Looking Closely at Conflicts of Interest

This month, Ronan Farrow published an excellent piece on The New Yorker’s site, describing how Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) accepted financial contributions from Jeffrey Epstein after it was clear they shouldn’t have been associating with him. Some people’s immediate reaction may be to ask, “What’s the problem?  They need the money, and this doesn’t mean they were abetting his crimes.” There is a problem, though, especially when it isn’t just sincere generosity.  Some charities receive small donations from average people with no implied quid pro quo agreement, and those charities might innocently stay ignorant of donors’ backgrounds with no problems.  However, when the … Continue reading Looking Closely at Conflicts of Interest

Amazon to Buy Whole Foods Market

At the end of this post, please click the link to a New York Times story about the expected purchase of Whole Foods Market by Amazon. While reading the article, we can only hope a particular disclosure made in passing won’t affect the Times’ coverage of this issue. Recently, Whole Foods hired a new Chief Financial Officer.  She’s Gabrielle Sulzberger, who’s married to NY Times Chairman and Publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger. There are many reasons to think carefully and be alert to background information that can influence news reports.  The reasons aren’t always as obvious as this, so we must be ready to dig for subtle … Continue reading Amazon to Buy Whole Foods Market

If Something Is Expected, Is It Still News?

Rex Tillerson, the man nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to be our next Secretary of State, has more complicated business ties than we were told.  Naturally, the business ties in question are Putin-Friendly.  A link to an article on The Guardian site appears at the end of this post. Tomorrow, the Electoral College will decide who becomes out next President.  If no candidate gets 270 votes from electors, the House of Representatives will have to step in.  It’s very likely Donald Trump will get at least 270 votes, in spite of the fact that the Electoral College has good reason to reject … Continue reading If Something Is Expected, Is It Still News?