Ethics Dunce: Conservative Website “The American Thinker”

monkey-thinker

It’s not just progressives who shut down dissent.

The American Thinker, a conservative website that Ethics Alarms has referenced from time to time, announced that it is shutting down its comments section, a move quite a few political sites have taken in recent years. Then, the next day, it published a jaw-dropping justification (or something) that justified nothing. I’m posting the whole, awful, self-indicting thing, and interjecting my comments as it proceeds:

Yesterday, we announced that we are closing comments at American Thinker.  We immediately received a couple of hundred very unhappy, angry, and sometimes insulting emails about that decision.  Without divulging why we made that decision, here are a few points to ponder.

Without divulging why? What’s the big secret? Why the tease? Why write this whatever it is and not explain the reasoning for cutting off debate and feedback?

First, 90% of the assumptions in the emails were wrong.  This meant that a lot of people were theorizing in advance of their data.  America is currently deeply destabilized, and things are happening that most people can’t imagine.  Sometimes, those things hit close to home.

I don’t know what this is supposed to mean either. What is The American Thinker saying? That its posts are unclear? That its readers are idiots? That those who disagree with its authors are too biased and emotional for their opinions to count? These would be important questions to answer on the site if anyone could ask them…

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Still Employed At The New York Times, Where Facts, Apparently, Don’t Matter

Hannah-Jones

….at least when promoting anti-American and anti-white propaganda is concerned.

New York Times reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones has no training in history and has the one-way bias of a typical intractable activist. Nevertheless, she was allowed to lead the Times discredited “1619 Project,” which asserted without evidence that the United States of America was created by slavery, and that the Revolutionary War was begun to protect slavery. This fantasy not only won the Pulitzer Prize for Hannah-Jones and the Times, but was quickly installed in thousands of school systems as part of the history curriculum despite being pure agitprop. After one distinguished historian after another pointed out its multiple falsehoods, the “1619 Project” was edited by the Times, without being retracted in its entirety, which would have been the responsible thing to do.

As for Hannah-Jones, she has adamantly refused to admit that her work was, well, crap. Tweeting under the moniker of “Ida Bae Wells” for some reason (I’m sure there is one, I just don’t care what it is), the reporter got in a revealing back-and-forth with Timothy Sandefur, the Vice President for Litigation at the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation who holds the Duncan Chair in Constitutional Government. He corrected Hannah-Jones’ attempted rebuttals to a point made by Reason editor-at-large Nick Gillespie and senior editor Damon Root, who noted that Frederick Douglass had called the Constitution a “glorious liberty document” that guaranteed the rights of all—which indeed it is. Hannah-Jones essentially refused to acknowledge the historical record, and did so in the sarcastic, arrogant, insinuating rhetoric that has characterized all of her defenses of the “1619 Project.”

The real question is why the New York Times continues to employ an openly biased and agenda-driven “reporter” who refuses to correct her false reporting and who believes that her role is to distort facts for political purposes. If that approach to journalism is acceptable in her case, why should we trust any of the Times reporters, or indeed the Times itself?

Here is the Twitter exchange, courtesy of Twitchy: Twitchy’s editorial comments periodically turn up between the tweets; if it were not for the hassle of removing them, I would have. They are unnecessary. The tweets, and Hannah-Jones obstinacy, speak for themselves.

I will point out my favorite part of the debate, where Hannah-Jones, having been definitively schooled regarding the historical fact that Douglass repudiated his earlier criticism of the Constitution, resorts to the desperate argument that he held “both views,” one of which she conveniently neglected to mention when she was pointing to the civil right’s icon’s words as supporting her anti-American thesis. Douglass did not hold both views simultaneously. Unlike the Times reporter, he was capable of growth and learning: when he concluded his previous view was wrong, he abandoned it. Saying Douglass held both views—that the Constitution protected slavery and that it is a pro-liberty document contained the principles essential to ending it—is like arguing that Barack Obama is still opposed to gay marriage, that Donald Trump is a Democrat or that I believe in Santa Claus.

Such are the people who are dismantling U.S. culture now.

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Waning Thursday Ethics Wrap-up, 12/17/2020: Baseball, Football, And The Ripper

Traffic has been sluggish this week. I wonder if the blog is depressing people….I know it’s been depressing me.

1. A confirmation bias classic. I decided to watch the new Netflix documentary about the hunt for “the Yorkshire Ripper,” Peter Sutcliffe, only because Grace and I had been on a Jack the Ripper binge of late, including the well-done (but completely fictional) Johnny Depp film, “From Hell.” I did not expect “The Ripper” to tell one of most instructive tales of how bias makes you stupid as well illustrating as the perils of confirmation bias, but that’s what it does.

Sutcliffe, a Yorkshire truck driver, murdered 13 women and attacked nine others, but police missed him for five years because they convinced themselves that he only killed prostitutes. This, in turn, led the newspapers to name him after Jack the Ripper, the mysterious serial killer in Victorian London who killed and mutilated five prostitutes in 1888. The name, in turn, reinforced the bias that a Jack copycat was whom they were seeking. As a result, women who were not prostitutes and had been attacked by Sutcliffe were ignored when they went to the police.

With their investigation foundering, police officials decided that letters from someone claiming to be the Ripper were genuine—Jack the Ripper also wrote letters to the police, you see—and a tape recording referring to the letters must have had the real killer’s voice on it. So they had a speech expert identify the accent of the speaker, which placed him in a very small area in Yorkshire. Any suspect who didn’t have that accent was eliminated….including Sutcliffe, who was interviewed nine times. By the end of his rampage, Sutcliffe wasn’t killing prostitutes any more.

Sutcliffe was eventually captured by accident. Says one of those interviewed for the project: “No wonder the police couldn’t catch him. They were chasing a mythic Victorian maniac instead of a real man.”

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The Vanderbilt Female Kicker Ethics Mess

Fuller

I’m not even sure what to call the display of dishonesty and posturing that unfolded over the weekend at Vanderbilt. Disrespect for the game and intelligence of fans? Lack of integrity? Incompetence? Dishonesty? Shameless exploitation? Patronizing and insulting women? I’m not sure, but whatever it is, it was all unethical.

Let’s look at the components of this ethics mess (it’s not coherent enough or significant enough to qualify as an ethics train wreck):

1. Derek Miller, the coach of Vanderbilt’s football team, had all of his kickers turn up positive for the Wuhan virus, on game week, so allegedly in desperation, he made Vanderbilt women’s soccer goalie Sarah Fuller the first woman to play in a Power Five conference football game by handing her the job of kicker. She had never kicked a football in a game in her life.

Nobody, literally nobody, believes that there weren’t many members of the team, and maybe all of them, that would have been a better bet to rely upon than Fuller. The team was 0-7 before the game against Missouri—and 0-8 after it, by the humiliating score of 41-0—and the attempt to appeal to campus feminists and woke alumni seems like a desperation move by Coach Miller to save his job. Of course, that meant sacrificing the team’s interests for his own, which is unethical management. Whatever hismotive, it didn’t work: he was fired the next day. In his farewell statement, Miller referenced coaching and mentoring “hundreds” of young men and “one courageous female.” From Tuesday through Saturday afternoon.

2. Sure enough, the coach’s cynical use of Fuller got massive publicity, all positive. Since the team never scored or got within range of a field goal, Fuller got to kick the ball exactly once, to begin the second half. She delivered a 30 yard squibber that gave Missouri the ball on its 35 yard line. The pathetic kick went only 20 yards in the air and rolled another ten before the Missouri team saved face for her by jumping on the ball before it went out of bounds and drew a penalty.

For that performance, the SEC named Fuller the special teams “Player of the Week.” As Kamala Harris has proved, in 2020 a woman can be regarded as a standout by simply showing up. Performance doesn’t matter, just chromosomes.

3. Then Fuller revealed that she had the audacity and bad taste to lecture her team mates for a day on the right way to play football.

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Unethical Tweet Of The Month: Ibram X. Kendi

Kendi tweet

Ibram X. Kendi, the proud author of this neon-bright example of Rationalization #64, Yoo’s Rationalization or “It isn’t what it is,” isn’t just some radical, mind-poisoning, far left ideologue pseudo-intellectual race-baiting wacko. He’s a radical, mind-poisoning, far left ideologue pseudo-intellectual race-baiting wacko who will soon have been twisting young American brains into un-American pretzels for a full decade, fueling the descent of the Democratic Party and the rest of the mutating Left into full Orwellian lunacy.

The tweet should be res ipsa loquitur; no one should have to debunk it, because it is self-debunking. I have to admit, when Andrew McCarthy argued here that the Democratic mantra of “every vote counts” would be used to claim that illegal votes should count while the party continued its long strategy of tarring efforts to prevent illegal voting as voter suppression, I regarded the claim as a bit of pessimistic hyperbole uncharacteristic of the usually-sober and analytical legal expert. Yet here is Kendi, saying it outright: It is racist to insist that votes be legal, just as it is racist to insist that immigrants don’t break our laws by coming here. What a brilliant way to deny voter fraud! There is no such thing! Stuffing the ballot box (or, in the current madness, envelopes) with phony votes is a just a means of achieving racial justice, and thus treating the practice as illegal is racist.

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From The “Nah, There’s No Mainstream Media Bias!” Files…White Male Conservative Smirk Bad, Black Female Democrat Smirk Good!

The definition of a “smirk”, I see as I peruse several dictionary definitions, is a condescending, smug, conceited or silly smile, universally regarded as obnoxious, rude and annoying. Thus the expression caught in an instant on the face of a teenage Catholic school student as a Native American activist intentionally confronted him, blocked his way and banged his drum within inches of his face was deemed by multiple commentators and pundits from progressive news organizations—that is to say, news organizations—to make the kid’s face “punchable.”

Examination of the video revealed that Nick Sandmann was not, in fact, smirking at all, but smiling awkwardly because human beings don’t have appropriate expressions pre-programmed for “old Indian jerk starts chanting and beating a drum in your face without any discernible reason when you have no clear avenue of escape.”

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Discrimination Against Asian American Students Is Discrimination Against Asian American Students: Why Is This Even Debatable?

The Trump administration has  fingered  Yale as discriminating against Asian-American and white applicants, just as an Asian-American student group had made the same claim in lawsuits against Harvard, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a recently filed case against the University of Texas at Austin. A federal judge ruled in Harvard’s favor last year, but i do not believe the decision will stand up on appeal, since it is dishonest and illogical. The Trump Administration is supporting the plaintiffs as it should…as everyone should.

I wrote about the Harvard decision here.  As you would expect, the analysis differs not at all from the ethics verdict regarding Yale’s discrimination, which is similarly indefensible. Also as you might expect, the “it isn’t what it is” rationalization (#64!) is rampant while the usual suspects try to defend it now, when the Black Lives Matter mob is demanding discrimination in favor of African Americans in all things—hiring, promotions, ring, college admissions, arrests, prosecutions, casting, honors, running for Vice-President—as if that is anything but racism, flat-out.

The New York Times–of course–is and will be embarking on a course of trying to obscure the obvious right and wrongs of the situation, as well as engaging in some ethics  jujitsu to make out the Trump Administration and anyone who thinks that no discrimination on the basis of race means no discrimination on the basis of race  as racist villains.  In this article, for example, the Times attempts or enables several dishonest arguments to discredit what should be self-evident, including… Continue reading

“Ethics Dunce” Is Too Nice A Label For CNN’s Brian Stelter

And it insults both unethical journalists and dunces.

Stelter is special. Consider that this mega-hack and shameless partisan shill was the media reporter for the New York Times before taking on the job for CNN, and you know all you need to know about the trustworthiness of both Stelter and the Times.

We already know about the the trustworthiness of CNN.

A little background on Stelter’s latest equivalent of hiring a skywriter to put “I am a the King of the Hacks!” in blue and white over every major city:

One of the many, many things Democrats are terrified of as the 2020 election campaign approaches in earnest is that they have as a presumptive nominee for President a man who was once a gaffe-prone mediocrity but absolutely adequate to serve as a Vice-President for a healthy young POTUS, but who, in his late seventies, has shown unmistakable signs of cognitive decline. This, it should be said, was screamingly obvious the second Biden announced his candidacy: I was alarmed the first time I saw him speak. It was irresponsible and cynical for Democrats to encourage him to run; cruel for his family to let him run, and proof of desperation that primary voters supported him.

It is an open secret that Biden and his party have allowed the pandemic and lock-down to minimize his public exposure this long, but that lucky circumstance is running out quickly. Biden will have to be interviewed by some non-generous journalists eventually. He also will have to debate Donald Trump, but some progressives and Democrats, and their media allies,  are trying to find a way to let Joe avoid the debates, which have been a feature of every Presidential campaign since 1976. That’s 44 years and eleven campaigns. The public expects debates. If Biden refuses to debate while the President repeatedly calls him out, it will be a disaster for him. Even knowing this, Democrats seem to think that Joe engaging in debates will be an even greater disaster given the rate of Biden’s deterioration. Continue reading

A Popeye For John Lewis And His Fans

This post was in my head and keeping me awake all night, so I had to get out of bed and get it out

I was just about to let the late John Lewis go, when a Facebook friend inflicted the late Congressman’s  so-called “final words” on me with a post in Facebook that garnered bushels of likes and teary faces, immediately putting me into a quandary. The guy’s a lawyer, and should know better than to extol such transparent grandstanding, varnished over with dishonesty.

I almost—almost—wrote a searing rebuttal and reprimand. I didn’t, and it’s keeping me awake tonight. More on that in a moment.

First, regarding Lewis: I didn’t want to read his op-ed in the Times, knowing, as I knew Lewis’s routine well, that it would either make my head explode or make me want to blow it up. Writing such a thing itself is pure narcissism: Lewis was shuffling off this mortal coil with words designed to make those who do not know him, except by the dated accolades with which he has been celebrated by the fawning media, think he was a better man than he was, while making his detractors face being called racists if they call his piece  out for what it is. This, for example, was nauseating:

In my life I have done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love and nonviolence is the more excellent way. Now it is your turn to let freedom ring.

This is the same John Lewis who  told NBC audiences the day before Martin Luther King Day and less than a week before the Inauguration that President-elect Donald J. Trump was “an illegitimate President.”  In 2017, Ethics Alarms pronounced this “an unprecedented act of vicious partisanship and unethical public service.”  I understated it. Lewis deliberately triggered the perpetual anti-democratic unrest that has led directly to today’s riots, toppled statues, and self-righteous hate. He isn’t the only public figure accountable for this, but he is the only one who assisted in tearing the nation apart while patting himself on the back as someone who has “done all I can to demonstrate that the way of peace, the way of love.”

“All,” Congressman? How about serving as an honorable example for citizens by accepting the leader chosen by our system as it has done for more than two centuries, and  not deliberately encouraging an insurrection? How about that? How does creating an atmosphere of fear and intimidation that requires citizens and businesses to support a Marxist movement or risk being “cancelled” let freedom ring?

I had to wrestle my rebellious gorge to the ground and place my violently rolling eyes back in their sockets when I read this at the start of Lewis’ screed: Continue reading

Senator Kaine’s Slavery Speech: A Farce In Four Acts

ACT I

During Senator Tim Kaine’s remarks yesterday on the Senate floor (actually, since this post concerns the use of words and accountability thereof, I guess I should clarify: he wasn’t speaking about the floor. Nobody talks about the floor in the Senate) as the Virginia Democrat addressed the issue of police department accountability , he uttered this remarkable passage:

“The first African Americans sent into the English colonies came to Point Comfort, Virginia, in 1619. They were slaves. They had been captured against their will. But they landed in colonies that didn’t have slavery. There were no laws about slavery in the colonies at that time. The United States didn’t inherit slavery from anybody. We created it. It got created by the Virginia General Assembly and the legislatures of other states. It got created by the court systems in colonial America,We created it.”

“We” did not “create” slavery. There is no rational dispute on this point. Even if Kaine was  saying that Virginia, his state, created slavery, that’s not true either. The colony of Virginia is not “we”: it is not the state of Virginia, and it is not the United States of America. “We” used here is transparent white guilt peddling by Kaine, and it is inaccurate.

That transgression, however pales by contrast to the head-scratching statement that “we” created slavery. Of course the United States didn’t create slavery: slavery existed before the United States did. (Nor did slavery create the United States, which is the discredited and intellectually dishonest thesis of the New York Times’ “1619 Project.” which somehow won a Pulitzer Prize for its “creator,” Nikole Hannah-Jones , who, like Kaine, was just making stuff up.) The United States certainly did inherit slavery from somebody (that makes two words in this bizarre passage that Kaine either deliberately misapplies or doesn’t know what they mean): the U.S. inherited slavery from the colonies, which had inherited them from Great Britain.

In the 17th century, the British colonists (and the colonists of other European nations)  used African slaves in North America rather than  European indentured servants. Althoughit didn’t “create” slavery either, Spain, not “we,” probably deserves credit for introducing (but still not “creating”) the commerce of slavery in the Americas. (Native Americans practiced slavery long before Europeans arrived.) Historians estimate approximately 6 million to 7 million enslaved people were taken to North America before the United States’ founding. Inherit, the description that Kaine rejects, is an apt word: the colonies inherited slavery from its European owners.

It’s not unfair to expect a U.S. Senator from Virginia to be familiar with the Declaration of Independence. Why did Thomas Jefferson, who authored the first draft of the the founding document,  condemn King George III over England’s participation in the slave trade if his own colony “created it”? Tom wrote,

“He has waged cruel War against human Nature itself, violating its most sacred Rights of Life and Liberty in the Persons of a distant People who never offended him, captivating and carrying them into Slavery in another Hemisphere. This piratical warfare, the opprobrium of infidel powers, is the warfare of the CHRISTIAN king of Great Britain.”

After intense debate, the Second Continental Congress removed Jefferson’s passage condemning slavery, thus setting up the conflict that metastasized into the Civil War, but allowing the Declaration to receive the indispensable support of the slave-holding colonies, which were, like the other colonies then, part of the British Empire.

Conclusion: Senator Kaine’s statement that the United States “created slavery” was untrue by any historical and linguistic measure. It was either dishonest, stupid, or ignorant, and there is no defending it. He was engaging in U.S. bashing, because that’s what the George Floyd mob’s purpose is, and his Party is along for the ride.

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