Home > NewsRelease > Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/29/18: ‘Infuriating Stuff I Wish I Didn’t Have To Know About Or Write About’ Edition
Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 12/29/18: ‘Infuriating Stuff I Wish I Didn’t Have To Know About Or Write About’ Edition
Jack Marshall -- ProEthics, Ltd. Jack Marshall -- ProEthics, Ltd.
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Alexandria , VA
Saturday, December 29, 2018


Screaming from mountain tops does no good, I know, but this is the life I have chosen…

Good Morning.

(My beautiful Christmas tree is drooping already, despite meticulous care. (Did you know that in Philadelphia it’s called a “Holiday Tree”? Did you know they had gone mad in Philadelphia?) I’ve had some last until February first. Not this one, I fear.)

1. Like most of the journalism establishment here, only less subtle about itDer Spiegel reporter Claas Relotius was exposed this month to be that publication’s version of Stephen Glass, a star journalist who just made stuff up. He, however, made stuff up to play to anti-Trump sentiments abroad, writing multiple stories to show how bigoted and backward the town of Fergus Falls, Minnesota was, explaining why it went for President Trump in the 2106 election.

The New York Times story on the hoax shows how Relotius could have accomplished the same mission using just spin, slanted framing and old fashioned bias. Read the thing: it just drips with thinly veiled contempt for Trump voters, and the President, of course. “The election results speak for themselves,” says the Times, knowing how the typical times reader will take that. The Times reporters reveal that the town isn’t full of racist yahoos as if that is news in itself.

2. Can’t let this pass, unfortunately. President Trump and first lady Melania Trump were taking calls from young children wondering about Santa’s whereabouts on Christmas Eve, as part of the NORAD Santa tracker (which I think is a waste of money no matter what it costs, and an example of the government being involved where it should not be), and had  this conversation  with 7-year-old Collman Lloyd which was videoed on both sides;

Collman told the President about the Santa visit preparations underway at the Lloyd household, saying “Probably put out some cookies and then we’re hanging out with our friends, so that’s pretty much all.”

The President: “Well that’s very good. You just have a good time.”

Collman: “Yes, sir.”

The President: “Are you still a believer in Santa?”

Collman: “Yes, sir.”

Trump: “Because at seven it’s marginal, right?” 

Collman: “Yes, sir.”

The trivial exchange triggered more Trump-bashing and a ridiculous amount of negative commentary. This approaches blind hate at a pathological level. The focus of the attacks were that the President’s “marginal” line supposedly destroyed the girl’s belief in Santa Clause. Ugh.

  • She later said that she had no idea what “marginal” meant. We  all know Trump can’t talk: this is Julie Principle territory. The only way one assumes that his intent was to shatter the girl’s innocent faith is if one thinks the President is a monster…which is what the news media wants the public to think.
  • If I had to guess, I would say that he was noting that not all of her friends did believe in Santa—which is, studies say, true. My son was a skeptic at 6. I. in contrast, believed in St. Nick until I was 28…
  • Collman also said that what the Evil Scrooge Trump said didn’t cause her not to believe in Santa, though this could be called moral luck.
  • Even at seven, a personal exchange with the President of the United States would have meant so much more to me than any dents in my Santa Claus beliefs that I wouldn’t have given it a second thought. Of course, when I was seven it was the norm that all citizens respected and honored the President, because that was whom our democracy chose to lead us.

The relentless and apparently shameless effort to find dire fault with everything the President does and says is, again, disgusting and destructive. It is also stupid, stripping the news media and public opinion of any potential influence at all. If I were Trump—and I think this is one of the few personality traits we share—I would decide that if it didn’t matter what I did, and that the news media would find a way to condemn me regardless, then I would do exactly what I wanted to do, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. And I think that’s exactly what he’s doing.

Good for him.

3. Yes, the tech companies are trying to strangle free expression that doesn’t bolster progressive cant. Patreon became the latest internet platform to start blocking unpopular speech and conservative voices, sparking a revolt that led some undeniably moderate users to bolt, including cult philosopher/author Jordan Petersen.  Renegade former CBS reporter Sharyl Atkinson, persona non-grata among her peers for refusing to bury Obama administration scandals like good journalists were supposed to do, says that her “account’s visibility on Twitter is down 50-70% in a month though supposed followers are up by several thousand. I can’t explain it.”

Really? I can. I still can’t post Ethics Alarms essays on Facebook. When all of the most viewed communications platforms on the web are actively censoring content and opinions using highly subjective standards dictated by only one side of the political spectrum, and an extreme one, the defense that they are private companies and can do what they want begins to be a rationalization and a self-serving dodge for people who want only the positions and opinions they find acceptable to be the ones with wide circulation.

Do me a favor: try posting or sharing Ethics Alarms essays on Facebook, and let me know what happens.

4. KABOOM! I don’t understand this story at ALL. An African-American man,  a registered guest at a DoubleTree hotel in Portland, Oregon, was told to leave by hotel officials while he was sitting in the lobby making a phone call, reports the CBS affiliate there, KOIN-TV. Jermaine Massey was talking to his mother, who called him. The episode was captured on his cell phone; the hotel has apologized; the staff responsible has been placed on leave. Massey’s lawyer is calling his “offense” talking to his mother on a cell phone while black. Massey was not intoxicated, or shouting. This isn’t a case like the Starbuck’s mess in Philadelphia, where the staff involved was at least following store policy.  If Massey was registered and had a key card, how could this happen? How could there be anyone not institutionalized whose ethics alarms wouldn’t be deafening at even the thought of forcibly ejecting a black man from a hotel under these circumstances?

To adapt a quote from “The Sixth Sense”: “I see stupid people!”

5. Signature significance…for a pointless, useless, addled and bigoted “movement.” Do I even need to comment on this? Not only is it signature significance, it’s res ipsa loquitur:

EUREKA, Calif. (KRCR) — The organizers of the annual Women’s March have decided not to hold a rally in Eureka on Jan. 19, as previously planned, because they say participants do not represent the diversity of the area.

“This decision was made after many conversations between local social-change organizers and supporters of the march,” organizers said in a press release. They said organizers will continue to meet and discuss how to broaden representation to create an event that represents Humboldt County.

“Up to this point, the participants have been overwhelmingly white, lacking representation from several perspectives in our community,” the press release went on to say. “Instead of pushing forward with crucial voices absent, the organizing team will take time for more outreach. Our goal is that planning will continue and we will be successful in creating an event that will build power and community engagement through connection between women that seek to improve the lives of all in our community.”

Wait—how can the march be representative without proportional participation by men?

ProEthics, Ltd.
Alexandria, VA