Thursday, December 17, 2015

"Speak Truth To Power?"

     Yes, you can do that very thing -- but when the "power" includes your boss and your particular "truth" is a matter of opinion, you may find your words have consequences.

     The editor of a small newspaper in Bowling Green, Ohio found this out when she wrote a blame-the-guns, blame-the-NRA editorial similar to the recent New York Times front page hit-piece, sent it to her publisher for vetting and the publisher asked her to drop it.

     Instead, she enlisted her staff and tried to bring the publisher around to her point of view.  It didn't work; pressing her cause, she was fired.  --As any of us might expect to happen if we proposed something, our boss told us "don't do that," and we rallied the other workers and argued past a certain point.  The "certain point" varies, but when you're operating in the realm of opinion rather than testable fact, it's not very far.

     For the fired editor, internet fame has followed -- and there's the ol' First Amendment at work, protecting the airing of even even scurrilous commentary; it just doesn't guarantee a platform to air it from.  (Also, now you know what happens when there's an argument between people who buy ink by the barrel.)


Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

While I appreciate what Creators did from a pro-gun standpoint, I'm less sanguine that Gannett would take the same approach if the Jeff Taylor at the Indianapolis Star decided to do the same thing.*

Monopolies owning the means of information dissemination really bothers me. As Prof put it:

"'Manuel, on some subjects I don't trust even myself. Limiting the freedom of news "just a little bit" is in the same category with the classic example "a little bit pregnant." We are not yet free nor will we be as long as anyone--even our ally Mike--controls our news. Someday I hope to own a newspaper independent of any source or channel. I would happily set print by hand, like Benjamin Franklin.'"

* I find it interesting that when you go to the staff contact page for the IndyStar, the executive editor is not listed right up top; you have to drop down to the third line and he's at the end of that line.

Comrade Misfit said...

Cue the World's Smallest Violin.

rickn8or said...

The First Amendment means the Government may not curtail your speech, not a guarantee that your employer (or blogmistress for that matter) may not. Anyone that's been working for any length of time knows your employer can and frequently will.