so, wait for the next post. You’re hopeless. The Benghazi committee discovered the existence of Clinton’s private server last year. Was that important information worth knowing? Again, if you don’t think so, do not pass GO. You are corrupted by bias.

The e-mails showed… Continue reading

Cover-up: Successful

Somebody tell Rep. Gowdy that his committee's investigation is futile. The news media and the public just don't mind being lied to any more.

Somebody tell Rep. Gowdy that his committee’s investigation is futile. The news media and the public just don’t mind being lied to any more.

From USA Today:

One day after the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya, the Defense Intelligence Agency concluded the assault had been planned 10 days earlier by an al-Qaeda affiliate, according to documents released Monday by conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch. “The attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman,” said a preliminary intelligence report by the Defense Intelligence Agency, obtained through a lawsuit following a Freedom of Information Act request.

Wait…I thought that Hillary Clinton, State, President Obama and Susan Rice were all laboring under the misconception that the attack was spontaneous and prompted by a YouTube video, and the claims that the Obama Administration was stalling the revelations of what they already knew so Mitt Romney couldn’t challenge Obama’s carefully manufactured narrative that he had terrorism on the run were just partisan sour grapes. That’s been the spin the liberal press has been accepting from the White House for over two years.

What’s going on here? Well, the “narrative” carefully shifted away from the most transparent administration in history lying to the American public to excessive Republican claims that the outpost wasn’t given proper security, wasn’t rescued when it could have been, was the product of criminal incompetence. As soon as those accusations failed, Democrats and the news media promptly adopted the official Obama line: Benghazi was a “nothingburger,” in the contemptuous words of Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank. It was a manufactured scandal of no substance designed to discredit Hillary Clinton.

But no evidence proved that Obama, Clinton and Rice weren’t lying about the attacks being spontaneous and not organized terrorism, and all the evidence has demonstrated the contrary, with this latest piece of the puzzle simply filling in some of the blanks. Of course, the latest story wasn’t even covered by most of the mainstream media; I was shocked to see it in USA Today. Judicial Watch is a conservative organization, you see. To be fair, it’s a whack job conservative organization. That means it could legitimately discover cold fusion and the news media wouldn’t pay attention.

Maybe it isn’t news. After all, the Obama cover-up worked. As Harry Reid said, after admitting his part in the organized effort to make sure that the 2012 Presidential elections was based as much on smears, lies and slight of hand as real issues, “Romney lost, didn’t he?” Hillary’s famous dismissal of the issue in the Benghazi hearings was on the mark: “What difference, at this point, does it make?” Continue reading

The Strange And Unethical Case Of The Aging, Ageless, Part-Time Actress

Cheer up, Junie! Remember the sage words of the great Satchel Paige: “How old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you was?”

Cheer up, Junie! Remember the sage words of the great Satchel Paige: “How old would you be, if you didn’t know how old you was?”

In October of 2011, Ethics Alarms offered an Ethics Quiz that asked, “Did the Internet Movie Data Base do anything unethical by publishing the actress’s real age without her permission?” The occasion was a lawsuit asking for over a million dollars in damages by an anonymous film actress who claimed that Amazon’s Internet Movie Data Base harmed her career by researching and publishing her real age without her permission. My conclusion at the time was that Actress X was

“shooting at the wrong villain. If there is age discrimination in Hollywood, confront it: a number shouldn’t disqualify her from any roles at all. I am not saying that fighting such a long-standing tradition in the show business culture isn’t a daunting task, but that’s the real problem, not a web service that conveys information about movies and movie stars by publishing facts.”

Well, it’s almost four years later, this dubious case has wound its way to trial, and we are now learning some fascinating things: Continue reading

A Hung Ethics Jury On Fox’s Broadcast Of The Isis Burning Video

jordan-pilot

The burning ethics issue of the moment is in the field of broadcast journalism, and Ethics Alarms is obligated to weigh in.

Who is right, the pundits are asking: Fox News, for defiantly posting on its website the 22-minute video from the Islamic State terror group that shows Jordanian pilot Lt. Muath al-Kaseasbeh being burned to death, or all the other U.S. news organizations that have refused to do so?

Fox’s decision has been criticized by its own media ethics watchdog, Howard Kurtz, as excessive and unnecessary, and by anti-terrorism experts, who unanimously say that this plays into the ISIS strategy. Malcolm Nance of the Terror Asymmetrics Project on Strategy, Tactics and Radical Ideology said the Fox was “literally – literally – working for al-Qaida and Isis’s media arm. They might as well start sending them royalty checks.”

Here are the Ethics Alarms observations on the controversy. The short version: I doubt everyone’s motives here, and nobody on any side of the journalism ethics debate is consistent or trustworthy. Unlike me.

1. Here are the relevant tenets of the Code of Conduct of the Society of Professional Journalists. Continue reading

Ethics Quote Of The Month: Aaron Sorkin

“You want the truth? Well, you can’t have the truth because I’ve decided that it isn’t newsworthy!”

“I understand that news outlets routinely use stolen information. That’s how we got the Pentagon Papers, to use an oft-used argument. But there is nothing in these documents remotely rising to the level of public interest of the information found in the Pentagon Papers. Do the emails contain any information about Sony breaking the law? No. Misleading the public? No. Acting in direct harm to customers, the way the tobacco companies or Enron did? No. Is there even one sentence in one private email that was stolen that even hints at wrongdoing of any kind? Anything that can help, inform or protect anyone? The co-editor in chief of Variety tells us he decided that the leaks were — to use his word — “newsworthy.” I’m dying to ask him what part of the studio’s post-production notes on Cameron Crowe’s new project is newsworthy. So newsworthy that it’s worth carrying out the wishes of people who’ve said they’re going to murder families and who have so far done everything they’ve threatened to do. Newsworthy. As the character Inigo Montoya said in “The Princess Bride,” I do not think it means what you think it means.”

—-Acclaimed screenwriter, playwright and Hollywood liberal Aaron Sorkin, reprimanding the news media  for publishing material from the Sony computer hacks in an Op-Ed in the New York Times.

There are many other titles for this post I considered, like “Jaw-dropping Hypocrisy of the Month,” “Self-serving Delusion of the Month,” and “This Is The Tragedy of Partisan Delusion: Won’t You Give Generously To Help Aaron”?

I’ve got to give the man credit: it takes world class gall for to write something like this self-serving for international consumption. Self-righteous, Freedom of the Press-promoting (Sorkin is the creator and writer of “The Newsroom” series on cable) Hollywood liberals applauded and screamed for blood when a near-senile billionaire’s private comments made in his own bedroom were surreptitiously recorded by his paid female mistress and plastered all over the media, because the private, private, private words suggested that he held racist attitudes, and no matter what he actually did (which was sufficient to be named an NAACP “man of the Year,” a distinction Aaron Sorkin has never earned),  that meant that he had to be publicly humiliated, fined millions and stripped of his business. We didn’t hear Sorkin protesting that this wasn’t newsworthy. Nor did the Sorkins of an earlier generation protest when the very same newspaper carrying his essay published criminally stolen Defense Department documents that, whatever was contained in them, were part of a sincere effort to win a war. Continue reading

So Soon? The Bill Maher Ethical Condundrum Strikes Again…In Ferguson!

It's baaaack!

It’s baaaack!

No sooner did I announce the Bill Maher Ethical Conundrum than a perfect example of it—not involving Bill Maher—hit the news…and joined the Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck.

In August, the Federal Aviation Administration agreed to a request by the St. Louis County police to restrict about 37 square miles of airspace over Ferguson, Missouri, then engulfed in the most violent of the protests and rioting sparked by the shooting of Michael Brown. The restriction lasted for 12 days, and the reason given for it was safety concerns. Shots had been fired at a helicopter at one point during the violence in the city.

Safety is surely a valid concern, and since there were legitimate reasons to believe that the no-flight restrictions were prudent in the interests of safety, the measure was ethical. Or was it? The Bill Maher Ethical Conundrum, for those who missed the recent post:

Is the ethical nature of an act defined by its intent, or by an objective assessment of the act alone without reference to motive?

The Associated Press obtained tapes of the FAA’s air traffic managers discussing how to redefine the flight ban to allow commercial flights to operate at nearby Lambert-St. Louis International Airport and to permit police helicopters to fly through the area while meeting the goals of the ban. On the ban, they heard an administration manager say, about the St. Louis County Police Department, “They finally admitted it really was to keep the media out. But they were a little concerned of, obviously, anything else that could be going on.” A manager at the administration’s center in Kansas City said the police “did not care if you ran commercial traffic through this T.F.R. all day long. They didn’t want media in there.” Acknowledging that a ban that said “…you know, ‘OK, everybody but the media is OK,’ ”  the FAA managers then developed wording that they felt would keep news helicopters out of the controlled zone but not impede other air traffic.

Bingo! A flight ban in the interest of safety, serving the interests of safety, but motivated primarily by the illegal, unconstitutional, unstated motive of interfering with the public’s right to know through exercise of the Freedom of the Press.

Ethical or unethical?

The Bill Maher Ethical Conundrum strikes again!

___________________

Facts: New York Times

Unethical Quote of the Week: Presidential Spokesman Josh Earnest

Websters

“I didn’t bring my Webster’s dictionary with me up here.”

—-White House Spokesman Josh Earnest, in response to a reporter’s question regarding the President’s definition of “victory” in the conflict with ISIS.

The statement itself is only slightly less outrageous than the fact that it has been largely ignored by the mainstream media. I’m using Politico for the link, a slightly left-leaning political news website. The primary links on the web go to Fox (of course), RealClearPolitics, The Weekly Standard, PJ Media, the Washington Times, and The Blaze. No ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, or Daily Beast. There is no excuse for this. It is blatantly irresponsible, and terrible, biased, negligent journalism. Not only does the public have a right to know what the objectives are in Iraq, the public has a right to know how arrogant and incompetent its leadership is. I think Earnest’s performance provides a definitive answer: Very.
Continue reading