Das Vidanya, Ethical Leadership

Last week, Fox News analyst Ralph Peters said goodbye to his news network. In a scalding hot letter of intent, Col. Peters, after a decade of working with Fox, came out as ashamed of the network for having “degenerated from providing a legitimate and much-needed outlet for conservative voices to a mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration.

And who could have said it better?

If you had to guess who the following words came from, would guy guess a radical left-winger?

Fox News is assaulting our constitutional order and the rule of law, while fostering corrosive and unjustified paranoia among viewers.”

Those were the words of army colonel, veteran govt. intel operative, and experienced journalist sworn to protect the Constitution, a man who on more than one occasion accused President Barack Obama, with crude sexual language, of being beholden to Vladimir Putin. Left-winger apologist he is not.

But what’s interesting is that he doesn’t slam the whole network. He doesn’t blame the journalists or the technical staff. He blames the hosts and, to some extent the producers and execs. As a reporter and intel expert, I take his word that Peters understands the need for a reliable source of information.

The problem with major news networks isn’t so much the reliability of their information, but the presentation of that information—the interpretations, the implications, the accusations.

military_parade_on_red_square_2017-05-09_050But the resignation of Ralph Peters is just one of countless cases of more and more conservatives and Republicans drawing the line and saying “Das Vadanya” to the ethically ruinous.

But we can only hope that his retirement from the scene will assist in a cascade of voices with integrity divorcing themselves from the ruinous feedback loop between the Whitehouse and Fox News.

Just a few days before we saw the frustrated resignation of James Schwab, who could no longer stand to be a spokesman for ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). After the agency made purposefully false statements that supported President Trump’s views, Schwab decided he’d had enough. His ethics came before his career. Those same false statements were repeated by Jeff Sessions, who has expressed no desire to recant the statements, let alone resign from his position. Scwab, the finer example of integrity, said,

“I just couldn’t bear the burden — continuing on as a representative of the agency and charged with upholding integrity, knowing that information was false.”

After the current U.S. president called the still-reigning president of Russia to congratulate him on winning a completely rigged election, Republican senator John McCain, who experienced the brutality of a communist regime as a POW, dropped a major truth bomb:

“An American president does not lead the free world by congratulating dictators on winning sham elections.”

McCain went on to say that Trump “insulted every Russian citizen who was denied the right to vote in a free and fair election to determine their country’s future, including the countless Russian patriots who have risked so much to protest and resist Putin’s regime.”

This is how you ethically present information. Endless evidence exists that Russia’s regime is deeply corrupt, that their elections are beyond unfair and intimidating. To congratulate a leader on winning such an election is to spit on the U.S. Constitution and every citizen of a democracy.

From where I sit, and it is only one chair, I see more and more conservatives finally taking a stand against the anti-truth, anti-peace, anti-morality ethics of the current U.S. President.

Religious, pro-life, family-focused, Creationist journals are calling out Trump’s sins without excuse.

Army officers are calling out Trump’s proposed Veterans Day military parade for the ruinous, despotic trash that it is.

Truth-telling is about getting your facts straight. But it’s also about getting your ethnics straight. In each generation there comes a time for this to become a prophetic role—not one in which people have exclusive visions of the future. Rather, a role in which, regardless of who or what we may lose, we speak the truth and call for action.


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