Yesterday Metro columnist Steve Blow made a molestation joke on one of the Dallas Morning News‘ blogs. Jay Gormley on CBS Channel 11 last night turned the heat up on the situation when he interviewed the victim of the abuse that had occasioned the news story Blow was riffing on. I’ve got three things to say about that: 1) the paper needs to announce today that Blow is being put on a two-week unpaid suspension. Zac thinks it ought to be a seven-year unpaid suspension. Listen, Steve Blow ought to be fired. But not for making a molestation joke. He should be fired for being a bad Metro columnist.
Which brings me to 2): I’ve got empathy for Blow when it comes to the pickle he’s gotten himself into. I am in no way defending the joke he made. But anyone who works at a media outlet who has been asked to blog and tweet and tumble and facebook knows how Blow got himself in trouble and has trod similar territory. There’s a bottomless bucket that we’re all asked to fill each day with posts and opinion and entertaining nuggets. We’re all publishing more words than ever, which necessarily means we’re giving them less thought. Hey, much of the time it’s a blast. It can be fun to work without a safety net and get instant feedback on what you write. But the pitfall is what Blow fell into yesterday.
And 3) whatever disciplinary action the paper takes, it’s going to cast a pall over all of the paper’s blogs. What newspaper reporter wants to risk his job for a joke?