Saturday, February 24, 2007

Blogger for hunters loses Outdoor Life career over "inappropriate" opinion

A sportswriter Jim Zumbo seems to have lost his television program and published columns with Outdoor Life for an opinion that he expressed on the Outdoor Life blog. True, this was done "at work" but it is a good example of where published personal opinions, even those that seem legitimate to a resonable person, can deep-six a career.

The news story is Blaine Harden in the Feb. 24, 2007 Washington Post, "...Remark puts Outdoorsman's Career in Jeopardy," at this link (may require charge or Post online subscription). The remark might have been construed as placing average hunters in a very negative light.

Zumbo suggested that outdoor hunters did not need to use assault weapons for legitimate hunting. The so-called "gun lobby" seems very intolerant of any lack of "solidarity" in its ranks over this issue. Hunters often have more money for campaign contributions to support their interests, but may offend others who are more passionate about the issue.

The news story suggests that lobbying groups are very sensitive to remarks that can drive away potential campaign contributions that would support their causes, or that would cause political fragmentation within their own ranks. This sort of problem could occur with any issue, including eldercare, health care, immigration, or even "gay rights."

That is why people, when they go to work for organizations that represent a particular point of view, should tread very carefully, and consider their real career aims. One wonders if this sort of concern underlies some of the reporter employer "spying" on Myspace and social networking profiles and blogs.

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