Emily Wilder’s Firing at The A.P. Reminds Us of What We Did not Count on
“I think that’s because it worked, so partisans and actors will continue to use the technique,” said Ms. Ball. “They broke that outrage to get Emily Wilder fired. And then they have the boldness to cry over “culture breakup”. “
This is the current term that political law uses to describe the punishment of people for “wrong thinking”. According to Pew, the majority of Americans are now familiar with the term, but feelings are mixed about whether it is useful, leads to a more accountable society, or gruesome form of punishment, and whether it leads to people’s actions being deliberately out of context.
Part of the problem is how time itself has been warped by the internet. Everything is moving faster than before. Accountability from a person’s employer or affiliated institutions is expected immediately after years of content has been exposed. Who you were a year ago, or five years ago, or decades ago is flattening to what you are now. Time has collapsed and everything is in the present because it takes microseconds to get online. There is little appreciation for context or personal development.
And that happens not only to journalists and politicians, whose jobs invite frequent public deliberation, but also to students and business people, because we are all online so often now.
Some see the benefit in this shift. In the same Pew poll of 10,000+ people, more than half agreed to calling people up for their behavior on social media, saying it would help hold people accountable. “People take a closer look at their actions and force them to investigate what they are doing, why they are doing it and what the consequences of those actions are,” said one respondent.
Ms. Ball remains confident that things will change. “The reactionary culture is harmful and unhelpful and really brutal for everyone involved,” she said. “Much of our society wants to see that we believe in forgiveness, in salvation, in people’s ability to learn, grow, and get better.”
She pointed to the backlash against Mrs. Wilder’s shot; Dozens of staff wrote an open letter to The AP expressing dismay.