Friday, August 15, 2008

Kickin' Back

Earlier today, I posted about getting an email dishonestly contrasting Obama and McCain's tax policies. I said that we all need to stand up to this stuff. We didn't fight back hard in 04. We didn't take it all that seriously. Now, I hope, we know better.

Most of this e-trash comes to me via six or eight other sequential emailers who don't know how to forward without sharing every email address to which the post had previously been sent.

So I opened the Obama-McCain tax policy email, scrolled down to the bottom, and voila! There was the name and the business card of the guy who originated at least this daisy chain. I decided to write him and cc: everyone else. Here's what I said:

Hi ____,

Your reputation as a knowledgeable, honest money manager is important to you, right? Well, you might want to check out about the “facts “ in the email you're sending around over your name and business card. (Scroll down) Your post gives me the impression that you’re either a lousy fact-checker or a casual liar, neither of which makes me long to sign up with [your well-known securities investment firm]. I hope my impression is mistaken.

By all means vote your conscience, but at least vote based on facts.

In my view, fighting irresponsible lies and other propaganda from all sides is the job of good people of all political views, because lies just shove us all down further into ignorance, divide us bitterly, manipulate and distract us, and, little by little, create the character of the country we want our children to live in. They also lead us to make stupid decisions.

Your views may differ, but I doubt it. I think you, too, like me, don’t appreciated being manipulated, want to live in a decent world, among honorable people, making decisions based on reality, getting accurate news and information from people you can trust who respect your ability to think for yourself.

Do us all a favor: Fact check before emailing.
About an hour later, I received the following post:
Thank you for contacting _____ regarding a recent email regarding "proposed changes in taxes after the 2008 General election." Please know that [this company] does not endorse any political party, candidate, or initiative, and that our Firm did not endorse or approve the email as it is contrary to our Code of Conduct and Corporate Values.

Members of executive and departmental leadership in ___ Corporation and ___ Securities have been made aware of the email, and ____ has been dealt with appropriately and directly. Every effort has been made to ensure that no additional emails or communications of this nature will be issued by any member of our Firm.

We sincerely apologize for this unfortunate incident.

Assistant Branch Manager
Well, let's get some things clear here. I'm not a rat, and I didn't contact the firm. I wrote the sender himself, personally, at his work email address from which his post originated--the only address I have for him. How company officials got my email to him, I don't know. I guess they read employees' mail. And that's not my problem.

For the record, I wrote the branch manager back to that effect, expressing no intent to get the guy in trouble and my hope that he was "dealt with" gently.

But having said that, I'm just really not sorry this little incident percolated up through the ranks of a Wall Street investment firm. I hope it shook up a few people, and I hope it made them all think a little more carefully about what happens to reputations when liars and careless gossips get found out. Maybe people will be more careful. It's too bad, but if it takes this kind of kicking up a fuss to force us all to be more honest and better fact checkers, I guess that's what it takes. And I encourage you to go and do likewise. If you get a propaganda email, fight back. You never know what might come of it.

Your opinion? Would you email a bunch of strangers telling them politely to play nice? Would you mind if your complaint percolated up the ranks to somebody's boss? Would you feel guilty? Let me know your take.


Morning Angel said...

You did the exactly the right thing, and if this guy/gal got caught doing something unethical within the company, that's an appropriate result.

The fact that s/he may have sent an email from the computer of a financial institution worries me anyway.

Financial representatives, handling consumer's money, normally work from secure computers, isolated from the internet.