Tag Archives: The Washington Post

The Definitive Reason Why The Parkland Shooting Freak-Out Is Cynical, Dishonest Fear-mongering, And Why We Should Not Tolerate It Any Further

David Ropeik, who teaches at Harvard and who is a risk assessment expert, finally wrote the article I’ve been waiting for…and it was published almost a month after the Parkland shooting, following almost a month of the ignorant and arrogant grandstanding  by the high school students who have been used as virtual human shields by the anti-gun lobby, almost a month after the news media and expedient politicians, including the President, began pandering to grief and ignorance while going out of their way to make the public believe that school shootings are a national crisis.

I’m glad that some sunlight of reality made it through the human-made fog, but it is unconscionable that it took this long, Now let’s see how thoroughly the news media, a full partner with the ban-gun effort, will bury it.

Before I start, however, let me salute the Washington Post. I have not read a Post Sunday Outlook section since switching over to the Times—a better paper but far, far more partisan and biased than its only close competitor—and it was stunning to be reminded what a Sunday news commentary supplement looked like that didn’t feature hysterical Trump -bashing in 75%-90% of its articles. Not only that, the Post had the courage to challenge the conventional, and false, wisdom about school shootings being actively promoted by the Times and the rest of the mainstream media.

Among the points made by Ropeik in his essay, “School shootings are extraordinarily rare. Why is fear of them driving policy?”:

  • “The Education Department reports that  roughly 50 million children attend public schools for roughly 180 days per year. Since Columbine (1999), approximately 200 public school students have been shot to death while school was in session, including the recent slaughter at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. (and a shooting in Birmingham, Ala., on Wednesday that police called accidental that left one student dead). That means the statistical likelihood of any given public school student being killed by a gun, in school, on any given day since 1999 was roughly 1 in 614,000,000.”

This is not a great risk. This is not even a significant risk. To say, as the Kiddie Corps has been telling us, that this risk is “unacceptable” can only mean that the official, anti-gun position is that no risk is acceptable. Surely no one is going to argue that a 1 in 614,000,000 chance of being killed in another Parkland or Newtown is unconscionable, but a one in 1, 228,000,000 chance is just fine. And how do we reach no risk? We spend incredible amounts of money, trash our national liberties, send kids to lightless, joyless iron boxes…and there will still be a risk

  • “[S]ince the 1990s, shootings at schools have been getting less common.”

What? What about all those statistics that claim the opposite? They are advocacy statistics, spun and manipulated.  Cheating, in other words. Ropeik is hardly an NRA shill: it’s clear that he is venturing to make these observations while aware that he is risking his progressive bona fides, and thus his invitations to Cambridge cocktail parties. He writes for example,

The problem with all of this is what our excessive fears could lead to. Having more guns in schools, as President Trump advocates — or more guns anywhere — increases the likelihood of gun violence. …The Parkland tragedy itself teaches that more guns don’t automatically mean more safety: The school was patrolled by an armed guard.

The studies claiming that more guns lead to more gun violence are all based on cross-cultural, international comparisons, which many believe (as do I) pollute the findings. Do more guns in the US lead to more gun violence? Reiko himself  cited a stat that suggests otherwise: there are more guns in the U.S. now than before Columbine, and a decline in the frequency of shootings at schools. As for the armed guard, citing a professional with a gun who doesn’t do his job tells us nothing about guns, just that it is who is holding it that matters—which is what the NRA has been saying since I was knee-high to a chipmunk.

More from Ropeik: Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Citizenship, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Research and Scholarship, Rights, U.S. Society

You Want Smoking Gun Proof That The Mainstream News Media Is Promoting Illegal Immigration And Intentionally Deceiving The Public To do It? Here It Is!

Observe. The headline above was the one first published by the Washington Post. Note the absence of the word “Illegal” before “immigrants.” The fact is that immigrants have nothing to fear about using food stamps. The headline is fake news–it’s false. It is literally untrue. (The story does suggest that some legal immigrants may be avoiding food stamps out of ignorance, but no evidence is presented to show it.)

That’s not the only thing wrong with the headline, and the story beneath it. This is more “poor, abused illegal immigrant” propaganda. How terrible it is that people living in this country illegally after breaching our borders and immigration laws have to fear being held accountable for living in this country illegally after breaching our borders and immigration laws! The outrage!

A nation of laws enforces its laws.  Not enforcing them so as to encourage law breaking is the real outrage.

The Washington Post wasn’t troubled by any of that, though. What caused the paper to change the headline was that highlighting the use of taxpayer funds to pay for food stamps to benefit people who have no right to be in the U.S. might, you know, sort of undermine the intended message of the article, which is to create sympathy for illegal immigrants while seeding opposition to the Trump administration.  Can’t have that. So the headline was changed to this… Continue reading

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

Announcing “The Fake News Ethics Train Wreck,” And Related Developments [UPDATED]

train-wreck-air

This morning I checked four news sources and caught stories about”fake news” in all of them. Some of this has been fueled by the flesh-meltingly idiotic Comet Ping Pong pizzeria story out of D.C., which culminated in a moron named Edgar Maddison Welch firing an AR-15 inside the joint, saying later that he was horrified at the reports that the establishment was at the center of a child sex ring run by…wait for it…the Clinton campaign. He got some bad information, Welch told authorities.  Ya think???

No, Ed, you got a really bad education in America’s rotten public schools, and before that you were playing hop-scotch when the brains were handed out.

What prompted Ethics Alarms to officially move the fake news uproar into Ethics Train Wreck status, however, was the interview CNN had this morning with two small business owners in the same block as the evil pizza place. “The internet isn’t regulated like it could or should be,” one said, with no comment or clarification from CNN’s Alisyn Camerota. Politicians are among those who have to address this problem, agreed her partner.

In other words, we need internet censorship. Oh, they did say that citizens should be a bit more discerning before grabbing an AR-15 and shooting up a pizza parlor because someone on Instagram said that John Podesta was selling little girls and boys, but obviously the big arm of the State has to step in.

In other developments:

  • The fake Washington Post news story about fake news that I highlighted here may prompt a defamation law suit from one of the organizations that the Post accused, without checking their source, of spreading fake news.

“You did not provide even a single example of ‘fake news’ allegedly distributed or promoted by Naked Capitalism or indeed any of the 200 sites on the PropOrNot blacklist,” James A. Moody, attorney for Naked Capitalism, a finance and economics blog with a stated mission of “shedding light on the dark and seamy corners of finance,” wrote to the Post. “You provided no discussion or assessment of the credentials or backgrounds of these so-called ‘researchers’ (Clint Watts, Andrew Weisburd, and J.M. Berger and the ‘team’ at PropOrNot), and no discussion or analysis of the methodology, protocol or algorithms such ‘researchers’ may or may not have followed.”*

Highlights from that 120-page report:

  • Since 1980, U.S. GDP per capita growth has been far below its long run average, and since 2007 it has been almost negligible.
  • Deterioration in the quality-to-cost ratio for healthcare, housing and education is dragging down economic growth. After spiraling price increases, these sectors accounted for 36 percent of total national spending in 2015, up from 25 percent in 1980.
  •  The U.S. population’s health has stagnated or even declined on several measures since 1980, especially for the working-age population.
  • Housing costs have swallowed up a larger share of income without a corresponding increase in quality.
  • Educational quality is weak and stagnant at all levels. The U.S. education system has failed to instill any measurable gains in the cognitive performance of children and young adults for decades, as U.S. students and adults struggle with poor rates of literacy and numeracy despite high spending growth.

You know…”a strong economy.”

Would you like to speculate on which fake news had a greater likely impact on the popular vote for President—the Pope’s endorsement, Podesta’s pizza parlor sex ring, or that nifty Democratic policies had the national economy working like a Swiss watch? Continue reading

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Filed under Around the World, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, The Internet, U.S. Society

Unethical Mother Of The Month: Feminist Writer Jodi Allard

Send two of these to Ms. Allard's sons. Maybe add, "by my mother."

Send two of these to Ms. Allard’s sons. Maybe add, “by my mother.”

There’s nothing quite like using a nationally followed publication to declare your own sons misogynist, insensitive pigs because they have not properly absorbed the feminist cant they have apparently been fed their whole lives. Jodi got her revenge by publicly attacking them in a Washington Post column.

Allard writes in part…

I never imagined I would raise boys who would become men like these. Men who deny rape culture, or who turn a blind eye to sexism. Men who tell me I’m being too sensitive or that I don’t understand what teenage boys are like. “You don’t speak out about this stuff, mom,” they tell me with a sigh. “It’s just not what teenagers do.”My sons are right about that much. Teenage boys, by and large, don’t speak out about slut-shaming or rape culture. They don’t call each other out when they make sexist jokes or objectify women. It’s too uncomfortable to separate themselves from the pack so they continue to at least dip their toes into toxic masculinity. In their discomfort with action, they remain passive, and their passivity perpetuates the same broken system that sentenced Brock Turner to only six months in jail…No matter how often my sons remind me that they are good men, they don’t understand that being “good” is an action. You don’t earn the honor by simply shaking your head when you hear about Turner and other rapists being given lenient sentences. You earn it by acting to end rape culture, and by doing it even when it’s awkward and uncomfortable as hell.

The rest of her column proceeds accordingly. One of her sons, we learned in a previous article, is clinically depressed and has been suicidal in the past. I bet being called out by his mother in a newspaper read and quoted coast to coast is just what the doctor ordered. Both sons are teenagers—minors. To their mother, however, they are just convenient symbols of woman-abusing mankind, and fair game for shame and denigration. Continue reading

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Filed under Childhood and children, Ethics Dunces, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media

Ethics Dunce: “Above The Law” Creator David Lat

The guy on the right feels happy and safe with everyone knowing he's gay, so the guy on the left is a fool for not wanting a sleazy website to tell the world that HE'S gay. Wait..WHAT?

The guy on the right feels happy and safe with everyone knowing he’s gay, so the guy on the left is a fool for being angry at a sleazy website for telling the world that HE’S gay. Wait..WHAT?

Every now and then, the Washington Post publishes an opinion piece from a guest commentator that crosses the line  distinguishing eccentric from irresponsible. Today’s essay by David Lat, the founder and CEO of the legal industry gossip site Above the Law, is an example of this bad habit. How wrong do one’s logic, values and message have to be before the Post deems them unworthy of promotion and wide consumption? Apparently, there is no limit.

Lat’s essay flagged its obtuseness immediately in its title: “Being Gay Isn’t Shameful, Do Why Does Outing Matter?” (The online version is “Peter Thiel had no reason to be angry at Gawker for writing that he’s gay.“)

The impetus for the article—it is so ethically deranged that I almost think it has to be a joke: who thinks like this?—is the news this week that  wrestler Hulk Hogan’s devastating and perhaps fatal lawsuit against Gawker Media was bankrolled by Peter Thiel,  the billionaire co-founder of PayPal and an  early Facebook investor.  Gawker outed him in a 2007 story, and Theil is using Hogan’ suit over Gawker revealing a sex tape to try to put the ethics-free celebrity-abusing site out of business. Thiel is just being petty and unreasonable, says Lat. Lat is gay and proud of it, so  Thiel should be too!

Writes Lat—whose own gossip site is not above revealing embarrassing facts about well-known figures for its readers’ titillation: Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Gender and Sex, Journalism & Media, Rights, The Internet, U.S. Society, Workplace

No, Washington Post, The Republican Party Has No Obligation To Condemn Donald Trump, But Nice Try Anyway.

"Hey Republicans! Step HERE! It's your DUTY!"

“Hey Republicans! Step HERE! It’s your DUTY!”

I’m sure the paper’s editors will get a holiday gift basket from the Democratic National Committee for their nakedly partisan trap.

Erupting with indignation over Trump’s recent “let’s make fun of the disabled reporter” performer and his subsequent lie that he wasn’t doing what video shows he did, the Washington Post editors concluded with a demand that Republicans condemn Trump, or else:

[I]t is time for Republican Party leaders to make clear that they do not approve of Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration. If they do not, their party will be seen as complicit in his hatefulness, and deservedly so.

There are two reasons this is partisan and hypocritical.

  • First, an official or coordinated Republican Party attack on Trump would violate the terms of Trump’s deal with the party that if he was treated fairly, Trump wouldn’t run as a third party candidate should he fail to get the GOP nomination. Since I have never heard of either party ever specifically reprimanding one of its own candidates for the nomination—I don’t think it’s happened—doing so would surely be regarded as “unfair” by Trump, and I’d agree with him. Of course, an independent Trump candidacy would guarantee the election of a Democrat. Fiendishly clever, Post!

The party could have and, I wrote here, should have scratched Trump from the nomination hunt and the debates early on, before it had given him a platform and he had become, for the nonce, a front-runner in the polls. His third party threat would have been more bluster than reality then, and without a national TV audience, Trump would have probably been content to file a lawsuit and throw a few tantrums. But it’s not called “the stupid party” for nothing. The GOP missed its window of escape. Turning on Trump now would undermine the party’s primary mission, not that the Post cares, and that is electing a Republican President. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Dunces, Etiquette and manners, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

The Definition Of Irresponsible Leadership? Obama’s Keystone Pipeline Call

keystone-pipelineI am trying to find another example of a U.S. President taking action that harms the nation and its citizens while admitting that it will have no measurable beneficial effects whatsoever.

I can’t find any. I’d like to know about one, and see how it worked out.

When the Washington Post’s editorial staff essentially calls a Democratic President’s conduct an embarrassment. it really must have been embarrassing…and it was. Obama’s sole explanation for his decision, which he has, as is his style, dithered over for years, was this:

“Ultimately if we’re going to prevent large parts of the Earth from becoming inhospitable or uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them.”

But killing the pipeline will keep no fossil fuels in the ground. So the reason really is this:

“America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious actions to fight climate change and, frankly, approving this project would have undercut that global leadership.”

Ah. So America will show it is serious about climate change by killing a project that all agree will have no tangible, long-term, short-term, measurable effects on climate change at all. This is Obama logic, as we have seen many times: good intentions is enough; results don’t matter. If his decision won’t help reduce the risk of parts of the Earth  becoming “inhospitable or uninhabitable in our lifetimes”—a risk that is also measurable and speculative at best—then the purpose of it isn’t to prove leadership. True, it proves atrocious leadership, but Obama is cynical, not stupid. The decision is political. Its only tangible benefit is to the Democratic Party, which feels the need to make the welfare of the U.S. and its citizens subordinate to the fanaticism of the environmentalist movement. Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Environment, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Leadership, Science & Technology