Twitter Remorse: Deleted Tweets Trigger Backlash At The DNC, Washington Post, CNN, and The White House [Updated]

Trump deleted the video of a tweet showing Trump supporters and anti-Trump protesters engaged in an intense shouting match with one supporter yelling “White Power.”  The media legitimately spent exhaustive coverage on the tweet.  Trump has long been criticized for racially inflammatory rhetoric and the use of imagery and videos viewed by many as racist.  Given the controversies that range from Central Park Five to the Charlottesville protests, the tweeting of a video showing someone yelling “White Power” is news.

However, the media did not comparatively spend much coverage on the DNC tweeting that Mount Rushmore glorifies “white supremacy.”  That message appeared on the official Twitter account of  the Democratic National Committee when it shared shared a link to an article containing criticism of the visit as “glorifying white supremacy at Mount Rushmore- a region once sacred to tribal communities.”  George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln are shown at the site.

There was also comparatively little coverage of the tweet of Attiah even though this was a direct statement, not a retweet.  Yet, it received virtually no coverage or criticism.  he full tweet read:

“The lies & tears of White women hath wrought: -The 1921 Tulsa Massacre – Murder of Emmet Till – Exclusion of Black women from feminist movements – 53% of white women voting for Trump. White women are lucky that we are just calling them ‘Karen’s.’ And not calling for revenge.”

For those of us still reeling over the recent apology of the New York Times (and removal of its editor) for publishing a column from a conservative U.S. Senator, the lack of media coverage of a major editor’s posting is notable. My point is not that I want to see Attiah forced out. I do not.  Indeed, like many, I praised her efforts to highlight the murder of the writer Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudi government.  Moreover, Attiah is hardly the first person to have poster’s remorse of a tweet. We have all had such moments.

My point is the classic free speech and free press concern raised repeatedly on this blog over the consistency of standards.  I still believe that the New York Times’ actions will live in journalistic infamy.  It represented the lowest moment for that newspaper in abandoning any semblance of viewpoint neutrality while making echo-journalism a virtual official policy of the publication.

Then there is the disgraceful tweet of CNN’s Nathan McDermott, who reacted to the loss of columnist Betsy Rothstein to cancer by noting that most of her mourners online are white. I did not know Rothstein but this type of racialized commentary is all too familiar in our public discourse. A writer loses her battle to cancer and the first thing that this CNN journalist finds notable is the race of those expressing sorrow online.  No concern about a grieving family or these grieving friends. Just a racial point to make.  There is little question what the response of CNN would have been if the tweet dealt with other races.  Indeed, if such a race-centric comment were made by Trump or a leading Republican (politician or reporter), CNN’s coverage would be unending and unrelenting.

The coin of the realm for journalism has always been not just neutrality but consistency. The similar concern arises over the lack of coverage of the DNC controversy over the “White Supremacy” tweet as opposed to the Trump tweet over the “White Power” tweet. I think both tweets were outrageous.  Yet, there remains a decidedly different response from the media. Both the DNC and Trump are actively engaged in a presidential election season where issues of races are being discussed extensively and passionately.

The fact is that I view all of these tweets are likely the result of incautious, negligent, or thoughtless moments. I tend not to ascribe evil or racist or hateful motivations when simple stupidity or spontaneity could be the reason for a controversy. A tweet is a dangerous invitation for heedlessly moments as this week has already shown.


65 thoughts on “Twitter Remorse: Deleted Tweets Trigger Backlash At The DNC, Washington Post, CNN, and The White House [Updated]”

  1. White women are targeted for revenge, by Black Men. I’m Black, I’ve seen it too many times to count. I’ve never been fully ashamed of my race, until recently. Duped by #BLM, #ANTIFA, And Satan’s rage are running deep at the moment.

  2. Social media must be directed by a Public Utilities Commission as a state-regulated monopoly until such time as competition is viable and effective.

    Citizens must be provided any and all constitutional rights, freedoms, privileges and immunities when utilizing social media.

    Censorship on social media is akin to private electricity generators and distributors or water companies denying electricity or water to parties which hold opposing political views.

  3. Turley: why is it that the only media you criticize are those that are not pro-Trump? You never have anything to say about the incorrect, often defamatory, racist and pro-Trump slop served up daily on Fox, and by Rush Limbaugh. In fact, one major theme of Fox News’s indoctrination of Trump disciples is that other media cannot be trusted. I’ve never seen CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, NBC, the NYT or WaPo tell viewers or readers that Fox News can’t be trusted. Any sentient, literate person can figure this out on their own. What about just that aspect: constantly harping to viewers that other media cannot be trusted? How does this fall under news reporting? Why does the dangerousness of this absolute lack of objectivity not concern you?

    1. Funny thing about that Natasha. JT is on the Trump team and any pretense otherwise is laughable.

      1. He is? Good. So what if he is? However I doubt it. But keep on trying to cheer me up, thanks

    2. identity politics at it’s best. everybody who doesn’t bow down to the left wing anarchists like Natasha must be deemed a RACIST. Piss off!

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