The way one outlet strains to create an uproar shows the shallowness of contemporary journalism
You may have heard today — though doubtful were aware — that there was to be a workers revolt taking place at Oracle. Word had it that some were going to respond to the founder of the company supporting President Trump by logging off of their computers at midday in a show of defiance. It is unclear how many participated. It is also unclear if anybody noticed, as the practice of shutting down your work station at noon is commonly recognized by another term — ‘’Going to take my lunch break’’.
One of the more disturbing offshoots of the rise of the Trump administration has been the growing practice of attempting to publicly shame those who dare lend support to the president. There have been a number of examples of executives and company owners who have supported the president and were met with energetic rebukes in the press. Those who back Democrats, of course, are given no such harsh treatment. Interesting how that dichotomy plays out.
One of those who is regularly placed in the political crosshairs is the founder of tech giant Oracle, Larry Ellison. One of the main reasons that Ellison is frequently in the news for his backing is that he does not back down. His being steadfast and refusing to knuckle under to the media pressure means they continue to target him as a means of delivering a message. It does not dawn on these press members that in hyper-liberal Silicon Valley that the conservative Ellison is an outlier, a rare species in the hivemind tech field — he is more than a black sheep, he is a threat.
The latest salvo in bringing down this societal heretic comes from Teddy Schleifer, at Vox. Teddy got wind of the fact that Ellison was going to stage a fundraiser on behalf of President Trump, something Schleifer described as ‘’unthinkable’’. As a result he has set out to undermine Ellison by trying to instigate conflict within Oracle. He has been supported in his effort by other media players, including the hall monitor of CNN, Brian Stelter.
Schleifer indicates what his goal is in all of this by referencing a news item from years back, regarding the news that co-CEO Safra Catz was joining Trump’s transition team. ‘’How will Oracle’s workforce react?’’ asked Schliefer about the Ellison fundraiser. ‘’Well, look at how they reacted to much lesser ties between Oracle leadership and the administration.’’ In that news item however we do not get a presentation of the ‘’workforce’’ reaction; ONE person resigned, and it was not from the workforce but from the boardroom, senior executive, George Polisner.
Left out of Schleifer’s reference was this detail — Polisner was an ardent Obama backer.
It takes a remarkable blindspot to decry a corporate executive for having a political preference and then cite how they drove off another executive, likely due to that executive’s political preference. The intolerance for one and the acceptance of the other is palpable.
Schleifer next went into action. Well, more accurately, he begged for others to do his work for him in creating trouble.
If you work at Oracle and have any thoughts on Larry Ellison's fundraiser for Donald Trump, my DMs are open.
— Teddy Schleifer (@teddyschleifer) February 13, 2020
This is what constitutes journalism these days. A reporter gets an activist agenda on the brain and then asks for anonymous cranks to reach out and justify his cause. I happened to have a contact within the company and first noted days ago with them about the ensuing contrived controversy. This source is in communication with staff and clients in multiple countries, plugged into the corporate network to a broad degree. They shrugged it off, saying few if any in their work circles ever even mentioned these news items — but Teddy supposedly found some.
In the article resulting from his fishing expedition he states that a number of staffers are going to stage a work stoppage. Or slowdown. Or, they will come back late from lunch. Well, whichever it is, the unknown amount of staffers staging a possibly unrecognized protest will surely shake the company to its foundation.
On Thursday, some Oracle employees announced plans to stop working for a few hours in order to protest their boss’s fundraiser, Recode has learned, part of a push described as “No Ethics / No Work.” A group of activists at Oracle are calling on employees to spend their afternoons volunteering with community or advocacy groups, technically part of a “log off” since so many employees work remotely.
I spoke once again with my Oracle contact upon this announcement, to see if there is any measure of this unrest within the company. Their first reaction — ”There’s supposed to be a protest today?!’’ Once I detailed the claims by Schleifer they checked around the internal networks for word on the supposed uprising. Looking into the message boards and other contact points where these matters would be discussed they came to tell me they saw not a word about any of the distemper reported.
While it does not entirely disprove there are some upset minds on the payroll, the suggestion that there is tangible unrest within Oracle appears to be a stretch. Even those sources that Schleiffer quotes deliver a message of a company that is hardly an incubator of oppressive conservative thought control. One of the worst things detailed — Oracle supposedly has a ”conservative culture’’, which is described as not having become mired in the workplace activism that permeates other tech giants.
Marinate on that. The most negative characteristic is that they treat the office as a place of business, and not a college dorm basement. The horror.
One worker is quoted as saying that Ellison’s decision points to something of which they have always been fearful. “Culturally, Oracle is the type of place where you’ll work with many lovely people who you share common ideals with, but those ideals have to be left at the door in service of the company.” They have become tremulous over a factor most of us are familiar with at work; behaving in a professional manner at the office.
A petition on the matter has been circulating that purportedly backs the employees’ stances on political issues, but it is a neutered manifesto. It was made public for signature support. In it the employees complain of brand integrity and workforce morale being affected by Ellison’s decision to give his personal time and money to a select politician. Lost also on these protestors is the message delivered internally regarding the company’s position on these issues:
“Oracle employees, including its executives, are permitted to personally participate in the political process and support candidates they choose,” the return message reads. “Oracle as a company does not endorse any particular candidates.”
That’s a pretty clear and equitable statement. You are free and clear to support any candidate and cause of your liking, just do so on your personal time, not at the workplace. What has them so bothered is the opposite is not in play. They want to be activists at the office, and they want the owner of the company to stop his private political support.
For anyone to look at that construct and believe that it makes sense should actually qualify them to begin seeking work elsewhere.