This story is a reminder that in many states, employers are free to terminate an employee (even one that is highly valued) on many different grounds - grounds which might come across as reasonable to some and absurd to others. Regardless of which side you come down on, the story below is very relevant to workers who express their opinions through the use of social media (in this case, a personal blog). If you openly participate in a variety of causes, or advocate positions that might become a concern of your employer, then there are potential risks and consequences (some of which do indeed seem to border on the absurd - in the article, it is alleged that an intern was terminated for writing about her positive job experiences on a password-protected journal).
A few minutes later, I was off the phone and out of a job. No severance. No warning (which would've been a much smarter proposition for CNN as it would've put the ball effectively in my court and forced me to decide between my job or the blog). No nothing. Just, go away.
Right before I hung up, I asked for the "official grounds" for my dismissal, figuring the information might be important later. At first they repeated the line about not writing anything outside of CNN without permission, but HR then made a surprising comment: "It's also, you know, the nature of what you've been writing."
And right there I knew that CNN's concern wasn't so much that I had been writing as what I'd been writing. Whether a respected and loyal CNN producer of four years, like myself, could've gotten off with a warning had I chosen to write about, say, my favorite pasta sauce recipes, who knows. I'm dead sure though that my superiors never concerned themselves with my ability or inability to remain objective at work, given my strong opinions; they worried only about an appearance of bias (specifically, a liberal bias), and apparently they worried about it more than any potential fallout from firing a popular blogger with an audience that was already large and was sure to grow much larger when news of his firing put him in the national spotlight.