The Media Equation: Twitter Is All in Good Fun, Until It Isn’t

By DAVID CARR, New York Times
Big media companies love when their employees hit Twitter. After all, the short-form social media platform gives consumers direct access to media personalities, and along with it, an intimate connection that large media organizations, and the public, revel in.

Until something goes wrong. Roland Martin, who is paid to spout opinions on CNN, posted a controversial one on Twitter and now he is on suspension.

Like a lot of us, Mr. Martin watched the Super Bowl last Sunday and like many of us, he frolicked on Twitter as one more way of “watching” the big game, including commercials.

Mr. Martin, a syndicated newspaper columnist and a political analyst for CNN, got in trouble for writing, “If a dude at your Super Bowl party is hyped about David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, smack the ish out of him! #superbowl.”

Many, including gay advocacy groups, felt that the post advocated violence against homosexuals. Mr. Martin, a longtime hater of soccer, saw the immediate blowback on Twitter and said he was just mocking that sport, and nothing more. CNN also saw the outcry and suspended Mr. Martin indefinitely, saying in a news release that his post was “regrettable and offensive.”

This is not the first time someone who makes a living on one platform has been clobbered for making remarks on another. Octavia Nasr, senior editor for Middle Eastern affairs at CNN, was fired in 2010 for praising on Twitter Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah, a Shiite cleric and inspirational figure for Hezbollah, after he died. That same year, an Arizona Daily Star reporter was fired for writing posts critical of colleagues and of the city of Tucson. The National Labor Relations Board said his dismissal was legal, in part because he had been warned by his employers not to post about work-related issues. Markos Moulitsas, the founder of the Daily Kos, was temporarily barred from MSNBC after getting in a Twitter dispute with Joe Scarborough on his show “Morning Joe.”

Continue reading the rest of the story on New York Times