In Defense of Greta Van Susteren

Reading over the comments at the HuffPost, I couldn’t help but notice hostility aimed at Greta Van Susteren’s harsh take on CNN’s holiday firing:

Fox News Greta van Susteren has some harsh words for her former employer CNN after hearing that the network is laying off people right before the holidays:

They did it again! CNN fires people just in time for Christmas! Make you sick?
People often ask why I left CNN…..I didn’t like management. I liked my colleagues in the news gathering but the corporate culture that seized management when AOL came in (Steve Case and Gerry Levin) was disgusting. Everything changed. Don’t get me wrong – I like corporate organization and a corporation should make money – what I don’t like is a mean spirited selfish management that, despite not doing its job of efficiently running the company, lines it pockets. And then the topper? because the management didn’t run the company well, CNN fires loyal people to meet some bottom line the management failed to meet.

She’s actually right on target.  I know people who worked at AOL.  The holiday pink slip was a perennial dark joke (as was job security).  The layoffs were so bad they’d sometimes have a direct impact on projects they were working on “Oh that was built/maintained by XYZ, who was let go”.  Its a toxic corporate culture, which is a shame, since some talented and wonderful people work for AOL.

This comment by rasit stood out:

How about a lecture like this to the Management of all the failed banks, corporations etc. where people lost their pensions, 401 etc. because of crooks,

How about some compassion for the thousands of ordinary working class people losing their jobs for good, NOT just laid off?

How about some supportive words for the people losing their homes; cannot afford healthcare etc.

GET REAL GRETA, and don’t expect the rest of us to feel sorry for you or the other overpaid “so called” reporters!!

THE REAL world has been HURTING for quite some time now!!! I’m glad Greta, FINALLY noticed something is wrong…

You guys are a big joke…

He has half a point.  The callousness with which the people laid off as a result of the unpunished (and outrageously enough, richly rewarded) top brass who sunk us all into this economic mess ought to be called out.  There is a stunning case for public shaming here.  Being laid off means a very different thing in a recession.

But the people AOL lays off will be a range of people.  Reporters, Technicians, Developers, Accountants, Marketers, Secretaries, etc.

When the economy takes your job away, as a liberal, my first thought is “how can we find or create a new job for you”, not “you deserve it”.  Corporate culture that leads to constant punishment of workers and rewarding of management regardless of performance is an ethical poison.  Unchecked it will continue to spread, and the only way to check it is to call it out.  Greta Van Susteren was right on, and I hope she’ll have the integrity and courage to call out other employers who are as ruthless and cold.

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3 Responses

  1. Very well observed.

    Side note: I once worked for AOL. For 4 months. Then, in late November, they laid everyone off and closed the facility. Thanks, AOL!

  2. Well, consider the source of the hostility.

  3. Thanks evil bender. Heh, yeah, that does sound like AOL.

    rjjrdg, usually I’ve found the comments there to be nifty. I haven’t seen anything so consistently wrong in their comments before. Nothing that would move me to write about it anyway.

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