'Stir' over Facebook comment caused by breach of privacy [Updated x2]

I was disheartened by the following news story from the St. Louis Post Dispatch: 'Mormons: 1. Indonesians: 0' debate post by STL Catholic exec causes stir.

The story notes that Alderwoman Lyda Krewson, a Democrat in the 28th ward in St. Louis, tweeted a comment made by an employee of the Archdiocese of St. Louis on the employee's personal Facebook wall—which is set to private, and only accessible/visible to the employee's friends. (Note that the same employee has a public Twitter account that she uses for public communications).

Lyda Krewson public tweet about private affairs stltoday

I'm not writing this post about whether it was prudent or imprudent for said employee to have posted such a comment. I'm writing about the incredible violation of privacy committed by an elected official. Ms. Krewson knew that the post she commented on and posted to Twitter was a private post (as someone mentioned in a followup comment on Facebook before the employee's profile was taken down). She even replied to the Facebook comment twice before sharing it with the world on her Twitter profile.

This was a violation of a person's right to privacy. It might have even been illegal. And even if it's not illegal, I would argue it's unethical mudslinging; the high road would be to privately request the employee remove the post, or at least admit that it was unwise to post it. I think Lyda Krewson should publicly apologize to the Archdiocesan employee for violating her privacy rights, and the Post Dispatch should, at a minimum, remove the quote from their story.

(Not to mention, in Krewson's tweet, she uses the hashtag '#notaxbreak', suggesting (though she says otherwise in the Post-Dispatch article) that the Catholic Church should not be considered a non-profit/tax free because one of its employees made a partisan comment in a private conversation...).

Politics seems to bring out the worst in many people. Can't wait until the political season is past us. Back to Hoveround commercials instead of "this person is bad. No, this person is bad..."

[Update] I just noticed that Lyda posted the comment below on the story, soon after its publication. This makes me wonder if she called up Joe Holleman (author of the story) and asked him to publish it. If that were the case, this is doubly wrong—posting it to Twitter is one thing; promoting the story through a newspaper is something else entirely:

Calling Gov Romney by his religious affiliation, and President Obama by an area he lived in as a child, seems disrespectful at best. It appears intolerate, partisan, and is likely inflamatory, especially coming from a high ranking official of the Archdiocese, a religious entity that enjoys tax exempt status. I am sorry this has strained our working relationship, but you know the saying... something like when they come for me who will speak up.... nuf said

...and, looking at Lyda's publicly-accessible Facebook page, it looks like she spread the information there as well (see post and picture). Prudence, please—at least the Archdiocesan employee had the prudence to share her words with her friends only, even if they were wrong and/or hurtful.

[Update 2] The archdiocese posted the following as a press release and in a comment on the news article:

The Archdiocese of St. Louis has learned that a St.Louis city alderman has publicly tweeted content from the personal Facebook page of an archdiocesan employee. When the employee posted content on her personal, privately-set Facebook page last night, she was not acting in her professional capacity for the archdiocese. This content can in no way be attributed to the Archdiocese of St. Louis.


Well said.

"It appears intolerate, partisan, and is likely inflamatory"

How is "Mormon ... Indonesian" intolerant, anymore than "Republican ... Democrat" or "conservative ... liberal" or "governor ... president"? How is it evident from the short post that the woman does not tolerate Mormons or Americans who have lived elsewhere?

How is it partisan? Which side is it partisan toward? She's used synecdoche to refer to both candidates. The only way its partisan is that she attributes victory to one candidate over the other, presumably based on their performance in the debate.

How is it inflammatory? Well, that one I can probably understand. I think it was meant to be a bit grating or biting or pithy, and political pith is usually inflammatory.

But based on the Alderman's reaction, this seems (to me) to be more about catching Catholics (especially "high-ranking officials") in the act of something of questionable moral character, and then publicly calling them out for it and trying to make the larger Catholic community suffer even more because of it.

Nail head, meet hammer.