A blogging pioneer calls it quits

Peggy Phillip, news director of WMC-TV in Memphis, and the first local television executive ever to blog, has shut down her blog, copied the files to a CD labelled “R.I.P.” and buried herself in work. This is a sad story that I’ll have more about tomorrow when I receive some files she’s sending me, but she’s quitting over pain caused by anonymous and cowardly assholes in Memphis who recently put up a bitter and vitriolic blog called “Peggyblues.”

I’ve known Peggy for a long time, and she is not one to ever back down from a fight. The tone in her voice this morning was resigned and sad, however, and she’d made up her mind. “What am I going to be spending my time doing,” she asked, “finding out who’s calling me fat and ugly or trying to determine how to best cover the news and make the Olympics more appealing to our viewers?”

The site not only went after Peggy; they also apparently applied their name-calling to Howard Meagle, General Manager of WMC-TV. “He’s a good guy,” Peggy told me, “and didn’t deserve to be called fat and stupid. That and combined with the bloggers desire to do a letter-writing campaign to Raycom made it clear to me that it was becoming a distraction that could influence work in the newsroom.”

In response to Peggy’s action, the anonymous cowards took theirs down. Here’s their justification:

We took the blog down, because Peggy took her blog down. We no longer have anything to respond to.

We will never be exposed. We are not scared.

If Peggy blogs about tv news, we will blog about tv news. If somebody else puts up an arrogant, nasty blog, we may blog about them. If people are nice, we will be nice.

And so extortion has won a victory, and the blogosphere has lost a pioneering voice. Peggy is brusque and competitive and has made her share of enemies, but nobody deserves the kind of personal attacks this site apparently distributed.

This is one of those times when bloggers need to rise up and, as a group, condemn this pathetic and slanderous Website. Google should fully cooperate by releasing the IP addresses of those who’ve posted, and WMC’s competitors should publicly renounce those who’ve done this.

We cannot let anonymous and irresponsible criminals taint the whole blogosphere in this way.

Comments

  1. While I share your outrage in principle, I disagree with your proposed remedy.

    More here if you are interested. Thanks!

  2. There are critical blog sites about TV stations and television markets popping up – mainly because you can do them free and without attribution.

    I believe that if a station stays in front of the arguement – on offense instead of being backed against the wall – the critical sites will be seen as sour grapes or worse.

  3. This is a very sad thing to hear–and I can’t glibly say "if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen" on this one. While I can say that about my own experiences with awful anonymous comments (and worse things that were said about me on a particular blogger’s blog) I can’t say that the same sort of advice should be applied to Peggy Phillip’s situation. Not because she’s a bigger name than me, mind you, but because someone felt a thoroughly malicious need to create an entire blog devoted to attacking not just her but also colleagues. I am wondering if this sort of thing could be considered a form of stalking rather than free speech.

    I have some hope for the future though as some schools begin to take the initiative to teach blogging. Even if blogging itself fades, the students will at least have an idea of how to positively interact with others–even those they disagree with– in an on-line environment.

  4. While I agree that it was cowardly to do what they did, I disagree that Google should release IP addresses or that the bloggers should be punished in any way. That would be bad for all of us.

    And, the way I see it, Peggy was taking a chance by doing what she was doing (using her name, talking about her work, her co-workers, and her competitors) and after many years, it backfired. I have anonymous blogs and that’s the way I intend to keep it. It’s much safer (personally and professionally).

  5. question: has anyone here ever worked for Peggy? Are any of you guys the ones that moved to Memphis under the "carrot" of a E.P. job to find out once you arrived that it was only to lure you from a competitor?

    Peggy is a calculating, powerful and often times vicious businesswoman. She has RUINED people’s careers and lives. And you defend her because someone called her fat? That’s pathetic. I hadn’t even heard of their blog before Peggy posted it on her site.

    Interview people like Rod Starns or Jonathan Epstein from Running Pony. Or any number of producer’s that she’s run out of the door. Know who your defending before you claim cowardice.

    Maybe those people stayed annon b/c they didn’t want to have to worry about career reprisals. Peggy admits that she spent alot of time trying to find out who would criticize her. Do you think she is above firing them?

  6. I know well who I’m defending, and I will always say that it is cowardice for disgruntled, usually ex, employees to broadcast their views anonymously in the name of revenge.

    This is not a forum to trash Peggy. If you have a problem with her, I suggest you take it up with her.

  7. While I agree that it’s more cowardly (and definitely less persuasive) to use anonymity, perhaps anonymity is one of the few tools the powerless have to fight the powerful. After all, the powerful can and often do hide behind the cloak of PR and NCAs and threats of firing.

    I can understand wanting to have Google turn the bashers in for slander (unfortunately with both sites down, we out out here in WWW land can’t see what was being said), but viciousness and vitriol? Can’t we all do just as Peggy suggests and "turn it off"? Whether bashers are demented, disgruntled or legitimately injured, meanness destroys any argument they were trying to make.

  8. Newsgrrl, At least Peggy’s upfront about everything she’s done. She’s not cowardly hiding behind anonymity. If whoever started that blog was brave, they wouldn’t hide their identity. I think the sad thing about this whole situation is that NO ONE even saw Peggy Blues until Peggy put a link to it on her blog.

  9. J, anonymity does not automatically make one "cowardly." Ask Mark Felt.

  10. you brought up why someone would do such a thing, and i responded to it. it’s not bashing if you ask for justification.

    Has she given you the consultant’s contract yet?

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