Does Anyone Understand How Twitter Could Post This?

Twitter Tweet

Twitter has been on a banning binge, including the President of the United States, and it chooses now to grandstand about open internet principles?Forget hypocrisy; this is closer to satire. What’s going on here?

Some theories:

  • Twitter Public Policy missed a crucial memo.
  • Some rogue intern is trying to make Twitter look ridiculous.
  • Twitter is gaslighting us.
  • The company is incompetent.
  • The company thought it would be funny to post a misleading tweet that would, under its own policy would mandate suspending Twitter’s account.
  • It literally believes that Donald Trump is an exception to all standards and principles.
  • Emulating the President it just helped elect, it has concluded that the American public only pays attention to what you say, not what you do.

Anything else?

Waning 2020 Ethics Warm-Up

hour_glass

A reader reports that he can’t pull up Ethics Alarms on Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge. Is anyone else having this problem?

Wasn’t it nice when we naively assumed that such things were just technical glitches and not part of Big Tech’s increasingly intrusive alliance with the totalitarian-minded forces of the extreme Left?

1. Embrace the narrative. “Louisiana Congressman-elect Luke Letlow dies with COVID-19” is just one of many headlines announcing that the 41-year-old Representative-elect died from the Wuhan virus. So far, every headline I’ve seen is some version of this. Letlow died of a heart attack, in fact, during some un-named procedure related to his treatment for the virus. People die of unexpected heart attacks with some frequency during hospital procedures for other problems, and the cause of death is usually listed as “heart attack.” Maybe the virus caused his death and maybe it didn’t, but the headlines stating this as fact is more pandemic fearmongering, and. yes, fake news.

2. Good. You will recall that Twitter censored The New York Post’s account of the incriminating Hunter Biden laptop being found because it claimed that the business memos, photos of a Hunter using illegal drugs, and other disturbing photos came from a “hacker,” when Twitter’s real objective was, it seems fair to conclude, to keep as many people as possible from learning about matters that might cause them not to vote for Hunter’s father. Now the computer repair company’s owner is  suing Twitter for $500,000,000.00 for libel, defamation, and ruining his business, claiming that the social media giant disparaged him.

3. One more reason to distrust the election results: President Donald Trump topped former President Barack Obama for the title of most admired man in America in Gallup’s 2020 survey. Trump had tied with Obama in 2019 while Obama beat him in 2017 and 2018. President Joe Biden came in third. Obama had been #1 since 2008.

Don’t you find this strange?

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And THIS Is Why Celebrities Should Shut Up And Act, Sing, Dance, Look Good, Or Whatever They Did To Get Famous . . .

Banks

Elizabeth Banks, a B+ movie actress whose career zenith was either playing Jeff Bridges’ wife in “Sea Biscuit” or a supporting role in “The Hunger Games” movies, decided to rant about “Stand your ground” laws last week. The impetus was the Ohio legislature passing a version of the law, thus joining about half the states. Banks responded by tweeting, to her

“Stand Your Ground is BS. We used to play hide and seek all over the neighborhood on summer nights. Intent was to play. We were kids but some of my cousins were big guys. There were a few easily-jumped fences in the neighborhood but also houses with no fences at all. A new neighbor moved onto our street. Apparently he mistook us hiding behind trees in his unfenced yard at 9pm for … burglars? Predators?” All of a sudden, an arrow was shot into the tree behind which we hid. From a professional bow and arrow. This guy didn’t yell out ‘who’s there’ or ‘get off my property or I’m calling the cops’ or any other question or warning. He just shot at children. He hit the tree so it was seemingly a warning shot. Message received, WE yelled out that we were just playing and could he let us please run away without shooting. Then we ran.”

“Also sometimes our dog got loose. We would go into yards looking for her. All I can think about when people pretend Stand Your Ground is about anything other than permission to kill people are those moments when I myself stepped onto a neighbor’s property. Where is the evidence that Stand Your Ground does anything but endanger your neighbors, their dogs, their kids? It helps nobody but people who want justified reasons to use a deadly weapon. If I’d been shot and killed playing hide and seek, would that new neighbor have been able to just shrug his shoulders while living across the street from my grieving parents? With laws like this, probably yes.I don’t want to live in a world where we fear our neighbors so much that we can’t freely lose a ball/dog/frisbee or cut through somebody’s yard to avoid harassment — all things I have done. What yards did you wander into and why?”

Observations:

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An Ethics Alarms Popeye: Boy Am I Sick Of THIS Lie!

As a long-time Popeye fan, I established the Ethics Alarms designation in the spinach-gulping sailor’s honor to mark the times when I feel compelled to rail against a particularly persistent media distortion of reality. This morning’s New York Times sports section, in a bottom of the page article about ESPN firing one of its more political hosts now earns a Popeye for this bit of deliberate disinformation, aimed at smearing the President (of course). As has been a pattern at the Times, President Trump had little connection to the story but it was decided that a gratuitous attack was appropriate anyway.

Reporter Keven Draper wrote (and Times editors accepted) this:

Le Batard publicly criticized ESPN’s tepid approach to covering politics after President Trump tweeted that four Democratic congresswomen of color should “go back” to “the crime-infested places from which they came” — comments that even members of Trump’s party condemned as racist.

Although this is how the President’s admittedly stupid and inflammatory tweets have been misquoted since they were posted, that is not what he tweeted. Here are the tweets in question:

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Sunday Ethics Insomnia, 11/29/2020: No Wonder I Can’t Sleep!

1. I hate 99.9% of the petitions offered at Change.org. but I’m signing this one . It reads,

Professor Dorian Abbot, a tenured faculty member in the Department of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago, has recently come under attack from students and postdocs for a series of videos he posted to YouTube expressing his reservations about the way Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) efforts have been discussed and implemented on campus.
In these videos Prof. Abbot raised several misgivings about DEI efforts and expressed concern that a climate of fear is “making it extremely difficult for people with dissenting viewpoints to voice their opinions.” The slides for each of Prof. Abbot’s videos can be found here, and his own account of events and his opinions can be found here. Nowhere in these materials does Prof. Abbot offer any opinion that a reasonable observer would consider to be hateful or otherwise offensive.

Shortly after uploading the videos, Abbot’s concerns were confirmed when 58 students and postdocs of the Department of Geophysical Sciences, and 71 other graduate students and postdocs from other University of Chicago departments, posted a letter containing the claim that Prof. Abbot’s opinions “threaten the safety and belonging of all underrepresented groups within the [Geophysical Sciences] department” and “represent an aggressive act” towards research and teaching communities.

[Pointer: Pennagain]

2. “Hello, Newman...” According to the Postal Service’s own records, more than 150,000 mail-in ballots were not delivered in time for them to be counted on election day. This is, of course, as I and anyone else who was paying attention expected and predicted, because the USPS is undependable

I am surprised that the number was that low.

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Post-Thanksgiving Ethics Indigestion,11/26/2020: A Whole Lot Of Shaky Ethics Performances Going On

1. AstraZeneca! In Jurassic Park’s control center, as the first tour of the park begins having technical glitches, creator John Hammond turns with contempt to tech guru Dennis Nedry (Wayne Knight, aka “Newman”) and spits, “Our life is in your hands and you have butterfingers?” That was the first thing that jumped into my head when I read this:

The announcement this week that a cheap, easy-to-make coronavirus vaccine appeared to be up to 90 percent effective was greeted with jubilation. “Get yourself a vaccaccino,” a British tabloid celebrated, noting that the vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, costs less than a cup of coffee.

But since unveiling the preliminary results, AstraZeneca has acknowledged a key mistake in the vaccine dosage received by some study participants, adding to questions about whether the vaccine’s apparently spectacular efficacy will hold up under additional testing.

Scientists and industry experts said the error and a series of other irregularities and omissions in the way AstraZeneca initially disclosed the data have eroded their confidence in the reliability of the results.

Competence. Diligence. Responsibility. The duty of care. Trustworthiness.

2. Butterfingers II: The case of the premature obituaries. Radio France Internationale (RFI) mistakenly published online the obituaries of about 100 public figures who were and are still alive.Among those declared dead were Queen Elizabeth II, Clint Eastwood, Jimmy Carter, Yoko Ono, Sophia Loren and Brigitte Bardot. Google and Yahoo then picked up the fake news, which was, of course, spread on social media.

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I’m Thankful That So Many Americans Will Refuse To Comply With Pandemic Orders From Arrogant And Contemptuous Elected Officials Like These

Thanksgiving plus US

Elected mayors and governors across the country have simultaneously demanded obeisance to their burdensome orders constraining American rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness while showcasing their belief that they are above the obligation to live by their own rules.

I’m grateful for this disgusting phenomenon. It vividly exposes a political class that thinks Americans are marks and fools, or perhaps some kind of human-sheep hybrid. These elected dictators’ not-so-secret desire is to dominate and rule. They have but a faint concept of what a representative democracy means, and have contempt for it and us. Members of the public who can’t see the unethical double standards these nascent totalitarians would inflict on the nation, or worse, those who accept and tolerate the double standards, are the intended victims. Fortunately, there are still a critical number of citizens who recall this nation’s origins as a rebellion against tyrants.

The open contempt these leaders have for us is staggering. Perhaps they expected their allied propagandists among news media to hide the hypocrisy, which so far it has been unwilling to do. Actually, considering the embargo on stories that might reflect positively on President Trump during the run-up to this months election, it is surprising our aspiring dictators haven’t been provided with more cover. This is something else to be thankful for.

From the Thanksgiving section of the Dead Ethics Alarms files:

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40th Anniversary Ethics, 11/23/2020…

That was the recording the lovely and brilliant Grace Bowen Marshall and I danced to at our wedding reception. An old fashioned tune, you say? Hell, it was old-fashioned then. After an uproarious party featuring the combined talents of my two performing groups, The Showstoppers and The Music Lobby, seasoned by my cherished friend Jay Silva’s saxophone rendition of “Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart.” I performed “Let a Woman in Your Life” (from “My Fair Lady”), and it was off to the historic Hay-Adams hotel (across from the White House) and from there to a cozy Civil War era inn near Charlottesville, where the charming host brought us breakfast in bed, and his cat and dog slept with us. As I said: cozy.

And thus began a great adventure that still has some twists and turns, battles, defeats and triumphs to reveal.

What a wonderful day.

1. Stay classy, Jenna!

Micropenis

You know, once upon a time a public utterance like this would be viewed as a breach of legal professionalism, if not an outright ethics violation. By the standards of past Trump lawyers like Michael Cohen, however, it seems positively quaint.

This kind of thing is why I caution lawyers to avoid Twitter.

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Sunday Ethics Infusion, 17/15/2020: “Run Away!”

1. To channel Scarlet O’Hara…If one more Trump-Deranged individual accuses me of  adopting right-wing media conspiracy theories, I will get angry, and they won’t like me when I’m angry. I accept analysis from no one, especially from the likes of (the former version of) Fox News, Breitbart, Mark Levin and others of note. If I like a legitimate authority’s analysis (like, say, Andrew McCarthy, Ann Althouse or Jonathan Turley), I will credit them for it. “It sure is suspicious that your points agree with theirs” I was told today. It’s no more suspicious than the fact that their stated analysis agrees with mine. I’m not tolerating this insult. I’m at least as informed, educated and intelligent as those I am accused of “parroting,” and I’m considerably more informed, educated and intelligent than the typical knee-jerk progressive water-carrier who tries to win arguments they have neither the wit nor the facts to support by calling me incapable of forming my own opinions.

2. An update! The original collection of movie clips that Ethics Alarms uses repeatedly to illustrate certain points has been expanded considerably.

3. “Run away!” I see that conservatives are “fleeing” Facebook and Twitter for the allegedly more accommodating and less censorious environs of Parler and MeWe. EVERYONE should bolt from Facebook and Twitter if they have any concern about the social media platforms manipulating public opinion and possible tilting the election by partisan censorship, not to mention the mendacity of both platforms’ CEOs and their basic lack of trustworthiness.

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Early Sunday Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 11/8/2020: The 2020 Presidential Election Ethics Train Wreck Accelerates…

Train-Wreck air

The news media, Democrats and Trump-Haters—are there any Biden supporters, I wonder?—are behaving like—no other word will do— assholes to a degree that even I could not have imagined. They are doing so in such a flagrant matter that one has to ask if they all really are assholes, if they are this way permanently now, and if we can ever trust any of them again. Gloating, threatening, insulting and lying is not the way to heal the damage done to the nation (by them, primarily) over the last four years.

Do not send Ethics Alarms comments about how “this is no surprise.” Just cut that out. Writing that mitigates the offense. It is a surprise. It may have been predictable, but one has to be surprised at such despicable conduct by such a huge component of the population, or one just has to give up.

It’s unethical to give up.

1. I just blocked my first Twitter account, and it was that of the self-banned, former puckish Ethics Alarms commenter Jeff Field, known here as Fattymoon. Jeff was an enthusiastic member of Occupy Wall Street, meaning he was essentially an anarchist and thoroughly deluded, but he was treated well here. Then he went off to Medium to attack me and the blog by name. That’s fine. What’s not fine is the string of tweets he has sent out lately threatening me for daring to point out the same kinds of issues I’m covering in this post. That is signature significance for both an asshole and a totalitarian (anarchists are often totalitarians, as long as they see themselves in charge, and all totalitarians are assholes).

I really thought better of Jeff. I have never blocked anyone on Twitter; I object to it on principle, but I’m willing to be insulted—I know how to defend myself—but threats on social media are intolerable.

2. The news media cannot ethically refer to Joe Biden as “the President-elect.” He isn’t. That’s a fact. They didn’t call George W. Bush “President Elect” when Al Gore and Florida Democrats were searching high and low for any way to flip Florida into the Gore column in 2000, and at this point, the 2020 election is no more decided than that one was. It is a remarkable—and obviously unethical—exercise for the news media to declare Biden the winner and then use its own fake news to proclaim him President-elect. There are sufficient states with their vote totals in question, with recounts looming and lawsuits mounting, to wait. Waiting costs nothing; premature declarations and celebrations make the nation look ridiculous, because at this juncture, it is ridiculous.

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