[Foundation-l] Foundation Discretion on Personnel Matters

Mike Godwin mnemonic at gmail.com
Sat Dec 15 07:47:47 UTC 2007

Jimmy writes:

>  On the day that the story was coming out, we got a phone call from  
> The
> Register darkly hinting about the story they were going to publish.
> After a quick consulation about what the heck they might be talking
> about, we decided that Mike should talk to them to find out what was
> going on.
> In that interview, Mike spoke plainly of the simple truth... as of the
> time of that phone call, we had nothing to go on but the word of The
> Register itself, which hardly constitutes proof of anything.  And the
> allegations were... shocking to say the least.

One of the reasons we decided -- against general practice -- to talk  
to the Register at all was to discover what it was they were trying to  
charge us with.  What became apparent in my conversation with Cade  
Metz, which was a quite guarded one, was that they were fishing in the  
hope of finding a Foundation scandal somehow based on Carolyn's  
(purported) personal troubles. It was also clear that they had no  
actual evidence of any such connection.

This was useful information to have in advance of the story, and,  
given some more time to reflect on it, I still think we made mostly  
correct judgment calls with regard to how to handle it.  I know some  
of you disagree.  All I ask is that you take into account that  
handling controversial public issues is not something that is new to  
us collectively, and certainly not to me individually. So, even if we  
don't always do things the way you'd wish, it's not because we are new  
to public controversy. (Me, I'm rounding out my second decade of press  
relations on cyberlaw-related issues, following several years of  
working as a reporter and as an editor.)

This doesn't mean we don't make mistakes -- being human beings, we  
necessarily make mistakes. But I think we'e made relatively few of  
them in handling this story.

We had to take into account several variables -- legal, public- 
relations, community-relations -- and do so in a very short time- 
frame. I'm proud of how well our team stepped up and responded to a  
sudden challenge involving all these variables, and I haven't heard  
anything here that makes me less proud.  I believe, based on my direct  
experience, that our team did well overall.


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