Wednesday, June 08, 2022

Josh Barro on WaPo Fights

There is always the Henry Kissinger line about Iraq and Iran in the 1980s "Can't we hope for them both to lose?" But Barro has an important point about the deterioration of journalism culture and social media culture, which is the public culture of the newest adult generation and likely to have some influence for fifty years. 

Airing internal workplace disputes in public like this is not okay, even when you are right on the merits. My statement isn’t just obvious, it’s how almost all organizations work. If you think your coworker sucks, you don’t tweet about it. That’s unprofessional. If you disagree with management’s personnel decisions, you don’t decry them to the public. That’s insubordinate. Organizations full of people who are publicly at each other’s throats can’t be effective. Your workplace is not Fleetwood Mac.

I reflect on my hospital career.  One could say many bad things about the hospital to one's family, or one's Bible study, or the fathers you were talking to at Cub Scouts or soccer games or whatever.  But you didn't put it in print in any way.  I got in trouble for an anonymous parody of hospital decisions in the 1990s, which I put up on a pillar in the lobby, but got picked up by the Concord Monitor.  Front page, gulp. It was really funny, though.  I just had to let you know that part. If you wrote a Letter to the Editor about the hospital, you worded it carefully, and even then worried about blowback.  Or at least, so I'm told.  Never went their myself.  Even now I only refer to management decisions, especially personnel and discipline, very obliquely. I don't know everything behind those decisions.  I don't like to find out that I said something stupid a month later.


HMS Defiant said...

Had a Commodore in the 90s at terminal rank. He knew it and really didn't hold fire when he decided to blast his superiors. Even had an article published in the Proceedings of the Naval Institute with another Commodore. I have to say, once you make Captain in the Navy you pretty much finished. Only a tiny handful make it to Admiral and to be honest, they either suffered greatly to get there or did some serious stuff under the table in DC.

JMSmith said...

Advertising the squabbles of Fleetwood Mac just gets free advertising for Fleetwood Mac. Public scandals boost entertainers and the entertainment industry, but generally erode confidence in "serious" professions and businesses. I still think there may be instances where scandal mongering is justified. Many ugly secrets have been buried in the name of professionalism.

Texan99 said...

I like to attribute my aversion to knee-jerk hot takes to a sense of fairness or justice, but often what really restrains me, as you say, is a profound unwillingness to look like a fool a month later. Being careful about what you spout off about can save a lot of humiliation, not to mention preserving your credibility, which might matter some day when you need to be able to get people's attention.