Columnist suspended for Twitter hoax

Washington Post sports
columnist Mike Wise has been suspended for publishing false information
on Twitter, which he says was to test how fast misinformation can spread

Wise posted a tweet that said Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would be suspended for give games. The New York Times notes that “Roethlisberger was suspended for six games, not five, after he was accused of sexual assault in March, and the N.F.L. is considering whether to reduce the suspension.”

NYT adds:

“Wise followed his initial post about the quarterback with three others about his sourcing for the news. And by the end of the day, the paper had suspended him for a month.

“On his radio program on Washington’s WJFK on Tuesday morning, Wise said, “I could give you 10 reasons why I did this and explain what went wrong in the execution. But none of it matters today. I made a horrendous mistake.”

A few hours after the fake tweet was posted, The Post‘s sports editor Matthew Vita sent an email to staff about the paper’s social media guidelines, NYT reports. “When you use social media, remember that you are representing The Washington Post, even if you are using your own account,” Vita wrote. “This is not to be treated lightly.”

The Post‘s ombudsman, Andrew Alexander, wrote on his blog that Wise was “lucky he wasn’t fired,” while the paper’s media writer said the suspension “seems overly harsh to me.”

Wise has accepted his punishment, which he told WJFK is the price to be paid for “careless, dumb behaviour.” He wrote on his Twitter account that “But in the end, it proved two things: 1. I was right about nobody checking facts or sourcing and 2. I’m an idiot. Apologies to all involved.”