Friday, December 29, 2006

Most Important Event of 2006 That I Still Don't Get: The HP Scandal

If you were to ever talk to me in person (or maybe you can tell from my blog), politics or current affairs aren't my forte, unless you consider the answer to "What the hell is in that hatch on Lost?!?" news. Most times, if I'm with friends and they're talking about the latest going-ons in the political landscape, I chime in and ask "Can't we talk about *real* stuff? Like Project Runway?"

This year, the media made a HUGE deal about the scandal over at Hewlett Packard. I understood the basics--that former CEO Patricia Dunn stupidly authorized the clandestine tapping of personal email and cell phone records of other board members. I don't doubt the seriousness of what happened (think to yourself what your reaction would be if you found out some stranger tapped into your phone records.) But the media really turned this into "HPGate" and images of Patricia Dunn flying off in a helicopter like Nixon flew in my head, courtesy of the media.

I guess I just saw this whole thing as paranoia getting the best of a corporate leader. I could understand Chairman Dunn's position. If I were head of a company, and I thought our company trade secrets were being leaked, I would definitely take some action to find out who. And while Patricia Dunn definitely played dirty (whether it was illegal is a subject of debate), I just didn't understand why this caused such national outrage. And what about the leak? What happened to the guy who leaked the secrets? Did he just get away with it, with Patricia Dunn as the HP scapegoat?

It was like the whole world investigated this--Congress, the State of California, federal prosecuters, the FBI, internal investigation....all focusing on this woman and ruining her life. And what got me is that I wouldn't put it past lots of these journalists who were villifying her to have done similar tactics in their careers. And we all know the government's position on tapping phone records.

Besides, based on my first paragraph, it's no surprise that I paid much more attention to "LycheeGate" on Top Chef more than "HPGate."

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