Situational ethics, like moral relativism, is a phrase frequently used in political punditry to ascribe to an opponent a lack of principle or to imply opportunistic or self-serving behavior. Separate from the philosophical definitions, in this context the essential premise is not that one judges the ethics of an act based on context, but rather that a person has or does not have ethical standards at all, depending on whether having them is beneficial or detrimental to one’s immediate ends. It is in that context that CNN’s Chris Cuomo used the phrase on Saturday, in tweeting about Republican leader Sen. Mitch McConnell taking to the microphone to offer a blistering condemnation essentially calling former President Donald Trump guilty of all the things that McConnell had just moments before voted to acquit him of.
I’m old enough to remember even liberal journalists taking issue with the clear conflict of interest surrounding Chris Cuomo bringing brother Andrew on his show to gush over the mainstream media’s love for the latter during the height of the pandemic. It was a clear breach of journalistic integrity for the younger Cuomo to do that, but he didn’t care because 1) Cuomo and the rest of Jeff Zucker’s minion’s at CNN were hellbent on blaming President Trump for everything that went wrong with COVID and 2) the truth doesn’t matter, even when it comes to thousands of deaths, when you have TDS.