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Two Wrongs, No Rights, And Why Bloggers Still Struggle For Respect

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This has become a pretty popular subject across the network, so I thought I might as well say my piece...

(Not directly related to baseball, so it's continued after the jump)

A few days ago, crappy Philadelphia Daily News columnist Bill Conlin wrote a crappy article about why Jimmy Rollins deserved to win the MVP. A Phillies blogger disagreed with the idea and sent Conlin an email, asking why Rollins was a better candidate than David Wright. The exchange that followed was inflammatory and less than eloquent, and the blogger decided to post it in full on his website. This has since attracted a lot of attention, and in no small part because of Conlin's Hitler reference, countless people have been taken aback and voiced their desire to see Conlin out of a job. Such behavior is completely inappropriate and offensive, they say, and Conlin should therefore be relieved of his duties.

They're sort of right. Had Conlin acted the way he did in a public forum, he'd almost have to be fired on the spot. But that's not what he did. He sent private (and horrible) emails to somebody who then decided to copy them word for word onto a public website without Conlin's consent. Emails that absolutely would have been written differently had Conlin known that they might get posted. Showing them to his readers is completely unethical on the blogger's part, a violation of the fundamental understanding that one's permission must be sought before his words are shared with those who weren't privy to the discussion. Anyone who fancies himself a bit of a writer ought to know better than to do what the blogger did. It's just irresponsible.

What's done is done, though, and now Conlin's going to come under relentless fire for saying what he said in a series of emails that never should've been brought to anyone's attention. A blogger with a cause can mobilize an awful lot of support, and there are few things people enjoy doing more than complaining about somebody else. Conlin and his superiors are going to be hearing about this for a long, long time.

All because of something the blogger had no right to post. Look, Bill Conlin is the quintessential crotchety old man, a loudmouthed, ignorant curmudgeon who hates everything that happened after the Soyuz program. He is not a good columnist, and he doesn't really deserve his job. At the same time, though, he doesn't deserve to lose his job over something like this, nor should he be severely punished. The day Conlin gets fired for being a dick in a private email is the day you get fired for telling a friend that your boss is stupid and fat. If people were penalized for making the occasional asshole remark, then no one would have a job. What matters is that you're courteous and professional when you need to be, and Conlin clearly didn't interpret this email exchange as one of those situations.

Don't give me the line about how Conlin should've known better than to say those things to a blogger. The blogger should've known better than to repeat them. If you don't like a guy, rip into him for his columns. Don't rip into him for something he said in private correspondence. That's amateurish behavior, and stuff like this is a big reason why bloggers with actual journalistic integrity still struggle to get the kind of respect they deserve. So thanks for setting us back, Bill B. of Crashburn Alley. I hope it was worth it.