Globe Retweets From Its Patrick-Third-Term Gaffe

March 21, 2013

So Gov. Deval Patrick made a joke yesterday about running for a third term and wouldn’t you know some people took him seriously and faster than you can say tweet tweet it was out there on the social media wire.

From today’s Boston Globe:

Patrick trips online firestorm with reelection joke

For a few minutes early Wednesday afternoon, the Massa chusetts political world was in flames.

Governor Deval Patrick’s attempt at humor during an appear ance at the University of Massachusetts Boston went viral, leading many to believe that he would seek a third term. That would have been news, indeed, since Patrick has long professed to be satisfied with two terms.

And, while there is no law prohibiting a third consecutive term, there is no modern precedent.

“#Breaking: @MassGovernor announces he’s running for a third term” New England Cable News network tweeted at 1:10 p.m. to its more than 19,000 followers.

That ignited a firestorm of retweets, online exclamations of disbelief, and panicked phone calls by news organizations looking to catch up on a story that would dramatically remake the state’s political landscape.


It turned out to be a false alarm, but what the Globe piece fails to mention is that one of its own was among the retweeters. It was left to our feisty local tabloid to reveal the full story.

From today’s Boston Herald:

NECN tweets from the hip

A red-faced NECN chalked its social media gaffe up to “human error” yesterday after firing off a mistaken tweet declaring Gov. Deval Patrick was running for a third term — a blunder experts say newspeople can avoid by thinking before they tweet.

The cyber slip spread like wildfire to Washington, D.C., where it was retweeted by a Boston Globe reporter, and the governor’s press office was forced to field a barrage of calls. Social media experts say the blame lies with shoddy journalism.

“Twitter’s not dangerous — the people who use it can be,” said Al Tompkins of the journalism think tank the Poynter Institute.

Added “Twitter for Dummies” lead author Laura Fitton: “It doesn’t matter where that person published it. People tend to blame the tool. People will blame Twitter, but that’s just bad journalism.”



Here’s the twitstream:

Picture 7


A spokeswoman for our stately local broadsheet told the Herald’s Jessica Heslam that reporter Matt Viser followed the newspaper’s social media policy. “He retweeted a trusted source, NECN,” she said,”and the second NECN said it made a mistake, Matt retweeted that. All of this took place within a minute.”

Hey – maybe that’s why the Globe didn’t report it today. It happened too fast.