Wall Street Journal sends out “common idiom” that’s also a blatantly racist tweet

While tweeting a story about China’s President Xi Jinping, the Wall Street Journal managed to tweet out this lovely racial slur:

WSJ Racist Tweet

In case you are unaware, “chink” is a racial insult for a Chinese person.  The tweet, naturally, was deleted, and replaced with this:

Many weren’t having this “apology”:

As far as I am concerned, these folks are right: this is a terrible apology.  Even if you take the Wall Street Journal at their word, and assume that this truly was an accident, they owe it to their readers to apologize and better explain what happened.  Additionally, no one who tweets for a major newspaper should be this unaware of common racial slurs.  “Exemplary command of the English language” must be in the job description of anyone who does social media at this level.

By the way, does this seem fimiliar?  It should: a similar issue happened in an headline on an ESPN story featuring Jeremy Lin, a Chinese basketball player.  That story featured the headline “Chink In The Armor”:


It resulted in an editor losing his job.  That editor, Anthony Federico, called the move an honest mistake.  It’s also important to note that ESPN issued a statement of contrition, and perhaps more importantly, pledged to ensure a similar situation would never happen again:

We again apologize, especially to Mr. Lin. His accomplishments are a source of great pride to the Asian-American community, including the Asian-American employees at ESPN. Through self-examination, improved editorial practices and controls, and response to constructive criticism, we will be better in the future.

Contrast that to the WSJ’s tweet, which was essentially, “Opps.”  As best I can tell, no similar statement has been issued by the Wall Street Journal, nor have they elaborated on the terrible tweet beyond their own terrible explanation tweet (if I am wrong, please correct me!). This is a huge mistake, and it shows that the conglomerate isn’t really apologetic about making sure a similar situation happens again.  It also shows that they aren’t really sorry: after all, they never apologized!

Tweets and Consequences

Like the blog?  Get the book!  Tweets and Consequences: 60 Social Media Disasters in Politics and How You Can Avoid A Career-Ending Mistake is now available on Amazon for purchase or download.

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