The rapid and deserved downfall of a journalist on Twitter

Left wing US journalist Nir Rosen yesterday found out just what Twitter was really about as he spewed out a series of deeply unpleasant tweets (“the most reviled Tweets on the planet”, as one put it) as he joked about the attack on CBS journalist Lara Logan in Cairo.

He proved, as he later admitted, that some, so much more than others, need to be careful when it comes to Twitter. While it might seem like a huge bar just about everything you say will be heard. Rosen though should have known better.

Rosen said his attack on “war monger” Logan was him “joking around with some friends”… just in a very public space. He has quickly paid the price and as he says in his own words brought “shame” on his friends and his family.

How journalist Rosen, who has written for The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker among others, could not realise what he was saying was wrong is incomprehensible from someone who claims to be a defender of women’s human rights (“my views on women’s rights have always been quite radical – in defense of women”).

But none of that was in evidence in the tweets below as he attacked Logan. As the rebukes rolled in he first apologised and then resigned from his position as a fellow at the NYU Center on Law and Security.

Anatomy of a Twitter scandal, from The Daily Caller:

The initial tweet by Rosen stated, “Lara Logan had to outdo Anderson. Where was her buddy McCrystal.” From this tweet he went further, writing that he would have been amused if Anderson Cooper had also been sexually assaulted.

“Yes yes its wrong what happened to her. Of course. I don’t support that. But, it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too,” wrote Rosen.

The two comments gave way to more. Rosen called Logan a “war monger” and expressed doubt that she was actually assaulted.

“Jesus Christ, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger” wrote Rosen.

“Look, she was probably groped like thousands of other women, which is still wrong, but if it was worse than [sic] I’m sorry.”

Rosen might be a rookie to Twitter, he has just 600 tweets under his belt, as Politics Daily points out he isn’t “some internet newbie, unaccustomed to the power and reach of the new media. He stands in a growing line of people who should have known better”.

Asked in an interview on Media Bistro if he had gone off Twitter he said “I have certainly lost any desire to use twitter mostly because I am ashamed of what happened and I’m eager to retreat from the public spotlight I brought upon myself”.

What about his apology, was that at all genuine? Do people buy apologies in the social space just hours after you make horrible remarks about another person?

“I feel like when you have done something so offensive and stupid, even trying to explain it seems like you are justifying it and what you say will be taken out of context…By joking around with some friends I betrayed all that and betrayed my family, friends and supports, and I brought shame upon myself and them.”

Adweek has a good breakdown on this and there are more good links on the Atlantic.

The New York Daily News also highlights how the attack on Logan was not confined to the left. Right wing pundit Debbie Schlussel also let rip “”How fitting that Lara Logan was ‘liberated’ by Muslims in Liberation Square while she was gushing over…the ‘liberation.’…Hope you’re enjoying the revolution, Lara! Praise Allah!”) and she refused any apology.

“She treated the few dozen people who read her blog to an update, calling her critics “morons.”

“She also said “it warms my heart when reporters who openly deny that Islam is violent and constantly promote it get the same kinds of threats of violence I get every day from Muslims,” the Daily News reported.