Report or Comment? When a Journalist Retweets, It’s Hard to Tell.

Dan Wardby Dan Ward

I returned from a meeting this afternoon and saw this in my twitter feed:

“@JebBush a flip-flop-flip on immigration?  Wow.  I fashioned you more of a baseball player than a gymnast.  My bad. #notsurprisedatall”

The tweet was authored by Debbie Wasserman-Shultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, so the partisan tone is to be expected.

But I don’t follow Rep. Wasserman-Shultz.  I saw her message because it was retweeted with no additional comment by Tampa Bay Times Political Editor Adam Smith, who I do follow.

Now, if you read Smith’s twitter profile, you will see the message, “Retweets are not endorsements,” but that is only clear if you take it upon yourself to look at his profile.  My first thought upon seeing the tweet was, “wow, that’s quite a partisan message for an objective journalist to forward on to his followers.”

Based on the disclaimer in Smith’s profile, I understand that he retweets comments as part of his journalistic responsibility to share information, rather than as endorsements, but I do wonder whether a disclaimer on a profile goes far enough.

Is it my responsibility as a follower to determine whether I’m looking at a report rather than an editorial comment, or is it the responsibility of the reporter/editor to ensure his followers know the difference?

Category: Dan Ward, Taking Aim Tags: , , 13 Comments

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