What's With All These Email Scandals?
By Elana Centor on June 25, 2009
BlogHer Original Post
Same with the email exchange between Elizabeth, don't call me Liz Becton,and a poor schlub who was just trying to schedule a meeting for someone in his office with her boss -Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Wash. As soon as I heard about it, I clicked my way to Politico.
Ditto that to the utterly offensive and racist email that Sherri Goforth, an assistant to Tenessee state Senator Diane Black sent to "the wrong list."
Yes I am a serial spectator to email scandals. That doesn't mean I'm proud of it. And, I'm thinking this latest peep into Governor Sanford's emails may just cure me for awhile. Despite the fact that politically I am at the opposite spectrum to Governor Sanford, I felt pretty ghoulish reading such intimidate emails. They were never supposed to be for public consumption. Even though more emails were published today, I decided to take a pass. I don't need to read them to get the whole picture: the hypocrisy, the betrayal,and for me the fact that from what I read, a guy who fell head over heels in love with Maria last name redacted.
Did the newspaper have to publish the emails? Yes, of course it did. It appears that these emails were sent via the state email system. But what if the Governor had sent these lovemails via gmail, yahoo or any other private email service, would it still be appropriate to make them public? Many would say that since it is an email from the Governor of a state that it's absolutely appropriate.
I'm not so sure.To me, even though they were sent via a state email system, they were still private and that means someone stole the emails. I am probably more uncomfortable that someone stole the emails, than the content of the emails.
The newspaper says they got the emails from an anonymous person and they say since The Governor has confessed to the affair with Maria last name redacted, that the source of the emails is now a moot point. David Corn of Mother Jones disagrees.
A moot point? Not at all. Whoever had those emails had been in a position for six months to pressure--or blackmail--Sanford. An enquiring newspaper person might want to know more about that. Had Sanford even been aware that someone possessed these emails? If so, did he take any actions based on that realization? The State engaged in great traditional reporting to get the scoop on Sanford's secret trip to Argentina. But now it seems it's ready to turn the story over to bloggers.
So far, there doesn't seem to be much reporting on this anonymous source. I do want to know who did it, why they did it, and anyone else's emails they hacked into. Just taking a wild guess here but there are probably some other fine citizens using the state of South Carolina email system that may have some incriminating or embarrassing emails and knowing that there is someone out there who has access and is reading them, is to me a huge concern.
It's not okay to hack into someone's email.
Corporate America promulgated no-privacy at work rules because they wanted to try to stop employee goof-offs and rip-offs. Also, to be honest, some were just control freaks and oppressive. Upper management lost track of the fact that these same rules applied to them too. In the next few years they will learn that lack of privacy has a dark side applicable to all employees, especially top officers. It can encourage witch-hunts against them as angry forces pursue a vendetta. A lot of innocents will get hurt in the rush to full discovery and media sensationalism. Once this lesson is learned, it will naturally lead to the development of privacy rights for all employees.
Unlike the person who turned over Governor Sanford's emails to The State, Politico got its hands on the bizarre Elizabeth, don't call me Liz, Becton email chain either from the person who sent them to Elizabeth or a someone he forwarded the exchange to. That person's name has been replaced with XXX. My question is why? If he or his friends are comfortable making Elizabeth Becton's correspondence public, why is the other person's privacy protected?
There were two people in the email exchange. And I would say, once he saw that she was acting kind a weird about the Liz/Elizabeth thing,it would have been better to cease and desist with the email and pick up the phone to try to get the appointment. In fact, it seems he egged her own. While bloggers describe it as a funny email exchange, it feels to me like we are watching someone have a mental meltdown.
There is nothing funny about that.
And then there is the case of Sherri Goforth.
She sent this photo in an email calling it "historical keepsake photo." When the email became public, Sherri Goforth, the admin assistant to a Tennessee state Senator Diane Black simply said, "I sent it to the wrong email list."
Who would the right list for such an atrocious photo be? As to her boss, this how she handled the situation...via email of course.
Forget the fact that Ms. Goforth should be fired for sending that email to either the right or wrong list. I want to know who got their hands on this email and made it public? Last time I looked, personnel records were supposed to be private. Isn't it a violation of Ms. Goforth's rights to have this reprimand made public?
It's one thing to share that she received a written reprimand, it's something else to publicize the actual reprimand.Even bigots deserve to have their personnel records protected.
I'm assuming Ms. Goforth and Ms. Black have face to face meetings. Why did the reprimand have to be sent via email? Why not write the reprimand in Microsoft Word, print it out and put it in an actual personnel file?
Somehow I think if someone broke into a filing cabinet, took out the reprimand and then publicized it, people would have a much different attitude about the people who are supplying the media with these documents.
There are federal laws which say you can't open someone else's snail mail. It is mind-boggling to me that we don't treat email the same way.As a culture, we seem to have little sympathy or concern for the people whose emails get hacked and their private conversations become public entertainment.
Elana writes about business culture at FunnyBusiness.
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