“On Tuesday night, the President and Mrs. Obama, along with the Grammys and PBS, hosted a musical tribute to Memphis Soul at the White House. Wanting to promote this great program, which will air this coming Tuesday on PBS, I realized the best way to do this was to tweet and delete. I knew the Sunlight Foundation would highlight the deleted tweet as a Politwoop and knowing how some in the media report deleted Politwoops as nefarious, it occurred to me that a perfectly innocent, factually-correct tweet, once deleted, would receive great media attention. And that is exactly what happened when I tweeted:
@cyndilauper great night,couldn’t believe how hot u were.see you again next Tuesday.try a little tenderness.
The night at the White House was great, I was amazed at Cyndi Lauper’s hot performance and I look forward to seeing her performance of “Try a Little Tenderness” again when it airs next Tuesday on PBS. That’s what the tweet said but that’s not how it has been speciously interpreted in the media.
For two months, I’ve had in my mind the movie Absence of Malice, the first screenplay by Kurt Luedtke, a former reporter. The movie highlights the damage done to persons, albeit with a legal absence of malice, because of sloppy, “gotcha” journalism.
Laura Kirchner, a former Columba Journalism Review assistant editor, wrote that as a first semester student in journalism school, she was assigned the 1981 Sydney Pollack film Absence of Malice by one of the professors of the required Ethics course. As Ms. Kirchner states in a July 15, 2011 article, the reporter played by Sally Field “forgets she’s talking to actual people, people who will have to live with the effects of what she writes about them.”
Two months ago, my family was personally hurt and victimized by sensationalized, fact-less speculation masquerading as journalism. I hope this serves to bring attention to the need for journalistic integrity as well as encouraging everyone to watch the spectacular and hot performances of Memphis music by Cyndi Lauper, as well as Justin Timberlake, William Bell, Steve Cropper, Sam Moore, Booker T. Jones, Queen Latifah, Ben Harper, Charlie Musselwhite, Eddie Floyd, Alabama Shakes, Joshua Ledet, and Mavis Staples on PBS next Tuesday evening.