Unethical Tweet Of The Month: PBS’S Gwen Ifill

gwen ifill tweetThis was, of course, in reaction to yesterday’s developments that indicate sufficient Democratic support for President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal.

Ifill defends her tweet: of course she does. She has been a brazen cheerleader for the President since he was campaigning in 2008, and made it very clear that she sees nothing wrong with that, even when she was the moderator for the 2008 Vice-Presidential debate while her book about the inspiring achievement of Obama’s ascent to the Presidency—he hadn’t been elected yet, remember—was awaiting publication. PBS proved its bias (as if further proof were necessary) by shrugging off a blindingly clear conflict of interest and appearance of impropriety on her part then, and it will doubtlessly do so now. Ifill is defiantly pro-Obama. The tweet, however, is worse than that.

An American journalist taunting  the leader of an important American ally is unprofessional and, in this case especially despicable. Isreal’s legitimate concern about the Iran agreement is that under the best of circumstances, the scenario that the advocates for the deal admit, Iran will gain the resources to vastly enhance its support of terror in the Middle East, much of which will be focused on harming citizens of the nation that Iran has openly vowed to destroy. Take that, Bibi! Jews are going to die! Nyaa nyaa! Under the worst case scenario, the treaty makes it easier for Iran to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. How dare a nation’s leader express concern about his nation’s security and survival? Yeah, let’s make fun of him as the U.S. all but ensures a nuclear Iran 15 years from now.

Curt Schilling has been suspended by ESPN for making a legitimate historical observation that didn’t affect or relate to his job as a baseball analyst at all. Ifill’s tweet insults a world leader, displays gross partisanship, undermines PBS’s official pose as an objective news source and shows not merely terrible judgment, but the arrogance and shamelessness  that those who view themselves as immune from consequences eventually embrace.

91 thoughts on “Unethical Tweet Of The Month: PBS’S Gwen Ifill

  1. I missed the part of her tweet where she said “Jews are going to die, nyaa nyaa.” Oh wait, you made that part up.

    I read her tweet as a headline, not as taunt. It’s exactly like “Ford to NYC: Drop Dead.” It’s headline reporting on the effect of getting a veto-proof majority in the US Senate.

    You neglect to mention Ifill’s explanation for it, which is the same as mine (I just googled it after writing mine); she says, ““No it was not a shot at Prime Minister Netanyahu, even though it has become apparent that, in certain circles, it was taken as one. I was calling attention to what seemed to me to be criticism directed toward him coming from State.”

    Exactly.

    • So instead of a taunt, it is ultimately just incredible incompetence for not knowing an idiomatic form used 99% of the time as a taunt?

      Who in this country reads “take that” as anything other than a taunt in this context?

      I know: People blindly predisposed to defend other Leftists…

      Outside of this context, I think “take that” is pretty well used when giving someone an aspirin for a headache or other medication.

      • My goodness. How is it so many lefty American Jews seem so assuredly confidant letting Jews apparently stupid enough to want to live in Israel act as canaries in the coal mine of their unshakeable belief that Islamic dictatorships in the Middle East aren’t at all as bad as clearly evil non-lefties think? Reminds me of the well-to-do German Jews in the early ‘thirties being so confident nothing really bad would come of the rise of the NAZIs.

      • Google “Ford to City: Drop Dead.”
        Same as “@IranDeal: Take that, Bibi.”

        This is just another example of trigger-happy gotcha politics, an endemic disease on both the right and the left. Every conceivable misinterpretation is trumpeted as evidence of mal intent. Same thing with Trump and the blood thing, same thing with Bush and Asian babies, it’s all just gotcha politics and it’s trivial and divisive, not to mention mean-spirited.

        It’s a headline, folks, relax. It’s a typical kind of headline, she’s already explained exactly what it was, get off the demonization angle.

        • Erm…all my Google searched turn up articles about “Ford didn’t say ‘Drop Dead'”. So either you didn’t do your research or you are making an “Everybody Does It” rationalization. Which is it?

          • Uh, Charles, shouldn’t her tweet have said “State Department to Bibi: ‘take that!'” At least now I understand your argument. Before, I was totally mystified, now I’m just sure it’s specious. And, as pointed out below, even the PBS ombudsman didn’t buy what you and she are selling. I repeat: THE PBS OMBUDSMAN. Which side of the polarization scale is he holding down as a knee jerker?

            • The PBS ombudsman is the epitome squared of Political Correctness. They help lead the charge for PC, of course they’re going to apply it in spades here.
              Let me ask an honest question: do any of you seriously believe, in your heart of hearts, that a serious experienced journalist in a moment of unrestrained honesty blurted out in Twitter words INTENDED TO MEAN “Nyah Nyah Bibiana?” Seriously?
              I can’t believe you’re that willing to believe in such evil and in incompetence in equal measure.
              Much more reasonable–she left out the “State Dep’t Says” part of the message. This is Twitter after all.
              She’s not stupid, she’s a professional, and to assume the reckless and venal intent you impute is just way beyond realistic.

              • Professional? She’s an arrant leftist. Their concept of professionalism is to advance their cause by whatever means they think they can get away with. Often enough, their inborn arrogance takes them past the boundaries of what even other liberals can defend. It’s just a symptom of the illness.

              • Do you seriously believe, in your heart of hearts, that an experienced, serious journalist doesn’t know what “take that” means to 99% of the world? Or that a serious, experienced journalist doesn’t know how to craft headlines that are clearly understandable?

                Your willful obtuseness defies logic and denies good faith.

                You’ve apparently not paid much attention to the rhetoric of Leftists these days, given that the head Leftist himself has equated his fellow politicians to Islamic Hardliners. Do you really think subordinate Leftists have any restrain themselves outside personal discipline? What a joke.

                And you have the audacity to turn around and pretend like it isn’t a very likely possibility in this case.

              • What???? “Take That!” is unambiguous and clear. What else would it mean? No, I’ don’t think a serious experienced journalist would tweet that but Ifill has proved that she isn’t a serious experienced journalist. This is a reverse No true Scotsman argument, Charles. The tweet couldn’t mean what it means because no good journalist would be that stupid. But it does mean that, and she is that stupid/arrogant/biased.

                Dictionary definition: “Exclaimed when hitting someone or taking decisive action against them.”

              • “do any of you seriously believe, in your heart of hearts, that a serious experienced journalist in a moment of unrestrained honesty blurted out in Twitter words INTENDED TO MEAN “Nyah Nyah Bibiana?” Seriously?”

                Yes. And if we are allowed to introduce evidence of prior bad acts HELL YES.

              • Ifill didn’t write “State to Bibi: “Take That!” She wrote Take That, Bibi herself, no quotes. She’s a professional communicator: we must assume she knows how to state this as a quote or reference. If she doesn’t, then she unqualified to be a journalist.

              • I could ask, “What the hell was Ford doing mocking NYC?”

                Of course, neither one really was mocking. It was a twitter version of saying,
                “Look at the results of the senate roundup – in effect, it’s saying to Bibi, ‘Take that.'”

                It’s an easy shock to absorb for the lefties because it’s trivial and Ifill doesn’t matter much, so they can easily act all horrified – and thus justify climbing down the throat of whatever GOP candidate makes the next gaffe.

                It’s still all over-reacting, shrill, partisan, mock horror.

                • What? What? Bibi is concerned about the existetential state of Israel, as is his duty. He has every reason to be concerned. Whether you agree with his rationale or not, it’s life and death. This like responding to a mother who has applied to have her cancer-stricken daughter be entered into an experimental program and been rejected with “Take that, mom!”

                  She referenced an equally inappropriate mocking twwet by State (yes, it is shockingly unprofessional) and doubled down on it. Your comparison with Ford and NT is beyond ridiculous. Ford didn’t say drop dead, and he didn’t mock NY in words or pictures. He said “no.” A tabloid newspaper said it was the equivalent of “drop dead,” which it was not. Ifill SAiD “Take that”…she didn’t say that State said it—she said it. And if you think that’s objective, trustworthy, unbiased conduct by a journalist, than you have lost all comprehension of what journalism ethics is.

                  She is a cheerleader for Obama…openly. This was fist-pumping, and it is indicative and wrong. I am not partisan by pointing out bias. I guarantee you my Post would be identical if the deal lost the required support and she posted, Take that, Appeasers.

                  • Yes, there are a handful of other ways that the Ford example is a false analogy, but in terms of the concerns raised here, it’s errancy comes from:

                    The original newspaper running the Ford bit was also unethical meaning this is an Everybody Does It rationalization.

                    The original newspaper clearly indicate this is a paraphrased quote, whereas Ifill either fails to do so (meaning she is incompetent) or she wasn’t paraphrasing a quote (meaning she made a taunt) or she wasn’t paraphrasing the quote and wasn’t taunting (meaning she is incompetent not to realize what “take that” means).

          • Texagg you make my point for me, thanks.

            The newspaper headline said, look it up, “Ford to City: Drop Dead.” That’s a fact.
            And as you note, it’s also a fact that Ford never literally said it.
            It was a headline, an interpretation, a translation.

            Ditto and likewise.

            Ifill never said it literally. It was a headline, an interpretation, a translation. A Twitter version of a Daily News headline: not to be mistaken for a literal quotation. ( How stupid do you think she is, anyway?)

            • You see, when I play this discussion chess I’m often several steps ahead of you. I made the point so you’d reveal your error. It’s called “check mate”. You reveal then that yes you are using the “everybody does it” rationalization.

              Thanks!

              Of course, you still have an out and can simply say she is incompetent. She only used 16 characters of her 140 allotted by twitter…don’t you think she knows how to craft headlines effectively? Either she does, and she knows it was a taunt, or she doesn’t, and yes, she must be stupid…

              Your choice.

            • Wouldn’t a ‘headline’ have you know… An article… To explain that? Or something, I mean…. ‘headline’ infers that it’s on top of something else… Like a body. I’m just saying. This is pure spin Charles, this person did dumb and your bias is showing.

              • A “headline” is something that comes before the body. Like, in this case, a few words to describe the content that she linked to.
                That’s not dumb, and it doesn’t matter whether I’m biased, it’s still the truth.

                • No, yet again.

                  Communication 101:

                  If you are summarizing a headline of SOMEONE ELSE’S article, you INDICATE that. If you don’t indicate that, you are adding YOUR OWN WORDS.

                  Either she incompetently failed to attribute the summary headline or she taunted Netanyahu…

                  You are shamelessly spinning.

                • So can you explain to me how to tell the difference between a statement or opinion and a headline? You ever seen a tweet before Charles? I mean, normally when someone is quoting someone or paraphrasing something they’ll include things like who they were quoting, or quotation marks, or actually be in relation to the material they’re quoting. This didn’t include those features. And normall when someone is commenting on a story, they blurt something out and link an article. So help me out; I want to know… what was the cue? What led you to believe that is was a headline, as opposed to an opinion? Because when Ifell tweets “Go Burn in a Fire, Trump” tomorrow, I want to be able to view the tweet with the same nuance you apparently can.

                  • I asked the same question of Charles after he said this:

                    ““Anyone who knows me would expect irony, and click through to the linked article, where they’d find something substantive about compensation philosophy. No one would be misled into thinking “Charlie doesn’t like money.””

                    to which I responded:

                    “So headlining is meant only for people who know you?

                    Is that where you want to hang your hat?”

                    I eagerly anticipate a response to bob our inquiries.

                • I’m puzzled. Charles. Ifill is a bad hill to die on. She’s not worth it. It’s obvious to me that her being allowed to moderate the debate despite a clear as a bell appearance of impropriety if not a direct conflict (if Obama lost, she lost her book!) emboldened her, she feels invulnerable, and isn’t even trying to maintain ethical standards. She got over cocky, her remaining ethics alarms melted, and she crossed a line, as entitled people always do eventually. PBS had to slap her down.

                  In an ethical media with ethical pundits, it wouldn’t have been just conservatives who called her on it. That’s the greater disgrace–she should be elevating trust, and instead she’s waving bias like a flag. And no liberal colleagues have the integrity to point out the obvious. Talk about correction.

    • Really? Why is it then that PBS ombudsman clearly wrote that Ms Ifill’s actions were “inexcusable”. You liberals only see bias on Fox I see it in most main stream media not to exclude Fox but also including PBS and this particular anchor. Oh by the way no excuses for Mr Schilling but at least he regretted it and was suspended by his employer.

      • Because the ombudsman in this case is a self-admitted iltwiterate. He doesn’t comprehend the idea of summarizing a linked piece of content.

        • Accurate Honest Communication 101, Charles.

          If I’m quoting someone, I indicate that I’ve done so, so people don’t think these are my own opinions.

          If I’m paraphrasing someone else’s quote or summarizing it, I indicate that I’ve done so, so people don’t think these are my own opinions and also so people know I’m not putting words into someone’s mouth, but making my own analysis.

          If I fail to indicate otherwise, what I say is taken by reasonable people to be what I believe.

          It is really that painfully simple. And these ethics applies to twitter also.

          Just because a convention (and I don’t think this is as conventional as you suggest) enshrines a particular unethical act, doesn’t make the act ethical. This is still the Everybody Does It rationalization.

          You are drowning in an ocean and you are still screaming that water isn’t wet.

          • Texagg, I’ve looked at your twitter feed, and 9t’s 90% retweets – rarely if ever do you attribute them because, as you said, they’re usually tweets you agree with, hence anyone would reasonably assume you agree with it.

            The problem with the twittersphere is people who ONLY retweet things they agree with, making it all just a giant echo chamber. As opposed to people interested in actually airing opinions, including those not their own. Like real reporters.

            You may think you’re defending some journalistic standard, but you’re not – you’re just trying to drag others down to the level of megaphone shouting that you yourself practice incessantly.

            Try retweeting someone you disagree with sometime. If you try it 20 times, you’ll find it gets pretty tiresome to keep adding disclaimers to your 140 characters, and you’ll settle for letting your followers add their own implicit understandings of your point of view. I assure you it would be a welcome change from the unrelenting propaganda that comes from only retweeting stuff you agree with.

            • But Charles, if you are a competent communicator and you wish to tweet something you disagree with, you are obligated to 1) be clear 2) not engage in confusing, Poe’s Law devices like vague sarcasm, and 3) if you are a left-wing, Democratic mouthpiece for an infamously liberal-biased show and government funded TV station, and one who treats Barack Obama as immune from criticism because you share the same skin-shade, and want it to be understood by those who know this that, mirabile dictu, you are finding fault with the regime whose bootsoles have been softened by the repeated massage of your tongue and displaying integrity for a change, you better do a damn sight better than this.

              On the other hand, if you just want to be regarded as rubber stamping every flawed policy and move by the man you declared to be a triumph for your race and the nation before he was even elected, and dutifully spiking the ball while trivializing the fears and concerns of a national leader whose country, public and children were threatened just yesterday by an Iranian official, do exactly as Ifill did.

            • Incredible.

              Listen here, you really look like a dishonest shill and I’ve been civil with you despite every inclination not to be. But now you are coming close to playing a dishonorable game and using my *ETHICAL* conduct to cover for someone else’s *UNETHICAL* conduct in a completely non-analogous way. You can back track now or I’ll have to assume you are an incredibly despicable liar and you can be consigned to the ash heap of unbelievable and unreliable cranks. Your choice.

              If I’ve re-tweeted something and added no commentary, that likely means I agree with it, but adding no commentary is key here.

              Now, to clarify one more time to someone I am increasingly convinced is about as intelligent as a bag of hammers:

              1) Ifill DID ADD COMMENTARY.
              2) Ifill DID NOT clarify that she was “summarizing the article” as an *ethical* *competent* individual would.
              3) Ifill DID NOT clarify that she was “quoting” someone else.
              4) THEREFORE, the Commentary WAS HER OWN – and it was unethical commentary.

              In no way does this get justified by my retweeting of other articles. If I add commentary, then yes, it is mine. If I attribute a quote, then I am not necessarily condoning an article, If I merely retweet with NO commentary, then this doesn’t parallel. If I say something without clarification, I don’t get an out by pretending like the clarification is understood. I own it, apologize for it, then correct it. She did none of this.

              Fix your egregious claims that my use of twitter parallels her unethical conduct. Otherwise, you can piss off like an arrogant ass.

              • I haven’t seen your Twitter feed, but re-tweets usually have RT @(name) – before them. Do you not do that? Or does Charles not understand that in doing that, you’ve supplied the quote’s source? I’m starting to think Charles doesn’t know what the Twitter is.

              • I hardly agree that you’ve been civil.

                But, to your points. I have 7,000 followers to your 170, and I wager have been on Twitter longer than you. I hardly need educating about RTs, .RTs and the like from you and HT.

                Of course Texagg shows his RTs, that’s not the point. The point is he mainly retweets solitary opinions of others, or Lolcat-type Instagram right-wing doctored photo memes.

                Rarely if ever does he use Twitter to link to an actual article, blogpost or thought piece–even a right wing one! It’s all opinion all the time, which is who I call it an echo chamber.

                I make it a point to link at least half my tweets to a real, substantive piece of content that my readers can benefit from.

                Just ten minutes ago I sent two tweets. One said, “Take that, Ted Cruz,” and the other said, ” Take that, Obama.” Both linked to specific blog posts by our good host, Jack, wherein the reader will find a strongly argued point of view–both nominally on opposite sides of the spectrum.

                Anybody dumb enough to think you can divine politics from reading ONE tweet by anyone would draw radically different conclusions about me.

                And you’ll notice–it’s very clear that I’m RT’ing someone else here.

                So–what’s the difference between my two RTs and Ifill’s? Jack has already said it–she’s a shrill biased in-the-tank liberal, hence it’s “obvious” that she agreed with her RT.

                But if that’s all you’ve got, it just boils down to you claiming she’s biased. You’re assuming the very point you’re trying to prove with this tweet–it’s circular.

                It’s possible this doesn’t resonate with you because you never use Twitter like journalists do, to link to content. Your own behavior suggests you only use it as a megaphone for your own ideas. Perhaps you’re attributing that motive to others–I don’t know, I can’t read your mind.

                But what I can tell you is that people who heavily use Twitter in journalism use it just like she did–to flag provocative and relevant content, and to give the reader a fast headline-type window into what the linked content says.

                Just like what Ifill did. And now me.

                Charles H. Green Trusted Advisor Associates cgreen@trustedadvisor.com Blog: Trust Matters @charleshgreen 973.714.4451

                • “I hardly agree that you’ve been civil.”

                  That’s fair, my tolerance for bullshit has been on the decline for months.

                  “But, to your points. I have 7,000 followers to your 170, and I wager have been on Twitter longer than you. I hardly need educating about RTs, .RTs and the like from you and HT.”

                  Then stop writing stupid things. If you know better, act on it, Mr. Cruz,

                  “Of course Texagg shows his RTs, that’s not the point. The point is he mainly retweets solitary opinions of others, or Lolcat-type Instagram right-wing doctored photo memes.”

                  That’s actually exactly the point. The RT is the difference between reposting someone else’s words and your own. You just told me not to explain Twitter basics to you. Be better.

                  “Rarely if ever does he use Twitter to link to an actual article, blogpost or thought piece–even a right wing one! It’s all opinion all the time, which is who I call it an echo chamber.”

                  This is really veering into fallacy area. Does anything that Tex does or does not do change what Ifell did? And are you really equating a private citizen’s twitter feed to a member of the media’s?

                  “I make it a point to link at least half my tweets to a real, substantive piece of content that my readers can benefit from.”

                  Congratulations?

                  “Just ten minutes ago I sent two tweets. One said, “Take that, Ted Cruz,” and the other said, ” Take that, Obama.” Both linked to specific blog posts by our good host, Jack, wherein the reader will find a strongly argued point of view–both nominally on opposite sides of the spectrum.”

                  And those tweets are your own words. Let’s say instead of idiot politicians, what happened was a Black Lives Matter activist was shot in the street. Would the appropriate tweet be “Take that, Black Lives Matter”? Of course not. Not only would it not be appropriate, but I don’t think you’d ever tweet that, Your biases color your tweets.

                  “Anybody dumb enough to think you can divine politics from reading ONE tweet by anyone would draw radically different conclusions about me. ”

                  Then read all of them, Charles. She has a history of this. You have this awful habit of speaking from a point of low-knowledge “What does this word mean” “I don’t know what this means” “I don’t know who that is” And it’s always in favor of your biases. We live in 2015, the average person has more access to information in a cell phone than the President of the United States did 20 years ago. I had to edit this twice for profanity. Your ignorance does not change the world.

                  “And you’ll notice–it’s very clear that I’m RT’ing someone else here.”

                  Congratulations!

                  “So–what’s the difference between my two RTs and Ifill’s? Jack has already said it–she’s a shrill biased in-the-tank liberal, hence it’s “obvious” that she agreed with her RT.”

                  The lack of “RT @(name)”, for starters. She did NOT Re-tweet anything. She wrote her own words, and your inability to come to terms with it is painful to watch.

                  “But if that’s all you’ve got, it just boils down to you claiming she’s biased. You’re assuming the very point you’re trying to prove with this tweet–it’s circular.”

                  No, we are saying that the tweet was inappropriate and unethical, and her bias explains it. This tweet didn’t come out of a vacuum, but even if it did, this is signature significance of their incompetence of crippling bias, and is still inappropriate for someone with her platform.

                  “It’s possible this doesn’t resonate with you because you never use Twitter like journalists do, to link to content. Your own behavior suggests you only use it as a megaphone for your own ideas. Perhaps you’re attributing that motive to others–I don’t know, I can’t read your mind.”

                  I don’t know if this is covered in the fallacies, but it should be (You don’t understand, you cant possibly, you aren’t X). It assumes that everything that you haven’t experienced is qualia, and I think represents pure projection. An inability on your part to understand things outside of the paradigm from which they effect you does not mean the rest of humanity is similarly disabled.

                  “But what I can tell you is that people who heavily use Twitter in journalism use it just like she did–to flag provocative and relevant content, and to give the reader a fast headline-type window into what the linked content says. ”

                  Citation needed. Even…. and I’m going out on a limb here for you…. Even if it was a headline as opposed to a statement or opinion, (and I’m still waiting on the Charles Green guide for Idiots Like Me notes on how to differentiate, because journalists CAN have opinions too, right?), even assuming that: This was an inappropriate headline. This is like Obama catching an out of bounds ball at a Basketball game and the headline reading “president plays with other men’s balls”.

                  “Just like what Ifill did. And now me.

                  Charles H. Green Trusted Advisor Associates cgreen@trustedadvisor.com Blog: Trust Matters @charleshgreen 973.714.4451″

                  No, what you just did was flash your ePenis. Your ideas stand on their merit or they don’t, and no number collected like-minded (and I used that term loosely) individuals (that too) will change the fact that no matter how you cut it, Ifill committed journalistic malpractice.

                • “I hardly agree that you’ve been civil.”

                  Which just be another error on your part to add to the ever growing list of mistakes you make in judgment, but no, you’ve, yet again, breached the levels of civility, so I don’t feel so encumbered. You’ve again used MY ethical conduct in attempt to rationalize someone else’s unethical conduct by claiming my conduct was the same as theirs. You’re a moron.

                  Now, for the rest of your “comment”, did you really really compose this awful drivel? I hope the embarrassment of publishing this has worn off like a horrible hangover from a night of heavy drinking (which I earnestly hope is your excuse).

                  Fellow readers, at this point I no longer address Charles, because he’s demonstrated an incapacity for good faith discussion or rational thought processes, so this is for you.

                  Charles’ words italicized, mine in normal font:

                  “But, to your points. I have 7,000 followers to your 170, and I wager have been on Twitter longer than you. I hardly need educating about RTs, .RTs and the like from you and HT.

                  Of course Texagg shows his RTs, that’s not the point. The point is he mainly retweets solitary opinions of others, or Lolcat-type Instagram right-wing doctored photo memes.

                  Rarely if ever does he use Twitter to link to an actual article, blogpost or thought piece–even a right wing one! It’s all opinion all the time, which is who I call it an echo chamber.

                  I make it a point to link at least half my tweets to a real, substantive piece of content that my readers can benefit from.”

                  For those avidly studding the Logical Fallacies can you tell me which fallacy Charles is using here?

                  A) Poisoning the Well
                  B) Appeal to Authority

                  if you said both, you are right!

                  Charles, in an attempt to degrade my argument will claim that I have no knowledge of Twitter because I am an infrequent user of it and when I am, I mostly repeat articles I agree with or images I find humorous. This is the well poisoning bit of the argument. Twitter, like Blogging, like writing, like talking is just ONE MORE form out of dozens of forms of communication, to which the ethical rules of communication apply just as much. Charles, in an attempt to bolster his own argument has essentially said “nanner nanner nanner, I have more followers than you, I’m an expert, listen to me!” That’s the Appeal to Authority part.

                  So, since the 1st half of his post was drivel, let’s get to the substantive bit. Before beginning, let’s review what is in question. Ifill retweeted an article containing an unethically taunting graphic, then added her own unethically taunting commentary to that graphic, using the form “”Take That, Bibi!” link to article in the form of retweet.” Charles insists she was merely summarizing the gist of the article. Now, we know for sure that competent communicators, when they summarize the gist of an article, indicate that this is a summary, for example “”State Department to Bibi: Take That!” link to article in the form of retweet. So either Ifill is incompetent or she really did mean to communicate her own taunt to Netanyahu.

                  “Just ten minutes ago I sent two tweets. One said, “Take that, Ted Cruz,” and the other said, ” Take that, Obama.” Both linked to specific blog posts by our good host, Jack, wherein the reader will find a strongly argued point of view–both nominally on opposite sides of the spectrum.”

                  So, in this case, Charles, whether he realizes it or not, has added his own commentary to Jack’s articles, all while doing his own summary of Jack’s articles, since he does not indicate that he has attempted to summarize or paraphrase Jack’s article. Charles, here, decides that taunting is an appropriate way to pass on an article in this instance (which adds further commentary anyway). So, Charles has added to Jack’s articles, his own commentary, precisely what Ifill did. Though Charles will deny this, since admission of such will sink his argument like the Titanic.

                  “Anybody dumb enough to think you can divine politics from reading ONE tweet by anyone would draw radically different conclusions about me.

                  And you’ll notice–it’s very clear that I’m RT’ing someone else here.”

                  Here, Charles tries to shift the discussion to Ifill’s politics. This is a diversionary tactic which occupies the rest of Charles’ comment but to be expected as Charles has nowhere to go with his irrational shilling.

                  “So–what’s the difference between my two RTs and Ifill’s? Jack has already said it–she’s a shrill biased in-the-tank liberal, hence it’s “obvious” that she agreed with her RT.”

                  There is actually no difference between the two RTs with commentary added and Ifill’s RT with commentary added other than the content of the linked article… But this is where Charles hopes his diversion will lead us…but he’s wrong here also. Which leads us to Charles going out with a whimper on the side-issue of Ifill’s politics, which though related, isn’t central…

                  “But if that’s all you’ve got, it just boils down to you claiming she’s biased.”

                  But it isn’t all we’ve got…it’s only tangential support for the analysis…the central issue is Communication and Clarity, a forest in which Ifill and Charles are both hopelessly lost.

                  “You’re assuming the very point you’re trying to prove with this tweet–it’s circular. It’s possible this doesn’t resonate with you because you never use Twitter like journalists do, to link to content. Your own behavior suggests you only use it as a megaphone for your own ideas. Perhaps you’re attributing that motive to others–I don’t know, I can’t read your mind.”

                  In conclusion, Charles has chosen to ramble, punctuating his traipse around Communication ethics with references to his previous logical fallacies, the repitition of which doesn’t make them less fallacious.

                  “But what I can tell you is that people who heavily use Twitter in journalism use it just like she did–to flag provocative and relevant content, and to give the reader a fast headline-type window into what the linked content says.

                  Just like what Ifill did. And now me.”

                  Charles introduces us to Begging the Question.

                  He has yet to prove that what Ifill really did is what he claims she did, then turns around and uses his unproven claim of what she did as though it was the original premise. This is actually circular logic… Nice try. An error though.

                  “Charles H. Green Trusted Advisor Associates cgreen@trustedadvisor.com Blog: Trust Matters @charleshgreen 973.714.4451″

                  Trusted is a hefty adjective to throw around given your incapacity for rational thought or good faith discussions.

        • So am I Charles ( I am also iltwiterate as you put it) the one thing we can take from this debate is that our interpretations are polar opposites and I do not believe we can agree with each other. I live with a clear conscience because one thing I can say for myself is that I have always taken responsibility for my actions and have accepted the repercussions of those actions. That Charles, is how we are different. My own words and personal opinion.

          Jose Garcia
          Chief Hospital Corpsman
          US NAVY (Ret)

          • “I have always taken responsibility for my actions and have accepted the repercussions of those actions. That Charles, is how we are different.”

            No, the way that we are different is that I’d never accuse a stranger of not sharing those very same values–as you are apparently doing.
            Listen, I agree we may not see eye to eye on this issue, but I have no idea where you get off claiming that you take responsibility for your actions and I don’t.

  2. I’d say that “Take that, Bibi” is plain enough. The Israelis are acutely aware that it doesn’t take much of a missile to plant a warhead on their soil from Iran. They also know that it doesn’t have to be supremely accurate if it carries a fission warhead.

      • Sorry, I remain unrepentant, albeit obviously in the minority (I don’t usually bother to weigh in if all I do is agree with everyone, which is often).

        NPR’s ombudsman is proud that he doesn’t have a Twitter account, hence knows nothing about RT and the practice of adding a sharp commentary to a linked article–which is what Ifill did. I don’t get why ignorance of Twitter makes him “pure” enough to critique Twitter, but that’s apparently what he’s claiming.

        Ifill tweeted a link to a post using Bibi’s own graphic, marked up to show the results of the likely passage of the treaty, which graphic showed the obvious conclusion–Bibi’s argument flipped on its head. The headline she chose could easily have been the headline of the post she linked to, it was a slick snark summary of that post.

        Note that the Daily News didn’t famously headline “Ford, In As Many Words, Essentially Tells NY to Drop Dead.”
        No, the headline was “Ford to City: Drop Dead,” and nobody confused it with a direct quote or the opinion of the Dauly News.
        Same deal here. Her line summarized the article and graphic she linked to. I use this technique myself several times per day, trying to give my Twitter followers a wry perspective on the material I’m linking to that does something more than merely plagiaristucally copying the article’s own headline. And thousands do the same thing, every day.

        I view this as precisely the same issue as Donald Trump’s vilification for “she was bleeding out her eyes, her whatever…” comment–a chance for partisans to bring out their knives and assert that Trump is “obviously” a misogynistic sexist, and Ifill is “obviously” a hack anti-Semite.

        Neither is anywhere near “obvious.” This is gotcha politics, gotcha journalism, and gotcha blogosphere, and it appears to be polluting the right and the left in equal measure.

        The level of trigger-happy political polarization in our politics is at an all-time high, and flare-ups like these are the brush fires that risk setting off much larger fires. I wish everyone would get a little more civil.

        • Can someone else handle this? I can’t read it again without getting Forrest Whitaker eye.

          Literally repeating the same nonsense that has been debunked a half dozen times on here.

        • I think both are obvious. There is a well known principle of contract interpretation that a court will derive the parties intent from the plain and unambiguous terms of the contract. If reasonable minds can differ as the meaning, then it is ambiguous. HOWEVER, merely because two different interpretations are suggested does not mean the contract is ambiguous. The alternate interpretation must be plausible – it is not enough that you come up with an absurd alternate interpretation. Same here. You came up with an alternate explanation but it’s ridiculous.

          When anyone comes up with a statement like the level of political polarization is at an “all time high” or uses other superlatives, I am reminded of a quote but for the life of me I cannot remember who said it. Anyway, the quote: “I have searched for the golden age of political discourse and have found it elusive.” Secretary of State Stanton called Lincoln a long armed ape, but if you want to equate that with calling out Ifill on a tweet, I guess there’s not much more to say.

          • If the world were a courtroom, that would be highly relevant. But we’re talking Twitter and politics here, which I’d suggest are quite different. In those realms, indignant certainty looks a lot like demagoguery.

        • I have to point out that Kim Kardashian has just south of 35 million followers, and she’s a moron. The use of twitter follower, Friends and ratings as some kind of authority, Charles, puts you in a group with Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and teens who have thousands of Facebook “friends” who use that to prove tyo their parents that people respect them.

          Just excise that argument from your repertoire forever. As a friend. Honest. If you have but one follower on Twitter but are right, if couldn’t matter less if your opponent has 10,000. One’s wisdom is not proportional to Twitter followers, and there is substantial evidence that the opposite is true, based on the top 100, in which there are exactly three…Three!…individuals whom I would ever, ever, ever care what they think about anything. Bill Gates, The Dalai Lama, and Barack Obama, and the last two usually don’t even do their own posts.

          • Jack, those are awfully broad strokes.

            I agree that any mega number of followers over, say, 20,000 is usually just indicative of fandom. With the overt exception of journalists, that is, who routinely get tons. Take for example Tom Keene, who’s got 70,000 – and none of them got there by mistake while looking for Justin Bieber. Quality matters.

            My 7,000, for example, are pretty high quality. There are tools you can use, and I use them, to cull dummy followers, to get rid of fake followers of various types, because I want my numbers to mean something. I routinely turn down advertiser inquiries because I care about the quality of my followers, and many of them know it. There’s a great overlap with my newsletter, which again is intentional.

            And actually while I despise reality TV, I have to disagree with you about Kim and her mom. The rest are complete despicable airheads, and not that I care much about those two either, but – “moron” she is most certainly not. The two of them are damned smart. We may agree to disagree on that one, but I’d say you don’t make that kind of money being a ‘moron.’

            I totally agree with you though about mindless metrics; the top lists of such stupid lists are always populated with teen fan idols, reality TV show people and the like, and it is a huge mistake to quote numbers per se as meaningful. But in this particularcase, I think my experience over the years with 7,000 hard-earned followers is probably a good indicator that I know more about the medium than someone with 175 followers. I’d put big money on that particular ratio for that particular purpose.

            One’s wisdom is certainly not proportional to one’s social media followers – but that doesn’t mean you can’t make some sense of some of the numbers some of the time.

            • Wealth, salary and money are in the same category as twitter followers. There is certainly a loose correlation…the group of idiots is less affluent than the group of geniuses…but intelligence is no reliable indicator of financial success nor the reverse, nor of virtue either.

              Kim IS an idiot. She married Kanye West, who is unstable, and of whom she said, “I’m honored. I love it. I know he doesn’t mean it in a negative way when he says the word bitch.” She named her daughter “North.” She is barely literate and uneducated, and has never used her wealth do anything creative or of lasting value to society. Her quotes have been extensively recorded. Her vocabulary is meager, she never uses any cultural, literary of historical reference, the topics that interest her are shallow, and she is a narcissist without being able to spell it. “Savvy” and smart are two different things, as you know. Here money came from fame and marketing, and they came from an unusual butt and a sex tape.

              Of course, I have never seen your butt..

        • Modified is INDEED the whole point!

          The article to which Ifill linked took Bibi’s own graphic and tweaked it to show the new result–180 degrees off of Bubi’s original claim. Hence her quippy title for the link: “Take that, Bibi.” A totally accurate and concise summary of the material she linked to.

          • Quippy?

            Wow…

            Just. Wow…

            I’d submit using his graphic is probably not the most professional way of going about this, clearly tying the message to him as though it was some sort of personal slam dunk. Oh wait, so far all the clues point to that analysis. And Ifill, loyal shill that she is, took the cue.

  3. The trouble with excusing any headline or tweet because of space limitation is that, these are NOT a new issue. But you’re going to have to live with the consequences, whether egg on the face like Truman winning the election or a taunt at a poor target. I’m waiting for the ‘I wuz drunk’ excuse next.

    What this woman and the football player never seem to have understood is that Twitter can be like playing Russian roulette, Hiding behind Twitter’s usual shallowness or anonymity will not save you beyond a certain point that they passed. Twitter is not a safe place to be this stupid. Twitter can be ordered c=by a court to give, like in a libel case I’m watching. And the court of human opinion can be far more arbitrary and unforgiving. She’s supposed to be a journalist, a worksmith. At minimum this is a near epic fail and these are her own words.

    • The trouble with excusing any headline or tweet because of space limitation is that, these are NOT a new issue.”

      This isn’t quite an excuse for her, however, as she used less than 12% of the available characters… I’m sure she could have elucidated further if she was, indeed, asserting a paraphrased “quote”, as the esteemed commentator Charles Green has insisted above.

      • Texagg, I’m not sure you understand Twitter, or what happened here.

        In 2012, Netanyahu held up a crude cartoon of a bomb at the UN, drawing a red line across it to indicate an apocalyptic outcome driven by Iran and the bomb.
        Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/29/world/middleeast/netanyahus-bomb-diagram-stirs-confusion-in-israel.html

        In April of 2015, the White House released a mocking alternative view of Bibi’s original cartoon, showing the results with and without an agreement. In effect it upended Bibi’s cartoon by turning it against him.
        Source:
        http://www.vox.com/2015/4/8/8373057/white-house-netanyahu-cartoon

        Two days ago, when the final Senator agreed to support the Iran treaty, making it veto-proof, the twitter site @IranDeal tweeted the April alternate graphic again, saying, “With the #IranDeal, Iran’s program is significantly less dangerous. This is what that famous drawing looks like now:”

        Ifill then retweeted the @IranDeal tweet, summarizing the @IranDeal tweet – quite accurately – by saying it amounted to “Take that, Bibi!” Which it did.

        In other words: she followed the timeless Twitter strategy of linking to someone else’s content and giving it a descriptive, engaging, spin to describe what it’s about. And, she quite nailed it.

        Notice: Bibi’s original cartoon was clownish. And the mocking White House version was every bit as political as its target. And the @IranDeal twitter feed is – as Ifill has pointed out in her own twitter feed – “created by administration deal supporters and tweeted out by the @StateDept.”

        She’s obviously hip to it being a biased source, she called it such, and she accurately summarized the essence of that tweet in the words, “Take that, Bibl!” It’s exactly what @IranDeal meant. Again, she nailed it.

        I’m not sure you understand how utterly common it is to do this. It’s got to be one of the top three social media strategies – link to content that you think your readers will find of interest, and headline it with some punchy, clever insight or angle that both attracts readers and offers an insight. It’s been recommended by social media strategists for at least six years that I’m aware of.

        And that’s what happened here. Ifill herself has stated her clear intent was to describe the referred-to tweet – just as I stated above. It’s what I presumed her to mean, because it’s exactly the way I describe links I tweet out. For example, I might headline-tweet an article saying that financial incentives are ineffective at motivation with words like “Money is overrated – who needs it anyway.” Anyone who knows me would expect irony, and click through to the linked article, where they’d find something substantive about compensation philosophy. No one would be misled into thinking “Charlie doesn’t like money.”

        Finally, I note you seem awfully confident of exactly what Ifill intended to say; you say, “we know it wasn’t a quote, it was Ifill speaking her own thoughts.”

        Really? HOW do you know those were her thoughts? I for one didn’t think those were her thoughts; and she herself denies it clearly. How do YOU gain insight into her innermost thoughts? Or, if you think she’s lying, how in the world do you come to that conclusion?

        As I noted elsewhere, we’re having an epidemic of “gotcha” politics where partisans insist on knowing what someone else meant, merely by parsing ambiguous out-of-context words, ignoring protestations of the person in question. And it’s not just a left thing or a right thing; everyone’s getting victimized, from Bernie to Jeb! and beyond.

        I just think if you look at the entirety of this event, at the very least Ifill’s interpretation (and mine) are AT LEAST as plausible as your evil-intentioned liar theory.

        • “Texagg, I’m not sure you understand Twitter, or what happened here.”

          I certainly do, however, evidence would suggest you could use a brief overview. In short, a retweet is when you press the retweet button, nothing added. As soon as you add something to it, it is your own tweet. You either comment on it or disagree or agree or whatever else, it becomes a new tweet regarding the original. She did this. She didn’t attribute her comment like it was a summary paraphrase, like a competent individual would if that was her intent.

          “In 2012, Netanyahu held…”

          Yeah, I’m also aware of the history. Thanks. But since you have repeated it, and I presume you read that and didn’t just copy paste, then I am truly baffled how you don’t see the unprofessional nature of the response to our best mid-East ally and how unethical that component was.

          “Ifill then retweeted the @IranDeal tweet, summarizing the @IranDeal tweet – quite accurately – by saying it amounted to “Take that, Bibi!” Which it did.”

          Which she failed to attribute as a summary/paraphrase, like a competent individual doing her professional duty to stifle her biases…

          You are still stuck with 2 choices here. Incompetent or willfully taunting.

          “In other words: she followed the timeless Twitter strategy of linking to someone else’s content and giving it a descriptive, engaging, spin to describe what it’s about. And, she quite nailed it.”

          Everybody Does It.

          “Notice: Bibi’s original cartoon was clownish. And the mocking White House version was every bit as political as its target. And the @IranDeal twitter feed is – as Ifill has pointed out in her own twitter feed – “created by administration deal supporters and tweeted out by the @StateDept.””

          Did you really just write that and still don’t see how colossally unethical this ENTIRE episode has been from the beginning?

          And are you seriously going to begrudge the guy for not having a high tech power point or whatever, when one simple image would suffice? This is just pathetic spin to degrade Netanyahu and buffer Ifill.

          “She’s obviously hip to it being a biased source, she called it such,”

          She did?

          “and she accurately summarized the essence of that tweet in the words, “Take that, Bibl!” It’s exactly what @IranDeal meant. Again, she nailed it.”

          Yet, lacking that identification of summary/paraphrase, like any competent individual stifling their biases WOULD do, we can only presume she is incompetent or joining in on the taunting.

          Have you chosen yet?

          “I’m not sure you understand how utterly common it is to do this. It’s got to be one of the top three social media strategies – link to content that you think your readers will find of interest, and headline it with some punchy, clever insight or angle that both attracts readers and offers an insight. It’s been recommended by social media strategists for at least six years that I’m aware of.”

          Everybody Does It

          “And that’s what happened here. Ifill herself has stated her clear intent was to describe the referred-to tweet – just as I stated above.”

          After backlash backpedaling is hardly useful elucidation. If she were competent she would have made her message clear from the beginning if her intent wasn’t to taunt.

          Have you chosen yet?

          “It’s what I presumed her to mean, because it’s exactly the way I describe links I tweet out.”

          No kidding, but then again I would presume any Leftist shill would die on this kind of hill, and you’ve chosen this hill…

          “For example, I might headline-tweet an article saying that financial incentives are ineffective at motivation with words like “Money is overrated – who needs it anyway.””

          And if you did that, you’d be making such an assertion yourself absent the identification that you are paraphrasing or summarizing the article, like any competent individual trying to stifle their biases would do.

          “Anyone who knows me would expect irony, and click through to the linked article, where they’d find something substantive about compensation philosophy. No one would be misled into thinking “Charlie doesn’t like money.””

          So headlining is meant only for people who know you?

          Is that where you want to hang your hat?

          Finally, I note you seem awfully confident of exactly what Ifill intended to say; you say, “we know it wasn’t a quote, it was Ifill speaking her own thoughts.”

          Really? HOW do you know those were her thoughts?”

          Because, for the umpteenth time, competent individuals who actively stifle their biases know how to communicate clearly and attribute a paraphrase/summary when that is what they are doing. If that isn’t what they are doing, then they don’t do it.

          So which is it, incompetent or joining in on taunting Netanyahu?

          “I for one didn’t think those were her thoughts; and she herself denies it clearly.”

          See the above commentary.

          “How do YOU gain insight into her innermost thoughts? Or, if you think she’s lying, how in the world do you come to that conclusion?”

          This is asinine. You don’t have insight to her innermost thoughts either. Please avoid saying things that could be interpreted as being patently stupid.

          “I just think if you look at the entirety of this event, at the very least Ifill’s interpretation (and mine) are AT LEAST as plausible as your evil-intentioned liar theory.”

          Probably less plausible, as yours relies on an after-backlash backpedaling. By the way, I’ll ask you to amend your mis-characterization of my “theory”. To be accurate, it should be intentional taunter OR incompetent reporter theory.

  4. So Ifell says the tweet was not a taunt towards Israel? So…my next guess…is she is saying that this administration is taunting Israel? Wrong again! She says the tweet was what she perceives as “others” saying about the adminisration. What? How the hell was I supposed to figure that one out?

    • Whose standard? According to Charles, crediting a paraphrased quote is optional…

      In ifill’s case Charles thinks it’s ok not to indicate it’s a quote.*

      In the Ford case, Charles acknowledges the purpose of showing the “quote’s” source.

      So i guess it depends on how you want to spin it.

      *but we know it wasn’t a quote, it was Ifill speaking her own thoughts.

      So for consistency’s sake, you’d need to drop the “Boehner to White House” component to be analogous.

        • Well, your example definitely mirrors the Ford example headline in structure:

          “” Boehner to White House; take that Obama!””

          “Ford to City: Drop Dead!”

          But I’d still submit, that since we presume the contents of both actual quotes is nothing like the summary headline, they would both still be unethical.

          I would think, Ifill, would be ethical to have said “State to Bibi: Take that!” That would actually have been an ethical “headline” because it captures precisely the unethical message of the graphic.

          • Agreed! That would have been better, as it would have removed any attribution ambiguity. It’s what she says she meant anyway, and I see it that way too, but I agree that would have been better stated.
            (She’d also have gotten credit for reviving the NYC meme.)

            • If by “better” you mean “actually ethical, unlike what she did, which was unethical” then yes, agreed. Until then, you are still defending unethical conduct, so far with several uses of “Everyone Does It”.

            • Here’s the problem, Charles, and there’s a lesson to it. If Ifill hadn’t destroyed her credibility by being an open Obama booster AND no doing the right thing and taking herself out of the VP debate, I and so may others wouldn’t necessarily interpret her tweet as a “You dissed my President and now you’re geeing what you deserve, so Take that!”, but rather, “Senate to Bibi: “Take that!” But since she DID destroy the presumption of professionalism and bias, she had to be clear, and careful, and she wasn’t, leading me to choose between too options: she is either unaware that her objectivity is compromised, or is so used to a partisan left audience that she doesn’t care, OR she meant the disrespect. Either way, she made this bed, and long ago. As Tex says, she’s an incompetent, a biased hack, or both.

              • You raise an interesting point here. Is what she did unethical because of who she is? Or because of what she did?

                You make the case that “who she is” conditions how people perceive what she did, and that it’s her responsibility to take into account how she is perceived.

                Wouldn’t that suggest, then, that the larger issue is whether journalists should be on Twitter or not? (And I’m sure a lot of folks would argue they shouldn’t be).

                Or, if they are to be on Twitter, whether there should be some standards for use, e.g. tighter delineation of opinion and description to linked content?

                Or perhaps some standards about the kind of content that is off-bounds? It’s an area that seems Wild West Wide open. Here’s a thoughtful piece:
                http://www.journalismethics.info/ethics_in_news/guidelines.html
                Your thoughts?

                I’m wondering what the Columbia Journalism Review is going to have to say about Ifell.

                Happy Labor Day all.

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