Berry’s apology came after his earlier controversial tweet, in which he posted an image of the president’s “Make America Great Again” hat and implied that Jarrod Ramos dropped one on The Capital Gazette’s newsroom floor before gunning down five people Thursday. The tweet has been removed.
Berry lamented that his tweet “feeds the warped minds of people who think we wake up every day and try to push an agenda.”
False news reports inflame reader emotions and result in an escalating sequence of emotional outrage, increasing social polarization. Nothing good comes from making false claims.
A Reuter’s editor has also apologized for saying the shooting was caused by Trump’s negative comments about the media. (Official statement from Reuters.) An early published report from Reuters weakly linked Trump’s past “fake news” comments to the shooting, but removed that link from later reports.
The way to respond to accusations of fictional news reporting is to double down on accuracy, objectivity and remaining calm. Unfortunately, the news industry continues to harm itself through self destructive behavior typical of middle school drama. This behavior is bewildering.