Tag Archives: Tucson shooting

The Trustworthy New York Times, Whose Editors Don’t Read Their Own Paper

I was stunned when the New York Times, after a Bernie Sanders supporter engineered a sniper attack on a group of Republican Congressmen (Steve Scalise is still hospitalized) published an editorial including the “everybody does it” argument that Republican rheteric had activated madmen too, reminding readers that there had been a  “clear” and “direct” causal connection between Palin’s PAC’s “targeting” of Gabrielle Giffords’ district and Jared Loughner’s murder of six people in Tucson. How could they be dredging up this old smear again, after it had been so thoroughly debunked? It seemed like a desperate, vicious deflection.

The  theory had caused an extended and heated debate at the time of the Tucson attack, with left-biased media pundits, including the Times’ Paul Krugman and others, attempting to silence conservatives by arguing that their harsh “eliminationist rhetoric” had put Gifford in the crosshairs, literally. The Left’s prime scapegoats for the shootings were the most vocal conservative  critics  of President Obama and the Democrats at the time, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin.The smear was transparent and dishonest; eventually even President Obama rejected it in the best speech of his tenure as President. It was also quickly disproven by the facts. Loughner, if anything, was a progressive lunatic. His written rants suggested no influence by the Right at all, and certainly no indication that Palin’s use of a crosshairs graphic to indicate Democrats “targeted” for defeat at the ballot box had even been seen by the killer, much less set him on his murderous path.

The revived lie was taken down online within a day, though not before the Times’s rival for the title of  “Parper Most Willing To Devastate Its Reputation To Destroy Donald Trump” issued a merciless ‘factcheck.”  The falsehod was also put into print. Several lawyers suggested that Palin had grounds for a defamation lawsuit, even though, as a public figure, prevailing in a lawsuit would require her to prove “actual malice.” Palin did sue.  Sure enough, The Times is denying malice by arguing that it made an “honest mistake.” But how could it be an honest mistake, when the Times itself had published reporting that finally proved Loughner was no devotee of Palin or Limbaugh.

For the Times editors to claim they made an honest mistake, they must insist that they were unaware of what had been prominently published in their own newspaper, under their own oversight. Sure, that’s certainly the kind of professionalism, competence and care one expects from the flagship of American journalism. Continue reading

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Dunces, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement

Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 6/17/2017

1. If you haven’t yet read them, Steve-O-in NJ’s Comment of the Day on Chris’s brilliant Comment of the Day regarding ideological and partisan hate—plus Chris Bentley’s Comment of the Day on the same post, are all especially worth reading, not that all Comments of the Day by Ethics Alarms readers are not. I apologize for an unusually long intro to Steve’s post, but I had been holding on to a lot of related material from the day past on the topic, and it was either use them there or be redundant later. This meant putting Steve-O’s COTD after the jump, which is why I’m giving an extra plug to it now.

2. There were two significant criminal trial verdicts yesterday: the guilty verdict in the trial of  Michelle Carter, a Massachusetts woman charged with murder for using text messages to persuade her teenaged boyfriend to kill himself, and the acquittal of the Minnesota police officers who shot and killed black motorist Philandro Castile during a traffic stop. I’ll cover the Carter case later.

There were the obligatory riots after the verdict acquitting Jeronimo Yanez, the officer who fatally shot Castile in his car after he told the officer that he was carrying a legally registered firearm and then reached for his wallet to show the officer his license. This is just the latest cattle-car in the Ferguson Ethics Train Wreck, the familiar pattern of a badly-trained cop, a dubious police stop, poor judgment by a victim, and a needless death. I would compare it to the Tamir Rice shooting in Cleveland, where the officers involved weren’t even indicted.

Why in the world would a motorist tell a cop in that situation—Castile had been officially stopped for a broken tail light, but in reality because he was black, and the officers thought he resembled a suspect in a crime who was also black—that he had a gun? This could be interpreted as a threat, and obviously Yanez saw it as one. The verdict looks wrong at a gut level, but it is easy to see how the jurors were thinking: they placed themselves in the officer’s position. They would have been in fear of their lives, so they couldn’t find a way to pronounce Yanez a murderer for doing what they could see themselves doing under similar circumstances. This was a legitimate case for reasonable doubt under the law. Police officers, however, are supposed to be less likely to panic than a typical juror. Castile is dead because of incompetent police work, but the criminal laws don’t allow different standards to be applied  for different occupations, not should they. Continue reading

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Filed under "bias makes you stupid", Comment of the Day, Education, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, History, Incompetent Elected Officials, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Social Media

Morning Ethics Warm-Up: 6/14/17

1.  I am wrestling myself to the ground to avoid making any assumptions about the shooting this morning (about three miles from my home in Alexandria, Virginia) of two Republican Congressmen and an aide while the GOP baseball team was practicing for tomorrow’s annual Congressional baseball game for charity. When Rep. Gabby Giffords was shot (and a judge killed, among others) in Tucson, Arizona, the news media, pundits and Democrats leaped to blame Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh for so-called “eliminationist rhetoric,” defined in Palin’s case as using cross-hairs on an electoral map to indicate which Democrats could be defeated in 2012—you know, as in “he’s in my cross-hairs.” This was a transparent effort to stifle political speech. In 1995, when a Federal building in Oklahoma City was blown up in a domestic terrorist attack, “violent anti-government” rhetoric from the Right was also blamed, though there was no evidence that Timothy McVeigh would not have done exactly the same thing if political discourse had been all John Lennon and rainbows.

The Giffords explanation was cynical and contrived; the Oklahoma City response a bit less so, but in neither of those cases were violent imagery and hateful language (no party officials and member of Congress used “fuck” back then, late night TV hosts were largely apolitical and couldn’t call Presidents “cockholsters” without being fired, the “resistance” in 1995 consisted of fringe militia groups, not recent unsuccessful Presidential candidates with a large following, and nobody was giving standing ovations to Central Park theatrical productions showing a doppleganger of the President of the United States being assassinated. In other words, if Rush Limbaugh had held up a prop bloody head of Barack Obama prior to Giffords’ shooting, I would not have derided the critics who argued that irresponsible partisan rhetoric was at least part of the cause. But he didn’t. Nobody did. Nobody would have thought of doing so. Then.

So when my wife told me, the second I woke up, about the shooting this morning, my immediate thought was, “I wonder who the shooter is, an illegal immigrant, a Muslim, or a member of “the resistance?”  This was unfair, and I knew it. The shooter might have been, as it was in Tucson, a wacko. It might have been moral luck that it was the Republican baseball team that was attacked and not the Democrats, just as it was moral luck that nobody was killed. Continue reading

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Filed under Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, U.S. Society

Ten Observations On The Trump Assassination Attempt

Huey Long assassination

Perhaps you missed it? Someone tried to shoot Donald Trump. From the Associated Press:

“A British man arrested at a weekend Donald Trump rally in Las Vegas tried to grab a police officer’s gun so he could kill the presidential candidate after planning an assassination for about a year, according to authorities. U.S. Secret Service agents said Michael Steven Sandford approached a Las Vegas police officer at the campaign stop to say he wanted Trump’s autograph, but that he then tried to take the weapon.”

Observations:

1. Wow. Talk about being incompetent at your chosen avocation! This guy has been “planning an assassination for about a year” and the big plan was “try to get a police officer’s gun”?

Assassins, like everything else, just aren’t what they used to be.

2. Remember, however, that the only difference between a failed assassination attempt and a successful one is moral luck.

3. The Washington Post asks why the incident didn’t provoke more news coverage. Isn’t that a strange question to come from one of the news organizations responsible for the lack of coverage? Why doesn’t Callum Borchers just ask his own editors at the Post?

The answer seems clear to me: the news media doesn’t want any public sympathy going Trump’s way, or to give him what would amount to positive publicity. This is the double standard we are being told that we need to get used to. Does anyone want to make the case that an assassination attempt on Hillary’s life would be a multi-day story, with a repeat of the U.S. Representative Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shooting mass accusation, now holding  that Republican “hate speech” and anti-Hillary rhetoric nearly resulted in a tragedy?  Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin were being fingered as the reason why a deranged man went on a killing spree in Tucson. Why not blame a Trump assassination attempt on Paul Krugman or Elizabeth Warren? Or me? Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Citizenship, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, U.S. Society

Unethical Quote Of The Day: Hillary Clinton

“We have to have a candid national conversation about race and about discrimination, prejudice, hatred. But unfortunately the public discourse is sometimes hotter and more negative than it should be, which can, in my opinion, trigger people who are less than stable. For example, a recent entry into the Republican presidential campaign said some very inflammatory things about Mexicans. Everybody should stand up and say that’s not acceptable. You don’t talk like that on talk radio. You don’t talk like that on the kind of political campaigns. I think he is emblematic. I want people to understand it’s not about him, it’s about everybody.”

—Democratic Presidential Anointee Hillary Clinton, in an interview with KNPB’s Jon Ralston, discussing the Charleston church shooting of nine African-American worshipers

Note that this is just the unethical quote of the day, rather than week or month, and to be fair, it probably wasn’t even the most unethical quote of the day on this particular topic. Later today I hope to announce the top ten most unethical public statements on the Charleston tragedy (so far), and it is not certain that Hillary’s comment will even make the list.

It’s that bad out there.

I wonder if anyone in the Democratic Party is at all concerned that Clinton is apparently incapable of speaking without a script and avoiding saying absurd and outrageous things? Or do Democrats not recognize that they are outrageous? Which is more disturbing, that they seem ready to hand the most powerful job on earth to this awful, addled, corrupt woman knowing how terrible her judgment and political skills are, or that they can’t tell how terrible they are?

Or that there isn’t a single qualified individual in the entire party that they think is far superior? Or two? Or a hundred?

Well, like wading through day old garbage, let’s analyze this mess. Yuck:

1. To suggest that Donald Trump’s crude statements about illegal immigrants (which was, you know, literally accurate, just needlessly offensive) did have, could have had or is “emblematic” of rhetoric that might have “triggered” Dylann Roof’s act is slimy, gutter level politics at its worst. Clinton implicates Republicans in a murder by linking the party to a self-promoting fraud who is not a serious candidate. Nice.

2. She doesn’t have the guts or fairness to name the man she is sliming (the host asked her to). Who campaigns like that? “I’m not going to name names, but a certain Republican who just entered the race and said this...”  Feminists should throw up: this is girly campaigning…for 7th grade class president.

3. Does Hillary not recall that the Democrats and various pundits thoroughly disgraced themselves by accusing Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin of “triggering” the Tuscon shooting that wounded Rep. Giffords, in a flagrant effort to shut down the speech of political opponents and tie them to the act of a madman? Or did she approve of that miserable, censorious tactic? Presumably it is the latter, because this statement exemplifies the same foolish, dishonest lack of ethics.

4. Hillary begins by saying that we need to have a candid conversation, and then goes on to condemn Trump for being candid. Trump has nothing to recommend in his character or leadership ability whatsoever, but candor is not a quality he lacks. Clinton can’t  maintain honesty and integrity in the span of one short statement in an interview! How can there be candor on race, if  everyone should stand up and say that candor is not acceptable? Hillary’s version of candor is “candor that doesn’t disagree with what my party has declared as acceptable speech and belief.”

Perhaps worst of all, Clinton made a victim out of Donald Trump, and allowed him to say in response, “politicians are just no good.” This is as close to correct as Trump will be in his entire life, except that Hillary Clinton makes other politicians look good by comparison.

 

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Filed under Character, Ethics Quotes, Government & Politics, Race

President Obama’s Unexpected Legacy: The Deadly Deterioration Of Racial Reconciliation And Trust

Murdered cops

I really hate thinking this, much less writing it.

At this moment, race relations in the United States are in a more precarious and dangerous state than at any time since the 1960s. The arrogance, incompetence, biases, and in some cases intentional political machinations of the nation’s first African American President and his party are substantially and perhaps primarily responsible for this tragedy. This is a catastrophe for the nation and its society, though one that the mainstream media will deny, obscure, or refuse to admit. It is still true.

As we begin December 21, 2014, two NYPD police officers named Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, one white and one Asian, are dead, having been assassinated by a deranged African American criminal who drove from Baltimore to New York in order to put “pigs in a blanket.” He announced his plan with message referencing the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, as well as “them” and “us”—“us” being black men, “them” being police officers.

You will hear and read Obama/Holder/Sharpton/ De Blasio defenders furiously denying the connection between these politicians’ repeated suggestions that white police officers were profiling black men and often killing them, and the racial hatred currently focused on police. They will say that the killer, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, was insane, and perhaps that he was more likely a lone wolf Islamic terrorist. The journalists  should be reminded that they were immune to such alternative theories when they blamed the Tucson attack that maimed Congresswoman Gaby Giffords on the rhetoric of Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin, even though the shooter in that case had no smoking hashtags that indicated any motivation other than insanity.

Ironically, their arguments apply fairly now, when they did not then. Re-read Paul Krugman’s infamous column from 2011, substituting the “climate of hate” he attributed to attacks on big government by conservatives (because, like the Michigan professor who authored this, Krugman doesn’t regard what he and other liberals express as hate, just well-earned contempt) with the real and deadly racial distrust and suspicion nurtured by the rhetoric of black leaders, progressive pundits, and others, suggesting that young, black men are being hunted down and killed for the crime of being black. Krugman won’t make that argument now, but if he had any integrity or objectivity, he would.

President Obama, elected on the promise that he would bring the races together, lit the long fuse for this unfolding disaster for our democracy in July of 2009, less than a year into his first term. A prominent African American professor, Henry Lewis Gates, Jr., acted like a jerk to a white Cambridge, Mass. police officer responding to a call, and was arrested for disturbing the peace. Obama, in the first of his many unethical pronouncements that interfered with local matters completely unrelated to his job, made public comments suggesting that Gates was treated unjustly because of his race. The facts indicated that Obama had impugned the character of not only a model police officer, but one recognized for extraordinary sensitivity in the area of black community relations. There was no public apology from Obama, however, and the fuse was lit. Continue reading

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Filed under Character, Ethics Alarms Award Nominee, Ethics Train Wrecks, Government & Politics, Journalism & Media, Law & Law Enforcement, Leadership, Race, U.S. Society

Cartoon Ethics: The New York Times “Eliminationist” Joke

The New York Times is taking fire from diverse commentators on the Right for publishing a political satire cartoon that includes this panel:

KillingPeopleWhoDisagreeIsFunny

It is part of a larger cartoon japing at the supposed aftermath of a harsh winter:

see-something-say-slide-F2R2-jumbo

Among the ethics complaints against the drawing:

  • “Aside from its patently offensive notion that those holding different political views don’t deserve to live, the panel in question also lacks a key element in political cartoons that aim to be tongue in cheek — it isn’t funny. Imagine the outrage at the Times if Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, et al., suggested that liberals should die for not agreeing with them. Yes, things would get nasty in a hurry. Has it really been that long since the Tucson massacre and the left’s demand for more civility, at least from conservatives?”Newsbusters
  • “Global warming has made much of the country so cold that the Times is instructing its readers to use giant icicles to bludgeon the non-believers to death.”Ed Driscoll
  • “NY Times Suggests Killing “Climate Change Deniers”Weasel Zippers
  • “So, as WUWT readers well know, I have a different opinion about global warming.Do you think the New York Times  should endorse stabbing me (and others with similar opinions) through the heart like a vampire because I hold that opinion?”Anthony Watts Continue reading

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