Jun 5, 2017

Journalists keep getting in trouble for tweeting

Esther Vargas / Flickr cc

In the past month:

  • June 5: Breitbart writer Katie McHugh has reportedly been fired after sending a series of incendiary tweets following the London Bridge terrorist attack.
  • June 4: CNN host Reza Aslan received heavy criticism and eventually apologized for tweeting inflammatory language about the president.
  • May 29: Denver Post reporter Terry Frei was fired for tweeting that he was uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indy 500 on Memorial Day weekend.
  • May 26: LBC radio host Katie Hopkins was fired for a tweet calling for a "final solution" to Islamic terrorism in wake of the Manchester terror attack
  • May 24: Freelance writer David Leavitt apologized for tweeting insensitive remarks following the Manchester terror attack.

Terrorism trend: A lot of these tweets and ones from the past year (extended list below) are related to inappropriate comments/language used around terrorist attacks.

Why it matters: The implication of this is best summed up in an opinion piece by Damon Linker published Saturday in TheWeek: "Twitter is a place where the emphasis on instantaneous reaction undermines the already-waning ideal of objectivity in the news, as journalists whose published work strives for fairness and balance regularly spout off in reaction to this or that event without a moment's pause of reflection or restraint."

In the past year:

  • January 31: New York Post reporter Bart Hubbuch was fired after sending a tweet that compared Trump's inauguration to 9/11 and Pearl Harbor.
  • December 14: Politico reporter Julia Ioffe was fired over an obscene tweet about Ivanka Trump.
  • October 13: Fox Business host Lou Dobbs apologized for tweeting the phone number and address of a Trump sexual harassment accuser.

Not just Twitter: This type of behavior has occurred on other social media outlets as well. A Politico editor resigned in November after publishing addresses of extremist leaders to Facebook.

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