July 2007 Ethics Dunces
Ariana HuffingtonHuffington, a pragmatic ideological side-switcher (remember her Comedy Central debates with Al Franken, with her on "the Right"?) who founded the Bush-basher paradise website "The Huffington Post," was outraged with neocon Bill Kristol's recent Op-Ed piece for the Washington Post that argued that Bush's presidency would ultimately be scored a success. Did she then make counter arguments, write a balanced and reasoned response, or simply use well-chosen facts and figures to put Kristol in his place? No. Instead, Huffington wrote this on her blog:
Gee, Ariana, why didn't you just tap the phone and find out?
When someone is having a phone conversation in a public place, it is both rude and wrong to listen in. It is plain outrageous to publish what has been overheard. The correct and fair response for Huffington would have been the one dictated by the Golden Rule: alert Kristol that he could be heard, and then make a genuine effort not to listen. Under no circumstances is it fair or ethical to publish the result of eavesdropping on a private conversation. But Huffington has clearly adopted the ruthless attitude of her new friends at the Daily Kos and Move-On.Org that individuals with whom you differ philosophically and politically don't deserve common courtesy, consideration or fairness, because they are bad.
Here at the Ethics Scoreboard, on the other hand, we regard people who listen in on private conversations as Ethics Dunces, and say so. Courteously, of course.