Idiots Intrude in Iowan Internet Insanity!


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to

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50 Responses

  1. Jaybird says:

    Related: I learned from the internet that Ken Bone has a vasectomy.Report

  2. Fish says:

    (Immediately begins combing through Jaybird’s twitter history because irony is delicious.)

    (Ok, not really.)

    (Besides, I’m confident I wouldn’t find anything.)

    (…hey, is my twitter private…?)Report

  3. North says:

    Yeah the only way this particular obnoxious thing is gonna resolve itself is by burning itself out. People are gong to stop giving a fish about these old comments; organizations are going to stop giving a fish about what idiots on twitter twitt about (both in past and present) AND people are going to potentially be slightly more cautious about what they twitt about on twitter and other social media sites. I doubt much good will come out of it; just like the spammer/scammer fooferaw in the early aughts. Spam screens and the growing learned cynicism of recipients killed it.Report

  4. Jesse says:

    Seems like another instance of “people are upset that other people don’t think people who openly say bigoted things are actually criticized for doing so, instead of it being ignored like we used too in the Good Ole’ Days.”

    BTW, I’m OK w/ Calvin facing consequences as well.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Jesse says:

      I’m fine with people getting grilled for saying stupid shit, but there needs to be statute of limitations on this stuff. Like anything said more than 2 years ago (for a private citizen) is off limits. Maybe make the limit 5 years for public figures, and 2 election cycles for politicians.

      That, or we all just need scripts that we run once a month that go through our social media and delete anything older than X.Report

      • Jesse in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I mean, I can see the argument about being actual employment, but if a company doesn’t want to be involved in a partnership with somebody who said bigoted things in public (because Twitter is Public), I see no way to limit that and frankly, I’m OK with the world where companies overreact to bigoted and racist sayings, as opposed to the world where companies ignored it.

        Plus, even if the guy didn’t get fired, I’d think the people who are currently upset would still be upset that the paper dared to inject reality into the feel good story that fit all their priors.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Jesse says:

          Should the reporter be fired?Report

        • greginak in reply to Jesse says:

          In general i agree with where you are coming from. This, however, seems like such a weird outlier of an odd situation that this doesn’t make sense. Guy does something actually great so what is the point of the background about his tweets??? If you want to make people hate the concept of punishing bad behavior then enforce it on people doing great things and regarding irrelevant to the situation teen age dipshittery.

          I sort of doubt this exact situation will come up again. but dogmatic adherence to concepts regardless of the situation/ context is double plus bad. This kind of thing will not make people more supportive of anti racism. And i can guarantee you plenty of POC would agree.Report

          • veronica d in reply to greginak says:

            Exactly. The question isn’t if we should always or never hold someone responsibile for old tweets. It’s situational. It requires a shred of judgement.Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to greginak says:

            If I had to bring up a theoretic counter argument, one might be that racism is such a massive problem that the only way to go after it is something like the Broken Windows theory of fighting crime. Every minor act must be attacked thoroughly so that we can smash the evil. There must be no exception.Report

            • greginak in reply to LeeEsq says:

              A “theocratic counter argument”….Ugh….They can all go to hell. Well where the context and severity of the arguments warrens it. Off to hell with that crap. Broken windows…not sure that is the best argument to make. I wonder what happened to Rudy G. Bet he is golfing his ass off and being an abrasive ahole in florida like every other old NYer. With a permanent yankees cap of course.

              But more seriously. Trying to change the present by attacking acts in the past is possible but sketchy. To much and you are McCarthy. If the past is pertinent to the present then fair game. If it’s not pertinent and far back then you aren’t fixing the present. Trust me, i’ve seen all the Star Trek time travel eps along with Primer and The Time Machine. I know how that stuff works.Report

      • JS in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Kevin Drum has a 20/20 rule. Anything done before you were 20 or that was more than 20 years ago shouldn’t count.

        I can’t really disagree. I’d probably be more generous on the age — anything you did before you were about 25, but 20 strikes me as about right for cultural change.

        I know, for instance, absolutely pro-LBGT people today who said some deeply unfortunate things about gays back in 1999. Cultural and social change takes time, and the very nature of change means that when it starts relatively few people are ‘on the right side of history’.

        That doesn’t excuse everything — if something was appalling 20 years ago, in the context of the times, you shouldn’t get a pass now — although I’m perfectly willing to take proof of change into account.

        Some people do change, and that’s to be encouraged.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jesse says:

      Nobody supports criticizing stupid 16-year olds more than I do.

      However, I’m not sure at the utility of criticizing a 24-year old who apologized for being stupid when he was 16.

      Explain it to me.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Jesse says:

      I’m going to join everybody else. If only pure perfect saints get to do good deeds then we are going to get a world where very few good deeds get performed. There was really no reason to dig in this case. People should just have been local boy does good and leave it at that.Report

    • DensityDuck in reply to Jesse says:

      ” I’m OK w/ Calvin facing consequences as well.”

      hey baby i know i hit you but you hit me back so it’s like we’re even, right? besides i bought you a new microwave and it’s a lot better than the old one i broke so that’s good, right?Report

  5. PD Shaw says:

    It used to be reporters were just people who understood a good story. Now they have J-school to tell them what a story is, and journalism is in such decline, at such an accelerating rate that the industry is relatively worse off than coal miners. Is the story about the reporter? Is it about seeking divine judgment? Is it about doing a top level security clearance on every name that crosses their path?

    The people head-hunting on an act of charity are assholes. That too should be a part of the story.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to PD Shaw says:

      If I wanted to destroy the credibility of the press, I’m trying to think of stuff that I’d do differently than stuff like this.

      Anyway, editorial realized that they kinda misjudged the tone of how the story would be received at a national level (“at least we went viral”) and these are the last two tweets they’ve tweeted as of right about now:

      We have not yet heard whether Aaron Calvin has been fired.Report

      • PD Shaw in reply to Jaybird says:

        My anger about the media is that I have a pretty good idea of the background information quickly at its disposal in this day and age so that the easy path will always be to do what is essentially background check on those being reported on, instead of what used to be following the story. This type of news is directed towards moral judgment because that’s sold since at least Puritan Boston.

        And a lot of public policy effort is being pushed towards giving youthful criminal offenders a second chance at a life, which assumes a society willing to forgive 16-year olds, or at least to not take them so damn seriously. It’s Calvinists all the way down.Report

      • InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

        As fitting as that would be, I think he should keep his job, and hopefully apply lessons learned about the perils of offense archaeology dug up and strewn around in irrelevant circumstances.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to InMD says:

          Eh, then we’ve got a position where the guy who added value lost his job due to old racism and the guy who did not add value kept his job despite old racism.

          That’s not the system that I particularly want.

          That said, it’s probably to the benefit of everybody if the reporter keeps his job and the media is further discredited.Report

          • InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

            The only way to stop the insanity is to accept that drawing the line and saying it’s over inevitably will allow some people off the hook who in a world of perfect justice probably wouldn’t be. Everyone who hates this bullshit needs to accept that cost. I for one think it’s worth paying.Report

  6. LeeEsq says:

    From my experience as a lawyer, sometimes doing the right thing means you look the other way and ignore some minor bad deed for the greater good.Report

  7. aaron david says:

    The question remains, what to do with the $1 million? The answer is obvious. Redirect it from UICH to the University of Iowa School of Journalism, so that future generations of Iowans can continue to benefit from our selfless guardians in the press. Excelsior!— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) September 25, 2019

  8. Hei Lun Chan says:

    In most cases I’m strictly against people being punished for old social media posts but if anyone deserves to be cancelled it’s a guy digging through other people’s past trying to get them fired.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Hei Lun Chan says:

      I doubt he was necessarily trying to get the guy fired. More likely, he was doing some background and when he found the racist stuff, he and his editors thought, “WooHoo! It’s our own little slice of Shane Gillis/SNL attention! Click bait dollars, come to papa!”Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        “Look at these replies to every tweet! Engagement is through the roof!”

        (I scrolled down on the timeline and around the 22nd you start seeing tweets with zero retweets, zero comments, only a small handful of likes. Now? Holy cow! They’ve got an article about a beaver-themed pub and it’s got a 125 replies and it’s not even noon!)Report

      • aaron david in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        Oscar is correct in my opinion. We have skewed our reward (for lack of a better term) system in journalism and most other media that it is only now when much damage has been done to these people, these victims, that the final estate (the consumers) is pushing back.

        Also, a beer company is naming a beer after this:
        Well, just when we thought there wouldn’t be any new developments, the Geneseo Brewing Company in Geneseo, IL just put out a statement saying that, “We have witnessed the growth through your later social media content and accept your apology. We believe that your selfless act of raising funds for the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital is truly a noble act. We as an Independent Craft Beer Company would like to continue your efforts by naming a new pilsner “Iowa Legend” and donating a dollar from every pint and 16-ounce can purchased to your cause until the batch is sold out.”

        That’s pretty cool, especially coming from a company in Illinois. Here I thought it was just Iowans squabbling about Carson King, but it seems that it has grown into a story that affects more people than we could imagine.

        And the governor created Carson King day.Report

  9. Jaybird says:

    There’s a great thread here that talks about some of the dynamics at play:


  10. DensityDuck says:

    “in the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes” is becoming less of a prediction and more of a curse.Report

  11. Jaybird says:

    I laughed:


  12. Jaybird says:

    They’ve made an announcement:

    They didn’t apologize but they did fire the reporter.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to Jaybird says:

      I think the paper fired the reporter at least in part because of his own racist, sexist, and homophobic tweets from roughly the same time period as King’s racist tweets, not just because he dug up and drew attention to King’s racist tweets.

      I don’t know what to make of it.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to dragonfrog says:

        It was the exact same dynamic.

        Here is a person for you to look at. Here! Look at him!

        Look at him in the search bar.


      • DensityDuck in reply to dragonfrog says:

        the point is that if the reporter hadn’t thought it important to tell us about the guy’s off-color jokes from eight years ago when he was a teenager, then nobody would have been fired at all, and the interesting discussion here is why the reporter thought it important to tell us.Report

  13. Jaybird says:



  14. Jaybird says:

    Some people are still upset about this:


  15. Jaybird says:

    Aaron Calvin wrote his side of the story for CJR. My favorite part was the complete and total lack of self-awareness found between these paragraphs:

    As I began writing, an editor requested that I run a background check on King. This is standard practice at the Register, as it is for many newspapers, when reporting on public figures. I looked at King’s court records as well as his public social media, and found a few racist jokes he’d tweeted in high school. In context, I could see that these had been references to sketches by the comedian Daniel Tosh. I told my editor about the tweets and was asked to reach out to King for comment.

    I believe this was the right thing to do. Performing background checks on public figures is part of a journalist’s responsibility. If I had found the tweets, others would, too. I approached King with an understanding that what you tweet in high school is not necessarily representative of your beliefs as an adult, and he duly apologized.

    And these:

    In the hours after King’s statement, people on Twitter found material that they used to discredit me, instead. They shared offensive tweets that I’d posted when I was younger, including statements that were meant sarcastically but that employed homophobic and misogynistic language and could be read as such if taken at face value. I also tweeted, verbatim, a Kanye West lyric that used the N-word.

    Tweeting these things was a mistake, and I apologize for them. I would not tweet the same things now. Like many people as they mature, I’ve come to understand that such language can cause real harm, and I’ve learned to better represent my values.