Ask A Genius 520 – Profits Over Ethics

In-Sight Publishing

Ask A Genius 520 – Profits Over Ethics

July 14, 2019

[Beginning of recorded material]

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: If we’re taking changes in ethical norms, what ones are in flux now?

Rick Rosner: The deal is, 40% of the adult population of America supports Trump to some extent. Much of that base is Evangelical Christians. People who don’t support Trump find that cruel and racist. What has happened is that the conservative news industry has found it profitable as an industry to erode America’s ethical norms, rich people, apart from Fox News and the other conservative outlets make money off appealing to the Trump base, support this stuff because tax relief for rich people helps them immensely.

The richest guy behind Trump’s election is a guy named Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah Mercer. They are the ones who gave money to Cambridge Analytica, which figured out how to target and spread propaganda via social media. I read an article last night saying Robert Mercer – Mercer’s company – defrauded the federal government out of $7 billion dollars (USD). His hedge fund was using a tax write-off or a tax scheme ruled illegitimate.

His company was the only company to ever try this scheme. The IRS ruled that he failed to pay $7 billion dollars in taxes on a company with a net worth of $97 billion. So, this guy and other rich guys who don’t want to pay taxes have been meeting with Trump to see if they can get around it. Some rich people are just libertarians. But they mostly don’t care about getting rid of immigrants or any of the “America First” semi-racist stuff.

But that is what it takes to support the base. Then they’ll support whatever garbage it takes if they end up getting tax relief. The question becomes, “Can this breach of ethical norms, this rupture of Americans’ idea of what we stand for as Americans – can this spackled over or repaired?” I would say, “Yes.” Because people believe the stories they are told about themselves and their country.

We have a long tradition of America standing for fairness, for the melting pot, for being a country of immigrants, for all the stuff that the liberals try to bring up. So, if most of the stories that people hear support the ethical views that America has generally held, then the contrary views – the racist views, the xenophobic views have always been a minority view in America and restrained (e.g., anti-German sentiment around the world wars, anti-Italian/anti-swarthy southern European sentiment around the same time) – flared up during the first half of the 20th century.

It usually gets tamped down. But it is at its strongest now since World War Two. The two with tamping it down is that now; there is a lot of money in telling racist xenophobic stories and expressing those points of view to Americans. Fox News is the most successful 24-hour news channel, which is slightly deceptive. The other news channels have, at least, as many viewers combined. But since Fox is the one major conservative channel, and MSNBC and CNN get the liberal viewers and the middle of the road viewers.

Fox News has been around since 1996. I don’t see how you can make it go away. It has been forced to not call itself “news” in some countries. But that’s not going to happen in America. The only way to get rid of Fox News would be for some rich liberals to get together and then to buy the whole company to change its direction. But that just means another conservative organization will pop up.

[End of recorded material]


Rick Rosner

American Television Writer


Rick Rosner

Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Editor-in-Chief, In-Sight Publishing


In-Sight Publishing


[1] Four format points for the session article:

  1. Bold text following “Scott Douglas Jacobsen:” or “Jacobsen:” is Scott Douglas Jacobsen & non-bold text following “Rick Rosner:” or “Rosner:” is Rick Rosner.
  2. Session article conducted, transcribed, edited, formatted, and published by Scott.
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For further information on the formatting guidelines incorporated into this document, please see the following documents:

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License and Copyright

In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at and


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing 2012-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, Rick Rosner, and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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