Reserved for those individuals and organizations who display a complete ignorance of ethics through their persistence in, defense of, or comfort with blatantly unethical conduct.



October 2009 Ethics Dunces

Tony Kornheiser

Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chad “Ochocinco” is a talented professional football player whose specialty is self-promotion and media buzz. (His silly name change to reflect his uniform number is an example: his real name is the unspectacular “Chad Johnson.”) Several of his stunts have gotten him fined by the NFL, but he has received generally good reviews for his latest: a “Lambeau Leap” into the hometown Green Bay Packers crowd following a touchdown.

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September 2009 Ethics Dunces

NL Umpire Bill Hohn

Disney owns “The View,” that usually infuriating, occasionally provocative, girl-talk afternoon TV show that regularly features Barbara Walters defacing her reputation, Whoopi Goldberg making pronouncements about matters she knows little about, and Elizabeth Hasselbeck doing her job, which apparently is to make politically conservative arguments in the least articulate and persuasive manner imaginable. It also features occasional “guest hosts,” and its recent “get” was none other than Kate Gosselin, the control-freak, gunslinger-eyed mom on TLC’s cable hit, “John & Kate plus 8.”.

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July 2009 Ethics Dunces

NL Umpire Bill Hohn

Want a great example of what people mean by “the appearance of impropriety”? As related by Dave O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Bill Hohn, the home plate umpire in the July 30 Atlanta Braves-Marlins game, performed a celebratory “fist bump” with Marlins catcher John Baker after the Marlins got the final out to win the game.

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The Washington Post

Here’s the problem: money. When money gets tight, that’s when we find out whose ethical values are real and whose are just window dressing.

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May 2009 Ethics Dunces

The Electronic Privacy Information Center

Yes, torture goes too far. Profiling is unfair. We don’t want domestic surveillance. But somewhere, somehow, the self-appointed guardians of our rights need to get a grip, and accept that it is reasonable and right to make some concessions when the government has to ensure that another hijacked airplane doesn’t knocks down a building full of Americans. The new “full body scan” machines are an extremely useful and convenient tool for that purpose, speeding up the security clearance process significantly and also eliminating those humiliating wanding, “now I’m going to touch some sensitive areas with the back of my hands” massaging pat-down sessions when you happen to set off the gate alarm.

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Anderson Cooper

Cooper could also be this month’s Liar of the Month, but we are over-run with liars lately.

On April 15, 2009, as supposedly neutral broadcast reporters almost unanimously ridiculed the “tea party” protests organized to call attention to the unprecedented debt being piled onto the budget by the Obama Administration, CNN’s Anderson Cooper set a new low by invoking a crude slang term for oral sex in a discussion about the protests with David Gergen. “It’s hard to talk when you’re teabagging,” the star of “Anderson Cooper 360’” said, launching snickers on the part of slang-literate liberals, outrage from savvy conservatives, and puzzlement from everyone else. Naturally, coming out of the new, unprofessional “anything goes” environment where what once was journalism dwells, Cooper’s comments didn’t appear to bother the network at all.

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April 2009 Ethics Dunces

The Disney Channel

The Ethics Scoreboard officially enters fogeydom with this rueful observation: why doesn’t the Disney Channel insist that its biggest star, 16-year-old Miley Cyrus, stop appearing in provocative outfits, situations and locales with her 20-year old male model boyfriend? A recent well-distributed photo showed Miley, showing ample cleavage, jogging shoulder to shoulder with her bare-chested main squeeze. Other paparazzi photos show the adult hunk leaving the teen idol’s home in the early hours after an apparent sleep-over.

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Susan Roesgen

Just when I start to think that the Ethics Scoreboard is being too hard on the ethics of journalists, something comes along like the jaw-dropping broadcast of CNN reporter CNN correspondent Susan Roesgen from a tax day “tea party” in Chicago. Then I know I’ve been too lenient. Every day Roesgen remains on the air is an indictment of CNN, as she demonstrated that the core ethical values of detachment, competence, fairness and absence of bias are entirely missing from her concept of journalistic duties.

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March 2009 Ethics Dunces

Nickelodeon and Rihanna

No doubt about it: running a kids TV show in 2009 is a lot more complicated than when Uncle Walt had children glued to the screen watching Annette, Darleen, Bobby and Doreen on “The Mickey Mouse Club.” That still doesn’t excuse rank irresponsibility, however. Nickelodeon’s brain-dead refusal to acknowledge that a man who beat up his girlfriend and the enabling girlfriend he beat up are unacceptable nominees for a televised awards show catering to teens is irresponsible and more.

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January 2009 Ethics Dunces

Judge Willie Singletary

YouTube strikes again! This time, the on-line video collection has sparked an official reprimand and probation of a judge. Perhaps we should say, “alleged judge.”

While running to be elected as a Philadelphia traffic court judge, Willie Singletary attended a biker rally, and passed the hat while asking for campaign contributions. "Now, you all want me to get there [Traffic Court], you're all going to need my hook-up, right?" Singletary can be seen saying on the YouTube clip.

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Jay McGwire

Mark McGwire, the former baseball slugger who was the toast of the sport when he was on the way to breaking the all-time record for homers in a season, now resides in Baseball Purgatory. Ever since a combination of published exposés and his shame-faced refusal to answer questions before the Congressional committee investigating steroid use in baseball marked him as a steroid-user, McGwire’s reputation has deteriorated to that of a coward, a phony, and a fraud.

But now his estranged brother, a former champion bodybuilder down on his luck, is peddling his own revelations of his brother’s steroid use — use, Jay McGwire says, inspired by his success building himself into a trophy-winning 300 pound tower of illegal muscle.

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