Posts Tagged ‘Ethics Alarms’

These heroes saved the Union 150 years ago today

July 2, 2013

little round top summitAn important responsibility of citizenship it to understand our history and acknowledge our debts to the people who came before us. My friend, Jack Marshall  (ethicsalarms.com) reminds us that today, July 2, is the 150th anniversary of the second day of the battle of Gettysburg.

We Americans are taught that Abraham Lincoln saved the Union. Yes, he did, but it was about to be lost on July 2, 1863, until the Twentieth Maine Volunteers, commanded by Col. Joshua Chamberlain, defeated a major Confederate attempt to turn the Union’s flank at Little Round Top. Many historians believe the desperate counterattack by the Maine unit is what really saved the Union. Read about Little Round Top here.

 

In today’s Ethics Alarms column Jack Marshall describes how the credit really needs to be shared with the heroic First Minnesota. Read and marvel at what we owe to the unquestioning valor and sacrifice of these American citizen soldiers.

The supreme significance of Jackie Robinson

April 16, 2012

 

Jackie Robinson played his first Major League baseball game 65 years ago today. We’ve long become inured to stories of “firsts,” since our society has come so far on the road to judging each person by the content of his character, but in a century of firsts, Jackie Robinson was extra special. Nobody has explained his significance as well as Jack Marshall in his Ethics Alarms blog. Read it here.

 

NBC News fakes transcript of 911 tape to make Zimmerman appear racist. Its explanation? Mistakes were made

April 4, 2012

 

Why did neighborhood-watch-wannabe George Zimmerman kill Trayvon Martin? We don’t know yet. But don’t believe anything you hear on NBC News, after they doctored a transcript of Zimmerman’s 911 call to make Zimmerman out to be racist.

Here’s what NBC broadcast on its Today show:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.

Here’s what was on the real recording:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

NBC doctored the record to strengthen the popular narrative that Martin was followed and shot because he was black.  It’s a narrative that has thousands of protesters out calling for Zimmerman’s scalp—some literally. The crowd’s tempers—and mine, for that matter, have been inflamed by NBC’s mis-reporting. If there’s more violence NBC will rightfully share the blame.

So what does the network have to say? An error was made. Here’s NBC’s only statement, in its entirety.

“During our investigation it became evident that there was an error made in the production process that we deeply regret. We will be taking the necessary steps to prevent this from happening in the future and apologize to our viewers.”

Americans have had reason to be distrustful of the reporting of the media, even the most respected organizations. All have earned that distrust, but NBC has brought “news” to a new low. They just made it up. And apologize? Not exactly. You see, it was “an error.” Vile.

(Thanks to EthicsAlarms.com for its original commentary.)

 

Two ethicists consider Gov. Rick Perry, the audience at the Republican debate, and the death penalty

September 13, 2011


Jack Marshall raises an interesting ethics issue here, as he does so often in his Ethics Alarms. This time it’s the conflict between empathy and justice. He explains how the Golden Rule can get us into some uncomfortable ethical conflicts. He writes,

‘Empathy is considered an ethical virtue for good reason: it is at the core of the Golden Rule. A person without empathy is less likely to put himself or herself in the other person’s place. The criminal justice process, however, is not a good fit for the Golden Rule. In the place of a guilty criminal, I would still probably want to be pardoned, set free, and given a second—or third, or fourth—chance to be law-abiding.”

Marshall defends Gov. Rick Perry’s answer at last Wednesday’s Republican debate to moderator Brian Williams’s question whether Perry was troubled by the idea that there might have been some innocents among the 234 people executed while Perry was Governor. After the audience cheered the grisly tally, Perry answered:

“No, sir. I’ve never struggled with that at all. The state of Texas has a very thoughtful, a very clear process in place of which — when someone commits the most heinous of crimes against our citizens, they get a fair hearing, (more…)

An Ethics Can of Worms, All Named “Nike”

August 26, 2011

Jack Marshall writes in his EthicsAlarms.com blog that I was “open[ing] an ethics can of worms” with the piece about Nike and its $4-a-day workers. He raises a terrific set of questions that need to be argued over before deciding whether a company doing international business is behaving ethically. They’re not easy to answer. I guess I’ll try them out on my business ethics students next month. Here they are

 Q: If workers agree to work for a given price, is the company’s obligation to pay them more?

 Q: Should any company pay less than a living wage for full-time work, whether or not desperate workers assent? (more…)

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) defends Muslim judge Sohail Mohammed, calls opponents “crazies.” Hooray for an ethics hero

August 4, 2011

Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) has been criticized for appointing Sohail Mohammed, an American Muslim, to a New Jersey superior court. Yesterday he defended Mohammed, using words like ignorant, crap, baloney, and crazy to describe Mohammed’s critics. His statement was strong and inspiring for its passion and plain English.

Defending Muslims as patriotic Americans, and ridiculing the notion that Sharia law is a threat to America, is sadly rare in today’s Republican Party. Christie is an up-and-coming Republican politician, and his spirited defense of an American Muslim appointee will cost him many friends on the Republican right. America badly needs leaders who will stand up—like Christie—to the extremists in their parties.

Thanks to Jack Marshall and his Ethics Alarms blog for anointing Christie an ethics hero.

Hooray for Romney and Paul for eschewing the politics of discrimination and hatred against Muslims and gays at the GOP debate

June 15, 2011

It feels awkward to praise in an ethics column somebody for showing simple decency, but considering today’s Republican candidates, simple decency is nothing to sneeze at.

So hooray for Mitt Romney for standing up for the rights of American Muslims. Romney dismissed the idea that Sharia law could ever be applied in American courts (“We have a Constitution”), and rejected Herman Cain’s position that Muslims should be singled out and treated differently (“We treat people with respect regardless of their religious persuasion.”)

By contrast, Cain and Newt Gingrich made it clear that they would be very reluctant to have any Muslims serve under them. The other participants, Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Ron Paul didn’t comment in the debate.

Bachmann has in the past shown suspicion toward American Muslims, while Santorum has stated that he considers Muslims to be as good American citizens as anybody. Paul has been downright heroic on this issue, blasting those in the conservative movement who use “hatred against Muslims to rally support.”

On another subject Paul earned praise from Ethics Alarms for his ethical and libertarian position on the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. He was the only candidate to reject the policy.

Americans should wholeheartedly support the Egyptian anti-Mubarak demonstrators

February 5, 2011

 

The videos from Cairo show happy peaceful demonstrators by the tens of thousands, interspersed with videos of Mubarak supporters battling the demonstrators in a chaotic scene. When the action dies down the TV talking heads ruminate over what outcome would be best for America. Or as Joe Scarborough put it, “Who is behind Door #2?”

Jack Marshall explains in his Ethics Alarms blog why Americans should be uncompromisingly for Egyptian freedom from the Mubarak dictatorship. Simply stated, America’s very meaning is about the rights of all men to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Declaration of Independence doesn’t assert these rights for Americans, it asserts them for all men.

So what’s best for America is an Egyptian government by the people. Whether that government follows the superficially pro-American policies of Mubarak is irrelevant. The Declaration of Independence is what’s relevant. That’s why all Americans should cheer the demonstrations.

 

Which is more unethical: Nancy Pelosi staying on as Democratic leader or Nancy Pelosi sabotaging the bipartisan deficit commission?

November 11, 2010

 

Nancy Pelosi is labeled an “ethics dunce” by Jack Marshall, in his Ethics Alarms blog: “Pelosi’s refusal to step aside places her own ego above the needs of public service and country, and is as blatant an example of power corrupting judgment as one can imagine. At a time when all ethical considerations argue for her to swallow her pride and let others take over, she is willing to jeopardize not only her party’s comity, unity and image but her own legislative achievements.”


Marshall reserves the dunce label “for those individuals and organizations who display a complete ignorance of ethics through their persistence in, defense of, or comfort with blatantly unethical conduct.”


But Pelosi’s behavior this week is even more deserving of the “ethics dunce” label than her unseemly clinging to her leadership position. Yesterday, within minutes of the release of the President’s deficit commission’s draft report, she blasted it as “simply unacceptable.”

(more…)

NPR fires Juan Williams for anti-Muslim comments: intolerance, political correctness, or a stand against bigotry?

October 21, 2010

 

“Juan Williams, Martyr to Tolerance.” That’s the title of a provocative Ethics Alarms piece by Jack Marshall. Juan Williams was fired by NPR for saying this on to Bill O’Reilly on Fox News:

“I mean, look, Bill, I’m not a bigot. You know the kind of books I’ve written about the civil rights movement in this country. But when I get on the plane, I got to tell you, if I see people who are in Muslim garb and I think, you know, they are identifying themselves first and foremost as Muslims, I get worried. I get nervous.”

Marshall excoriates NPR’s action as the intolerable “intolerance of the self-righteous heralds of toleration.”

I’m conflicted over this one. I don’t think Juan Williams should have been fired, but I find his statement very unfair, and somewhere between ignorant and bigoted.

Ignorant, because Muslims wear all kinds of garb, including the sporty American look that the 9/11 hijackers apparently tried to present. Bigoted, because it’s bigotry to assign stereotypical characteristics to individuals, whether to assume that Jews are money-grubbing, that Irish are drunks, that black men are sex-crazed, or that evangelical Christians are gay-bashers.

For Americans in 2010 it’s particularly hurtful to stereotype Muslims as terrorists, as many on the political right are now doing. A scary portion of the population is buying into the idea of Muslims as “other.” It’s horribly unfair to people who are (more…)


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 62 other followers