A Reuters editor told President Donald Trump that "blood is on your hands" over Thursday's mass murder at the Capital Gazette newspaper in Maryland — and then apologized and deleted his tweet after intense backlash, The Wrap said.
"This is what happens when @realDonaldTrump calls journalists the enemy of the people," Rob Cox, global editor for Reuters Breakingviews, initially tweeted. "Blood is on your hands, Mr. President. Save your thoughts and prayers for your empty soul."
At least five people were killed when a gunman stormed the offices of the Capital Gazette Thursday in Annapolis, Maryland.
What did Cox say next?
Cox later acknowledged, "Fair enough to call me out for jumping to a conclusion about the motives here. Vilifying any category of people — journalists, migrants, conservatives, liberals etc — can incite violence. This one hits close to home. Genuinely saddened."
Then he issued a lengthy apology on Twitter, saying he “responded emotionally and inappropriately” to "news today that a mass shooter had targeted the employees of a newspaper in Maryland."
Cox continued: "Though my comments were entirely personal, they were not in keeping with the Reuters Trust Principles and my own standards for letting facts, not snap judgments, guide my understanding."
He also said he was "pushed into a state of emotional distress” given his "experience as a member of the community of Newtown, Connecticut in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy, combined with the possibility that my colleagues in the press were being targeted."
"I am sorry for my comments, which I quickly deleted and have disavowed," Cox concluded, "and especially remorseful if they did anything to distract from the thoughts and love we must send to the community of Annapolis."
Image source: YouTube screenshot
How did Reuters' editor-in-chief react?
Reuters' Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler issued a statement about Cox's tweet Thursday night, saying the news outlet "will take appropriate action" in response to it.
“Earlier this evening, Reuters Breakingviews Editor Rob Cox tweeted about the shooting in Annapolis, Maryland. He has since deleted the tweet and apologized," Adler said. "Mr. Cox’s actions were inconsistent with the Thomson Reuters Trust Principles requiring journalists to maintain freedom from bias. We do not condone his behavior and will take appropriate action.”
Here's the apology from Cox:
When I saw the news today that a mass shooter had targeted the employees of a newspaper in Maryland I responded emo… https://t.co/UZx7ogmDSn— Rob Cox (@Rob Cox) 1530232215.0
2- Though my comments were entirely personal, they were not in keeping with the Reuters Trust Principles and my own… https://t.co/jWu8s5TJFl— Rob Cox (@Rob Cox) 1530232249.0
3 - My experience as a member of the community of Newtown, Connecticut in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy,… https://t.co/nwRfCHEZLQ— Rob Cox (@Rob Cox) 1530232285.0
4 - I am sorry for my comments, which I quickly deleted and have disavowed, and especially remorseful if they did a… https://t.co/7FDC1aSwVt— Rob Cox (@Rob Cox) 1530232319.0
How did others react after Cox's apology?
- "You do realize that what you posted earlier came not from your fear for fellow journalists, but instead from an excitement for another reason to bash Trump," one Twitter user responded to Cox's apology. "Look in the mirror...you ARE part of the divisiveness that pervades our country."
- Another user wrote that "NOW you know why people don't trust the media, thank you for proving our point."
- "I don’t see an apology for [Trump] which was whom your tweet originally targeted," another user noted.
- In regard to Cox's reference to Sandy Hook, one user said, "He is using dead kids as a personal shield because he wrongly used dead journalists as a political weapon."
- Others, however, accepted Cox's mea cupla: "Thanks for apologizing," one Twitter user noted. "We should take your tweets at face value and grant you that. Hopefully next time you’ll start from a place that doesn’t necessarily blame Trump or his supporters for causes of illness in this world."