journalist fired after privately trashing candidate in email
From today's WaPo Media Notes section comes the story of a Florida journalist who was fired after responding to a reader's email that criticized a profile of Florida Secretary of State and Congressional candidate Katherine Harris as a puff piece that gave short shrift to her Democratic competitors. Managing Editor Rosemary Armao got the axe after responding with an email that derided Harris but predicted her eventual victory and defended the coverage on the grounds that Harris is an "international figure, like her or not." The paper's executive editor said Armao was wrong to reveal her personal opinion and predict the victor.
This sort of thing is meat and drink for Susanna at Cut on the Bias, and her post on the matter gives a thoughtful dissection of the issue. Personally, I think Armao was wrong in the conduct she admitted to, went too far in her venom toward Harris. I don't think admitting her personal opinion of Harris automatically shattered the newspaper's credibility, although doing so to a reader in an email was inappropriate. I do think she was wrong to call Harris the victor, and her admission that this assumption colored her choice of coverage is disturbing indeed.