NBC pre-empted the first quarter of tonight’s 49ers-Patriots game to show President Obama’s speech at the Newtown memorial for victims of the Sandy Hook shooting. As you might expect, many football fans didn’t take kindly to this.

I’m not posting any of the tweets here; if you haven’t seen them and have an interest in the names and faces of the dregs of humanity, you can go see for yourself how unabashed racism, love of guns, love of televised sports, and hatred of government all mix together.

It’s interesting to see how many of these people have already deleted their Twitter accounts; I suppose they’ll just stick to being racist morons offline from now on. Even more interesting, though, are the geniuses who have kept their accounts and are defending themselves: “Hey, I was just making a joke.” Or, “I always talk like this about everyone.” Or, “People take everything too seriously.” Or, “I’m on the news!”

Of course, if there weren’t a ton of racist morons out there, I’m not sure what I’d write about

Politicalprof: this is incredibly hard to read, but it is a real part of America …



It seems that racist fans of The Hunger Games are also very bad at reading comprehension, expressing their outrage via Twitter over the fact that two characters — who are both described as having “dark brown skin” in the book — were portrayed by black actors in the film.

I read some of the tweets last night (Jamelle Bouie retweeted a bunch of them and there’s a Tumblr blog dedicated to finding and publishing them); they made my stomach churn. Prior to seeing these tweets, I didn’t have anything at all to say about The Hunger Games: I haven’t read the books, I haven’t seen the movie, and doing either of these things isn’t at the top of my list.

But, of course, now I have a comment:

In all honesty, I’m not at all surprised by the sentiment, as I have a pretty good idea that we’re not living in the post-racial paradise of (some of) our dreams and, as an educator, I know that reading comprehension is sorely lacking in this country.

But I really am shocked that people want to tweet their racism and stupidity out to the universe. I continue to long for the day when racist idiots keep their idiocy to themselves as I really believe that’s the first step in doing away with the idiocy altogether. As the philosopher Richard Rorty once wrote, “what people cannot say in public becomes, eventually, what they cannot say even in private, and then, still later, what they cannot even believe in their hearts.”[1]

Apparently, we’ve still got a very long way to go even to get to that point.

[1] Richard Rorty, “What Can You Expect From Anti-Foundationalist Philosophers?: A Reply to Lynn Baker,” 78 Virginia Law Review (April 1992), 725-726.


Is it time for political journalists to change their behavior on Twitter?


A recent New York Times article revealed that politicians are using Twitter to monitor the press, raising the question should political journalists change their behavior on Twitter?

The article, written by Ashley Parker of The New York Times, describes how Republican Mitt Romney’s campaign staff uses Twitter to not only engage with constituents but also to monitor reporters. Michael Falcone of the ABC News summed up well with this tweet, “Romney camp treats Twitter as an “early warning signal” for bad press.”

Parker writes “Mr. Romney’s aides say they can get a sense of where a story is headed before it is published simply by reading reporters’ Twitter messages.” His aides collect tweets sent from the press corps and use them to prep Romney for possible questions at press conferences. The staff also engages with reporters directly, sending “Twitter-inspired lecture[s], ranging from a simple “not cool” to something angrier,” Parker writes.

This could be a game changer for reporters covering the debates and elections. If candidates’ aides are monitoring their movements on Twitter this closely (perhaps using Muck Rack Pro), reporters could be giving their hand away to campaign staffs without even knowing it. With many reporters just getting used to covering debates and political campaigns on Twitter, however, it could be hard for them to adopt even newer tweeting practices. 

What do you think? Should journalists be cognizant of the fact that campaign staffs are monitoring their tweets and alter their behavior or proceed as normal?