WASHINGTON D.C. – The joke’s on one respected columnist after his hoax backfires!
There is no denying the rapid rise in popularity of social media. Everybody and their mother uses some form of social media today and it has become a one stop source for countless information. A growing trend involves journalists or reporters posting a breaking news story on their Facebook or Twitter pages and following up later with the full report. One well-respected columnist decided to put an experiment to the test – with the results being disastrous.
Mike Wise is a veteran sports columnist for the Washington Post. He’s well aware of the growing trend of publishing stories on social media outlets. He’s also aware that many journalists and reporters sometimes don’t check their facts – all in the sake of getting a breaking story out there. He wanted to test this theory and post a fabricated story on his Twitter page.
Perhaps he didn’t think his theory through because it landed him countless backlash and a one-month suspension – oops!
Wise claimed Monday that he wanted to prove a point about how reporters will run stories in today’s fast-moving news environment without independently verifying the information. With that in mind, Wise tweeted that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who has been accused of sexually assaulting a Georgia college student, would receive a five-game suspension.
Given his credibility and good-standing in the news world, other news outlets went with the apparent scoop and cited his reporting. His actions prompted the Post’s sports editor to recirculate among his staff the paper’s guidelines on correctly using social media. Mission not accomplished – sort off…
Wise wrote on Twitter after the incident that he’s “an idiot” and offered “apologies to all involved.” He did, however, mention that his theory was proven. “I was right about nobody checking facts or sourcing,” he added with Monday’s apology.