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.
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.
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