The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto spent about 1,000 words explaining and apologizing for a 15-word July 24 tweet about victims in the Aurora, Colorado “Dark Knight Rises” shooting.
Taranto had tweeted “I hope the girls whose boyfriends died to save them were worthy of the sacrifice,” writing about three of the killed — Jonathan Blunk, Matt McQuinn, and Alex Teves — who had blocked bullets from their girlfriends.
His apology, published in a July 25 post for the Wall Street Journal, was titled “Heroes of Aurora: A Mea Culpa for an Errant Tweet,” and was written suggesting more people were involved in the tweets and the apology, but the Huffington Post noted Taranto said he was the “sole author of tweets and columns” and was writing in the collective “editorial ‘we.'” Taranto wrote:
“We got to thinking about these stories last night, and our musings led to an ill-considered tweet…We intended this to be thought-provoking, but to judge by the response, very few people received it that way. The vast majority found it offensive and insulting.”
He went on:
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“These three women owe their lives to their men. That debt can never be repaid in kind, because life is for the living and cannot be returned to the dead. The closest they can come to redeeming it is to use the gift of their survival well–to live good, full, happy lives.”
The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple responded, noting that Taranto’s tweet “provoked tons of thoughts” but not “the sorts of thoughts Taranto was seeking.” He also commented that Taranto’s “worthy” remark is “loaded with judgment and misanthropy with a possible sprinkling of misogyny.”
Taranto tweeted July 26 to disclose that he “deleted” the “errant tweet” and linked to his editorial column.
Given that Taranto’s explanation and apology for his tweet warranted roughly 1,000 words, we asked Taranto if his original “worthy” thought would have been better expressed in a blogpost, or if he had originally intended to follow the tweet with a fuller explanation. Taranto said by email that he has “No further comment—I prefer to let my work speak for itself.”
Hat Tip: Media Bistro Morning Newsletter