More than likely she doesn’t and frankly I don’t care what she thinks of it.
However, the scuttlebutt developing in my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Premier’s interpretation of guilty by association when it comes to social media automatically implies that she does.
Earlier this week, MHA Gerry Rogers was tossed from the Newfoundland and Labrador legislature because she was a member of an anti-Dunderdale Facebook group, a group in which a couple of stupid people made threats of violence against the Premier.
Threats against ANYONE have no place in society, especially against the men and women who give up many things personally and professionally in order to serve in public office.
However, because Ms. Rogers was a member of this group, she was informed that any comment by anyone in the group is considered to be automatically endorsed and condoned by all members of the group, including Ms. Rogers.
When the House therefore demanded an apology from Ms. Rogers for the threats she didn’t make (since she was considered guilty by association), she was removed from the House.
The Premier made a big fuss about how we should always be cognizant of who we associate with in social media, after which she had to deal with the embarrassment that she was following a porn account on Twitter. Her embarrassment led her to close her Twitter account altogether instead of doing what most of us would do, blocking the offending account in question.
Now if I were to follow the Premier’s reasoning for punishing Ms. Rogers by association, I could state that one of the following is true:
1. The Premier enjoys pornography
2. The Premier enjoyed it for a time but stopped enjoying it this week
3. The Premier (and/or her handlers) have no understanding of social media and the difficulties associated with managing one’s reputation in a world where anyone can state anything at any time.
Please make your selection now.
Regardless of whether Ms. Rogers was in the group wilfully (to monitor what others were saying) or she was enrolled without her knowledge, to place the words of an ignorant person into her mouth doesn’t make sense at all.
After all, heaven help us if we are all guilty based on a collision of the principles of guilty by association and 6 degrees of separation.
There wouldn’t be an innocent person left in the room …. or in the world.
As a proud Newfoundlander, I have heard many “Newfie” jokes.
But the worst (or best, depending on perspective) Newfie jokes of all are the ones where someone didn’t set out to make us laugh but did anyway.
As Premier Dunderdale did this week.
In service and servanthood,
Addendum – Leadership Observation
I could have titled this blog “Premier Dunderdale’s Favorite Porn Sites” or something nastier.
However, to do so would have unfairly associated the Premier with the subject at hand and judged her without data, without facts, without merit - unfairly and unprofessionally.
Most importantly, it would have unfairly judged her character.
I think we must be careful not to jump to conclusions or to intentionally sully anyone’s character before we know the facts.
What do you think, Premier?
Addendum – April 23, 2013
The Speaker of the House of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has now offered an official apology to MHA Gerry Rogers.