I’m sure nearly everyone reading from the U.S. Today has strong feelings about the shooting over the weekend, and you should. Events like this embarrass me; they reinforce so many nasty stereotypes about who Americans are. But the thing that galls and embarrasses me most was the way this whole thing unfolded politically across Facebook.
First thing I saw about the shooting was the above image being circulated by some of my leftier friends. That’s from Sarah Palin’s Twitter feed, which isn’t surprising, but note the timestamp: nine hours ago. It points to the crosshair-scattered map of the U.S. on her Facebook page.
That post is from March of last year, not nine hours before anything that happened this weekend. That sort of willful masking of the facts is incredibly embarrassing; I’d hope the lefties and centrists of the country would rise above the same sort of false rhetoric the Fox News crazies throw out there. But, apparently, everyone’s out to push their own agenda.
To make this whole thing even more distasteful, the Palin camp quickly removed that tweet from their timeline. (It seems to have not been picked up in the news.) Now they’re trying to claim that the map on her Facebook post doesn’t have crosshairs on it, they’re surveyor’s marks—which is an obvious lie to those who saw the tweet which was timed to promote that post.
The reason I find this whole thing relevant to this column is that I am deeply interested in how the online world changes how we communicate as professionals. It makes everything into more of a conversation. Seeing folks trying to change this from a conversation about the sorts of political rhetoric our country finds acceptable into a pile of agenda-driven lies on both sides, is so disappointing.
for a more visual take on that map, see Steve Heller’s post earlier.