Saturday, February 23, 2008

Stumbling into Punditry

As you might imagine, I’m fascinated with the case of Chez Pazienza - the cable news producer recently fired over the contents of his personal blog. Before last week I’d never heard of him. But when the suits at CNN axed him for what he put on the internets, the producer’s fate became a cautionary tale for those of us who gather news by day and slather opinion by night. Consider the evidence:

Pazienza is a gifted critic. Excoriating fairly everything that wanders through his view, he employs a laser-guided wit and heat-seeking venom that makes Deus Ex Malcontent a ripping good read (though I’m not sure I’d want to be stuck in an elevator with the dude). As a senior producer at American Morning, Chez led the execution of a cable newscast. On his off-time he posted insightful rants on all manners of topics, even contributing regularly to The Huffington Post. Its perhaps this left-leaning affiliation that attracted the attention of his CNN superiors, whom apparently didn’t want to run the risk of oh say, some talk-radio show host making great hay of the connection. So they canned him, an expectant father with many opinions but suddenly no paycheck. That sucks, alright - but should Chez Pazienza have been completely surprised? I wonder…

The grown-ups at El Ocho neither endorse or forbid this blog. They do however read it, a fact I often ponder just before I hit the Publish button. Some would call that censorship. I like to think of it as discretion. Sure, I got stories that would twist your eyelids tighter than a New York joint, but until my weekly stipend is of no great import, I simply cannot afford to share. Besides, I gotta save some of that stash for that book I’ll never write, word? Until then, hang tight as I walk the fine line between muted sardonicism and stark mutiny. I’m convinced I can keep my balance and in doing so become a better writer. That said, don’t expect any political screeds or scathing indictments from your lowly lenslinger. I’ll be back in the photog’s lounge, waxing all poetic about the utilitarian beauty of a fully-erect tripod. That’s my idea of edgy…

As for the far edgier Chez Pazienza, here’s hoping he’ll find a way to feed his family. With his well-honed writing chops and momentary global exposure, perhaps he can do better than stacking shows for The Man. Perhaps fellow marooned newscaster Dan Rather could be of service. Courage!

1 comment:

photogguy said...

Stew, this is exactly why my blog is now gathering dust. Work found out about it, and while they didn't say I had to stop, it sure dried up any creative writing abilities I may have had. In fact, I've moved to another blog, but have still not found my lost creativity.

Brian