A newspaper reporter, Conor Berry, out of Springfield, Masschusetts from "The Republican", made a comment on his Twitter page that ended up being false info. He tweeted out the fact that the Annapolis shooter was wearing a "MAGA" (Make American Great Again) hat while he opened fire on a newsroom in Maryland the day prior. That information was not true and we're not sure where he got that info or if it was his opinion. One thing is for sure, he decided to resign as a result of his wrongdoing. He apologized to fellow reporters as well as Trump supporters everywhere. His initial tweet was taken down after his editor got wind of it but he did put out his apology on Twitter, which has remained up.
In addition to this tweet, Berry sent his resignation letter to the paper, which they in turn published. It was in that letter that he said he was "ashamed" by his tweet and that it "taints the good work of fair-minded journalists everywhere."
The news of this occurance is not a ground breaking report but it's a moment that happened here locally within our own state where it prompts us to take a closer look at the climate we are in as a country. We're at the point where we make one false statement (in this case it seems unintentional but either way), that was not even published in their newspaper, but online, through Twitter on a personal page not affliated with the newspaper and now the guy loses his job after 21 years. How does this happen? The guy felt so pressured by society and our climate over the "gravity of his mistake" that he felt he couldn't come back from this simple mistake. It would be one thing if it was a publication in The Republican but this was his personal page where he felt safe to express his opinions. In todays environment there is no such thing as expressing your opinion digitally in a safe way. There is no safe space on the digital platform. Anything you say can and will be used against you. The problem is these social platforms have made us feel like it's our own personal, private space where we can do whatever we like without consequence. What people fail to remember is that unlike face to face where you can express your opinion while talking to someone and then it's gone, what's said was said, on the digital platform what you say is there forever. It's not a passing moment, it's preserved for people to access, use, and study. What's odd about this was that it was a mistaken fact by Berry. He's human, got the facts wrong and feels like now he needs to crucify himself. What ever happened to second chances or mercy for harmless mistakes? The scary thing is mercy does not exist online. At least that's the general understanding we have now as a culture.
Should the reporter have handled this differently? Did he really have to resign as a result of his mistake? Maybe we should be more diligent in judging the mistakes case by case instead of immediately taking drastic action like leaving your job the second you make a mistake. It should not be based on the fact you made a mistake online but what that mistake was. Social media has changed us as a society to the extreme of beating ourselves up everytime we make a mistake, where forgiveness is a rarity, at least when it comes to forgiving ourselves.