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CNN Producer Fired For Blogging

Posted by Casey on February 14, 2008

Here’s the thing, you are not allowed to embarrass your employer with a personal blog.  I walk this fine line with my company every day my blog is public.  If you work for a news outlet that has to maintain the appearance of being unbiased … you can’t have a personal blog on the side telling the public that you hate people of a certain political affiliation as this guy has done. As a blogger he knows that other bloggers will expose him for who he is. Which would be extremely embarrassing to his employer, and damage their credibility as a news source.

He doesn’t see it that way.

Chez Pazienza, a senior producer for CNN’s “American Morning,” says the network fired him on Tuesday on the grounds that he violated its standards for journalists through his blog, Deus Ex Malcontent.

Mr. Pazienza announced that he had been fired through — what else — a blog post on Wednesday. “What was the reason for my abrupt and untimely dismissal?” he wrote. “You’re reading it. More to come soon.”

It continues …

A few months ago, Mr. Pazienza was invited to start blogging on The Huffington Post, the group blog founded by Arianna Huffington.

Mr. Pazienza said he has never identified himself in his writing as a CNN producer or as a representative of CNN and has never written about what goes on at work. “I will write about the media in general and, at times, the very sorry state of it, including the TV news media,” he said. “I think I have the right to.”

I’ll stop here to address his statements that he thinks he has a right to talk about the media in general. This may be true depending on his conduct policy given to him by CNN, but the moment you begin to show bias that may undermine your employer’s credibility, you’re in trouble. Writing for the Huffington Post does just that. If conservative bloggers chose to make a big deal of CNN having a producer of one of their programs writing for the Huffington Post … CNN’s reputation would be severely damaged. Given that CNN already has a bad reputation, and has been scrambling to repair it for several months now doesn’t help this guys case.

It’s not just his affiliation with the Huffington Post that was the problem. It was his venemous writings on his site that sealed his fate.

Deus Ex Malcontent makes no effort to hide its author’s strong views. “I wake up every morning baffled as to why America hasn’t thrown George Bush and Dick Cheney in prison.

He also criticized some other famous people such as Oprah. While I applaud his attacks on Oprah, there could issues with advertising by going after some of the people he wrote about. Nonetheless, CNN can’t have one of their producers running around talking about imprisoning people without them knowing about it. Especially since they are in full fledged damage control mode over at CNN.

Mr. Pazienza acknowledges that he did not ask permission from CNN to blog, either on his own Web site or on The Huffington Post. He contends that the policy had not been made clear to employees and was overly vague. “It’s purposely set up so they can be subjective,” he said. “Does that mean I can’t post on a MySpace blog that my friends read? Does that mean I can’t post something online to my wife?” He added that he believed he had been dismissed because of his views.

Here is where he completely missed the point, or didn’t read his employee handbook. It doesn’t matter if he thinks it was not made clear to him. As someone who works for one of the big media corporations I knew I had to ask permission to have a blog. At the time it was a Myspace page like this guy is talking about. When you work for these companies they make sure you understand what you need permission for. My boss told me what I can and can not write about. If I violate that … I get fired.

He tries to take it too far by talking about personal posts to his wife and friends. That will not get him fired because it is personal, and won’t embarrass CNN. His calling for Bush and Cheney to be imprisoned will draw negative attention to CNN, and that can’t stand. He’s right that he was dismissed because of his views, but it had nothing to do with how he believes. It’s because he put them in aggressive writings that could harm CNN, and he should have known better.


One Response to “CNN Producer Fired For Blogging”

  1. Blog or no Blog CNN is unfair PERIOD… unfair to employees, workers on disabilities in the company, unfair to hispanic journalists and more. They abuse whoever they want to, CNN is violating human rights.

    See the following about CNN:

    Salvadoran journalist Mario Vela passes away 12 days after being dismissed by CNN. The organization AGACAMT denounces the hostile attitude of CNN towards ill employees. Jose Ramon Cotti, Puerto Rican journalist dismissed by CNN, remains in a hospital after months of pain.

    Atlanta (23 March 2009). – Salvadoran journalist Mario Vela passed away 12 days after CNN dismissed him. The company fired this worker despite the knowledge of the seriousness of his illness. Mr. Vela had been several months agonizing in Washington after his doctors declared there was no hope to save his life.

    Mario Vela and his family underwent the pressure imposed by CNN in his last days when receiving a document in which their rights of denunciation were questioned and conditioned to the signing of a humiliating severance package.

    CNN served notice to Mr. Vela via mail explaining that he no longer was to have his disability benefits and the medical insurance from the company.

    Eva Ventín, president of AGACAMT, the Galician Association Against Moral Harassment at the Workplace, denounces the hypocritical attitude of CNN, that, after putting Mr. Vela in the street, sent the Vice-president of CNN Spanish, Cristopher Crommett, to this employee’s funeral to sing a song and to deliver a pitiful donation.

    Relatives and friends of Mario Vela were themselves forced to organize a fundraising concert to collect money to pay for his medical treatment.

    It is difficult to think that a powerful and multi-millionaire company like CNN, that in spite of the world’s economy crisis have announced economic gains, gets to mistreat its professionals and families”.

    Mario Vela who passed away at age 34, was named by the mayor of Washington DC “the journalist of the year of 2007” recognition who was emphasized by his support to the Hispanic community and towards the under-privileged.

    With more than 10 years of experience Mario Vela was news director of Mega Communications and Radio Capital 730 in DC. Vela worked for Channel 30 of Univisión and Radio World in Maryland.

    AGACAMT wants to bring to the world’s attention other serious cases of labor harassment at CNN as in 2003 the local press of Atlanta related this network with the depression of a journalist who committed suicide. (see original editorial of the Mundo Hispanico about former news director Abel Dimant).

    The complaints of labor abuses and irregularities had been communicated to Mr. Jim Walton, the President of CNN, but there are no answers neither solutions that protect the victims.

    AGACAMT denounces that “this it is not the unique case of a journalist dismissed by CNN in a serious condition”. News anchor Jose Ramon Cotti remains in a hospital in Georgia after several months of pain.

    The Puerto Rican journalist also was dismissed by CNN while on disability awaiting a delicate heart operation.

    CNN brought Mr. Cotti and his wife to Atlanta from New York 9 years ago and the company has now totally forgotten this family, not even making a phone call to inquire about its employee’s condition after double bypass surgery and leg amputation and also after Mrs. Cotti’s hospitalization with health problems including stress related condition.

    We communicated Mr. Walton of the above again with no responses.
    This prestigious New York radio journalist, recipient of Several prizes including two awards from ACE. (Award of creative excellence) is just another one of the numerous victims of the dramatic crisis that shakes CNN.

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