The Ethical Take

Published: September 18, 2015

By Jim Lichtman
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The 1982 absurdist thriller, Wrong is Right, has reporter Sean Connery dealing with Islamic terrorism, government conspiracy, media bias and reality TV. Halfway in, I switched channels due to the tedious and wildly unrealistic premise.

Here are just a few examples that prove me wrong, or rather, proves the premise… right!

Courtesy of Dan Piraro –

“Life is short. Have an affair” –

That’s the tag line for the website Ashley Madison, a Canadian based company targeting married individuals who wish to cheat. Of course, A.M. doesn’t call it cheating. Here’s what they call it: “…Ashley Madison is the number one service for people seeking discreet relationships.”

On July 15, the site was hacked and data was stolen from approximately 33 million individuals by a group calling itself “The Impact Team.” They announced that they would release users’ names and personal data if the site was not shut down immediately.

Now, some believe, “Well, they got what they deserved. Cheaters are cheaters.”

I don’t like the idea behind the site, for all the obvious reasons. Maybe “The Impact Team” felt obliged to play the part of the moral police here. I don’t know.

Ethical Take: While the internet is still very much the Wild West; ethically speaking, if you steal from a cheater, you’re still a thief.

Tom Brady –

New England Patriots Tom Brady walked out of federal court happy and relieved that he will not be facing any of the 4 game suspension handed down by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

A story in the New York Times (Sept. 4) quoted Judge Berman who found several “significant legal deficiencies” in the NFL’s case.

“ ‘General awareness’ of others’ misconduct, a reference to equipment handlers who may have actually deflated the balls, was not enough to suspend him, the judge said.

Further, “ ‘The court finds that Brady had no notice that he could receive a four-game suspension for general awareness of ball deflation by others or participation in any scheme to deflate footballs, and noncooperation with the ensuing investigation,’ Berman wrote.”

And with the reinstatement of the two Patriots’ ball handlers to the team, I guess the balls just deflated on their own and Tom Brady, acclaimed by many as the greatest quarterback in NFL history, was not only unaware of the difference, but, according to Judge Berman should have been made aware of the possible penalty for knowing by Goodell.

The issue of Brady’s guilt became a question at the Miss America pageant. As reported on the Today Show (Sept. 14), Miss Georgia, Betty Cantrell – who eventually won the competition – was asked: Did Tom Brady cheat?

Cantrell’s analysis should have been faxed to Judge Berman… I think.

“Did he cheat? That’s a really good question, I’m not sure. I think I’d have to be there to see the ball and to feel it to make sure if it was deflated or not deflated, but if there was any question there then yes, I think he cheated. If there was any question to be had I think that he definitely cheated and he should have been suspended for that. That’s not fair.”

The E.T.: Brady, Belichick and company lucked out, again. Legally, Tom, you’re clearly on safe ground; ethically… come on!

And This Just In –

Handcuffed for Making Clock

That was a front page headline in the New York Times yesterday (Sept. 16). The Times reported that Texas high school student Ahmed Mohamed’s ingenious homemade alarm clock got him handcuffed and suspended “after school officials accused him of making a fake bomb.”

“As a result,” The Times writes, “a 14-year-old freshman at MacArthur High School in Irving, Tex., who is partial to tinkering, technology and NASA T-shirts and wants to go to M.I.T., found himself in a social media whirlwind that reflected the nation’s charged debates on Islam, immigration and ethnicity.”

The Times reported that “questions arose whether he had been targeted because of his name and his religion.”

For an 8th grade science project, a family friend and inventor, helped me construct a buzzer and demonstrate how it worked before the class. Thinking back on it, the crude-looking device with an attached battery could easily have been construed as a fake bomb. However, the teacher gave me high marks for the project.

The Take: What was right in my day appears clearly wrong, today. My question for school officials: Did you examine the device to see if it actually worked as a clock?


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