Today’s frenzied (social) media reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision on President Obama’s healthcare reform was, as many journalists have remarked, a good lesson on why it’s not a good idea to tweet before the facts are clear.
CNN was apparently the first news outlet to say something about the decision after it was announced, but what it said—“Mandate Struck Down”—was the exact opposite of what actually happened today. (Poynter has a good screenshot collection of the embarrassment.)
The best reaction to CNN’s ugly faux pas was probably this:
I’m not sure that ‘MAKE CNN YOUR HOMEPAGE’ should appear just below the headline ‘CORRECTION: SUPREME COURT BACKS HEALTH CARE LAW’— BGrueskin (@BGrueskin) June 28, 2012
Yep, a tweet. Twitter is, at its best, a mix of entertaining one-liners and useful links to point followers toward more in-depth, nuanced information. And if anything merits a lengthy wordcount, it’s the analysis of justices’ lengthy decisions on the Affordable Care Act.
Hopefully, CNN’s mistake of pushing “send” without thinking is a wakeup call. The winners of the breaking news rat race are the ones who get it quickly, correctly, and smartly.