Should F-Bomb Cost Blogger His Job?

Filed as News on April 7, 2008 7:23 am

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It’s not a new story, but one that seems to jar its way into the news almost everyday.

> Blogger has full-time, non-blogging job.
> Blogger writes something on his or her own time.
> Employer finds out about employee blog.

CHAOS ENSUES.

The latest such case is that of Illinois alderman Arden Joe Plocher. Disappointed that a local pub canceled a band scheduled to perform at his birthday party, the 26-year-old took his rant to MySpace, insinuating that the bar would be f’n “blackballed in this town.”

The comment was left on the band’s MySpace page on the alderman’s own time. Next thing you know, an anonymous letter is sent to City Hall requesting Plocher’s resignation.

What do you think? As a public official, did Plocher cross the line by threatening an establishment’s livelihood?

It can’t be said enough: Blog freely, but blog with caution.

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  1. By Solacetech posted on April 7, 2008 at 7:34 am
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    Wow. Blogging is still such a new territory. Some business still don’t know how to take this new journalism. In this case, a public official has to realize that he represents his Job whether he’s “punched in” or not. I think it was a bad move on the Bloggers side…

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  2. By GoingLikeSixty posted on April 7, 2008 at 8:59 am
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    Your headline is misleading when taken in the context of your last question.
    1. I don’t think saying f’in or fuckin’ or whatever form is pertinent.
    2. Yes, anyone who threatens to harm a business needs to be prepared for backlash from business. A public official, really has no private life. Even a dog catcher in Hicksville better be careful.
    Your advice is sound.

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  3. By yoshi posted on April 7, 2008 at 9:15 am
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    I think as a public official you really have to watch what you say. Public Officials are not the same as your “typical” blogger imho.

    Going from only what you’ve summarized, I’d say it’s his own fault, since it sounds like he’s using his status as a public official to threaten the establishment. I’m sure there is much more to this story.

    I don’t think this would have had any impact if the blogger in question wasn’t a public official though. He would have been passed off as someone who was just frustrated and needed to vent.

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  4. By Andrew G.R. posted on April 7, 2008 at 9:16 am
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    GLS: I agree, that the issue is really whether or not there was an abuse of public power. However, I can never resist dropping an F-bomb of my own in a headline! ;-)

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  5. By Brian Carnell posted on April 7, 2008 at 10:08 am
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    Yes, he abused his position, and yes he should resign immediately.

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  6. By Jimbo posted on April 7, 2008 at 10:10 am
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    As Hicksville’s dogcatcher, I assure you I am f’n careful.

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  7. By Thud posted on April 8, 2008 at 9:58 am
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    If a public official posts something on a private blog that suggests he is doing something illegal or misusing his authority, yes, he should be forced to resign. And as far as I’m concerned that goes for any other person in any other field. A police officer who posts on his blog about how he likes shaking down drug dealers for cash should also be fired. An employee who posts about how he’s using his sick time off to go to a concert should be fired. Etc. If they’re going to play those kinds of games they should keep their mouths shut about it.

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  8. By Joe posted on April 8, 2008 at 11:48 am
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    Aurora Beacon News Thumbs up/Thumbs down response…couldn’t have said it better.

    “Alderman’s comments out of line

    Our elected officials should be held to a higher standard because their words and actions reflect upon the community and people they represent. That’s why we’re so baffled by Yorkville Alderman Joe Plocher’s profanity-laced online outburst against a local business and his unrepentant attitude.

    After a Yorkville pub canceled a band that was supposed to play there on Plocher’s birthday because it didn’t like the crowd the band would draw — perhaps a legitimate gripe — the first-term alderman vented on the band’s MySpace page, cursing and vowing to ruin the business’ reputation. Such behavior is childish and petty even for someone not on the public payroll. We give Plocher a THUMBS DOWN because he should know better as a member of the City Council. There were certainly better ways to handle the situation.

    Is this how Plocher settles personal disputes and supports local businesses? And while he regrets the bad publicity and realizes now that the Internet is indeed part of the public domain, he has expressed little regret over his statements. This is the same alderman who last fall had to pay a $300 fine and was put on court supervision after being charged in a hit-and-run accident while leaving the parking lot of a bar.

    The 26-year-old alderman has a thing or two to learn about professionalism and being a leader who models good behavior in the community.”

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  9. By Jessi posted on April 10, 2008 at 7:33 am
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    Considering this is in the news so often, you would think that people would take caution now anyway. And yes, as a public official, he is held at a different standard than “the average joe”….so he should’ve taken even more care.

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