Monday, October 25, 2010

Williams, Sanchez and the Unbridled Fury of the Blogosphere

Did the unbridled fury of the blogosphere indirectly contribute to National Public Radio's Juan Williams firing?

You've most likely read about Williams' comments regarding the anxiety he experiences when traveling on the same airplane with Muslims.  It led to his quick ouster by National Public Radio for a "pattern of commentaries that violated the news organization's guidelines."  (Juan Williams photo credit:  Washington Times)

What I find curious is why such an intelligent and experienced journalist like Williams could make such a misstep in a public forum like an appearance on Fox's The O'Reilly Factor.  He had to have an inkling that his comments could be perceived as racist, right?

The same can be asked of now former CNN broadcaster Rick Sanchez who railed against Jon Stewart and the Jews who control media during an interview on Pete Dominick's Sirius XM show.  Racism, sexism, antisemitism and other incendiary comments rarely play well in news organizations beholden to top-line journalistic principles, as well as the PR crisis-shy demands of consumer advertisers.

Can these lapses in judgment by Williams and Sanchez be attributed to the competition for attention and influence from bloggers, tweeters and other social media powers users?  (Rick Sanchez photo credit:  Digital Journal.)

These new age, Web 2.0 content creators are free from the shackles of editorial ethics and peer review.  They can rip who they want, when they want and why they want for the sake of readership, and without fear of reprisal from the corporate boardroom.

It's even conceivable that Williams and Sanchez were of clear mind and knowingly stepped into a hail storm of controversy to enhance their respective profiles.  Williams made out just fine signing a two million dollar contract with Fox and Sanchez has a new book he's pushing.

I know...I know...I'm stretching a bit by throwing out unsupported theories.  Yet, that's the nature of the blogosphere.

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