Tag Archives: “the resistance”

Morning Ethics Warm-Up: “Boy, Am I Sick Of This Stuff” Edition

Morning….

1. Once again, the Orwell Catch-22. Ethics Alarms has several times flagged the unconscionable use of the Orwellian ” If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’ in the news media and among the resistance as they try to demonize the President of the United States for insisting on basic principles of due process and legal procedure. (Here, for example.) How did the Left come to such a state where they embraced this unethical concept, which is totalitarian to the core, and the antithesis of liberal thought? It is pure corruption, and forces fair Americans to side with the President and his defenders whether they want to or not.

To get a sense of how insidious this trend is, read Jonathan Chait’s recent effort for New York Magazine. Chait isn’t an idiot, but he’s so biased that he often sounds like one, as in his ridiculously blind 2016 essay declaring that “The 2016 Election Is a Disaster Without a Moral.”

This time, he makes the argument that President Trump must be guilty of horrible crimes because various Trump allies have denied that Michael Cohen will “flip” on his client, meaning that he would testify against him. Lawyers can’t testify against their clients, even if they have knowledge of criminal activity. They can testify to client efforts to involve them in criminal activity prospectively, because requests for advice regarding illegal acts are not privileged. Chait, however, doesn’t observe this distinction: he is simply towing the ugly If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear’ position that has been adopted, to their shame, by many left-leaning pundits and supposedly legitimate news organizations like the New York Times. Look at this section in Chait piece, for example: Continue reading

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 4/16/2018: The Integrity Edition

Good Morning!

1. James Comey, Cognitive Dissonance Dunce. The anti-Trump obsessed won’t be able to see it, but rogue ex-FBI director James Comey is doing an immense favor for President Trump and Republicans by single-handedly framing his campaign against the man who, it is increasingly obvious, correctly fired him (as Hillary Clinton would have done even faster) as that of a classic vengeful disgruntled employee and nothing more, or better. Even Time op-ed writer Charles Blow, whose every column since the election has been some paraphrasing of “I hate Donald Trump,” was forced to observe that Comey is an especially dislikable foe (as is Blow himself). The sheer number of loathsome Trump-bashers has a natural Cognitive Dissonance Scale effect that the President’s critics can’t seem to fathom.

Normal, fair-minded people whose natural instinct is to run from the likes of Nancy Pelosi, Ted Lieu, Hillary Clinton, David Hogg, Joy Reid, Bill Maher, James Comey, Robert DeNiro, Alec Baldwin, Stormy Daniels and the rest will find themselves, almost unconsciously, siding with the President rather than this basket of deplorables, because, you see, he is the President, and who wants to be identified with that crew?

In his ABC interview, which successfully marked Comey as Just Another Trump-Deranged Resistance Warrior, he actually said that Trump was “morally unfit” to be President. First of all, it is the electorate, not James Comey, that decides who is morally fit to be President.  Comey’s assessment is no more or less valid than that of anyone else. Second, the statement is ridiculous on its face. If Comey had an interviewer with any knowledge of Presidential character and the history of the office, plus the wit and integrity to expose  an ignorant opinion when one is broadcast coast to coast, he would have been asked..,

Was Thomas Jefferson morally fit to be President? Has Donald Trump kept his wife’s sister as a concubine and slave? Was Andrew Jackson morally fit to be President? Has Donald Trump killed anyone in an illegal duel? Was Grover Cleveland morally fit to be President? Did Donald Trump ever have a woman committed to an institution to silence her about their sexual relationship? Was Woodrow Wilson morally fit to be President? Has Donald Trump endorsed the Klu Klux Klan? Was Franklin Roosevelt morally fit to be President? Has President Trump ordered U.S. citizens into prison camps? Was Richard Nixon morally fit to be President? LBJ? Bill Clinton?

The Presidency is self-defined by its past occupants, and “moral fitness” is not a characteristic that comes to mind when considering what qualities are identified with successful, popular or effective Presidents.

2. Whither the ACLU? Alan Dershowitz has authored a searing attack on the ACLU’s lack of integrity demonstrated by its failing to condemn the Justice Department’s raid on lawyer Michael Cohen’s home and office. He writes in part, Continue reading

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Ethics Observations On The Michael Cohen Raid

The FBI raided the Rockefeller Center office and Park Avenue hotel room of Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, seizing business records, emails and documents related to several matters, including  payments to porn star Stormy Daniels.

What’s going on here?

Your guess is as good as mine. The options are endless. Today, for example, the New York Times is reporting that the raid was in part to find records related to the infamous, Billy Bush “Access Hollywood” tape  where Trump made his pussy-grabbing comments, according to the typical New York Times anonymous sources. What could that possibly have to do with Russia and its efforts to interfere with U.S. elections? Why would that material justify a raid on the President’s lawyer? The FBI also sought documents related to payments Cohen facilitated made to two women who claim they had affairs with Trump, Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford, as well as information on the role of the publisher of The National Enquirer in silencing the women. The raid could be a desperation fishing expedition. It could be part of an effort to intimidate Trump’s lawyers. It could be a sign that there is evidence of actual criminal activity that Cohen was covering up on behalf of his client. It could be the last-ditch effort by a corrupt FBI and Justice Department to bring down a President before he can bring them down.. Anyone who claims to understand this unusual tactic by Special Prosecutor Mueller is engaging in confirmation bias, and risking looking like a biased fool.

Observations: Continue reading

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Sunset Ethics, 4/5/2018: Sinclair, Opening Day Ethics, “The Crown” Ethics, And Fake News, Of Course.

Did everyone have a nice day?

1.  On the Sinclair broadcasting controversy. I was completely unaware of this, and Sinclair itself, until a couple of jerks accused me of cribbing my criticism of mainstream media bias from the company’s supposedly outrageous public statement. For the record, I don’t appeal to authority, and I make my own arguments. If other entities or pundits happen to reach the same conclusions, that’s to their credit. Go accuse them of following me. When a particular position stated by someone else strikes me as persuasive, I’ll credit the source.

Here is the script that Sinclair required the news anchors of its many local stations across the country. To save time, I’ll interject in BOLD

“Hi, I’m(A) ____________, and I’m (B) _________________…

(B) Our greatest responsibility is to serve our communities. We are extremely proud of the quality, balanced journalism that XXXX News produces.

(A) But we’re concerned about the troubling trend of irresponsible, one-sided news stories plaguing our country. The sharing of biased and false news has become all too common on social media.

True. There is no denying this, and while the left-wing news media denies it as part of refusing to reform and do its job objectively and responsibly, the fact that the entity correctly framing the reality of U.S. journalism today is a conservative one does not alter the truth. Any news organization could have, and should have, sponsored the same statement.

(B) More alarming, some media outlets publish these same fake stories… stories that just aren’t true, without checking facts first.

This is also undeniable. The truth hurts. Tough.

(A) Unfortunately, some members of the media use their platforms to push their own personal bias and agenda to control ‘exactly what people think’…This is extremely dangerous to a democracy.

Completely accurate. It is terribly dangerous, and for a recent egregious example, look no further than the coverage of the anti-gun movement following the Parkland shooting.

(B) At XXXX it’s our responsibility to pursue and report the truth. We understand Truth is neither politically ‘left nor right.’ Our commitment to factual reporting is the foundation of our credibility, now more than ever.

If Sinclair means this, good. And that is the standard it should be held to going forward.

(A) But we are human and sometimes our reporting might fall short. If you believe our coverage is unfair please reach out to us by going to XXXX News.com and clicking on CONTENT CONCERNS. We value your comments. We will respond back to you.

How can anyone object to this?

(B) We work very hard to seek the truth and strive to be fair, balanced and factual… We consider it our honor, our privilege to responsibly deliver the news every day.

(A) Thank you for watching and we appreciate your feedback”

Since the statement is non-partisan, accurate, much-needed and one that every single news broadcast news source could and should have read to its viewers, daily if possible, there can be no valid ethical objections to it.

Deadspin, which has too many ethics problems of its own to count, attacked the statement as  america’s largest local TV owner turning its news anchors into soldiers in Trump’s war on the media.”

What utter dishonesty! As I said, and documented on the space ad nauseum, it cannot be reasonably denied that the statement’s characterization of news reporting is fair and accurate. Just because the resistances’s reviled President says something is so doesn’t mean it isn’t so, nor does his embrace of the obvious mean that to acknowledge the obvious is to support him. Deadspin then assembled a propaganda video of anchors across the nation saying the same thing, to make the process look sinister. Clever, but if you can’t see this for the misleading sliming it is,  get help. (Or, if you are NPR, get private funding.) Anyone could do the same thing with every baseball broadcaster who reads the MLB script about who owns the material in the broadcast. Anyone could do the same thing with the instructions I and many other CLE trainers read at the beginning of webinar. It can be done with the Pledge of Allegiance. Statements are scripted when it is important to have a carefully considered message communicated without variation. There is absolutely nothing improper, unethical or inappropriate about a stations owner requiring newsreaders to state the station’s mission, philosophy and basic ethical principles.

In fact, it is inappropriate not to. The howls from the Left are the very embodiment of the meaning behind the Bard’s famous line in “Hamlet” (Act 3, Scene 2 ),

The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Except in this case, it would be, “The biased and partisan journalists who have been manipulating, hiding and distorting the news for years and hate being called on it doth protest too much.”

Methinks.

2. Another dumb “pay gap” controversy. I’m late slapping this one down. “The Crown, ” the Netflix series about Queen Elizabeth II, has been attacked by feminists, progressives and idiots—I’m sorry, but this is egregious—because actress Claire Foy, playing the Queen, was paid considerably less than co-star Matt Smith, who plays Prince Phillip.

The reason this was the case is that Foy, when she was cast, was a relative unknown, Smith, in contrast, had a ready-made fan base as one of the popular Doctors in “Doctor Who.” Thus he was worth more money to the producers in the beginning of the project. Marlon Brandon was paid much more than Al Pacino and James Caan in “The Godfather” for the same reason. This isn’t gender discrimination. This is business, specifically show business. Bigger stars get more money for legitimate and  obvious artistic and business reasons. Now there is a  petition to try to shame Smith into donating part of his salary from the series to Time’s Up.

This nonsense and gender-bullying. I needs to be sneered at and dismissed hard. Continue reading

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/27/18: Redux And Déjà Vu!

Good Morning.

1 Yes, “enemy of the people” is accurate. I searched all over cable and network news this morning to find an outlet that wasn’t dominated by the breaking news that a President-to-be had an adulterous affair with a porn star 12 years ago. I couldn’t find one. The media-wide effort to undermine an elected President and his respect in the nation and the world at a time of great challenges and peril on all fronts is irresponsible, destructive, and demonstrates the collapse of journalism as a bulwark of American democracy.

Journalists don’t have to behave like this: they have chosen to, because they discern that a critical mass of citizens–bad ones–would rather see the President of the United States humiliated and weakened nationally and internationally based on his past than to permit him the same crucial advantage  that every other President since George Washington has been conceded and used. That is the inherent dignity and honor of the office itself. As I wrote here before, almost every President could have been embarrassed in this way, and some far more.  In the past, the public wouldn’t have tolerated it. A full year of “the resistance” and non-stop media attacks made this President uniquely vulnerable to ad hominem attacks, and the only protection left intact between sensational smears and responsible journalism were ethical standards, which is to say, with today’s journalism, nothing at all.

This is no less than a ruthless, ratings- and bias-driven attack on American institutions, and every future President, and the nation, and our democracy, and the world itself, will suffer for it. Ironically, Trump may suffer from it least of all, since no one who supported his candidacy cared about traditional standards regarding who was fit to inherit the legacy of Washington, Lincoln and the rest. Still, this concerted effort to reduce his tenure to endless character assassination does undermine him, and us.

I don’t know what the President meant when he dubbed the news media the “enemy of the people;” he does not use words with anything approaching precision or consistency. I do know what I mean by the phrase, however: an institution that exists to strengthen American democracy has been deliberately engaging in conduct designed to weaken it. That is the conduct of enemies of the people, and that is what the mainstream news media has become.

2. The next Black Lives Matter bandwagon. The news media was also playing tabloid in the Stephon Clark shooting controversy this morning, showing the dead man’s grandmother weeping, asking why he had to die, and asking why the officers couldn’t have shot him “in the arm.” We won’t see a resolution of this case for a long time, but that hasn’t stopped the NAACP, Al Sharpton, Clark’s family and the large number of police-haters on the left from concluding, before any investigation, that he was “murdered.” The family has also hired the same lawyer, Ben Crump, who represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, neither of whom were murdered, and both of whom are still referred to a murder victims on the Black Lives Matter website.

Déjà vu.

In Sacramento, California, on March 18, two officers responded to a radio call regarding a man who was breaking car windows.  The uniformed officers were checking the area on foot when a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department helicopter pointed them in the direction of a possible suspect, Clark.

He was seen running through a back yard, jumping over a fence, then looking into a car parked in the driveway of what was later revealed to be his grandmother’s house. The officers approached Clark, guns drawn, and ordered him to show them his hands,  a standard command.  Instead Clark ran, with the officers in pursuit. They ordered  Clark to stop, but he ran around the corner of the house and out of the officers’ view. Again the officers followed, then ducked back behind the house, shouting “Show me your hands! Gun!”, then “Show me your hands!” followed immediately by “Gun, gun, gun!” Both officers opened fire, emptying their guns, killing Clark.

Clark had no gun, just a cell phone. The video is inconclusive. Continue reading

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Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/17/2018: Mockingbirds, Headlines, And Reasonable Doubt

Good Morning, Scout!

1 Assorted blog stuff. I’m going to have to fly to Boston next month for the hearing on my motion to dismiss the specious defamation suit against me by an Ethics Alarms  commenter to whom my responses were no more defamatory than what I have said to many of you when provoked…Every now and then some blog or social media participant with a huge following links to an old post here, and I am swamped with visits from a lot of individuals with no serious interest in ethics. They almost never comment, and if they do, the comments typically don’t meet my posting standards. Still, they swell the traffic stats, and I’ll take ’em. In 2017 I had none of these fluky hit avalanches, after a 2016 that had several. This time, the post suddenly drawing interest is a 2014 essay about a letter written to director Terry Gilliam in 2005. You just never know…Expect a lot of Comments of the Day this weekend: I am way behind, and I’m sorry. Tough week.

2. Keep hope alive! Yesterday’s New York Times front page headline perfectly embodied the fake news-by-innuendo tactic that has marked the mainstream media’s efforts to pander to the “resistance.” The Special Prosecutor’s fishing expedition just subpoenaed the business records of the Trump organization relating to its dealings in Russia. Says the Times headline: “Investigation nears President.” Ooooh! Scary!

Hype, and unprofessional. This is the “He’s getting closer! And closer!” narrative the anti-Trump journalists have been flogging for a year. Yeah, I guess any time an investigation involves someone’s business it is “near” the owner, but why would that obvious fact justify a headline?  The reality is that Trump’s organization had business dealings in Russia (legal and unremarkable), the fact that Mueller is looking does not prove or suggest that those dealings had any connection to the campaign, and Mueller could have asked for these records a year ago. There is nothing ominous about the request from the President’s perspective at all, unless, as this whole fiasco has presumed from the moment Democrats seized on Wikileaks and fake Facebook news as the designated excuses for Hillary’s inexcusable defeat, there really was “collusion.”

That an investigation has been launched does not imply, suggest, or indicate wrongdoing. The news media’s reporting continues to suggest otherwise because they want the President to be guilty of something heinous. Imagine that: there are Americans who want their elected President to be proven guilty of wrongdoing.

3. To kill a “To Kill A Mockingbird.”  Harper Lee’s estate filed a complaint last week in federal court in Alabama, arguing that a Broadway bound stage adaptation of “To Kill A Mockingbird” by “The West Wing” creator and “A Few Good Men” writer Aaron Sorkin violates a contract, between Harper Lee and the producers that stipulates that the characters and plot must remain faithful to the spirit of the book. (I wrote about the complexities surrounding Atticus Finch’s character in a 2015 post.) Continue reading

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Comment Of The Day: Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/13/18: Bad Quotes, Faithless Speakers [#5, Tillerson’s Firing]

Here is Rich in CT’s terse Comment of the Day on  Item #5 of Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 3/13/18: Bad Quotes, Faithless Speakers, and I’ll have some reactions at the end:

Nancy Pelosi Statement on Appointing Rex Tillerson (2.13.16)

“Choosing an oil executive friendly with Vladimir Putin as Secretary of State sends a disturbing signal about President-elect Trump’s priorities. Rex Tillerson’s cozy relationship with the Kremlin is especially alarming in light of his attitude toward sanctions over Russia’s aggressive behavior in Europe, while at the same time the President-elect continues to side with Russia over the judgment of the U.S. intelligence community.

https://www.democraticleader.gov/newsroom/121316/

Nancy Pelosi Statement on Dismissing Rex Tillerson (3.13.18 )

“Secretary Tillerson’s firing sets a profoundly disturbing precedent in which standing up for our allies against Russian aggression is grounds for a humiliating dismissal. President Trump’s actions show that every official in his Administration is at the mercy of his personal whims and his worship of Putin.”

https://www.democraticleader.gov/newsroom/31318/

Res ipsa loquitur. Continue reading

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