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Tom Jones' Two Cents

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Washington Post suspends columnist



wise.jpgThe Washington Post has suspended sports columnist Mike Wise for one month after Wise posted an intentionally false report on his Twitter account. Here's what happened: On Monday, Wise posted that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's suspension would last five games even though he knew that information wasn't correct. He, in fact, had made it up. Wise's intent was to show how other news outlets and blogs would pick up the report and run with it without doing their own reporting. A short time later, Wise let everyone in on his ploy. Problem was, the Washington Post didn't appreciate Wise's little experiment, nor should it have. Whether he is writing for a column, a blog or even on a social media network, he is representing the Washington Post and he purposefully put out a story he knew was false. While many in the public and media called for his firing or suspension, what did and should've happened to Wise is the Post's decision. The paper knows Wise's character, work history and integrity. It surely had a conversation with him and only the Post has all the information truly needed to fairly determine his future.

On his radio show, Wise said what he did was a "horrendous mistake'' and he called his behavior "careless, dumb.'' While many weighed in on what Wise did, none did so more intelligently that's Barry Petchesky, who wrote:

Wise didn't give the sports world enough credit. He expected that after his Tweet, everyone would run with his news that Ben Roethlisberger's suspension would be pegged at 5 games. Instead, it barely got any traction on Twitter, and the media outlets that did report it credited him in full. That's exactly how news is supposed to break: the original source gets credited until other reporters can confirm it independently. The system worked.

Petchesky also wrote:

Possibly the worst part of this is Mike Wise not realizing what his credibility meant. Sure, any schmo could announce some made-up news. But they'll be ignored unless they've got a history of being right. Wise, with his years of experience and the Washington Post name behind him, has credibility. Had credibility.

To read Petchesky's entire take, you can click here.

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 1:49pm]


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