Social media amplifies everything. Often to ridiculous levels.
Today was a perfect example when ABC 7 Chicago’s Rafer Weigel mistakenly tweeted that Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler was taken to the hospital following an injury to his groin in the Bears loss at Washington. It was an honest mistake and Weigel owned up to it right away. He issued a retraction and a mea culpa once he found out that he was incorrect.
I reached Rafer Weigel by phone and he told me the whole story in detail. He was very self-aware that he acted in great haste and COMPLETELY dropped the ball today.
"I didn't think before I tweeted, and I learned you can't do that," Weigel said.
"I hope others can learn this lesson, if they haven't already."
Weigel received an email from his photographer with a subject heading saying: “If Jay Cutler is taken to the hospital” and Rafer Weigel misread it. He only saw the second part, and that's why he tweeted out that Jay had been taken from FedEx Field.
This is a cautionary tale about the state of media today.
The field is more hyper-competitive than ever before, and everyone is in a rush to be first. We shouldn't be racing to be first, we should be racing to be right. Always double check facts and verify them before you tweet. Every 140 characters-or-less posting is akin to a statement at a press conference.
Twitter users consider everything you say to be fully "on-the-record." And I've made some boneheaded decisions in my Tweeting myself. We all have at one time or another.
Jay Cutler did not return to the game and will undergo a MRI tomorrow.
Rafer is now currently on vacation while the Bears are on bye week. However, our story doesn’t end there.
Watching Twitter flip out over a simple gaffe by Weigel is rather telling about us; and interesting in itself. Literally, @RaferWeigel was trending for awhile.
It's also fascinating to watch other local media react to Rafer's fumble.
@RaferWeigel mistweeting about cutler getting into an ambulance is pretty big mistake! I think u guys were trying to have a story or b 1st
— brian (@ironmancubfan) October 20, 2013
@RaferWeigel That Stuff Happens Bud, Don't Beat yourself up !
— DAVE BOLGER (@bolg5) October 20, 2013
Given the little Twitter skirmish NBC 5 and 670 The Score's Laurence Holmes had with Rafer Weigel a couple weeks ago, it was classy of Holmes to stick up for him.
— Laurence Holmes (@LaurenceWHolmes) October 20, 2013
LOUD NOISES!!! ALL CAPS!!! I DON'T KNOW WHAT WE'RE YELLING ABOUT!!!
— Ron Cohn (@RonCohn) October 20, 2013
Cue the royal rumble scene from the movie I just quoted
— Matt Lo Cascio (@matt_locascio) October 20, 2013
ABC7 retracts Cutler-to-hospital report RT @RaferWeigel: No, my info was incorrect. It was a miscommunication &I shouldn't have tweeted it
— Rich Campbell (@Rich_Campbell) October 20, 2013
@RaferWeigel I had my anger tweet halfway written. Kudos for taking ownership of the irresponsible tweet ha
— Scott Sweeney (@rckstrscott) October 20, 2013
— Chutney Windham (@Pink_PANTies23) October 20, 2013
Cutler haters gonna hate. Notice the "Your" in place of "You're"
@RaferWeigel are you kidding me... Cutler is tough? Your a joke!
— Brian T Haines (@gourmandhaines) October 21, 2013
Does this jerk/idiot think he's funny or something? I'm sure local talk radio is going to be flooded with the type of callers he's making fun of
I hope the Cutler injury doesn't ignite another "Dat Cutler, he's not tough enough dere" meathead firestorm.
— Paul M. Banks (@PaulMBanks) October 20, 2013
Catch me every Friday at 7:30 AM CDT talking Chicago Bears on WAOR 95.7 The Fan, Michiana's home for Bears football
Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. He’s also a regular analyst on news talk radio stations across the world; with weekly segments on NBC and Fox Sports Radio. Follow him on Twitter (@paulmbanks) and RSS
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