Michigan paper fires reporter for bias against GOP Senate candidate John James
A reporter called senatorial candidate John James’ campaign asking to set up a post-election interview, and left a voicemail. She didn’t realize her attempt to hang up at the end of her message failed, and unknowingly had disparaging comments about Mr. Jones recorded. The mega-shaming of social media has been brought to bear.
“I have listened to the voicemail left by Brenda Battel to Mr. James‘ campaign, and find no reason to defend this behavior,” said Kate Hessling, editor of The Huron Daily Tribune. “Brenda Battel’s employment has been immediately terminated.”
It can’t be that Ms. Hessling didn’t already know Ms. Battel’s sympathies, and very likely heard similar expressions of them around the office.
She (Hessling) is just embarrassed to have such obvious bias made explicitly public. It threatens the idea of objectivity to which the paper pretends. HA. Ha and ha. Nobody with an IQ over 75 thinks news media are neutral purveyors of fact.
The “reason to defend this behavior” Ms. Hessling is unable to locate would be the First Amendment. What better time for the press to invoke it, than when they are calling Trump Hitler every day for calling them liars and hypocrites. Despairing that John James might beat Debbie Stabenow pales in comparison.
I object to the firing. Battel’s got a First amendment right to her bias, and she works for an organization that not only agrees with that bias, but supposedly holds the First Amendment sacred. Though that doesn’t protect her employment, should she expose the obvious, she didn’t threaten anyone or incite violence.
The Huron Daily Tribune’s smart move would have been to require Battel to read and then write reviews of The Road to Serfdom (free copy at that link) and The Vision of the Anointed, or some similar tomes. You know, sensitivity training.
Mr. James’ smart move would have been publicly objecting to her firing.
I have to point out, contrary to the linked article, that her insults weren’t “inadvertent insults,” they just weren’t supposed to be made public. The worst she’s guilty of is technical incompetence combined with conduct unbecoming a professional. If these were firing offenses for journalists, there would only be a half-dozen of them employed world-wide.
A question I have – idle curiosity – is whether she was speaking to someone else (I couldn’t tell from the recording), or just muttering to herself. If the latter, could it be something encouraged by the environment at The Huron Daily Tribune?