Tribune CIO Abrams in hot water over memo

Once again, Chicago is living up to its media freak show reputation.

Nearly a week after a damaging New York Times article was published on the frat-boy antics at Tribune Tower,  Chief “Innovation” Officer Lee Abrams sent out a company-wide e-mail on Monday, which continued several inapporiate videos, including one labled “Sluts”. Ironically, the story broke Tuesday afternoon – on Chicago Tribune’s website by Phil Rosenthal.

Some of the videos were from The Onion, which Tribune took over advertising sales for its print editions. The videos in the e-mail included one where a woman poured liquor on her bare breasts, and a fake news report on a bus crash featuring reality-show contestants, where “2,000 pounds of slut” spilled out on the highway. This particular video also contained inappropriate content.

Many Tribune employees were shocked and angered over the memo, which many deemed inappropriate in a workplace environment.

The e-mail was also brought to the attention of Chicago Tribune Editor Gerould Kern, who complained to Abrams and took the matter to Tribune’s Human Resources Department. Kern sent out his own e-mail last Friday in response to the New York Times article, reminding Chicago Tribune staffers that the paper operates under “the highest ethical standards” and on Tuesday, distanced himself and his staff from the Abrams e-mail.

Abrams apologized in another e-mailed memo Tuesday night, saying the e-mail should have never gone out and the videos in question would never air on any of the television stations it owns.

Abrams was brought on board shortly after Sam Zell bought the Tribune in late 2007 in an newly created position of Chief Innovation Officer, who was employed at Jacor and Clear Channel Communications and was a radio consultant. He was hired by Randy Michaels, who is the CEO of Tribune Co.

Thought: Once again, another embarrassment from these clowns at Tribune Tower. If this was any other workplace (that’s not run by local or state government), there would be no doubt Abrams would be fired as soon the e-mail was sent from his computer.

But this is Tribune we’re talking about. Abrams’ is probably in line for a promotion from The Court Jester. If this is “innovation” as described by Abrams, then Tribune – and the media business in general – is screwed beyond belief.

And kudos to Mr. Kern for calling out Tribune’s Clown Idiot Officer and sticking up for his beleaguered Chicago Tribune employees. They have enough to worry about – which includes putting out a newspaper and maintaining a website under trying circumstances.

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