One mis-tweet has me seriously questioning the ethical safety of Twitter in the hands of irresponsible journalists. ABC employee Terry Moran and two others tweeted that President Obama called Kanye West a jackass off the record.
Between hearing this comment and his fingers hitting the keyboard, Moran made the decision that he was at liberty to share an off-record comment with the world. I’m not really sure what brought him to that conclusion. To me it seems he wanted props for a dirty scoop.
Social media like Twitter eliminate the natural checks and balances of a traditional news source. Before the Internet, information had several checkpoints to cross before publishing. Now, anyone with Internet access can break news. Journalists are in privileged position we must uphold in spite of this technology.
Ironically enough, I would not have seen the tweet nor heard of Obama’s comment if not by other news sources. The tweet was deleted quickly, but news sources reporting the tweet spread the word.
This incident also makes it clear that any president is under heightened scrutiny, even during idle chatter. Public figures have a responsibility to be cautious of what they say. At the same time, journalists have a responsibility to practice their profession ethically.
What do you think? Did Moran cross the line?