Creative Destruction

February 7, 2007

Problem, AND it’s A-GONe

Filed under: Blogosphere,Election 2008,Ethics — Off Colfax @ 7:24 pm

(The below is my more detailed response to Robert’s high-traffic posts on the subject. Crossposted from Left Off Colfax.)

Well, Amanda Marcotte definitely is fulfilling her main aspirations these days. First, getting hired onto the Edwards ’08 campaign is probably one of the coolest things I’ve ever read. (And her campaign co-blogger, Melissa McEwan of Shakespeare’s Sister, is one of the more interesting flaming liberals on my reading list.)

Second, she’s caused one heck of a ruckus over the last two days.

Now, before I go any further, let me state a few things right off the bat. I don’t like Amanda. I don’t like her writing style. I don’t like her political stance. I don’t like her language choices. I don’t like her rabid anti-Y-chromosomal rants. I really hate her constant rushes to judgment and her over-the-top-and-back-again in-your-face attitude.

But this post isn’t complaining about what she wrote about the accused members of the Duke lacrosse team. That’s the whole freedom of speech, civil-liberties absolutist in me. She has the right to say what she wants to say on her own forum. C’est la vie.

But no. She went and deleted what she had written after she caused all kinds of controversy. (Here. Here. Here. Here, plus her deleted comments. Here again. Here for a change. Oh, and here too.)

And that, to me, is a cardinal sin in the blogosphere. If you can’t stand by what you have written about a topic, that’s one thing. Hells, that’s what HTML’s strikethrough command is for: getting rid of stuff you can no longer support by the evidence and facts. But you bloody well leave it up! No cleaning. No purging. No memory-hole. No jack-all deletions. No clarification of “official stance” that is a complete and total rewrite. Nothing. You leave it, you strike it through, you update on the bottom or the top of the post, and you leave it so you can go back to it and say “My god, what a frickin’ idiot I was for writing that!”

But this happened on her blog. Not the Official Edwards Presidential Campaign 2008 Blog. So no, she shouldn’t be fired for it. What you do on your own time should never affect your job. (Again. Civil liberties absolutist.) Particularly when it happens before you officially start the job in question.

But if there’s a single whiff of any whitewash emanating from her job site… Then we rise in arms for termination. If Edwards doesn’t cave in to Bill Donahue’s clarion call for her head on a silver platter, that is. And if he doesn’t cave…

We will be watching.

3 Comments »

  1. Assuming one could catch it before it was done.

    Comment by toysoldier — February 7, 2007 @ 9:33 pm | Reply

  2. One might not catch something before it goes into the deletion sink, but an RSS feed can see it even if you’re asleep when it happens.

    Comment by Off Colfax — February 7, 2007 @ 9:48 pm | Reply

  3. I would regard myself as a civil liberties absolutist, too, but I don’t agree that what you do on your own time should never affect your job. Civil liberties shield you from government inteference. Employers can and do put restrictions on behaviors outside the workplace (i.e. on what you get caught doing on your own time). And, as owners of a business, that’s THEIR civil liberty — to fire you if you become notorious for something they don’t want their company to be associated with in the public eye.

    However, Marcotte was hired for the very thing she may be fired for — her blogging cred. I’m guessing whoever hired heard “big name blogger” and that was enough. That person deserves the most heat here, for not more carefully examining the merchandise before offering to buy.

    But disappearing old, embarrassing posts is not only blogging’s big ethical no-no, it’s also unbelievably stupid. Besides the Google cache, there are bound to be all sorts of feeds and trackbacks and responses that preserve whatever it is you’re trying to erase. So you get to eat your words AND look pathetic at the same time.

    Comment by S. Weasel — February 8, 2007 @ 1:04 pm | Reply


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