—-Daily Beast editor Justin Miller, in a tweet to U.S. Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky) Miller was irate that Paul blamed media bias on the uproar over his irresponsible and foolish comments regarding mandatory vaccination. The tweet continued: “Today I am getting my booster vaccine. Wonder how the liberal media will misreport this.”
After Paul’s office pronounced the tweet “unacceptable,” Miller deleted the tweet, and apologized, telling Politico, “I replied from my personal account to what I felt was spin after Senator Paul said factually incorrect things about vaccines. It would’ve been better to respond with facts than an obscenity, and I deleted the tweet so it wouldn’t reflect on the Beast. I’m sorry for the insult.”
1. Did Miller personally apologize to Paul? There is no indication that he did. This, therefore, is not an apology to the person directly aggrieved. We are seeing more and more of this: “I am sorry, Politico, that I behaved wrongly toward X.” That’s lazy, deceptive and cowardly.
2. A respectable, professional news organization would fire Miller, apology or not. In fact, any organization would fire a high placed executive who delivered a public “fuck you” to an elected official, and should. It is outrageously unprofessional conduct. It reflects badly on the organization. It shows miserable judgment, and makes trust all but impossible. I cannot think of a single job I ever held, in academia, in associations or in the non-profit sector where a tweet like that to a member, donor or customer, never mind a member of Congress (or, heaven forbid, a judge), wouldn’t have gotten me fired so fast the words “I’m sorry” would have been completed after I was locked out of the building, and rightly so.
3. Miller won’t be fired, in all likelihood, meaning that The Daily Beast will have endorsed his disrespect. The same can be said of CNN’s disgusting refusal to discipline Carol Costello for taking open glee in Bristol Palin’s distress, and the New York Times’ craven refusal to condemn columnist Charles Blow for an anti-Mormon slur against Mitt Romney. These are symptoms of an unethical, biased media counting on its target audience approving the bias. They are supposed to be concerned about doing their job ethically and well.
4. The tweet is the inevitable result of the increasingly mainstream “fuck you” style of opinion commentary, practiced most prominently by Bill Maher and, sadly, Jon Stewart, who now knows he can get a cheap laugh by relating a statement by any of his usual Republican targets, then mugging at the camera, and shouting this or another vulgarity. Yes, he’s our generation’s Will Rogers, all right…
5. Here’s a quiz: which Senators would Miller never dare tweet “Fuck you” to, knowing he would be fired? The answer should be “all of them.” But that would only be true if the Daily Beast was fair, objective and ethical…and it’s not.
Meanwhile, the pusillanimous, shamelessly spinning, ethics dunce who is inexplicably a viable Republican Presidential nominee made this whopper of a “clarification” of his anti-vaxxing remarks:
“I did not say vaccines caused disorders, just that they were temporally related — I did not allege causation.”
He is a liar. What he said was,
“I have heard of many tragic cases of walking, talking normal children who wound up with profound mental disorders after vaccines.”
And now this utter weasel is suggesting that we should believe that he was merely saying they were temporally related, as in a completely unrelated coincidence? What a massive, disqualifying insult to every American who Paul apparently thinks is so stupid that they will accept an explanation like that and say, “Duh, sure! He wasn’t alleging causation! It was as if he said, “I have heard of many tragic cases of happy children whose dogs were run over by cars after vaccines.”
Of course Paul was alleging causation; there is no other way to interpret what he said. No wonder Miller wanted to tweet “Fuck you” to this guy. So do I, and he deserves it. But my job, like his, is to deal in enlightenment, not gratuitous abuse. It’s not always easy. In fact, I’m going to watch this clip of the Duke just to make me feel better: