Still, that doesn’t mean the Post was wrong to defend it. Nor does it mean a blanket order should be issued dictating that the WaPo Twitter stream be a bland, unresponsive, and toothless promo tool. Good debate is healthy. The problem here is that the debate wasn’t “good.” The “two sides” defense was plainly offensive. It signals the kind of “stuck in the land before time” attitude that critics say is hobbling the newspaper (see: Weigel, David). The quest for fairness; an old-school, “balanced” treatment of an issue that really doesn’t call for it. The earth is getting hotter; man made it that way. No need to balance that. “Same-sex attractions are abnormal”? Try something better than “two sides.”

That same kind of overly balanced, voice-of-God stuff is what leads to a memo like Narisetti’s. The paper should engage openly with readers when they disagree with an editorial decision. That’s the “social” part of “social networking.” You can’t force Twitter to become the letters page; it’s a completely different tool. Something more interactive and more immediate. It should be used that way.

The problem was the response itself, not that it was made. It might have been better to say something like this:

@GLAAD good point. Did it for balance, but upon reflection, realize the error in judgment. Appreciate the watchful eye. And the debate.

Joel Meares is a former CJR assistant editor.