I just got done reading Mediaite’s rundown of the Mike Hendricks saga, and the material to which it links. I have to say, with the amount of virtual ink that has been spilled over this, everyone seems to have missed the most glaring issue.
Mike Hendricks is a columnist for the Kansas City Star who wrote a somewhat douche-y email feeler for a job with a PR firm. The email exchange was leaked, anonymously, to the Bad Pitch Blog, who proceeded to tear Hendricks untold holes of various types.
The whole thing has, apparently, damaged Hendricks’ job prospects and reputation.
Although the Bad Pitch Blog tried to hide the identity of the leaker and her firm, Hendricks obviously knew that he had sent the emails to Brandy Ernzen at Ogden Publications. Here’s what she told Poynter Online:
Ernzen told me that she regrets putting Hendricks’ reputation at risk by sending his e-mails to Richard Laermer, one of the people who runs the Bad Pitch Blog. She said she did so because she wanted to “vent” to someone about the e-mail exchange.
“I was shocked at the way [Hendricks’ e-mail] was presented to me, in part because I felt like it was kind of putting down our industry as a whole,” she said. “But from the moment the blog went live I was nauseous. I didn’t like it at all and I realized I made a major judgment error.”
My question is, why is Ernzen expressing “regret” instead of looking for a job? Furthermore, how does Ogden Publications expect to keep any clients or business relationships? Even if you don’t grant that Hendricks had an expectation of privacy, have you ever heard of a company that allows its internal business communications to be used this way?
This whole episode seems to be propelled by Ernzen’s and Bad Pitch Blog’s offense at Hendricks’ air of journalistic superiority over the PR industry. Ironically, they prove him correct in their handling of his email. As Hendricks points out, BPB never even tried to verify the authenticity of the exchange, nor did they reach out to him for comment.
They also took gratuitous shots at him, including publishing an unscientific internet push-poll that had a sample size of 32.
I don’t know a thing about Mike Hendricks as a journalist, beyond the fact that he has been gainfully employed as a professional writer since 1984. Could he have been less of a dick about pointing out that he’s more than qualified to write a press release? Sure. Did he deserve to be pilloried, to have the starvation of his family nearly wished upon him?
Apparently, BPB isn’t so sure. They published this weird pseudo-apology several days later:
8/26 UPDATE: Comments on this post are now closed. Feedback from readers, the ones who’ve identified themselves, has made it clear this is not a post that represents our three years of content here. We’re taking this to heart and we’re already reflecting it in content moving forward.
Due to the tone of the last few anonymous comments, which we’ve left up for posterity, I’ve made the decision to close comments. If someone wants to add their opinion to this post, please feel free to email us at badpitchblog AT gmail DOT com. Thanks. — Kevin Dugan