My mouth is still hanging open in utter shock after reading in the blog of our local newspaper about the actions on Facebook of one of the lead news anchors of a local TV station.
I don't personally know any of the parties involved, nor what pettiness and backbiting exists among all the media outlets here in SE Texas. I have, however, lost all respect for this TV anchor (whose program I've never watched and now never will) all because of the extraordinary lack of professionalism in how he conducted himself on his Facebook updates. It's one thing to grouse to your friends about something like this, but how smart is it to do it in writing in a public forum with an audience??? Duh……
My husband and I have debated about whether this anchor was completely out of line or within his rights of free speech. Hubby votes for free speech as long this type of activity is not explicitly prohibited in his contract. My vote is that as a public figure with a public relations job, the TV anchor was completely out of line and should have been fired (or at least strongly reprimanded) for his actions.
My hubby and I will have to agree to disagree. I do know one thing with certainty, though — you never depend that anything you write or send online will remain private.
It's so easy to flame someone by email or rip into them via Twitter or Facebook or on a blog because you can be a nameless, faceless entity who doesn't have to face the person you're attacking face-to-face. I'm no saint and have been guilty of flaming several someones personally (ex-dates or ex-boyfriends) and have been sorely tempted on a number of occasions to fire back in like style professionally. However, two things have always held me back on the professional side of things — my reputation, and the fact that nothing online is private.
Whether you're a local business owner or a news anchor, you're a public figure, like it or not, even if your business is virtual and even if you're relatively unknown. Your customers, prospective customers, and friends of customers are looking to you for leadership.
I'm even more amazed that his boss publicly supports the anchor's Facebook tirade under the guise of free speech. The high road would have been to make the anchor publicly apologize for making an *ss of himself in the public eye and a 1:1 apology to the person writing the intial letter.
Perhaps this TV anchor could benefit by reading the following article on PC World: How to Avoid Facebook and Twitter Disasters before he decides to flame anyone else via his Facebook profile.
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