We're in a state of mutually assured destruction right now. I can't imagine that this state of affairs can hold much longer. Eventually, for all our sake, I hope we can remember the wisdom in Christ's words, "let he who is without sin cast the first stone".
We even have proof of this. Some people have perfect memories and never forget anything, and while some learn how to live with it, for others it is absolute hell. Social media has broken that contract for everyone, and we still haven't figured out that storing and indexing everything indefinitely is actually one of the worst decision tech companies have made.
Read some of what John Cleese has said. Totally hero-level entertainer back in the day, cutting-edge progressive, today Monty Python has been criticized.
It's probably best to just try to wipe out everything you say from public record. Else years from now someone will take your most kind statements and twist them into something horrible.
> And finally, norms have changed drastically over the last decade.
You're so right, but I'm not sure that it's in the way you think: in what other period of time, and in what other sphere of social life, have past actions not mattered?
You're presuming that he has 'grown and matured' and is therefore beyond reproach; did he offer any evidence that he has changed, or is the mere fact that his behavior is from 'several years ago' what makes you take up his cause? If I yelled racist and homophobic things at people ten years ago, does the passage of time alone make me 'innocent' in your eyes?
> teenagers a decade ago
> I think it's foolish to hold historical figures to today's societal norms, and I think the same about any of us a decade ago.
We're not talking about a teenager saying something 'a decade ago;' this was only several years ago, and in a similar job. He is young, yes, but does that mean that his professional conduct does not matter? At all? Because a couple of years have passed? He didn't know that being hateful and shitty to people was bad then, because his cultural context was so different? I call bullshit on that.
The author of this pieces makes the same assertion about King:
> decades-old tweets
Twitter has been around for 13 years. There are no 'decades-old' Tweets, period, that anyone has been attacked for, ever. It gives the impression that it is in the much more distant past than it really is.
I know that I'm pissing in the wind of the prevailing attitude that what's said online is somehow sacrosanct and should be free of criticism, but I find the conclusion that we can't judge people on their past ONLINE actions, specifically, very fucking strange and self-serving.
> wisdom in Christ's words
If you want to be Christ-like, try not saying hateful things online AT ALL. I'm pretty sure Christ wouldn't have said, "Let he who is hateful be without reproach because it was funny at the time."
I left out the part of the story where he turns to the woman who was to have been stoned and says "go and sin no more". We must be responsible for our actions and try to do good, but none of us are really very good at that, and will always make mistakes. Because of that, it's also our responsibility to show grace and forgiveness to others. If it's impossible to leave behind foolish or terrible things we've said or done, we're all doomed.
For what it's worth, I didn't really want my original comment to be read as aimed at King or the reporter. I think the reporter (and his editor) was wrong to do what he did and got a taste of his own medicine. It would've been far better had the whole story remained untold.
> If it's impossible to leave behind foolish or terrible things we've said or done, we're all doomed.
I don't know; I'm embarrassed by some things that I've said or done in the past, but I can acknowledge them without it destroying my perception of myself. Plus if you think small, family-based societies in the past had shorter social memories than we do today, I'd wager that you're dreadfully mistaken.
Most schools of thought around forgiveness, especially Christian ones, involve acknowledgement and atonement, not blaming our youth or social context or the fact that it was online. We may leave things behind, yes, but that does not mean that they didn't happen. Denial is not acceptance.
Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
Publishing them is a different story, however.
That being said, I am not a journalist. So am ignorant of standards for something like this.
 - https://twitter.com/DMRegister/status/1176705031468457985
So it's like someone asking, "You went through billions of webpages to find my homepage?", because they aren't aware of how Google is used. Yes, reading through 7 years of tweets would be a huge investment of time, but searching for keywords like "Holocaust" or the n-word is not. I haven't had to write a profile of someone in the age of social media, but back when I worked for a newspaper, I would routinely do a courts search for anyone I was doing a profile on, even for fluff profile. Not because I was looking for dirt, but because it's a process that takes a minute and prevents me from unknowingly whitewashing someone with a fluff profile.
Absolutely fair points and I totally missed the advanced search bit - you are 100% right there.
But, to that point, wouldn't it suggest even more bias if someone were simply searching: @SUBJECT_HANDLE + <RACIST_OR_SOCIALLY_UNACCEPTABLE_TERM_KEYWORD> ?
To me, that seems like the definition of digging for dirt. But, I guess it depends on who's side you identify with more.
I would totally be fine if they could present some sort of SOP or protocol for doing their social media background checks in a standard way. I've seen nothing like that.
> To me, that seems like the definition of digging for dirt.
Again, my opinion (and limited past experience) only, but I think the easy and quick mechanics of tweet-searching makes it a routine check and not "digging for dirt". Just like how Google and court searches can be done in a few seconds/minutes. When I did a cursory criminal background check for the subject of a positive news profile, it wasn't because I wanted to find dirt. It's because I don't want to put out a happy naive fuzzy article about an award-winning local business leader, only to find out via letters from victims/litigants who tell me he's the target of serious accusations/lawsuits.
Now if finding bad tweets from someone actually required collecting and reading years of tweets, that would be more akin to digging for dirt, because you have to work for it. You only put in that work when you really want to find something.
That said, if I were the DMR reporter in this case and stumbled upon those controversial tweets in my cursory check, I would've done the math in my head (i.e. King was only 16 at the time), and I would've put in the work to see if there were any recent tweets that indicate his purported bigotry is an ongoing character trait. And if I couldn't find such tweets (which seems to be the case with King), then I wouldn't even bring it up. I just wouldn't see that relevant to this kind of profile, same as I probably wouldn't find it necessary to report on or ask about minor juvenile crimes long expunged.
> I would've put in the work to see if there were any recent tweets that indicate his purported bigotry is an ongoing character trait. And if I couldn't find such tweets (which seems to be the case with King), then I wouldn't even bring it up.
I suppose I am genuinely curious in the details of tweet searching mechanics from an Info retrieval standpoint: Do you iterate through a list of "bad terms" to search against the subject? If so, what is your source for such list and how is it maintained?
I guess what I'm looking for, is could this be a standardized process set at the 'organizational level' - or is it a process created by individual reporters based on personal experience?
Again - genuinely curious - no snark intended.
One thing worth noting: As I understand it, Mr. King's charity campaign was heavily based off of social media (after the initial appearance on ESPN GameDay) – meaning that he spread it via his own Twitter account. Which makes looking at his Twitter account and past tweets more routine, since social media is essentially a large part of his current fame/notability. For other kinds of profile subjects, such as "Teacher of the Year" or "veteran recalls memories of war on war's anniversary", I'd be surprised if reporters did a social media check. Because unless that person themself says their social media profile is a big deal, then the reporter probably won't even be aware of it.
"the reporter should have taken the tweets to Carson King and said 'hey I found these tweets you should delete them so they don't get in the way of your fundraising campaign'".
Would have been a pragmatic solution at the time.
So tired of the easiest scapegoats getting all the flak.
For the record, I don’t think either should be punished as long as they give a legit apology.
Calvin posted similar stuff more recently and while working as a reporter. This fails to meet the standard of behavior we expect adults who work in journalism to hold themselves to. Simply put, posting that kind of crap indicates he is not qualified to do his job. If he was working in a different industry it would be different (e.g. if your accountant is a neo-nazi it probably doesn't impact their ability to do their job) but the fact of the matter he is in a publicly facing role and in those kinds of roles being able to at appear neutral (or at least not too extreme) matters.
I can't believe how quickly this has escalated. From a feel-good local story to national news and now the reporter getting fired.
What leaves the worst taste in my mouth is that the Register still hasn't apologized, and in their "statement", they still tried to shift blame back to Carson.
“In the name of tolerance, I cannot tolerate even one tweet disagreeing with my world view!”
I’m glad this journalist was punished, but honestly it’s a systemic issue.
That is, certain types of intolerant behavior have been “accepted” by society when it is directed at certain marginalized groups or concepts. What’s changed is that the behavior is now deemed as wrong, but it was always intolerant.
I agree we should not tolerate behavior, but someone saying (or in this case tweeting) something isn’t necessarily the same.
In this case, it's mild, seems like a statement from the person that they will delete their related tweets, have realized they were wrong in their younger years, etc. would probably be enough. It all depends on extremes.
So yes, I agree that speech and actions are not the same. There is a social response to intolerant speech, and there is ideally a legal response to intolerant actions.
"Popper took pains to make clear that he did not mean the expression of intolerant words and ideas, but in fact the opposite: They who must not be tolerated are those who wish to silence discussion and debate."
That being said I always believe people can grow so if they've apologized for it in the past I'm willing to give them a second chance.
Edit: the whole point of what people generally term tolerance is to lessen pain for people who have been marginalized. "Tolerating" the people who cause that pain is running counter to that movement.
Edit2: tolerance has not and should not be unconditional, to point out an extreme case no one has ever asked me to tolerate an unprepentant rapist or murderer, lack of tolerance for people who are actively causing harm is fairly well established.
But I suspect many people would agree with two of mine, but not the third. So that brings me to the question: how do you decide what’s intolerable? Harm can’t be the only criteria because many genuinely held positions are so held because people believe that other approaches will hurt real people. And who gets to decide what falls into the category of “intolerable ideas?” People don’t usually express comic book villain versions of those ideas. Who is racist--Harvard, or the asians suing it over its admission policies?
In response to your edit: defining tolerance in terms of effect on marginalized groups is admirable, but it leads to somewhat paradoxical results. Ideas that hurt a broad segment of society are tolerable, while ideas that affect fewer people are intolerable?
The media has made a lot of hay crucifying people lately. The only way to push back against that effectively does seem to be deploying their own tactics against them in this kind of mutually assured destruction.
There is a high level of hubris in penning a story dragging someone for stupid tweets made as a teenager, and not bothering to at least scrub your own timeline before publishing.
* NYT editor apologizes for racist tweets about Jews and Indians 
* NYT editor demoted for past racist tweets 
* NYT editor apologizes for racist tweets about white people 
* NYT stands by editor who made racist tweets about white people 
However, the only punishment received by any of these people was a demotion in the case of . Meanwhile, the paper has the power to put out articles that shape the narrative, deflect attention away from the tweets in question, and reframe the story as an attack on journalism by nefarious actors . Meanwhile, if a non-member of the media, particularly in the case of an average person like Carson King, has their past tweets dug up and reported on, they don't have anything close to the same voice to defend themselves, and are more liable to be treated as a pariah by the public or fired by their workplace.
I'm no longer sure about either of those assumptions.
That said, if going looking to see if someone said something stupid on social media a decade ago is part of a "routine background check" then I think that speaks to something larger being wrong.
We live in a world where a crime you committed as a teenager is washed away but not something you said.
"I'm not the subject of the story. Why would anyone go after me?"
However, I believe that as a society we need to realize that people can change. The issue of gay marriage is a case in point: We didn't get to this level of support just by having older folks die off with younger more accepting folks left to support it. Prior to these systems, a person might have been homophobic a decade ago and reconsidered their views since then, only you'd never know it-- you would only be left with their current actions to judge them. In my view that's much more important that what they believed 10 years or even 2 years ago.
In fact, I'd argue that reflection upon mistakes is one of the most important drivers of growth and maturity. I personally have been deeply changed by learning that I've wronged someone, and been motivated to change my actions in the future.
The second person that got ripped to shreds and fired over his stupid tweets is a journalist, indeed the journalist who incited the outrage over Carson's stupid tweets. It's little more than karmic revenge to be hoisted on his own petard in this fashion.
It was all this "America is the Great Satan" from when I was fairly anarcho-syndicalist. Fortunately I cleared it all before it became mandatory to share your social media with immigration officials. Phew!
Witch hunts like this are part of the reason why countries think that the right to be forgotten might be a good thing for their citizens.
Also includes a summary of what the reporter's own tweets were (not included in the OP).
We want people to move on from bigoted ideas right?
If so then it appears he has and that should be the end of it.
Your comment, on the other hand, is decidedly against the community guidelines: "Please don't complain that a submission is inappropriate. If a story is spam or off-topic, flag it."