I'm not surprised that Jeff Harrison would take issue with this kind of hypocriscy. It's especially troubling behavior for lawyers. With certain exceptions that Jeff Lipshaw has noted, everything a lawyer says, writes, or does is "on the record," whether it shows up in the New York Times, or on the refrigerator door in the coffee room. (The New York Times rule has been attributed to Edward Bennett Williams who unlike most law faculty did work interesting enough for the New York Times to care about).
I see another effect e-mail has had on faculty discourse that runs in the reverse direction. Some faculty members use e-mail to achieved a desired political outcome without bearing the cost of a personal, face to face communication. For these faculty, apparently, deniability isn't important. As teenagers apparently know, e-mail (now eclipsed by IM and texting) allows for virtual personal interaction at a fraction of the discomfort and risk of real personal interaction. It's faster, cheaper and easier to send an e-mail loaded with sanctimonious rhetoric "to the faculty" than to actually attend a faculty meeting, ask for the floor, and deliver the same point to real human colleagues who will no doubt react to the speaker live and in person. If lack of courage explains the "e-mail fifth amendment" Jeff Harrison observes, the same is at work in the use of e-mail as a low cost substitute for the spoken word.