I'm a pretty cautious person, to which end, I try to stay beneath the radar. Or at least I don't pop my head up over the horizon if I don't know who's out there to take a shot at it.
What the heck am I talking about? I blog under an assumed name. I try not to be too radical in my blogging. Even so, every now and then a colleague will send me an email with a link to a post of mine that they happened to run across. Heck, I even pop up in Google searches of my own now and then. So it's hard to have an internet presence and remain totally hidden and anonymous. In fact, it's practically oxymoronic. Or maybe just moronic.
But on some level, I can feel the dismay of Chez Pazienza, a savvy, well-read blogger who had a promising career at CNN, until they found out about her blog. She wasn't hiding it, she blogged under her own name, and quite prominently. But her astonishment is palpable when the powers that be turned on her and invoked a vague clause in the handbook stating that any writing done for anyone other than the mothership had to be passed through their standards and practices department. She admits her opinions were occasionally controvertial, adding that she never wrote about her job or employer.
More poignant is the fact that she took up blogging to pass the time and keep her writing skills sharp as she was recovering from surgery to remove a brain tumor.
Is there a made-for-TV movie in this? Sarring a spunky Julia Roberts maybe?
But I digress.
OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!
I find it chilling that not only did she get fired for blogging, but found out that CNN actually employs several people whose jobs it is to ferret out this kind of thing.
They probably didn't have to ferret very far. Chez Pazienza is a featured blogger on The Huffington Post . They probably just browsed through this very prominent blog site over their morning coffee, which got spewed all over the screen when this viper at their bosom popped up. Ultimately, someone from HR admitted to Pazienza that it wasn't just that she was writing, but "also, you know, the nature of what you've been writing."
She goes on to add "whether a respected and loyal CNN producer of four years, like myself, could've gotten off with a warning had I chosen to write about, say, my favorite pasta sauce recipes, who knows."
(Damn...she's been reading my blog.)
Anyway, it's a most interesting situation. Is blogging a new frontier in free speech? What does it say about the rigidity of a fairly cool but established media giant like CNN? Are we all going to hell in a handbasket. (Well, yes, but that's beside the point.)
[Thanks, Stryder, for this most interesting link.]