The Ethical Lapse of Modern Journalistic Standards

A fundamental problem of modern Western liberal democracies is the lapse in journalistic ethics of reporters and news media.

Two recent articles from the New York Times have been reporting about the rise of the Intellectual Dark Web, and how it is largely a reaction against excesses of Progressives on the extreme Left.  This “dark web” is a loosely-affiliated group of free thinkers and iconoclasts from across the political spectrum – Jordan Peterson, Bret Weinstein, Sam Harris, Ben Shapiro, Joe Rogan, etc. – who are breaking with the current mainstream Cultural Narrative, political correctness, social justice, cultural Marxism, and the like.  A sort of “red pill” liberal awakening, to use the metaphor.

What is really interesting about the Intellectual Dark Web phenomenon is how it traces its roots to a growing sense of hegemony of the progressive/SJW/feminist narrative in the media.  That perhaps there is a lack of objectivity in current news reporting. That perhaps we are not getting the whole story.

Of course, journalists aren’t held to any ethical standard of objectivity.

To be fair, the national Society for Professional Journalists (SPJ) does have a Code of Ethics, but that list is mostly concerned with dealing with sources, accuracy, and fact-checking.  There is one item about “clearly labeling advocacy and commentary”, i.e. opinion, but it is sparse on any detail.  The Wikipedia page on journalistic ethics doesn’t even mention it.

The problem here is not about sources or fact-checking – it is that journalists are infusing what are supposed to be objective news articles with snippets of their own opinions and viewpoints.  The line between an opinion piece and actual hard news is blurred.  Rather than an unbiased report on the facts, and letting the reader make their own assessment.

This is a failure of modern journalism.

Much like scientists, where Science’s search for the truth depends on the objectivity of its practitioners, modern liberal democracy depends on its citizens getting objective information from its journalists and news media.  A failure to do so isn’t just a matter of professional or personal choice … it is a failure to adhere the ethical responsibilities that being a journalist in a free liberal society entails.  That is a vital role.

Yet that is not being taught rigorously enough to journalism students.  It is (as pointed out above) barely mentioned in the codes of ethics of various journalist professional societies.  An afterthought at best.

The founding fathers however knew how vital the role was … it is why they enshrined a free press in the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution.  A free press is a fundamental property of classical liberalism.

As such I posit this fact: much like a medical doctor is ascribed to certain ethical conduct by the Hippocratic Oath, so should a journalist in a liberal democratic society should be held to similar standards.  The health of the patient, or in this case the society, comes before any personal or professional desires they may have, or viewpoints they may hold.  They are honor bound to do what is best for the patient/society.

Yet, negative reporting about Trump is occurring at twice the rate of any previous president, even more than the at-the-time hated republican president George W. Bush, according to a Pew study.  Which regardless of your stance on Trump, is clearly problematic for several reasons from an objectivity standpoint.

And that lack of objectivity, that lack of journalistic ethics, has negative consequences for liberal societies.


Let me describe something to you:

It was the end of a controversial Presidential Election year in the United States. A dark horse “outsider” candidate but who had some celebrity fame won.  The Republican Party was bitterly divided.  A major economic crisis a few years prior resulted from the popping of an economic bubble, and the failing of several iconic financial companies.  A piece of massive domestic economic legislation that would fundamentally alter America was hotly debated, some wanting to push further others to repeal.  Immigration issues were coming to the forefront, with proposals to ban people of certain ethnicities or from certain countries.

Do you know what I am describing? Trump and the 2016 election?

No not quite.  I am actually describing the U.S. presidential election of 1880, that of James Garfield (see wiki for more).

The funny thing about the current political climate in the United States and much of the modern West, is that this has all happened before.  There are many, many similarities (and differences) between 1880 and 2016.

Garfield was a controversial candidate, with “unconventional” ideas that split the Republican party.  Civil Service Reform, along with the “Greenback Issue” were the major domestic issues of the day roiling the United States, a la “Obamacare” of modern times.  In the still heavily agrarian farming-based economy of the United States during that time, those issues had major implications for the average American’s economic well-being.  Circulation of such liquid “Greenbacks” during the decade prior had led to massive speculation on land, an economic bubble, and eventually the Economic Crisis of 1873.  One of the major financial houses in the United States, Jay Cooke and Co, failed.  The resulting recession lingered for over a decade.  At the same time, anti-immigrant sentiment had been boiling over post Civil War.  People from certain countries, such as Chinese via the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, were effectively banned from immigrating to the U.S.

Ironically, it was during this same time period late 1800s post Civil War that American news media saw the rise of the Muckrakers and Yellow JournalismPlaying their role in the cycle of panics and divisive-ness.   Coincidence, I think not.  A lesson to be learned about the consequences for a liberal democracy from a lack of journalistic ethics.


To conclude, I would posit two very simple ethical standards that we should demand of journalists in a modern classically liberal democracy:

  1. Any actual news item (not an opinion piece or editorial) should maintain as much objectivity as possible. The journalist’s particular viewpoints, political or otherwise, have no place in it.  Now obviously complete objectivity is impossible, but much like science, objectivity is the goal.
  2. Any editorial or opinion piece should be clearly labeled as such. Editorializing outside of such pieces should not be tolerated.

Neither of these should be an afterthought … they should lay at the core of standards for journalistic ethics.  A “Hippocratic oath” if you will for journalism.  If journalists want to complain about “attacks on the free press”, then it is incumbent upon themselves to ensure they are adhering to their own ethical responsibilities … as well as living up to their vital role in a liberal society.

Otherwise, they have no one to blame but themselves.

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Lies of Omission – Asians are the New Elites

The recent April 2018 edition of the National Geographic magazine, entitled “Black and White”, included an interesting infographic on disparities in racial outcomes in the United States (see image at the end of this post).  What makes the infographic interesting is that most times progressives talk about racial disparities, they only include three categories: Whites, Black, and Hispanics.  However, in this case they included a fourth category: Asian Americans.

When comparing just the three racial categories, Whites usually come out looking far superior, but adding Asians to the analysis tells a different story … Asians far out-compete all other races in the United States in nearly every statistical category, from average annual income to education achievement to unemployment rates to life expectancy.  In fact, looking at the infographic below shows that Whites and Hispanics really fall in the middle of the spectrum.

This is just another progressive Lie of Omission.  Information is clearly being purposefully left out of the conversation in order to skew perceptions.  It is a common progressive tactic, as much as changing the meaning of words in order to alter debate.  Simply with the intent to obfuscate the discussion.  Others have referred to this as a “racial shell game”.

But when we include Asians in the discussion of racial disparity, it becomes very clear that many whites, on average, are not wildly outperforming other races.  Nor is their success a matter of “White privilege” … unless you want to argue that “Asian privilege” also exists in the United States.  Asians are a minority of course, and that wouldn’t fit the minority victim narrative we’ve be sold.  In fact, Asian Americans are currently suing Harvard and other academic institutions for discrimination during college admissions.

This of course leaves out another notorious issue – the fact that Jews are usually lumped in with other “whites”, which skews up the white averages.   It can be difficult to get clear data on Jewish people, but we will leave aside the ethnicity vs. religion question.  According to the data available, nearly half of all Jews earn over $100,000 per year, about 50% more than the average for other whites.  Even Wikipedia backs this up, listing average Jewish income as nearly $100k and as 2nd place among all ancestries (also interesting that the other three ancestries in the top 4 are all Asian: Indian, Taiwanese, and Filipino).  The overall White average income of $60k drops significantly if you exclude Jewish people.  This is true not only of annual income, but also other statistical categories like educational attainment and life expectancy.

**Full disclosure: my family is part Jewish, and I have a sliver of it in me.

In fact, if you exclude the Jews, other “Whites” life outcomes don’t look all that different from Hispanics, which is not surprising since Hispanics are technically Caucasians as most of them primarily descend from European Spaniards with a little bit of indigenous blood mixed in.  It was actually hilarious watching director Guillermo del Toro be hailed as a “minority” at this year’s Oscars.  But I digress … that is another story for another day.

This is just another example of how progressive Lies of Omission significantly impact our ability to have an honest debate about serious issues. Really, the loser in all this is Black people in the United States.  Because if we cannot be honest with ourselves about the problem, we are never going to be able to fix or improve it.

From a classical liberal perspective, this is all disturbing, because, as I have written about before, Empiricism lies at the core of classical liberal principles.  Efforts made to obfuscate or engage in sophistry undermine such pursuit of the truth.  And Lies of Omission are merely a tactic towards such undermining.

 

 

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Bait and Switch: The Economics of Female Sexuality

If you agree to a deal, and the terms that come with it, should you be obliged to honor that deal?  Economically, most would say yes.  But what about sexually?

Fascinating legal story coming out of Chicago in recent weeks: A restaurant over in the south suburbs called Twin Peaks had a complaint filed with the EEOC against them by several former female waitresses alleging that they were “forced” to wear sexually suggestive clothing that made them uncomfortable and submit to certain physical fitness standards to work there.  The workers go so far as to cite the MeToo and TimesUp movements as “inspiration”.

But the thing is, Twin Peaks (much like the Hooters franchise) is well known for having “sexy waitresses” and targeting a male clientele.  Moreover, those women signed an agreement before starting employment at the restaurant, agreeing to do the things of the very nature filed in the complaint.  They knew they would be held to certain looks standards, and required to wear sexual costumes.  Now they say those things were degrading, and that they should be monetarily compensated for them beyond the employment wages.

It’s not hard to do an image search on google and see exactly what they were signing up for.Their argument fundamentally boils down to: “we no longer want to be held to the agreement we signed in the first place”.

To my original question at the beginning of the article, if this were simply an economic agreement, there would be no issue.  Signed contract with clear stipulations that both sides agreed to.  But here the agreement relates to female sexuality. Thus, the real problem that we are dealing with here relates to the Economics of Female Sexuality.

And to that I would posit one simple adage we all know well in this capitalist era: Sex sells.

That is particularly true on the female side, and given the strong visual orientation of male sexual desire.  There is intrinsic value in female appearance.  The Twin Peaks employee handbook even explicitly states that “the essence of the role is based on female sex appeal.”

In short, one cannot disentangle female sexuality from its economic value.  Yet the women think they should be able to use their sexuality to sign one deal, but later renegotiate it to their liking.  In other words, Bait and Switch.

For a Classical Liberal, that is a fundamental problem.  The notion of individualism and the emphasis on individual endeavor depends on having sound property and contractual rights.  If I can’t be guaranteed to receive the rewards for my efforts, why should an individual make that effort?  The system breaks down at that point.

Such Bait and Switch tactics are rife throughout female sexuality, both in humans and other animals.  Female bird mating practices often entail deceiving one male into thinking the child is his and getting him to invest resources into nest building and food gathering, all while illicit mating occurs on the side.  Chimpanzee females and other social primates use a similar strategy of “reproductive obfuscation” so that individual males are unsure whose children are whose.  Both examples are resource extraction strategies – a transfer of resources from males to females in exchange for sexual and/or reproductive access.  Or in essence, economic transactions.

In the era of MeToo, human females want to pretend like their sexuality is distinct from the economic transactions that underlie human society.  We see this in the modern no-fault divorces, the after-the-fact redefinitions of “sexual consent”, pink taxes, the gender tax gap, continual push for government support of single mothers, and now (as the case above show) even in signed legal employment agreements.  Such a trend does not bode well for the persistence of the classical liberal principles the West was built upon.


An interesting fact about the recent Bill Cosby sexual assault case (in which Cosby was found guilty) – at one point during jury deliberations the jury came back to the courtroom to ask what the legal definition of sexual consent was.  The judge told them there was not one, and that the jury would have to “make up” their own.

The point here is not whether Bill Cosby is guilty or not, maybe he is maybe he isn’t.  The issue is that juries should not be coming up with their own extrajudicial definitions of things outside the normal legislative process and then using those concepts to convict people.  At the very least, judges should set a precedent definition for the jury that can then be taken up in an appeals court.

Due Process is one of the fundamental principles of classical liberalism, but without clear legally agreed upon definitions of terms, due process is impossible.  We cannot have women or others redefining things after-the-fact.  Imagine if a judge told a jury to “make up” the definition of murder during a trial.

Just another example of how the feral Bait and Switch mechanics of female sexuality unleashed by modern feminism leads down the slippery slope of illiberal outcomes.

 

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The Making of a Witch Hunt

The Chicago Tribune published an editorial last week criticizing Tony Robbins comments recently about MeToo.  I’ll get into Robbin’s comments in the next section, but in essence Robbins told stories about powerful businessmen he knew who were reluctant to hire attractive women in this era of MeToo because the potential lawsuit risk if any of their male employees might be tempted to make sexual advances towards them.

The author, Heidi Stevens, argued that this would be equivalent not hiring a contractor because he drives a nice car, as one of his employees might be tempted to steal the car.

Of course, that argument glosses over one fundamental fact: if you accuse someone of stealing your car, then you need hard evidence to prove it. Otherwise known as due process, essentially. But for sexual harassment cases in the era of MeToo, the accusation is the evidence.

One doesn’t need any corroborating evidence, or at best maybe a little circumstantial evidence, to back up the claim.  As long as the claim is plausible, it is as good as an indictment.  In fact, Feminists argue that all sexual assault claims should automatically be believed no matter what.

And that, in simple terms, is the very definition of a Witch Hunt: when accusations become evidence themselves.

Ms. Stevens of course fails to understand that simple principle.  She fails to understand that she is in essence becoming a proponent of witch hunts.  And she fails to understand the very real risk assessment business owners and organizations must make in light of things like MeToo.  As I have written before, there are unintended consequences.


The full story of Tony Robbins and MeToo is that he was at one of speaking at one of his self-improvement seminars, when Robbins got in an argument with one of the female attendees about using victimization narratives as a form of empowerment.  Robbins position was that that was simply tearing others down in order to raise yourself up, and that one should be able to raise themselves up without tearing anyone else down.

It is a fair argument.  In fact, it is very much in line with the classical liberal thinking of Locke and Hume and Voltaire.  A corollary to the Doctrine of Individualism that is a core foundation of classical liberalism.

It’s interesting reading some of the comments on the Tribune article, people arguing that “men should just suppress their biological urges” around attractive women.  Yet these same Progressives get up in arms if someone suggests gay people could just suppress their biological urges.  Apparently straight men are not afforded the same leeway.

That is some Progressive Hypocrisy right there.  But I digress

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What Cults Tell Us About Dating Women and Feminism

The leader of the infamous NXIVM cult, Keith Raniere, was recently arrested in Mexico, accused of running a sex ring of female acolytes.  He kept a rotation of 15-20 women he actively engaged in sex with.  Each acolyte had Raniere’s initials branded on them near their pubic area.

It’s a fascinating story about an organization that started off providing “professional development seminars” to businesses, and somehow became a cult centered around Raniere, known to followers as “Vanguard”.

For our purposes here though, what is really interesting is the behavior of the women involved.  For instance, after his arrest in Mexico, several women who were living with Raniere at the compound chased the police car in a vehicle.  Or another example: the branding sessions were actually run by other women within the cult itself … i.e. Raniere didn’t hold anyone down and forcibly brand them.  Moreover, some of the women involved were Hollywood celebrities like Allison Mack of Smallville fame, who was curiously enough even one of the women in Mexico chasing down the police car (as you can see in this video, and yes I just linked TMZ).

The point of all that is to show how women behave in cults.  How easily persuaded they are by feelings and “flights of fancy” even to the point of engaging in illogical things.  Sure this can happen to men as well, but the ubiquity of these stories involving women is observational data telling us something about the nature of women and their psychological processes.  Hell, women have even begun deluging the Parkland High School mass shooter  in Florida, Nicholas Cruz, with love letters and suggestive photos.  Cruz killed 17 people during his rampage last month.  The same thing (known as hybristophilia) has happened to Ted Bundy, the Boston Marathon bomber, and many other high-profile male criminals.

This all ties back to the War Brides theory that Rollo has expounded on The Rational Male.  Women appear to be hard-wired to submit to the “conqueror”.  Hard-wired to be attracted to men who exhibit narcissistic traits and/or psychopathic tendencies.  Men who have the potential for violence.

Certainly there may be exceptions to this, but the phenomenon is widespread.  Mainstream science refers to it using the term Stockholm Syndrome, which of course recasts the phenomenon as a form of “victimization”.  But whether it is a form of victimization or simply an effective evolutionary survival strategy is a matter of subjective opinion.

Either way, this all tells us something very important about the nature of women, dating them, and even Feminism itself.


All of this really connects back to the myths that are propagated in the modern-day West about how men and women are the “same”, and the negative implications of that for dating and the sexual marketplace.

Even Science is grudgingly coming back to terms with what has always been conventional wisdom: that men and women are different, and what they want in a mating partner is different.  Surprise surprise, science now says that men like slender women and women like rich men.

But there is a deeper lesson here amongst the cult-like behavior for dating and the modern man: Females like to submit to powerful men.  They want to be led.

This is a foundational principle amongst men who “game” women, whether that be Red Pill adherents or old school pickup artist types or just your average player on the street.  Principles like Frame and Amused Mastery are merely extensions of that central idea.

But it also tells us something important about the nature of Feminism as a political force, and its herd-like and cult-like attributes, and how easily it has molded into something it never intended to be.  Something very different from what it started as.

That same need to be led, the engagement in feelings over facts, suggests that it was always bound to go too far.  That, much like an individual man dating an individual woman, it needed to be led.  That it needed men to eventually set boundaries and tell it “No”.

From a classical liberal perspective, you can see the fundamental danger here.  The current dominant Cultural Narrative suggests that men and women are the same, that women don’t need to be led, that men shouldn’t set boundaries … and yet unleashes a female led movement upon the masses in such an environment where no reasonable constraints from men will be present.  It is a recipe for disaster.

It is telling, no doubt, that we see most of the pushback against Feminism from other women.  Women are unhappier than they have ever been in the last century, and continue only to become more so.  Perhaps in the absence of male boundaries, the only impetus for restraint is overwhelming negative consequences.

But of course the easiest solution may be simply to teach Men how to be Men again.

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Freedom is a Thing Derived from Boundaries

I recently made this comment on the Red Pill sub over at Reddit: Just Walk Away … the main gist being that the ability to walk away without a word from something or someone is the ultimate demarcator of a man.

Because freedom is a thing derived from boundaries.

I have written about this before in previous posts.  Any rational man has to ask tough questions about the reality of the “issues” that confront him.  A man needs hard edges, unwithering frame in the face of all storms.  To know where to draw the line.  For if we won’t defend the principles we claim to espouse, to live by, and instead let others redefine them till they bear little to no resemblance to the originals, then we forsake our own boundaries.  This is true in relationships, as it is in life in general.

You are only truly free when you are free to walk away. 

Without men who know how to say “No”, there are no principles. And without principles there is no Liberalism.  And without Liberalism there is no free society.  Freedom is a thing that derives from boundaries.

Women, ones you are dating or otherwise, will often push and push and push.  Some may say to argue back.  Others to fight.  But the firmest way to establish boundaries is to simply walk away.  It is the loudest way to say: Fuck you, childish creature, without actually saying it.


Feminism and its like are just a society-wide macrocosm of the same thing.  Too many people getting angry and riled up about it.  When really what you should be doing is giving it no attention.  Because like a fire, feminism needs attention and outrage to persist.

Feminism – and all its failings – dies when men just walk away.

The reconstruction of marriage 2.0, the no-fault divorces, child support issues, artificially created pay standards, diversity quotas, complaints about “pink taxes”, male shaming, diagnosing every boy with ADHD, lading them all with Adderall, Title IX, campus witch hunts, MeToo witch hunts, etc. etc. etc.

It all ends NOT when men get angry. NOT when they organize into men’s rights activist groups. NOT when men march and lobby like clucking hens.  It ends when men say no, and walk away.

Boundaries.  When we re-establish healthy boundaries.  At an individual level in male-female relationships, but also at a societal level of male-female gender dynamics.

Because unhealthy boundaries are not a sign of “progress”, but rather a sign of dysfunction.  Either at the relationship or societal level.  And currently we live in a world where men’s boundaries have largely been eroded.

 

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