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Anatomy of a Twitter Scandal

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Journalist and NYU fellow Nir Rosen probably didn’t know he was putting his career in jeopardy when he hit send on Twitter yesterday. After all, it was just one of 600-odd tweets he’d sent since joining the social networking site.
 
Lara Logan had to outdo Anderson. Where was her buddy McCrystal.
 
It was probably something the war correspondent would say over a dinner party with buddies. Everyone likes a good joke at the expense of Anderson Cooper, right? The problem is the Twitter dinner party includes the whole world. Rosen has an animus toward CBS reporter Lara Logan, who was sexually assaulted while reporting from Egypt’s democracy celebrations, because she doesn’t meet his liberal standards.
 
Yes yes its wrong what happened to her. Of course. I don’t support that. But, it would have been funny if it happened to Anderson too.
 
Rosen is clearly not the most tech savvy—he hasn’t even figured out how to change his Twitter avatar from the default. He’s only used Twitter for less than a year. His following was rather small, just 2,000-some people. Just a couple months ago, he celebrated like a Twitter newbie at reaching 1,300 followers.
 
Jesus Christ, at a moment when she is going to become a martyr and glorified we should at least remember her role as a major war monger
 
Twitter can seem personal. Many people don’t even bother to capitalize proper nouns or use correct grammar—something Rosen at least got right.
 
Look, she was probably groped like thousands of other women, which is still wrong, but if it was worse than I’m sorry.
 
The problem for Rosen is this wasn’t just one offhand, inappropriate tweet. It was a series of messages that just kept digging him deeper and deeper into his hole. One can imagine his horror when he saw the indignant responses roll in, his sudden realization that Twitter isn’t a private place for joking around with like-minded friends who might forgive an offhand tasteless remark.
 
i apologize and take it back. joking with friends got out of line when i didnt want to back down. forgot twitter is not exactly private
 
There comes a moment when panic must strike, that a line was crossed that cannot be crossed back, that a lot of work is about to go down the drain. There must be the temptation to believe apologies will make this all go away. After all, it was just a tweet, right?
 
As someone who's devoted his career to defending victims and supporting justice, I'm very ashamed for my insensitive and offensive comments
 
But Twitter has a long memory. At this point, dozens of people were retweeting Rosen’s message, sending it bouncing around the Internet. Still, it must be fixable, right?
 
on the job you get used to making jokes about our own death, other people's deaths, horrors, you forget that you sound like a dick at home
 
This is clearly not going to do it. Hundreds of new followers are coming in. This isn’t going to end well.
 
to the 500 people new twitter followers and the old ones. I did not mean it and i apologize again. it was an inappropriate unaccetable joke
 
but there is no point following me, i am done tweeting. too ashamed of how i have hurt others and the false impression i gave of who i am

 
And then, after denial, after bargaining, there’s acceptance. Rosen reached this point 15 hours after his fateful first tweet about Logan, when he resigned from NYU’s Center for Policy and Security.
 
I feel I should make one last statement. I offer my deepest apologies to Ms. Logan, her friends and her family. I never meant to hurt anyone
 
I know that in a matter of seconds with a thoughtless joke, I brought shame upon myself and my family and added insult to Ms. Logan's injury

 
Rosen isn’t ready yet to swear off Twitter, although he’s learned an important lesson.
 
In a few minutes of insensitive and sadistic banter meant to childishly provoke a few acquaintances my thoughtless words were seen by many thousands, and hurt many thousands.