On Saturday, as the world found out about the passing of former President George H. W. Bush and news orgs were breaking the story and posting obituaries and summaries, the Associated Press generated a great deal of outrage over an insulting tweet. Today, the AP deleted that tweet and put up a note on Twitter.
We’ve deleted a tweet and revised a story on the death of President George H.W. Bush because the tweet and the opening of the story referenced his 1992 electoral defeat and omitted his WWII service.— The Associated Press (@AP) December 2, 2018
The reason offered doesn't really capture what the uproar was about. Here is a screenshot of the offending tweet:
They refer to him as a "patrician New Englander" and casts the loss of reelection in as negative a light as possible. The tweet was seen as an obvious sneer at the recently deceased leader.
A couple of examples:
The @AP sticking the knife in Bush's legacy on the night he passes away. And then they wonder why so many people… https://t.co/nmZHmHDhTc— Josh Jordan (@Josh Jordan) 1543645284.0
Do. Better. https://t.co/FNCm2OTNh3— The Dank Knight 🦇 (@The Dank Knight 🦇) 1543642874.0
This is why people hate the media and why that hatred is justified. Good job, @AP. https://t.co/b7PwI3w5o9— Derek Hunter (@Derek Hunter) 1543649287.0
What the hell is wrong with you https://t.co/BjYpwI6Tzt— JERRY DUNLEAVY (@JERRY DUNLEAVY) 1543642772.0
At Newsbusters, Curtis Houck laid the tweet out, as well as the underlying article, for being tasteless. The article, too, was changed by the AP after the fact.
As Judicial Watch's Dunleavy noted today, ratio-ing (the process whereby a tweet receives far more negative feedback in the replies than it receives retweets or likes) works.