You know what’s crazy? I’ll tell you what’s crazy
Twitter launched in July 2006.
140 characters and a cloud of dust in the ether of instantaneous dissemination.
In the beginning TWITTER connected people in a way that was unique and fun. 140 characters meant you had to be economical with your words
If it was worth saying, it was worth thinking about.
10 years later there are 261 million TWITTER users who Tweet and re-tweet more times than they flush their toilets, more times than they wash their hands after using a public restroom, more times than they say excuse me for belching in public.
What started as a trickle of connectivity and information is now a raging word sewer of defecation and half truth overflowing informational toilets from Polar Ice Cap to equatorial compass point.
The misinformation and unsubstantiated dissemination stink is like an adult diaper worn by a heroin addict laying in a San Francisco dumpster.
Disgusting lies blast across the spectrum like fourth of July rockets sailing over the Hudson.
I am all for transparency and immediate thoughts projected to a hungry populous.
But not when it harms, misinforms, creates fictitious talking points that bubble out of a stench filled septic system, mixing with the ground water of reality, growing a crop that you digest and think is healthy for you.
TWITTER IS BAD.
From igloos in the arctic circle to grass huts in a 3rd world poverty stricken domicile, the Twitsophere is an all encompassing vomitorium of manipulated information and opinions passing as truth.
Mathew Ingram of the Columbia Journalism Review wrote a sad but true exposition this past September.
He cited the results of a new Knight Foundation and Gallup poll that simply says: Trust in the media is down.
I’d say trust in journalists, especially at the national level, is a free fall out of an airplane with an IBM selectric typewriter as a parachute.
Edward R Murrow’s journalism is dead.
Your daddy’s turn on the 6pm news and listen to Walter Cronkite days of blind trust are over.
I went to one of the best journalism schools in the nation.
I paid back a student loan for a decade so that I could learn to tell stories that were informative and accurate.
I have an old saying.
I’d rather be last and correct, than first and wrong.
I was taught to double source and attribute from public documents.
Sadly, fact checking is now optional.
Who What Where When should be oxygen to a journalist. Without it, there is no life to a story.
But in today’s emotional, biased, bash the side you’re not on, facts are suggested reading, but not mandated to publish.
When did this happen?
When did this rush to judgement cross the line and become the norm?
I would argue it began with the influx of social media and the dumbing down of America.
Like a rancid soufflé comprised of hatred, bias, and journalistic indolence, the taste is bad, the stench is toxic.
I hear some journalists say there is a Credibility Crisis in today’s media.
That’s an understatement, like saying I might need mittens for the Iditarod dog sled race.
Fake News? Twitter is complicit. It’s the sanitary napkin of journalistic filth.
I blame not only lazy ass journalists but I blame YOU.
Yes. I blame you!
Every Tom Dick and Harry with a twitter handle has a responsibility to be factually accurate.
Like driving a race car into turn 3, it’s better to let up on the accelerator than floor it into the wall.
That means if you are not sure of something, then don’t say it.
If you know it’s wrong, definitely don’t push send.
You wouldn’t knowingly pour vinegar into your eyes, but that’s exactly what you are doing when you purposely vent stupid into the ether.
Few of you have formal journalism training. Most of you think you have the right to speak your mind endlessly about anything because you have internet access and know how to type.
That’s what freedom of speech is all about, right?
Yes. and No.
I can’t publish lies and not expect repercussions.
I realize that truth matters. I realize that words hurt and can tear apart lives.
A mom in Peoria or a homeless guy in San Francisco can now TWEET or RE-TWEET anything.
ANYTHING IS DANGEROUS IF NOT TRUE, IF NOT FACT-CHECKED, IF NOT VETTED.
Some call it: Mob Driven Group Think.
The Covington Confrontation is a prime example of TWITTER gone insane.
A SMIRK. A KID WEARING A MAGA HAT. A NATIVE AMERICAN INTIMIDATED.
Twitter exploded with visceral reaction. That stew, unsubstantiated and unverified was quickly filtered through alleged main stream news organizations.
That gave it instant credibility and global access.
Unfortunately, it was a vomitorium of wrong. It was a toilet flush of misdirected imagery.
TWITTER is a react first, think later carnival ride.
It’s a communication medium with no carnies to strap you in, no OSHA checks to make sure the wheels stay on the tracks.
Twitter simply exists. It’s the wild west of words.
Hang em from the highest tree if you don’t like em.
Twitter has all the credibility of huffing magic gas hoping to be enlightened by unicorns and journalistic savants.
Remember when your momma said; If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all?
Was my momma lying to me?
She sure didn’t have TWITTER.
Actions have repercussions.
I wish the public experienced the same penalties that I face when I am egregiously wrong.
A BIG FAT LAWSUIT WITH MONETARY DAMAGES.
I bet if Tommy TWITTER in Tuscon got sued for 5 million dollars for an obvious falsehood, the next person would think twice about what he TWEETED.
You know what keeps me honest? Journalistic Integrity coupled by the threat of a monetary lawsuit.
I ask myself every single day on every single sentence I write: CAN I PROVE THAT IN COURT?
If not, I don’t write it. I don’t say it.
I may think it. But I don’t publish it.
DO NOT HIT SEND.
If I do, and I’m wrong, it’s called slander. It’s called dissemination with malice.
If I say you are a rapist and I am wrong, I have a big problem.
If I say you are a drunk school bus driver and you are not, I can be sued for libel and you can win a lot of money against me and the organization that hopefully indemnifies me.
Why is TWITTER any different?
If CNN or FOX or ABC re-tweets toilet lies without fact checking, why can’t they be sued?
I’m not a fan of frivolous lawsuits. But this is no longer frivolous. It’s dangerous and someone needs to sue.
SEND A DAMN MESSAGE TO THE TWITTERSPHERE that life is not a free for all. There are ramifications for wrong actions.
Words can be a car wreck. They can injure you and force you to the side of the interstate and make you wait for the police.
If you say the MAGA hat wearing teen is a racist, and you are wrong, why can’t he sue you for malicious slander?
STICKS AND STONES CAN BREAK MY BONES, BUT WORDS WILL NEVER HURT ME.
Robert Fulghum wrote this in 1862.
Thanks to TWITTER, words are more dangerous than sticks and stones.
They have the power to reduce a once powerful republic to its castrated knees.