Tags: Media Bias | denver post | political correctness | social media

America No Longer the Land of Second Chances

America No Longer the Land of Second Chances
(Pressureua/Dreamstime)

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Friday, 02 June 2017 05:03 PM Current | Bio | Archive

At some point during the last 10 or 20 years our culture shifted from accountability and forgiveness to intolerance and overreaction. One reason for this is the prevalence of social justice monitors eager to enforce their own vision of political correctness, aided and abetted by instantaneous punishment meted out on social media.

Everyone is now just one stupid Facebook post, one poorly thought out Tweet, one racist, sexist, ageist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-LGBTQ remark away from potential ruin.

Popular Denver Post sports writer Terry Frei learned this the hard way last weekend when, on his way to Fort Logan National Cemetery to visit his father’s grave on Memorial Day, he saw that Japanese driver Takuma Sato had won the Indianapolis 500. Frei tweeted, "Nothing specifically personal, but I am very uncomfortable with a Japanese driver winning the Indianapolis 500 during Memorial Day weekend."

The reaction of Frei’s employer was quick and all-too-typical; the Denver Post declared, "We apologize for the disrespectful and unacceptable tweet that was sent by one of our reporters. Terry Frei is no longer an employee of The Denver Post . . . The tweet doesn’t represent what we believe nor what we stand for. We hope you will accept our profound apologies."

Frei posted an apology too, "I fouled up. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said what I said when I said it. I should have known better and I regret it."

But it’s all too little, too late. Was Frei’s tweet stupid and inappropriate? Absolutely. That’s why he deleted it and posted an apology. But in our age of instant digital justice and political correctness, people are no longer allowed to make these kinds of mistakes. No one any longer can say, "That’s stupid, but understandable."

And being good at your job doesn’t inoculate you from this trend, either. Frei isn’t just sports writer; he’s an American history book author and novelist too, with titles including "Third Down and a War to Go, Olympic Affair: Hitler’s Siren and America’s Hero," and "March 1939: Before the Madness."

Frei isn’t the first employee the Denver Post has fired over a social media gaffe; in 2014 the paper fired hockey writer Adrian Dater for tweeting crude remarks to a Detroit Red Wings fan.

Should we accept hate speech under the argument that it’s just a dumb, insensitive statement? Not at all. But we all learn from our mistakes, not just our successes, and when we create a culture that’s focused on only being right, an unforgiving one strike and you’re out mentality, then no one has a chance to learn and grow. We’ll end up with a bland sameness (since everyone will be too fearful of offending to state their real opinion) thanks to self-censorship.

In his book "So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed," author Jon Ronson describes the problem well, "With social media, we’ve created a stage for constant artificial high drama. Every day a new person emerges as a magnificent hero or a sickening villain." And for Terry Frei, apparently one tweet was enough for him to become that sickening villain — until the next transgressor comes along, that is.

This article first appeared on Acculturated.com.

Dave Taylor is a long-time media commentator and writer, with a focus on consumer electronics and technology. He holds a Masters degree in Education and an MBA and has published over twenty books. A single father to two teens and a tween, he also moonlights as a film and media critic and calls Boulder, Colorado, home. Read more of his reports — Go Here Now.

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DaveTaylor
We all learn from our mistakes, not just our successes. When we create a culture that’s focused on only being right, an unforgiving one strike and you’re out mentality, then no one has a chance to learn and grow. We’ll end up with a bland sameness, since everyone will be too fearful of offending.
denver post, political correctness, social media
592
2017-03-02
Friday, 02 June 2017 05:03 PM
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