From posting on Facebook to tendering a resignation
Jul 29, 2009 | 6592 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If this isn't a cautionary tale about Facebook, we don't know what is.

For about the past year, Pol Position has heard nothing but, “you must get on Facebook” or “please get on Facebook so we can know your up-to-the-minute thoughts on all things political and hang on your every word, from what you think about the upcoming elections to what you will be wearing tomorrow.” And to two of those people, we say “thanks, and keep reading,” and to the third, we say, “we think the restraining order was pretty clear, now leave us alone.”

The truth is, Pol Position gets in quite enough hot water as it is, and we even have an editor. Can you imagine if the copy we wrote at 2 a.m. after a long night of hitting the Night Train Express Wine Coolers didn't go through an editor, and instead went directly on to page 6 of the weekly paper? Pol Position shudders to think about what the end result would be if we posted our random, slightly tipsy musings with the click of a button for all on the interweb to see? Checking our Facebook account each morning (okay, early afternoon) would be a foreboding experience, as we frantically tried to delete the previous night's posts.

No thank you.

And we need to look no further than the recent events surrounding Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's deputy press secretary to know that we are right. Lee Landor has been on the political scene for quite a while. Before landing a job with Stringer's office, she oscillated back and forth between the offices of elected officials and the newsrooms of various Queens weekly publications, not unlike our own humble rag.

Landor was apparently offended by President Barack Obama's comments last week regarding the arrests of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. at the hands of Cambridge, Mass, police. If you recall, the president said the police acted “stupidly.”

Well, Landor thinks O-dumb-a (her clever nickname, not ours!) also acted stupidly, and went on to write that “the situation got ‘out of hand’ because Gates is a racist, not because the officer was DOING HIS JOB!”

Some posts from Landor's friends kept the debate alive, with Landor eventually arguing that “racial profiling does exist, but for good reason. Take a look at this country’s jails: who makes up the majority of inmates? Exactly.”

Ouch.

To make matters worse, Landor's comments were posted last Friday morning, presumably while she was hard at work in the borough president's office.

Now, if wasting company time on the internet is a crime, then slap the cuffs on us, put us in an orange jumpsuit, and wake us for meal time, because Pol Position is guilty as charged. We can't count the number of hours we have wasted updating our Night Train Express Wine Cooler fan blog. (Which reminds us: we have to post some interviews from huge NT-Con in Birmingham this past weekend. Maybe after our lunch break.) But we say, let those among us who are without sin post the first disparaging comment.

A number of people here at the Pol Position actually know Landor. When our paths have crossed, we've never known her to be anything less than pleasant, and certainly not a full-blown racist. She did, however, get caught up in a debate and perhaps went a little overboard with the rhetoric trying to prove her point.

But when the folks over at City Hall News smell a scoop about a second-tier employee in a practically irrelevant and marginalized public office making personal comments on a social networking site, they get to work, dammit!

Yes, City Hall News decided to make a big, big deal out of Landor's comments, and when she started receiving calls on her cell phone from reporters, she decided that maybe she should go back and do a little copy editing on her Facebook page. But wouldn't you know it, the City Hall News penny-a-liners were crafty, and saved screen shots so Landor couldn't exercise plausible deniability when they decided to get the opinion of Michael Hardy, an attorney for the National Action Network, who called for Landor's immediate termination, and that of goo-goo Dick Dadey of the Citizens Union, who raised an eyebrow and wagged a finger at Landor's questionable use of company time.

Really? A deputy press secretary upsetting the entire apple cart from inside the Manhattan Borough President's Office. As far as we're concerned, Hardy and Dadey look ridiculous for even commenting for the story. A little starved for publicity, aren't we gentlemen?

Well, City Hall News also contacted Landor's boss Dick Riley, and hours after this “breaking news” hit their website, Landor had resigned and democracy was preserved.

A little while back somebody emailed us “scandalous” photos from the Facebook page of a certain chief of staff posing for the camera at a restaurant with a sombrero on his head and another dressed as Luke Skywalker at a Halloween party. Last time we checked, this person was neither Mexican nor a Jedi knight - looks like it's time to run with this story. Somebody get George Lucas on the phone!
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