Military blogging: “no longer worth the trouble”
The US military blog, A Soldier’s Perspective, has closed down after six years. In a message which has replaced the entire content of the blog, Iraq veteran and well-known military blogger, CJ Grisham, writes:
"Blogging is no longer worth the trouble. Everything is fine as long as the stories are happy and positive. The military wants happy stories, not honest stories. Everything must be 100% in concert with the Army spin. If it’s not, you’re considered an "embarrassment" to the Army, the installation, and/or the NCO Corps. Integrity is no longer an accepted method of leadership. If I can’t be honest and open, I won’t write at all. I refuse to allow my private blog’s message to be dictated with threats and intimidation."
Bizarrely, it appears that one of the primary reasons why CJ Grisham pulled the plug was because of the fall out from a Parent Teacher Association (PTA) meeting at a school in Huntsville that his children attended.
In blog posts that are no longer available, Grisham had alleged that the Principal of the school was ignoring his concerns and those of other parents over a new uniform policy. He also posted a video in which he can be seen robustly challenging the conduct of the meeting. He believed it was not following relevant bylaws.
The school was unhappy with Grisham’s behaviour and contacted his military superiors. In turn, they called the blogger in for "a dressing down by a senior NCO" and issued him with a formal counseling statement. Grisham’s chain of command also asked him to remove the videos he had posted.
Over the course of a month, it seems everything was "blown way out of proportion".
The fact that Grisham continued to blog about the ongoing dispute probably didn’t do him many favours. Entitling posts ‘Piss poor leadership’ before expressing discontent with the conduct of a senior NCO might not have been too popular with his commanders even if Grisham is not currently deployed and the original issue does not directly concern the US Army. (Unless they’ve taken a sudden interest in school uniform policy…)
In the end, it seems Grisham decided it simply wasn’t worth the hassle. Once again, low level politics appears to have brought about the end of a military blog.