Washington Post sports columnist Mike Wise has fallen foul of his employers after deliberately sending out a false tweet in which he claimed an NFL star had been suspended for five matches.
In fact the star had been suspended for six, an unwise piece of misinformation that led to Wise being suspended from his own post for a month.
Describing his tweet as a “horrendous mistake” Wise, who tweets under the username ‘MikeWiseguy’, claimed that he had devised the tweet as a “dumb” test to establish how quickly a piece of misinformation could spread online.
Wise later tweeted: “In the end, it proved two things: 1. I was right about nobody checking facts or sourcing and 2. I'm an idiot. Apologies to all involved.”
The New York Times, the Post’s rival, reported internal disagreements over the punishment with the paper’s ombudsman reportedly having said Wise was “lucky he wasn’t fired.” However support was lent by the paper’s media writer who wrote in a tweet of his own that the suspension “seems overly harsh.”
Social media experts have backed the punishment though, pointing out that Twitter as a news source is treated seriously by its followers.