This past Friday saw a series of devastating terror attacks in Paris, killing over 120 and injuring scores more. The attacks, which took the form of shootings and bombings, have shaken the entire world. As I write this, French President Francois Hollande has blamed ISIS for the attacks. Inevitably, more information will follow, as investigators gather more information about the who and why behind this tragedy.
Of course, that didn’t stop some – including at least one individual who should have known better – from spreading misinformation and hate.
As the attacks were still unfolding, Congressman Jeff Duncan (R-SC) sent out this ridiculous tweet:
Here’s the thing: This is insane. First and foremost, the refugees who are fleeing Syria are, quite literally, trying to escape from ISIS. Of course, it would be naive to absurdity to assume that all of these refugees have nothing but the best of intentions. Heck, it is certainly possible that the Congressman will be proven right, and refugees played a role in this attack.
That being said, do you think that Congressman Duncan knew what was going on when he sent out these tweet? Did he have information which no one else have? Was he 100% sure that Syrian refugees were responsible for the Paris massacre?
Of course not.
Then, we can only reach one other conclusion: Congressman Duncan made an absurd, presumptive tweet, one which fueled misinformation and hatred, in the lack of any sort of collaborating evidence. This is a violation of everything an elected official should be in the face of a crisis: calm, comforting and discussing only things which they know to be true.
Unfortunately, this is just one example of the worst of Twitter that inevitably follows any sort of crisis. Actor Rob Lowe and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich decided to give us some additional examples:
In a crisis, Twitter can be incredible. Serious journalists used it to report on events as they were happening and to gain eye witness accounts to the terror that was unfolding in Paris. However, it can also be used to spread misinformation, hatred and fear. You would just hope that elected officials would not be the ones responsible for doing such a thing.
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