Saturday, October 14, 2006

A nice, long week

For those who were checking on me, thanks.

Monday went off to a 'wonderful' start - we had a local kid killed in Iraq a week ago today. That threw work into an extended tailspin.

Fast forward to Friday. I'm finishing off a special section that got advanced a week. I get an e-mail from upper management that a person - an unspecified relative of an employee at my paper - had called to complain about my column on the dead soldier and how he had shown devotion to duty but that our current leadership was undeserving of the sacrifice and sense of duty show by our soldiers.

The employee who took the call - I have no idea if said employee was related to the caller - was asked to be referred to my supervisor. Instead of referring the caller to my group editor, the employee referred than to the regional publisher.

Draw your own conclusions - I'm still thinking.

The notes of that conversation - attached to the e-mail - acuused me of being un-American and that I should be sent by boat to North Korea. The management sending the e-mail said he tended to agree, and that he was inviting the person to write a letter to be published to that effect.

That e-mail was the first inkling I had of this. No discussion. No request for information from me.

Happy Friday the 13th.

17 Comments:

Blogger Homo Escapeons said...

Send the caller a terse letter..start with an Akroydian greeting like
Jane you ignorant slut.
Seriously I think that it is impossible to keep everyone happy..hopefully there isn't a spectre of McCarthyism lingering in the air..did you see the whattodo in England with the General speaking out against Iraq (unwinnable)..this whole thing is starting to crest...both Dubya (his congress) and Blair are gonna ride this wave and crash into the beach. The writing (and hand wringing) is on the wall.

I know you well enough to know that you are an objective person and a digger. While it is hard to separate the personal tragedies, one at a time...
(and I understand and admire the individual sense of service..
theirs is not to question why)...
from the big picture, we must be allowed to discuss the actions of our governments. Chin up.

Why do you have to go to Bad Korea on a boat? Can't they fly you?

2:00 PM  
Blogger Within Without said...

Fronty:

Did your mugshot run with your column/editorial, and isn't that part of your job, to write OPINION pieces?

If you've got an upper management type agreeing with the complainer and not approaching you about it directly to have it out, that's a bad, bad sign.

This kind of petty crap is as small-minded as Bush himself. Being labelled "unamerican" simply because you're stating what the vast majority of Americans now do believe and certainly will come to believe.

I'm with HE on this, I think the jig is up in Britain and it's certainly up here.

I hope you get to squeeze someone's balls there and twist. I hope someone defends you.

3:45 PM  
Blogger The Michael said...

I agree with anonymous, you CAN make an extra $800 or more a month......yea, selling crack cocaine......

Anyway, I would like to remind you that discussing the politics or occurances at your place of employment is a dicey proposition, as has been demonstrated numerous times already by people getting fired for what they wrote in their blogs. Not that I don't believe that you have every right to excercise your first amendment rights to free speech, but the constitution never got in the way of free enterprize. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if anyone every hired by the Fox network had to swear a loyalty oath to Carl Rove during the job interview. I just hope your bosses have a spine, and if not, you can find work elsewhere where they do.

8:43 PM  
Blogger Miss Cellania said...

Small town media. Been there. My former boss (owner, not manager) would take the advice of ONE complainer as gospel over Arbitron ratings anyday. I'm sorry.

10:12 PM  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

What gets me worse than the complainer and the employee is being accused of being "unAmerican" because I have a different opinion.

The thought of being called that by my publisher pisses me off the more I think about it. It's the 50's all over again, and it pisses me off more and more that my country is headed right back that same goddamn road.

10:19 PM  
Blogger tom909 said...

Fronty, tell me right, are there two americas. The one that is the face of america, the government and the media, and the other, which is most of the people.
Cos I meet some real nice americans that bear no resemblance to some of the shit that goes down in the name of your country. So teel, and what are the percentages.
And as for what is happening to you, I personally just have a blanket policy on my life - I don't eat shit for anyone.

4:37 AM  
Blogger Metro said...

Fight da power, man.

Is this as serious a threat to your job security as it sounds?

If it is, then perhaps you should contact the complainants personally and ask what exactly is wrong with having a differing opinion.

It's one thing to know management's behind you all the way, but quite another to actually feel them there.

11:01 AM  
Blogger awaiting said...

Well, I'm in with WW and HE. Something stinks hot garbage.

Stand your own, FE.

12:36 PM  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

Right now, management's behind me with a stick and a tube of KY

4:42 PM  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

Tom,

American is a country with multiple personalities. The most disturbing ones are in the minority, but they are also the noisiest and the ones which exert far too much influence for moise generated.

De Tocqueville warned of the tyrnanny of the majority, but we have a pretty energetic tyrnanny of the minority here too.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Pamela said...

Fronty, I want to get this straight. The complainer was complaining about a column you wrote about the soldier's death/sacrifice, and not about any of the regular articles that reported his death? Is that what it was? Or was your column the report on the soldier's death?

If it was an op-ed piece you were doing as Editor, you knew that complaints were going to come your way. I'm sure you get emails/complaints when you talk about the weather. Some people are simply contrary, no matter the topic.

I would think, however, that your bosses would support you and not throw you to the wolves as you were only doing your job by writing an op-ed piece. Everyone has an opinion, and not everyone likes or even respects other's views on things. That's nothing new.

I hope your job is safe. Big hugs hon.

8:31 PM  
Blogger Frontier Editor said...

Pam,

I got a little more intel today - the ex-general manager who's supposed to be worrying about bookkeeping intercepted the message and gave it to the regional publisher. The complaint came a week before I wrote the column on the soldier.

The column was about our idiot junior U.S. senator.

Either way, I'm in a pretty foul mood about some of my employees .

Thanks for the concern.

9:33 PM  
Blogger ziggi said...

Oh FE, I hope you are ok.
x

5:28 AM  
Anonymous raincoaster said...

The letter that the person was invited to write...was that a Letter to the Editor, or a letter to the parent company? Because if it's the former, who cares; if it's the latter yeah, get tuning up the resume. Don't wait.

I had a similar experience when I worked for Starbucks, but fortunately the VP for Communications came down firmly on my side; what was amazing to me were the 24 other people in the email chain who not only opposed me but escalated this to the next management level without even calling me. Nobody wants to be the one to actually DO something, and perhaps you can find some solace in that.

10:01 AM  
Blogger Homo Escapeons said...

It is impossible to serve two masters and even though your country is so divided right now that it is ridiculous..pre civil war proportions...stick to your guns or you'll be miserable.

It reminds me of a song..(oh oh)..that I think you might remember, it goes something like this...

Torn between two lovers, feelin' like a fool
Lovin' both of you is breakin' all the rules
Torn between two lovers, feelin' like a fool
Lovin' you both is breakin' all the rules

8:38 AM  
Blogger Carmenzta said...

Homey, um "Thanks" for the song (groaning). I'll be singing it, albeit against my will, for the next three days.

Fronty, the day that an editor doesn't have the right to have an opinion on something will be the day that America ceases to exist. That is just weird and crazy stuff. It all boils down to some people thinking that they have more of a right to have an opinion than others. Yeah, right!!!

2:51 PM  
Blogger Cherrypie said...

Hope this week is improving x

5:35 PM  

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