As An Ethics Alarms Public Service, Here’s Another Reminder Of What A Phony, Dishonest, Brain-Dead “Factcheck” Site Snopes Is

Judge websites, social media platforms and your friends who rely on this flagrantly unethical site  as authority accordingly.

For some reason there has been an outbreak of tips to Ethics Alarms involving the usual Snopes stunts, including its factchecking  the conservative satire site, the Babylon Bee. Reader Pennagain reminded me of this classic though, which nicely sums up Snopes in a concise, stinky package.

The Snopes question it supposedly examined (but didn’t) in a 2018 “FactCheck” has resurfaced because there is a new podcast about the Banks tragedy. (I can tell when Banks’ story is attracting attention again when the EA post about Wanetta Gibson starts picking up traffic.)

Here’s the rest of that “factcheck”:

Snopes pulls this bait and switch trick a lot. The answer to linkbait question ‘Was Banks wrongly convicted of rape?” is  “Yes”, and any assertion to that effect isn’t “mostly true,” it’s absolutely, 100% true. Beneath the question that heads the “inquiry,” Snopes significantly rephrases the “claim” which it then “debunks” by giving us the breathless revelations that Gibson didn’t recant ON Facebook, she contacted Banks through Facebook and then confessed in person, and that Banks “only” served 5 years and two months, not “six.” Continue reading

Ethics Alarms’ All-Time Greatest Hits

AllTimeGreatestHits

I am listing these because one of the past posts that keep drawing readers is going nuts today: the 2013 essay about the horrible Wanetta Gibson, who sent Brian Banks, a young man with a bright future to prison by falsely accusing him of rape when she was 15. If anyone has any idea why this would be, let me know; as far as I can find out, there are no new developments in the case.

It is gratifying that so many Ethics Alarms posts continue to find new readers. Here are the top ten that have “legs,” and my assessment of why.

1. The Rationalizations List. That’s no surprise, since I link to it so frequently, and it is also frequently updated.

2. Wanetta Gibson Is Even Worse Than We Thought

3.The Amazing Mouthwash Deception: Helping Alcoholics Relapse For Profit. I am proud of this one. The use of mouthwash by alcoholics is epidemic, yet now, as in 2010 when I wrote this, almost nobody who isn’t a drunk is likely to know it. This makes it easy for closeted alcoholics to hide their illness, and continue to harm themselves by gulping 54 proof liquor out of various convenient containers or their caps, which are coincidentally shaped like shot glasses. Incredibly, the Ethics Alarms post is still one of the few references on this problem on the web. As you will read, I think the makers of mouthwash intentionally keep it this way, because the alcoholic market is huge.

I regularly receive thanks from family members of alcoholics, who tell me that reading this post led to their discovering that a loved oned had relapsed. Continue reading

Well, So Much For Brian Banks’ Vote, The “To Kill A Mockingbird” Admirers Vote, The Bill Cosby Fan Vote, The UVA Fraternity Vote, The Bill Clinton Sup…Uh, I Don’t Think Hillary Thought This Through…

In the bright side, I think Hillary has Wanetta Gibson's vote locked up!

In the bright side, I think Hillary has Wanetta Gibson’s vote locked up!

You see, even if Hillary Clinton was honest, which she isn’t, and trustworthy, which she definitely isn’t, or had a record of a accomplishment, which she doesn’t, there would still be this habit she has of making jaw-droppingly stupid, pandering and unethical statements.  There was when she suggested that Donald Trump was  responsible for the Charleston Church massacre.  There was her statement that we shouldn’t “let” people hold minority viewpoints that the majority finds upsetting. This, however, is special.

In today’s “Women for Hillary” event, bolstered by an audience that somehow believes the myth that she is a feminist,she actually said (and later tweeted)

“To every survivor of sexual assault…You have the right to be heard. You have the right to be believed. We’re with you.”

There is no right to be believed, although this is an oft repeated “right” pushed by anti-male, crypto-Victorians who are dedicated to making the act of consensual sex so risky for men that Caitlyn Jenner may be the gender’s most viable future. It is also the underlying position behind the un-American recommendation by Colorado Rep. Jared Polis that a 20% chance that an accusation of sexual assault  should be sufficient to kick a male student out of college. Law enforcement treating dubious rape accusations as if there is a “right to be believed” resulted in lynchings in the past and successful, life-wrecking scams by the likes of Wanetta Gibson in the present. It allowed the despicable and probably batty Emma Sulkowicz, a.k.a. “Mattress Girl,” to harass her supposed attacker on the Columbia campus even after her story had been thoroughly discredited. The sexist principle relieving women of having to provide more than an accusation alone allowed the false Rolling Stone “Jackie” story of a fraternity gang rape to slander every fraternity on the University of Virginia campus, which were punished by the school’s “right to be believed”-addled president.

Yes, women who claim to be victims of sexual assault deserve to be heard, and they deserve to have their accusation treated like every other accusation, while those they accuse are provided with the presumption of innocence, due process and a fair hearing as well. A right to be believed. however? That’s sexist, reckless, and wrong.

But Hillary doesn’t really believe this stuff. I assume she barely thinks about it. These are just “things you say to get to be President” to her.

Still, you would think Hillary would be a bit more careful; after all, her husband was accused of sexual assault or worse by Kathleen Willey, Juanita Broderick and Paula Jones. Why didn’t they have a right to be believed?

__________________

Pointer and Spark: Mediaite

 

Accountability, “Jackie,” and the University Of Virginia Fraternity Libel

"Jackie"

“Jackie”

There are times when I feel like the ultra-conservative Senator Keeley played by Gene Hackman in “The Bird Cage,” when he’s just learned that his daughter’s future in-laws are a gay couple, that his future son-in-law has two mothers, and the middle-aged woman he had been flirting with all evening is a gay man. Literally nothing makes sense to him any more, and he says, plaintively, “I feel like I’m insane.”

The New York Times report on the police investigation into Rolling Stone’s false story about a horrific gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity made me feel like this. It made no sense to me whatsoever.

“After a review of records and roughly 70 interviews,” the story said, “Police Chief Timothy J. Longo Sr. said at a crowded news conference here, his investigators found “no evidence” that a party even took place at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity on Sept. 28, 2012, when the rape was said to have occurred. Instead, he said, there was a formal that night at the house’s sister sorority, making it highly unlikely that the fraternity would have had a party on the same night.Despite “numerous attempts,” he said, his officers were unable to track down the man Jackie had identified as her date that night. And several interviews contradicted her version of events.”

But wait, there’s more:

During the course of the ensuing police investigation, the chief said, investigators interviewed nine of the 14 members who were living at the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity house in September 2012; none said they knew Jackie. The authorities also sent questionnaires to other fraternity members; 19 were returned, and none of the respondents said they knew Jackie or had any knowledge of an assault having occurred at the fraternity house. A review of bank records for the fraternity revealed no expenditures for a party. The police also found a photograph time-stamped Sept. 28, 2012. It showed two men in an otherwise empty entrance hall, the chief said.Investigators also interviewed two of Jackie’s friends, both men, whom Jackie had said met with her after the assault occurred. But both contradicted her version of events, the chief said, adding, “They don’t recall any physical injuries.” And while both said they were told by Jackie that she had gone out on the night of Sept. 28, 2012, with a person named Haven Monahan — identified in the Rolling Stone article as “Drew” — the police were unable to track Mr. Monahan down.

Meanwhile, we are told, “Jackie” refuses to cooperate with the investigation in any way. Continue reading

Wanetta Gibson, The Limits Of Forgiveness, And The Most Unethical Facebook Friend Request Ever

"Come on. Let's hang out. I'm more mature now."

“Come on. Let’s hang out. I’m more mature now.”

Brian Banks, the once-promising high school athlete whose life was upended by a classmate’s false rape accusation that sent him to prison for five years, is now  back on his feet, working for the National Football League, and, by the evidence of his recent profile in the New York Daily News, impressively beyond anger and bitterness. He does tell a stunning story, however, of a day in 2011 when he received an unexpected Facebook friend request from Wanetta Gibson, the woman who, for no apparent reason, did this terrible thing to him. Banks says that she wrote…

“I was hoping we could let bygones be bygones. I was immature back in the day, but I’m much more mature now. Let’s hang out. I’d love to see you. I’ve seen your picture on Facebook. You look real good. I would love to hook up.”

I’ve been trying to think up a fanciful equivalent for this “I know I tried to wreck your life, now will you please let me back into it?” request. Would it be John Hinckley Jr. asking President Ronald Reagan for a job? Edward Snowden replying to an NSA RFP? Maybe V. Stiviano asking Donald Sterling for a job recommendation? I’m not sure any of them would be as bad. “Let bygones be bygones.” Among other things, what an insult this is. How stupid does Gibson think her victim is?

Then there is this chilling statement: I was immature back in the day, but I’m much more mature now.” Translation:  “Yes, now I’m a fully mature vicious sociopath. Don’t you want to renew our relationship?”

These are the situations where someone inevitably argues that Americans believe in redemption, and when I inevitably respond, “You are out of your friggin’ mind.” Some people, not many, but some, are bad to the bone, and the social pressure to forgive the worst of the worst—Did you read the words “I’m sorry” anywhere in that request?—is a trap, set up by those who won’t have to live with the consequences of another betrayal of trust.

Banks, of course, rejected Gibson’s overtures.

Two years later, she recanted her withdrawal of her rape accusation.

Comment of The Day (Public Service Message Division): “Wanetta Gibson Is Even Worse Than We Thought”

Wait a second...I'm getting my rifle...

Wait a second…I’m getting my rifle…

We haven’t had one of these in a while, and I’m feeling like having a good fish-shoot in the ol’ barrel, so here we go….

Apparently there has been another development in the Wanetta Gibson saga—I know this because the last post about this horrible woman is suddenly getting traffic again—and this has moved one Terrance Skerrette—I sure hope there’s just one— to enter one of those periodic comments I receive here that serves as a public service announcement for the ethically-challenged. You know the kind—Saturday Night Live parodies of such spots used to be a staple:

“Hello. I’m Jack Marshall, and this is Terrance. Terrance was raised in an environment that left him with an inability to understand ethics. That’s right–he will go through life justifying horrendous conduct by using rationalizations, hideous logic, and warped values. Will you help Terrance? No, he can’t be helped by treatment, but perhaps, if you give generously, we can provide him with a comfortable shack in the forest and plenty of food, so he can live comfortably without infecting anyone else with his hopeless ethical ignorance and dangerous excuses for terrible conduct. Please send your generous contributions to “Help Terrance,” care of Ethics Alarms. Thank you. Terrance would thank you too, but he probably thinks you are evil.”

Continue reading

Wanetta Gibson, Elizabeth Paige Coast, Chaneya Kelly, Cassandra Kennedy and the Alkon Formula: How Should We Punish False Rape Victims?

Coast: How much compassion does she deserve?

Coast: How much compassion does she deserve?

Commenting on the case of Elizabeth Paige Coast, a Virginia woman who finally came forward last year to confess that in 2008 she had falsely accused Johnathan C. Montgomery, a former neighbor, of raping her in 2000 when she was 10 years old and he was 14, advice columnist and blogger Amy Alkorn proposes this sentencing formula:

“I feel strongly that those who falsely accuse someone of rape should spend the amount of time incarcerated that the person they falsely accused would have.”

Coast’s victim was convicted of rape and  spent four years in jail as a result of her lies. As for Coast, she was recently sentenced by Hampton Circuit Court Judge Bonnie L. Jones to only two months in jail, plus being required to pay Montgomery $90,000 in restitution for de-railing his life. The judge suspended the rest of a five-year sentence, and is allowing Coast to serve the remainder on weekends so not to unduly disrupt her life.

Coast’s lawyer had argued any jailing would send the wrong message to others who lie about false rapes. The prosecutor, agreeing with Alkon, asked for a 10-year sentence with six years suspended so she would serve the same length of time as Montgomery. It seems the judge agreed with the defense more than Alkon. I think Alkon is closer to the mark, but if we make the punishment for recanting rape accusers too severe, it is probably going to mean that some in Coast’s position will choose to let their victim rot and just live with a guilty conscience. Continue reading

Wanetta Gibson Is Even Worse Than We Thought

How do you treat a monster like Wanetta?

How do you treat a monster like Wanetta?

Of Wanetta Gibson, the woman who sent innocent high school football star Brian Banks to prison for five years for a rape he didn’t commit, collected $750,000 by continuing her lie in a lawsuit against the high school where she and Banks were both students, and then sought forgiveness from him in prison while refusing to exonerate him to prosecutors because she didn’t want to give back the money, I wrote:

“There are not sufficient laws, nor words in the dictionary, nor public shaming, shunning and condemnation to do justice to the likes of Wanetta Gibson. She ruined a young man’s life and stole $1.5 million in the process. She can recant, apologize, say that she found God, weep, express regret and anything else, and it should not insulate her from societal rejection. No one should hire her. No bank should give her a loan or a credit card. No taxpayer should have to contribute to her health insurance or food stamps. No one should befriend her. Absolutely no one should forgive her, consort with her or trust her. The kind of organized hatred that was manufactured against George Zimmerman is appropriate in her case. The Golden Rule? If I behaved like Wanetta Gibson, I would deserve everything I have described, and more.”

And you know what? I think I was too easy on her. Continue reading

How To Make A Wanetta Gibson

Reader Fred Davison sent me this video of two teenage girls being interviewed by a Florida TV reporter regarding their theft of a 9 year-old Girl Scout’s proceeds from the sale of cookies. If it went viral in 2009, I missed it; if it didn’t, it should have. And although the crime is old news, it is an enduring warning, and a current cause for alarm:

Those who wonder how a young girl like Wanetta Gibson could have casually fingered an innocent boy with who she had been necking in a school corridor and sent him to jail for rape can get some of their answers from the two frightening creatures shown in the video. They have no comprehension of right and wrong. Their parents obviously couldn’t imbue them with any values, and their teachers, if they mentioned ethics at all, did it so fleetingly, ineptly or incoherently that it made no impression at all. They obviously have never been influenced by any church, religion or moral code. They lack empathy, respect for others, regard for fairness or justice, and most of all, shame. Continue reading

Brian Banks’ Lawyer’s Dilemma: The Ethics of Counselling An Innocent Client To Plead Guilty

Would Wanetta have eventually admitted her lie if Brian Banks had been sentenced to 40 years? Would you bet your life on it?

The understandable uproar over Brian Bank’s five year imprisonment for a rape he never committed has focused public attention on the wrenching situation where a criminal defense attorney feels he must counsel an innocent client to plead guilty (or no contest, in Banks’ case) when the only alternative appears to be conviction at trial and a harsher sentence.  Banks’ attorney persuaded him that five years for a crime he didn’t commit was preferable to a maximum of 40 years if he was found guilty.  Was that bad advice? Was it unethical advice? Continue reading