Tag Archives: TMZ

Ethics Observations On The Trump Sons’ Influence Peddling Story

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To catch you up: Celebrity gossip website TMZ  hyped the launch of new Texas nonprofit led by Donald Trump’s adult sons Donald Jr. and Eric based on what it called a “draft” of a soon to be released event brochure. The non-profit was offering, we were told, access to the new President during inauguration weekend  in exchange for million-dollar donations to unnamed “conservation” charities.  Prospective million-dollar donors to the “Opening Day 2017” event on  January 21, the day after inauguration, were to receive a “private reception and photo opportunity for 16 guests with President Donald J. Trump,” a “multi-day hunting and/or fishing excursion for 4 guests with Donald Trump, Jr. and/or Eric Trump, and team, ”as well as tickets to other events” and “autographed guitars by an Opening Day 2017 performer.”

The Center for Public Integrity was on this like a shot…and so was the news media. I received a link in an e-mail from someone who archly noted that “You seem to be interested in influence peddling,” a reference to my many posts about the real purpose behind the Clinton Foundation, “so perhaps you will find this of interest [Unsaid but understood: “…you Donald Trump enabling, racist, fascist bastard!”] In the link, TIME took the hand-off from the Center, and got a series of quotes from critics, like Larry Noble, the general counsel of the Campaign Legal Center, a nonpartisan campaign reform organization.“This is problematic on so many levels,” Larry said.  “This is Donald Trump and the Trump family using a brand new organization to raise $1 million contributions for a vague goal of giving money to conservation charities, which seems a way of basically just selling influence and selling the ability to meet with the president.”

Noble cautioned that the details of the event and its association with the new nonprofit listing the Trump brothers as directors were still unclear. “It’s really hard to identify all the problems when they’re so vague,” he said.

True. As of today, Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump are no longer listed as directors of a that non-profit. Papers removing their names from the Opening Day were processed by the state of Texas,  a spokeswoman for the Texas secretary of state told CNN Money.

Never mind!

Observations: Continue reading

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Filed under Business & Commercial, Character, Family, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media

Ethics Dunce: Ashlea Johnson And The Supporters Of Her Petition

Crack Mayor

How wrong is the Change.org petition posted by Ashlea Johnson and demanding that TMZ remove and apologize for the above headline announcing the death of Marion Barry?

1. This is an attempt to whitewashing a very soiled legacy.

2. Barry, and no one else, ruined his legacy. Next to using crack while Mayor of Washington D.C. (and being filmed in the process), Barry is best known for his immortal quote after his arrest with an old girl-friend and drug pal: “Bitch set me up!”

3. TMZ has both the freedom to publish whatever it chooses however it chooses, as long as it is true. This is true. Barry was “the Crack Mayor.” Deal with it.

4. It would have been good for all if Barry’s enablers and supporters forced him to apologize and be accountable for his various crimes, hustles and misdeeds, of which the crack was only the most spectacular. Instead, Ashlea Johnson and those like her kept electing Barry, who was unrepentant and unreformed, to office,  sending the message to District politicians that character and honesty, even good citizenship, don’t matter as much as group identification and cronyism

The TMZ headline was certainly not kind, polite or diplomatic, but rogues, miscreants and thieves do not deserve pleasant or respectful obituaries. When Bernie Madoff dies, he will be called a swindler, because he was one. When Anthony Weiner passes on, he will be noted as the “sexting Congressman,” because that was his legacy. Monica Lewinsky will be eulogized in the press as Clinton’s intern plaything, or something nastier: what else should she be remembered for? Marion Barry could have earned a headline describing him as a transformative mayor of the nation’s Capital, for he had the ability to be that and more. Barry chose to be the Crack Mayor instead.

Ashlea should have sent him a petition about forty years ago, demanding that he stop being such a jerk.

________________

Pointer: Mediaite

 

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

Loathsome Jerk Bites Dumb Gold-digger

Fly, meet Spider...

Fly, meet Spider…

I was going to make this an Ethics Quiz, but in part because I find Howard Stern so repugnant that I am incapable of not assigning blame to him, and mostly I am certain that the fact someone consents to do something self-destructive and stupid does not excuse the party who intentionally tempts her with an invitation, I am making this call myself.

Radio’s premiere shock jock, knowing full well that spurned Mel Gibson mistress Oksana Grigorieva would forfeit the remaining $375,000 of her settlement with the actor if she talked publicly about their relationship, invited her on his show. Then, using gentle questioning and seductive tones, Stern got the woman to say just enough violate the settlement terms, which were subsequently declared void by a judge. From TMZ: Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Character, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Romance and Relationships

Chris Dorner Capture Reward Ethics

John_Wilkes_Booth_wanted_poster_colourThe gossip site TMZ often has horrible ideas, but for once it has come up with a horrible idea that is worth discussing seriously.

Several citizens provided information that led to renegade killer Chris Dorner being trapped and ultimately killed in a stand-off with police. This should put them in line for three rich rewards offered for information leading to the end of Dorner’s rampage, but TMZ identified catches in all three:

 “The Mayor of L.A. announced a $1 million reward — funded by private groups — for information leading to the “capture and conviction” of Dorner.  Big problem — technically speaking, Dorner must be both captured AND convicted to trigger the reward. The L.A. City Council offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to “the identification, apprehension, and conviction” of Dorner.  Again … no conviction.  City Council sources tell us there’s already a disagreement between the Legislative Analyst and the City Attorney over how to interpret the reward language. And finally … the L.A. County Board of Supervisors offered a $100,000 reward for information “leading to the capture of Christopher Dorner.”  One source at the Board of Supervisors tells TMZ,  “Dorner was cornered but not captured.”

Could TMZ possibly be correct? Would the offerers of these rewards weasel out of their obligations, citing the fact that Dorner burned to death before he could be captured and convicted?

Legally it’s possible, but barely. Ethically, it would be unfair and a breach of public trust. Pragmatically, it would be stupid beyond all imagining. Continue reading

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Filed under Government & Politics, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership

Unethical Crime Victim of the Month: Kamofie & Co.

Next time, Lindsay, pick a classier store to rob.

Lindsay Lohan, in addition to having stunningly bad judgment, multiple addictions, lousy parents, sycophantic friends, and an army of paid enablers, also has rotten luck. When she walked out of a jewelry store wearing a $2,500 necklace, she picked an ethically dubious enterprise, Kamofie & Co., that may have  grossly over-priced the necklace, turning the shoplifting into grand theft. But that’s just the beginning.

Lohan, who is on probation and facing jail time for the incident, was caught on a surveillance tape in January as she strolled out of the store, with the unpurchased jewelry around her neck. Some establishments, recognizing the alleged thief as someone who is famous, troubled, and in need of some kindness, would have privately contacted the actress, accepted her (probably) false excuse that the act was inadvertent, and allowed her to return the item with involving the police.

Not Kamofie, however, which apparently saw the incident as an opportunity to make itself a household word. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Popular Culture, U.S. Society

Ethics Quote of the Week: Blogger Jeff Jarvis

"If Charlie's unavailable, get this guy. He's hilarious!"

“One way or another, by one definition and diagnosis or another, Charlie Sheen is a sick man. He doesn’t need airtime. He needs couchtime. News people are ill-serving him and the issue of mental illness in this country by putting him on the air as if he were just another source, another celebrity. They are not informing the public. They are exploiting Charlie.”

Blogger Jeff Jarvis on his site, BuzzMachine, on the media’s disgraceful rush to get celebrity meltdown Charlie Sheen to do as many wacky, self-destructive, “did he really say that?” interviews as possible before he falls completely to pieces as addicts in full denial inevitably do.

Jarvis is right. There is no more news to be milked from the sad Sheen story, other than “Charley continues to say things that are destroying his career, making him dislikable and unemployable, and that prove that he is sick, getting sicker by the day.” This is no less despicable than exhibiting freaks, the brain injured and schizophrenics for the amusement of the crowd. “They want him to act nutty,” says Jarvis. “Ratings, man, ratings.” Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Ethics Quotes, Etiquette and manners, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Professions

Lindsay Lohan Has Privacy Rights Too

Lindsay Lohan brings enough problems on herself. She doesn’t need unethical professionals to make her life even more chaotic by violating her privacy rights. Continue reading

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Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Health and Medicine, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture