Washington Post employee Michael Tunison was asked to leave-and-never-return earlier this week, after outing himself as Kissing Suzy Kolber Ko-Konspirator Christmas Ape. Or perhaps it was the other way around. It’s hard to keep all of these pseudonymous pursuits straight. Though I ordinarily wouldn’t shed tears for this gentleman, Editor & Publisher cited the following provisions from the WaPo’s stylebook :
We work for no one except The Washington Post without permission from supervisors. Many outside activities are incompatible with the proper performance of work on an independent newspaper.
Our private behavior as well as our professional behavior must not bring discredit to our profession or to The Post.
(it can be very embarrassing for a world-class news organization to see a member of their staff look undignified on the internet)
While it is very safe to assume Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon have contractual language that allows them to appear on television every single day, you could also make a case for the former’s “outside activities” being “incompatible with the proper performance of work on an independent newspaper”.
Likewise, how precisely is the Xmas Chimp’s oeuvre any more or less reflective of unprofessional behavior than Kornheiser wishing death upon a Post colleague, or using a daily TV show to openly masturbate to Jamie Sale while children are watching?
E&P suggests Tunison was canned for calling print journalism “a dead medium”. It was just last month while discussing Mark Cuban’s blogger ban on “PTI”, that Kornheiser, without a hint of sarcasm, observed that “everyone knows the newspaper business is dying”.
It would seem the Post has sent a very consistent message to the rest of their workforce : there’s a zero tolerance policy against being an asshole on your own time. Unless, of course, you’ve been in the business for 300 fucking years, in which case, you can do whatever you wish.