Now, what did you have to do again in the good old days to get yourself on the evening news? These days all it takes is a tweet.
Arguably it might take what most people would call a tweet too far, but still… This week I was invited to discuss what is probably the most shocking tweet I’ve come across on a six o’clock news show – with the guy who wrote it and a few others.
The set-up was somewhat surreal:
Last Sunday a far-left-wing journalist-author wrote the mentioned tweet in reply to the debate editor of Norway’s newspaper of record, Aftenposten.
The latter had recently written a short and scalding, if still civilised, review of the former’s recent book.
To which the former replies to the openly gay editor with a tweet that somehow manages to include such phrases as ”suck negro cock” and ”jewish cunt” in the same tweet.
The political editor of Aftenposten replies with a harsh leader on the implied racism in that tweet and he, the tweet-writer, the head of Norway’s Union of Journalists and me are invited to discuss the affair on the before mentioned evening news show.
It should be mentioned that the guy who wrote the offending tweet was quick to apologise on Twitter, but on the evening news we also learned that the tweet was meant as a joke and was paraphrasing a scene from a Norwegian movie (”facts” which had entirely escaped me before that session on the evening news).
Aftenposten’s political editor made the very fair point that had this tweet been sent by someone from the populist far right it would have created a media upheaval, and the news presenter tried to get a discussion going on whether journalists should be allowed to tweet privately...
Now, imagine: Journalist says something stupid, rude and racist on TV? Should we therefore ban all journalists from TV? Of course not, and no one was seriously suggesting during that TV slot to ban journalists from using social media privately either – but it was one of the topics being discussed, as well as all the awful kind of things people can bring themselves to say online…
I must admit I’m not quite sure what to conclude from all this, it was a somewhat surreal event, but it’s definitely part of that brave new media landscape of ours…