Asymmetrical Information has a lengthy post on a small but growing trend of bloggers having to shut down due to pressure from employers. Eugene Volokh also weighs in.

Unless the blogger is acting in a way obviously against the interests of his employer, I can’t see why it would ever become an issue. As long as it doesn’t take up too much time, even a little on-the-job blogging strikes me as beneficial for employers, as it indicates that the employee is keeping up with the news and honing his analytical and communication skills. That said, I tire of endless whining about the 1st Amendment. Private suppression of speech is NOT a violation of the a person’s civil liberties. The Constitution is designed to protect us against governmental tyranny, not short-sighted bosses.

FILED UNDER: Blogosphere
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Bryan says:

    I assume you’ll lump me in with the “endless whining about the first amendment” for this post

    but any business that makes its *living* off the first amendment treads very thin ice when it starts telling employees to shut down private speech. So, yeah, I’m going to bring up the first amendment in this instance. It’s entirely applicable.

  2. James Joyner says:

    The text of the 1st Amendment in its entirety:

    “Amendment I

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

    That’s all there is. While I agree that the Courant has made a bizarre move, and even one that chills free speech, it isn’t a 1st Amendment issue.

  3. Bryan says:

    From a technical standpoint, it isn’t, in that Congress isn’t *making a law.* But the Courant is not just *any business.* It is a business that has special protections guaranteed by the First Amendment, and therefore, should have more interest than any other business in protecting the rights guaranteed by the first amendment for other people – especially its own employees.

    That is why I call them enemies of the first amendment. The moment they decide to silence the free speech (free press?!?) activities of one of their reporters, they are engaging in the *worst* form of first amendment hypocrisy.