Great moments in media management

John Gage:

The Des Moines Register fired a reporter who targeted a local hero for tweets from his teenage years, after the discovery of posts in which the reporter himself used the N-word.

“I want to be as transparent as possible about what we did and why, answer the questions you’ve raised and tell you what we’ve learned so far, and what we’ll try to do better,” Carol Hunter, the paper’s executive editor, said Thursday in a note to readers. “For one, we’re revising our policies and practices, including those that did not uncover our own reporter’s past inappropriate social media postings. That reporter is no longer with the Register.”

Aaron Calvin, the now-fired reporter, wrote a profile of local hero Carson King, who found overnight fame for a viral video in which he held a sign at a football game soliciting beer money. King, 24, decided to use his newfound fame to help donate over a million dollars to the University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

The Des Moines Register decided to write a profile of King, but during the process found two tweets from King’s teenage years that the paper deemed offensive.

The paper approached King, forced him to apologize, and Anheuser-Busch then cut off a partnership with King that they had planned because of his charitable deed.

National reporters and activists sent thousands of angry messages directed at the Des Moines Register over their attack on King. Soon after, Twitter users found that Calvin had two tweets in which he used the N-word.

The Register responded and said they were investigating before eventually announcing they had fired Calvin.

That prompted Logan Dobson to post:

King became an online sensation over the weekend after holding up a sign on College Gameday‘s telecast in Ames, Iowa that asked for Venmo donations for his Busch Light supply. After receiving a flood of money on the mobile payment app, the 24-year-old decided to donate to the University of Iowa’s Stead Children’s Hospital instead of buying more beer. Venmo and Anheuser-Busch joined in with the football fan’s cause by matching every donation he received for the impromptu charity campaign, which netted $1.12 million.

Despite the positive aspects of the story, Iowa’s largest newspaper opted to sift through King’s social media profiles — an action the Register described as “a routine background check” — and found racially offensive tweets King posted in 2012, when he was 16 years old. After being notified of the old posts, King profusely apologized, said the tweets made him feel “sick,” and took them down. But the Register went forward with publishing the tweets in their profile. King said the comments are “not something that I’m proud of at all” and explained that he is “embarrassed and stunned to reflect on what I thought was funny when I was 16 years old.”

But the damage was already done.

While Anheuser-Busch InBev honored their promise to match King’s charity donations, the beverage company cancelled their official partnership with him.

After the Register‘s report was widely condemned as a hit piece and critics described it as representing the worst of so-called “cancel culture,” the paper’s executive editor was compelled to release a statement defending the publication’s editorial decisions.

“Should that material be included in the profile at all? The jokes were highly inappropriate and were public posts,” wrote the Register‘s Carol Hunter. “Shouldn’t that be acknowledged to all the people who had donated money to King’s cause or were planning to do so?”

Hunter also noted that King came forward to apologize for the posts before the Register published their report; though, it appears that King only came forward in an attempt to get ahead of the story after the paper had already approached him for comment.

Ironically enough, Aaron Calvin, the Register reporter who found King’s tweets and reported them out, has his own history of old racist remarks on Twitter. In tweets from years ago that were deleted shortly after Twitter sleuths unearthed them, Calvin used the N-word numerous times and mocked gay marriage by joking that he’s “totally going to marry a horse” after the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges case. Calvin made his Twitter account private on Tuesday night and issued an apology: “Hey just wanted to say that I have deleted previous tweets that have been inappropriate or insensitive. I apologize for not holding myself to the same standards as the Register holds others.”

What, you may ask at this point, is cancel culture? The Western Free Press:

Cancel culture refers to digging up offensive statements a person has made years ago and trying to stifle such person’s career. Cancel culture is targeting a wide array of people, so long as they say anything the left does not like. An important example of this vile trend happened in late 2018 with comedian Kevin Hart, who rarely mentions politics. Hart was chosen to host the 91st Academy Awards, but the leftist mob went after him for alleged ‘homophobic’ remarks he made in 2010 and 2011. Hart apologized, but leftists claimed he was insincere. He backed out of the Awards due to this messy situation. …

We can see that despite all the good a person can do, the outrage mob will not tolerate one area of imperfection. However, there was a silver lining for King after this controversy. On Wednesday, Governor Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation declaring Saturday, September 28, 2019 as Carson King Day in Iowa. Instead of condemning King for offensive jokes in his past, the Governor recognized the good he was doing for society.

Within the far left’s ideology, there is no forgiveness. Even if someone apologizes, leftists will not welcome him or her back into polite society. Some conservatives used the left’s standard against it by digging up New York Times writers’ old posts. The left demonstrated its hypocrisy by saying how terrible this action was. Cancel culture is a terrible blight on our society. It is causing too much divisiveness, and can stifle peoples’ careers who are not even political. In reality, no human being is perfect. We have all said things we regret, or did not know were offensive at the time. Furthermore, the left keeps changing the standard for what is offensive, and could potentially ‘cancel’ anyone outside their small bubble.

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