Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Journalistic Integrity

Lacking in the press vs the Blunt administration fiasco regarding Scott Eckersley's firing

I have been trying to follow the complicated issue which, in my opinion, was trumped up against Governor Blunt and his administration regarding the Scott Eckersley firing. It started out as what should have been a simple question about which government emails fall under the Missouri Sunshine Law and which emails do not. In my opinion it has been complicated by certain journalists who have spread around gossip rather than reporting fact and who appear to have taken sides on the issue, propping up one party while disparaging the other based on their own gossip. You can follow most of the exchange I have had at the News-Leader forum in the comment section found under this article if you're interested in the discussion. This was my last entry, it was made to fellow commenter "TsTwkT":

""The documentation they have shows it was deactivated on 9/25. There's no time delay for it to kick in and the documentation was provided by the technology company."

Have you seen that documentation, TsTwkT? I'd like to see that documentation. Where might I access it? Further, where do you come by your information that "there's no time delay for it to kick in?"

Then the next obvious question would be, does the Blunt administration have the right to access a state computer used by a state employee in their own administration after he is fired?

Eckersley was an employee of the Blunt administration, the computer he used on the job was not his own. Does his employer have the right to access information stored in that state owned computer? To what degree?

Taking it out of the political realm, if you use a computer supplied by your employer at your office do you have the right to limit your employer's access to their computer should you either quit or be fired from that company? I would think that your employer would have free reign to examine their own computer, especially if, after you were fired you had challenged their reasons given for firing you in a public forum.

I think the difference between myself and some people is that I'm just not willing to jump to conclusions and I certainly don't mean to suggest I have all the answers. I just think that there are some questions that aren't being asked. Some pretty serious charges are being leveled at the Governor's office and many of them are based on rumor. This isn't the only issue that such rumored charges have been made, nor the only party that has had rumored charges leveled without any real, tangible proof of wrong doing. I suppose my question is a broader one than about Eckersley vs the Governor's office and it really has been from the start. The broader question is about certain members of the press VS the Governor's administration. How far should editorialists go in making charges without supporting them in the press? Where is the line and when is it crossed? It's a sort of a moral issue for me, I suppose.

Now, I've got other business to be about and to be honest, this issue has merely served as a bit of a diversion for me during a difficult time. When more evidence to support some of the rumors comes out I might revisit it. Oh, and I would like the links to that evidence you have alluded to from the "technology company."

Some members of the blogosphere bowed out of the discussion some time ago because they, apparently, tired of the gossip based on nothing but he said/he said. I can't say that I blame them.

For me it's been a diversion to get my mind off of the sad situation I have been going through with my Mother. She had her surgery yesterday. She lost her right leg just above the knee. This issue was something just complicated enough to allow me to occupy my mind for a few moments here and there and try to maintain a bit of sanity. But, I think it's pretty much run its course.

I want to thank all of those who have been praying for my Mother. She has some hard work ahead and continued prayer for her and my family is still appreciated.


Anonymous said...

There is documentation.  The president of AppRiver went on record to affirm that nothing has been transmitted (see Christopher Leonard's article by AP).  Also, it is likely/usually legal for the employer to investigate an employee's computer, but it is absolutely illegal to access Eckersley's (personal, not government) email account after he has been fired.  It is further unethical and illegal to fire an employee for no reason, then to look for possible reasons after the fact.  It is then unimaginably illegal to carelessly send (unsolicited) Eckersley's emails to media & blogs all over the state, some of which are personal correspondence between Eckersley and his attorney weeks after the firing!  I have carefully read articles and blogs from both sides, and as a Republican I have no choice but to believe Eckersley.  I am very disappointed in our Governor and his office, and I don't even want to get into their unethical and vicious smear campaign.  

I'm sorry to hear about your mother's health.  My best wishes and prayers.

Jackie Melton said...

From Jo Mannies Post-Dispatch article,http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/politics/story/BA08F8E6DCAD00458625738B0016C528?OpenDocument :

"Rich Chrismer, Blunt's deputy chief of staff for communications, denied any wrongdoing. He produced what he said were records of Eckersley's forwarded e-mail routings on Sept. 24 and Oct. 18, to back up Blunt's staff contention that AppRiver continued to forward Eckersley's private e-mails into his state account after his firing.

"We have documented proof that Scott Eckersley is not being truthful with this assertion,'' Chrismer said."

From Tony Messenger of the News-Leader's blog,http://www.news-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=BLOGS03 :

"Chrismer claims the forwarding continued. That doesn't make Eckersley untruthful in anyway. It merely confirms that somehow the e-mails still ended up in a state computer."

This is not a settled issue by any means. Why would you attempt to make it seem as though it was?

Jackie Melton said...

Oh, and thank you for your best wishes and prayers!