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The sad part about the rise of cancel culture mentality is there are often no winners. Everyone loses. In the case of the Des Moines Register’s debacle over Carson King’s social media past, there are three distinct losers and (thankfully) one winner emerging from it.
The brief summary, for those who haven’t heard the story…
Carson King, 24, made a homemade sign asking for beer money that appeared in the background of ESPN’s “College GameDay” live broadcast. It went viral, but instead of cashing in, King decided to donate the money to a local children’s hospital. Anheuser-Busch InBev, the parent company of the beer that was mentioned in King’s sign, also agreed to donate $350,000 and had plans on working with King. A reporter for the Des Moines Register was doing a followup feature on King when he discovered in his background check that seven years prior, when King was 16, he had posted racist comments on social media.
Anheiser-Busch ended their relationship with King after apparently finding the Tweets on their own since the story hadn’t been published yet. King, who was asked about the posts by the reporter, called a press conference to apologize preemptively ahead of the publishing of the story. The Register’s editors were weighing whether or not to include the find in their feature, but since King had already apologized, they decided to run with the information at the end of the story. Now, the reporter has been fired after it was discovered his Tweets from the past were bigoted as well.
Managing Editor Carol Hunter posted a detailed explanation of the circumstances surrounding the reporter’s firing as well as the decision-making process they employed regarding the old Tweets.
Once we have obtained information in background checks, how do we decide what to publish?
It weighed heavily on our minds that the racist jokes King tweeted, which we never published, were disturbing and highly inappropriate. On the other hand, we also weighed heavily that the tweets were posted more than seven years ago, when King was 16, and he was highly remorseful.
We ultimately decided to include a few paragraphs at the bottom of the story. As it turned out, our decision-making process was preempted when King held his evening news conference to discuss his tweets and when Busch Light’s parent company announced it would sever its future ties with King.
It’s a good explanation. This may be an unpopular opinion, but I can’t really find fault in their actions other than publishing the information at all. One of the big arguments surrounding this whole ordeal is why the reporter was looking into King’s teen social media posts, but that’s disingenuous. If they hadn’t published the information and it came out later, they would been accused of not doing their proper research.
Cancel culture has a hat trick, scoring three cancellations in one story.
- King was canceled out of innocence as his dumb teen social media posts cost him opportunities with Busch Light.
- Des Moines Register is experiencing the cancellation of their credibility, both by publishing the information about King as well as for not noticing their reporter’s own past on social media.
- Busch Light looks like the biggest fools here, distancing themselves from a nice guy and a great cause because they didn’t want to be attached to his teen Tweets.
The only good that comes from this is the charity itself which seems to be getting a boost thanks to the national attention the debacle has brought to it.
This is the latest lesson about cancel culture, a plague of political correctness and misguided activism that is tearing apart the fabric of our society. This needs to die just as quickly as it rose up in modern America.
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